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Tunnel Vision - Week 15
David Dorey
December 9 , 2007
Sunday Salutes
Quarterbacks Yards TD
Tom Brady 399 4
Jay Cutler 244 4
Matt Hasselbeck 272 4
Running Backs Yards TD
LaDainian Tomlinson 173 2
Marion Barber 104 3
Joseph Addai 81 3
Wide Receivers Yards TD
Randy Moss 135 2
Anthony Gonzalez 134 2
Brandon Marshall 115 2
Tight Ends Yards TD
Jason Witten 138 1
Robert Royal 46 2
Tony Gonzalez 76 1
Placekickers XP FG
Josh Scobee 4 3
Shayne Graham 1 4
Mike Nugent 0 4
Defense/Special Teams TDs Sacks TOs
Seattle 1 5 6
Buffalo 1 5 5
Indianapolis 1 4 5

Week 14 Bumps, Bruises & Bow-outs

Both Jason Campbell and Rex Grossman were knocked out of the Thursday game and several players were hurt this week but returned. Overall, pretty kind week to the fantasy world.

Patrick Cobbs (MIA) - Hip injury
Ike Hilliard (TB) - Shoulder injury
Troy Walters (DET) - Concussion
L.J. Smith (PHI) - Knee injury
Trent Dilfer (SF) - Concussion
Leonard Pope (ARZ) - Leg injury

Well... this could have gone better...

Welcome to blowout weekend. Eight of the 14 games on Sunday were decided by 20 or more points as the good teams treated their opponents like an economy rental car on the corporate credit card. This is a delightful development because it signals that the teams on the upswing are getting better and the ones sliding back are finally reaching the steeper part of the slope. That makes games and performances easier to predict though how Adrian Peterson was held to three rushing yards on 14 carries defies all sense and reason.

Are you ready for THE GAME?

It's never too early to look forward to the next Game of the Week and this would should come with a guarantee. The Bills at Cleveland? No way. The Jaguars at Pittsburgh? Good but not as good. The Eagles at Dallas? Only in Texas. No, the game that is a must watch pits those wily New York Rats Jets heading into New England where they really, really, really hope they do not remember that back in week one, it was Eric Mangini who exposed the Patriots in the Cheatgate scam and cost Bill Belichick a mere half a million dollars in fines and the franchise coughed up another $250K for the transgressions, known, suspected and never known. And that set the Pats off on a quest like a summer camp bully with the counselors all on the other side of the lake.

Will Bill Belichick remember this? Better questions are what the line on the game will be and what Bill "mumbles" Belichick will say in the post game press conference. "Look, it was just another game to us and since Thomas Jones scored two weeks ago, we were not comfortable until we had the 63 point lead. And then what happened later during the second half, well that's just the guys being the guys."

The NFL Playoffs vs. Your Playoffs

The biggest fear of fantasy team owners is that their players will be given time off as the season draws to a close to rest them for the playoffs right when you need them the most - for YOUR playoffs. Here's a best guess where we stand right now:

Patriots - Clinched the AFC East and next week clinch the #1 seed with two games left to play. BUT - they want the 16-0 season and that means everyone plays. Besides, they get a week off anyway.

Colts - Clinched the AFC South and this could be a problem. If the Colts beat the Raiders and if when the Pats beat the Jets, then the Colts may have locked up the #2 seed. Pittsburgh is 9-4 and should be 10-4 but depending on tie breakers, they may not be able to catch them (assuming the Steelers win out and the Colts lose their remaining two which is unlikely). If that all transpires, then there is a chance that the Colts could be able to rest players as early as week 16 and definitely in week 17. Addai is still not 100% and could use rest, for example.

Chargers - Have not clinched yet but a win over the visiting Lions next week may do the job. Since they are pretty much resigned to the #4 seed, they will have nothing to play for as soon as they clinch. Probably no problem here but since they have to play round one, they would likely at least rest players in week 17.

Cowboys - Clinched the NFC East and if they beat the visiting Eagles, then they may be in a position to rest players in week 17 but thanks to the Packers at 11-2, the Cowboys have to win games for the #1 seed at least through week 16 unless the Packers lose in St. Louis this week.

Overall, it doesn't look like there will be much resting of players yet thanks to the Pats on a drive to reach 16-0 and the NFC having the Packers only one game behind the Cowboys. But - the Colts could be in a position to take it easier in week 16 at least potentially. It is still early to be definitive.

