| Sunday Salutes
Week 11 Bumps, Bruises and Bow-outs
Scotty Anderson (DET) - Sprained ankle
Troy Walters (IND) - Strained hamstring
David Carr (HOU) - Bruised shoulder
Travis Henry (BUF) -Cracked leg bone
Tim Carter (NYG) - Concussion
Marcel Shipp (ARZ) - Bruised knee
Ernie Conwell (NO) - Fractured ankle
I'm bringing a Gameboy next week
While punter Micah Knorr replaced Jason Elam on the final
field goal, it was probably less about protecting Elam than
it was giving Micah something to do. For the first time in
thirteen years, the Denver punter never was asked to punt
in the entire game. This is a favorable sign that the opponent's
defense is not doing very well.
Peyton Manning was without two of his best weapons on Sunday
but hardly missed a step. Manning ended with a league leading
401 yards passing and when Marcus Pollard was not available,
he gave Dallas Clark his first 100 yard receiving game in
the NFL. With Marvin Harrison inactive for the game due to
a hamstring strain, Manning merely threw four passes to Troy
Walters for 88 yards and a touchdown before Walters furthered
the comparison by also straining his hamstring and having
to leave the game in the third quarter.
Somebody write it down this time!
Shannon Sharpe turned in his third career game with three
touchdowns when he had seven catches for 101 yards in the
San Diego game on Sunday. The last time he had performed the
hat trick was back on October 6th, 1996. Against the San Diego
Oxygen... 'gasp'... oxygen
Zack Crockett had his standard one yard touchdown plunge
against the Vikings yesterday and with Tyrone Wheatley getting
tired from his heavy load, Crockett was sent in to replace
Wheatley in the third quarter. It was first and ten from the
Oakland 43-yard line and Crockett carried the ball for an
astonishing six yards before finding someone to bash into.
On second down from midfield, he took the handoff and found
himself running for 44 yards all the way to the Minnesota
7-yard line. The one run was seven yards longer than he had
gained this entire season to that point though it took 19
previous carries to gain 36 yards.
In wonderful irony, he was replaced by Tyrone Wheatley who
ran twice and scored a one yard touchdown.
Drama 101 - Somebody has to laugh, somebody has to cry
| Comedy Lineup
|| Tragedy Lineup
|| 3 FG, 5 XP
Huddle Fantasy Points = 111
Huddle Fantasy Points = 22
What'ya mean I haven't missed anything?
There were 18 teams playing early games on Sunday and of
those, nine of them had only three points or less by halftime.
Only three teams had over 10 points to start the third quarter.
In case you missed the entire set of early games, eight of
the teams never scored more 12 points in the entire game though
three still managed to win.
By the afternoon, the teams had warmed up and only the Green
Bay - Tampa Bay game failed to score at least 45 total points.
Appropriately, the Dallas-New England game ended the day's
slate with a 12-0 snoozer to bring us back to full circle.
Whose house is this?
After 15 games played on Sunday, there were a dozen wins
by the home team and of the three road wins, only Tampa Bay
lost as a home favorite in the game. That was expected though,
since they are just the reigning World Champions.
Last week there were 14 games and again only three teams
managed to win on the road. Victory does not seem to be a
good traveler lately.
Have a nice trip
There were three quarterbacks (Holcomb, Plummer and Pennington)
that had three touchdowns passing and three other players
(Westbrook, James and Sharpe) that also had three touchdowns
The scoring by those three non-quarterbacks was made even
more impressive considering that only McAllister and James
Jackson were able to score more than one time. It's feast
or famine for NFL scoring and five teams go into their games
next week still looking for that elusive place called the
Sunday's Couch Commentary
6, MIA 9 OT
112 yards passing, no scores and two interceptions, Anthony
Wright proved to be a perfect replacement for Kyle Boller.
The Fins finally remember how to get Ricky Williams over
the 100 yard mark and handoff to him 36 times in the game.
Since all the wideouts accounted - in total - for only
74 yards in the game, you know it was not destined to
be a shoot-out. There were only five field goalzzzzzzzzz...
|ARZ 6, CLE 44
||The Cardinals retain their claim
to being the surprise team of the season by allowing Cleveland
to actually win at home, by 38 points, in a game that
made Kelly Holcomb (392 yards, 3 TD's) look all-world.
Kevin Johnson missed all the fun since the two starting
wideouts of Quincy Morgan (116 yards, 1 TD) and Andre'
Davis (117 yards, 1 TD) provided bookend performances.
William Green also watched the game and saw James Jackson
score two touchdowns. This all begs the question - who
can they get rid of for next week so they can beat the
Steelers? And no, Butch is not an option.
19, CIN 24
The reporters were surprised to find HC Marvin Lewis
already waiting at the postgame news conference and
looking like the only guy invited to a sorority kegger.
No surprise here - Chad Johnson guaranteed it just like
Jamal Lewis guaranteed that he would set the all-time
single game rushing record earlier this year. What the
heck - I guarantee I will win the lottery this week.
Good things come in threes, right? Or is that celebrity
deaths? At any rate the Chiefs drew to 19-24 with three
minutes left to play but experienced what their opponents
usually get from Priest Holmes when Rudi Johnson popped
a 54 yard run and then just ran the clock out safely
in Kansas City territory. Next week Corey Dillon will
not play the changing injury status game of being "Doubtful"
or "Questionable" or Probable". He will
just be listed as "Unnecessary".
|STL 23, CHI 21
||Chicago made it interesting and
led 14-3 at the half and Chandler led a comeback to go
ahead 21-20 with only five minutes left. But the Rams
take the win thanks to Torry Holt and Marshall Faulk who
evidently still has the jets with his 52 yard run late
in the third quarter. He even got caught from behind,
just like before. Bears eventually accepted their fate
when informed that their assigned cellar buddy Detroit
17, CAR 20
could be more appropriate than the Redskins taking the
late 4th quarter lead via the pass only to see Stephen
Davis rush in a touchdown to win the game? Cartwright
may carry the Rock now in Washington, but in Carolina,
Davis carries it past that magical white line with flags
at either end. This makes an important difference. In
the immortal words of Steve Spurrier - "well dang".
|HOU 12, BUF 10
||This was not only an ugly game,
the 12-10 score was not from five field goals and one
touchdown. It came from four field goals, two safeties,
one touchdown and a failed two point conversion. The only
truly productive player in the game was Travis Henry with
a broken leg and the only touchdown came just prior to
the halftime when Andre Johnson scored on a 46-yard touchdown
pass when he was sandwiched by three defenders and kept
running as the the trio bounced away.
10, PHI 28
result as last time only the Eagles did not wait until
the end of the game to take the lead and Westbrook scored
three times instead of only twice. Okay - so Donovan McNabb
threw for 312 yards instead of just 64 like last time.
He hit nine receivers in the game even though these are
the exact same nine he has played with the entire season.
Marcellus Rivers (3-16) was no Shockey.
|JAX 3, TEN 10
||Titans kept getting close only to
mess it up before they remembered that they had already
scored a touchdown and were therefore safe on the scoreboard.
If you thought they looked disinterested this week, they
visit the Falcons next Sunday. On the plus side for the
Jaguars, Leftwich reduced his interceptions from three
to only two in his second matchup against Tennessee.
20, NO 23
|SD 8, DEN 37
||Doug Flutie had 52 yards passing
during his late game touchdown drive and only had 18 yards
passing in the rest of the entire game. Surprisingly,
that one drive was the only time Drew Brees was not smiling.
The Broncos were so tired of scoring on literally every
drive that Quentin Griffin played for most of the second
half and still out gained LaDainian Tomlinson 55 to 29
yards rushing. If Sharpe retires in the offseason, he
should move to San Diego where the weather is nice and
no one gets in his way.
31, IND 38
threw for 401 yards without two of his best receivers
and the game winning score was made when the field goal
holder Hunter Smith took off running for the goal line.
When the Jets review their gamefilm, it will be the first
time any of them have seen Smith with the ball. The Colts
gained 545 offensive yards and scored five touchdowns.
They also gave up three passing scores to Pennington and
105 yards rushing to Curtis Martin. This is exactly why
we all started playing fantasy football in the first place.
The terrifying news that the Colts have a defense this
season is thankfully just a baseless rumor.
|GB 20, TB 13
||Winning the Super Bowl just does
not buy the same amount of respect that it once did. These
matchups are usually lower scoring (check) and for the
past dozen or so games has always been won by the home
team (not a check). The times are changing when Favre
wins with 92 yards passing, Robert Ferguson is the best
receiver and the Bucs are featuring Thomas Jones at running
back. "Chuckie" now has a new appreciation for
14, SEA 35
The game ended with the same score as the first half
because even the players were swept up in the crowds
that were streaming out of the stadium. The big day
planned to open up their offense by the Seahawks was
canceled because it worked too well, too early. Next
week at Minneapolis may be the final chance for the
Lions to break their road streak until next season unless
their petition succeeds to have their bye weeks actually
considered as tied games against themselves. Even in
that scenario the bookies would still somehow favor
the home Lions over the road Lions.
|MIN 18, OAK 28
||After living a great life for the
first six weeks of the season, the Vikings have now passed
the fourth stage of dying. The fifth and final stage will
appropriately be next week if the Lions win as a visitor
in Minnesota. The Raiders finally get another win just
in time to head to Kansas City next week where the Chiefs
will be on the warpath.
0, NE 12
balance their fairy tale season with yet another trip
to the black forest of shutouts. Having the best defense
is nice and all, but throwing a point or two up by the
offense would go a long way to making road trips less
painful. The offense does not have to be stocked with
superstars - just look at what New England has done.
There were several valid contenders, enough so that I almost
made this a multiple award. There were many close games this
weekend and nine were won by a touchdown or less. Miami took
the victory in overtime but with a 9-6 game score, it makes
for less thrilling fare. The Bengals draw to tie for the AFC
North lead by defeating the Chiefs and thereby sparing us
the never-ending stories about the 1972 Miami Dolphins.
In the end, it had to be a close game with a screwy path
to a home win.
Winner: Atlanta 20, New Orleans 23 in overtime.
The Falcons were fresh off their dismantling of the Giants
and on the road again after their emotional (if not astounding)
win. The Saints were fresh from their bye week and having
witnessed the big Atlanta win last week during the Crawfish
party at Deuce's crib, there was little chance that the Falcons
would catch the Saints sleeping. This was the team that New
Orleans beat 45-17 only three weeks ago in Atlanta.
So then, naturally, the game witnessed the first score when
midway through the first quarter Aaron Brooks attempted a
pass to Michael Lewis that was intercepted and returned for
a touchdown. Down 7-0, it was hardly time to panic.
The next series the Saints went three and out and then the
Falcons drove the field to get a field goal. Down 10-0, it
was not really time to panic.
After trading ineffective series, the Saints took over on
their own 15-yard line when Aaron Brooks was intercepted again
and the ball returned to the Saints 5-yard line. After gaining
one yard on first down, T.J. Duckett took his second carry
for a four yard touchdown and the 17-0 lead only two minutes
into the second quarter. Panic became an option, though not
a preferable one.
The Saints, now fully aware that the Falcons are not willing
to play the patsy yet again, mount an eight minute drive that
includes first down at the Atlanta 5-yard line. After three
plays and five yards lost, they accept the field goal gladly
to get on THAT STUPID SCOREBOARD.
With only four minutes left in the half, both teams have
one more fruitless series and Atlanta takes over on the Saints
45-yard line with 1:40 left to play in the second half thanks
to a nice punt return. Kittner - Kurt Kittner - drives his
team down the field for a field goal to end the half and take
the lead 20-3.
The Saints, fighting panic, come out passing in the second
half and do little for a couple of series as does Atlanta
as well. Midway through the third quarter, the Saints intercept
that pesky Kittner and take over on the Atlanta 16-yard line.
Knowing that the pass is getting them nowhere, they opt for
three straight runs and a Deuce McAllister touchdown. They
now trail by only 10 points.
A few more series finds the Saints having done little but
they have the ball on their own 48-yard line and thanks to
Atlanta penalties, incompletions by Brooks and runs by McAllister
(but mostly the runs), they reach the Atlanta 7-yard line.
Deuce scores his second touchdown of the game with two minutes
gone from the fourth quarter. The Saints trail only by three
The Saints trade meaningless series with the Falcons and
then starting on their own 13-yard line with six minutes left
to play. Deftly mixing a couple of completions with being
sacked, Brooks drives the field largely by handing off to
Deuce McAllister. With only 28 seconds left, Brooks gets sacked
and throws an incompletion to Jerome Pathon before the Saints
tie the game on a John Carney field goal, 20-20.
The Saints win the coin flip and receive the ball on their
own 38-yard line thanks to a nice run back by Michael Lewis.
After gaining two yards on the first play, Deuce McAllister
takes his second hand off and streaks through the heart of
the Falcon defense. He is almost untouched by the time he
reaches the Atlanta 35-yard line when the safeties collide
with him and then both quickly peel off as Deuce continues
to run to the 30, the 20, the 10 and then signifying that
the NFL is all about those last few feet and not the 174 other
ones that McAllister has already ran, the cornerback Juran
Bolden catches up to him and tommyhawks the ball from his
grip. The Falcons recover in the endzone for a touchback.
Warrick Dunn then takes first down and runs for 41 yards
himself to the Saints 39-yard line. This was the time that
panic was not only justified, but actually called for. The
Saints hold the Falcons to only two yards and from the 37-yard
line, Jay Feely attempts a 54 yard field goal that is almost
perfectly centered down the middle, all the way until it hits
the ground a few feet short of the cross bar. The Saints take
over on the 45-yard line!
On first down, Brooks hits Joe Horn for 14 yards and not
wanting to tempt fate, they opt to run McAllister instead
of attempt another pass. After all, McAllister loses the ball
much farther down the field than Brooks does. McAllister breaks
through the left side and runs for 23 yards, ending with him
holding the ball with both arms while lowering his helmet
over it. From the 18-yard line, there is no sense in taking
any risks and John Carney nails the 36-yard game winning field
goal on first down.
It was a game of big plays and bigger errors that somehow
ended up where most thought it would. The Falcons have now
set the table for Vick's return with a team that does not
look nearly so bad as a few weeks ago while the Saints string
their second win in a row.
It was a close win over a supposed easy opponent that was
replicated all over the NFL this week. By the time it was
over, we were reminded that it doesn't matter if things don't
always go your way and that bad things can happen at the end
of otherwise good plays. That it doesn't really matter what
the records are going into a game and that it's okay to push
yourself by shooting off your mouth before facing the biggest
and baddest out there. It's all okay as long as we remember
There's no place like home.
Now get back to work...