Huddle Player of the Week

Tom Brady - I am ignoring my Brady ban for Player of the week because there is just no ignoring that he just threw for 399 yards and four scores against the #1 passing defense in the NFL, made it look easy and hooked up with Randy Moss for his first two scores on ridiculously easy touchdowns. He's hitting the stratosphere now and yet has to keep playing every week in order to assure the 16-0 season record.


Drama 101 - Somebody has to laugh, somebody has to cry

Comedy Lineup Yards TDs Tragedy Lineup Yards TDs
QB Trent Edwards 165 4 QB Carson Palmer 189 0
RB Samkon Gado 93 2 RB Adrian Peterson (MIN) 13 0
RB Najeh Davenport 65 1 RB Maurice Jones-Drew 45 0
WR Jerheme Urban 123 1 WR Terrell Owens 21 0
WR Jabar Gaffney 122 1 WR Donald Driver 35 0
WR Robert Ferguson 57 1 WR Hines Ward 39 0
PK Josh Scobee 4 XP 3 FG PK Nick Folk 4 XP

Huddle Fantasy Points = 125

Huddle Fantasy Points = 24

Sunday's Couch Commentary

CHI 16, WAS 24

Kind of a surreal game for a Thursday night. Both teams lost their starting quarterback but Todd Collins made the difference with 224 passing yards and two scores and no turnovers - rather important here. Clinton Portis only gained 36 yards on 17 carries and never gained more than seven yards on any run. Chris Cooley was the focal point with five receptions for 93 yards along with Portis who caught six passes for 86 yards. Todd Yoder and Ladell Betts both scored so that no fantasy team would benefit. The Bears went to Brian Griese who passed for 295 yards and a score but tossed two interceptions. Bernard Berrian had a great game with seven catches for 91 yards and the score and even Devin Hester showed up with five receptions for 67 yards but no other receiver made much difference. Adrian Peterson only gained 35 yards on 17 runs. Now the 5-8 Bears head to Minnesota while the 6-7 Redskins play in New York against the Giants.

Fantasy Notable - Neither team has a running game lately and the loss of both quarterbacks should make the rest of the season even worse. Collins played reasonably well and made Portis come alive as a receiver while Brian Griese went back to using Greg Olsen. Grossman had been using Desmond Clark more but Griese tends to prefer Olsen.

STL 10, CIN 19

Pretty boring game considering the points that could have been but the weather was cold and rainy and Bulger was a scratch. Brock Berlin passed for 153 yards and no score in his debut and brought the lofty yards allowed average of the Bengals down. He wisely focused on getting the ball to Torry Holt (8-90) and no other receiver had more than 26 yards. Steven Jackson rushed for 91 yards on 18 carries and had four catches for 26 yards but that was about it for the Rams offense. The lone Rams touchdown came on an interception return. The Bengals were similarly hampered by the weather with Carson Palmer only passing for 189 yards and no scores with two interceptions and while Rudi Johnson rushed for 92 yards on 23 carries and scored once, Dede Dorsey (4-81) and Kenny Watson (3-10) both were involved. Chad Johnson (2-60) and T.J. Houshmandzadeh (8-52) both had ho-hum games. Rudi Johnson had the only touchdown and the final three quarters featured just four Shayne Graham field goals for the win. Now the 3-10 Rams host the Packers this week and the 5-8 Bengals head to San Francisco.

Fantasy Notable - None really other than both teams were ineffective in the rain and Brock Berlin had a standard mediocre first showing but did not kill Holt's production - just everyone else's. The Bengals are now mixing in three runners so that games where the Bengals have to pass more means that there is even less reliance on Rudi Johnson as the stud back. Kenny Watson is the third down back here and had six catches for 48 yards and Dede Dorsey looked very sharp on his limited plays. Muddles the backfield for the Bengals.

OAK 7, GB 38

The Packers bounced back with a vengeance after the loss in Dallas. Brett Favre played (OF COURSE) and passed for 266 yards and two scores while Ryan Grant went nuts rushing for 156 yards and one touchdown against the weak defense of the Raiders. Greg Jennings only caught two passes but one went for an 80-yard touchdown and Donald Lee (4-71) also scored. Donald Driver only ended with three receptions for 38 yards. Josh McCown has cemented his role as "not the future" when he passes for only 110 yards and one score against two interceptions. No Raider had more than two catches other than Lamont Jordan (4-17) who has become the biggest third down back in the league. Justin Fargas was held to just 57 yards on 15 carries in this team-wide beat down. That leaves the 4-9 Raiders returning home to host the Colts this week while the 11-2 Packers head to St. Louis.

Fantasy Notable - Avoid all Raiders in really cold road games. This game was a stomp from the first series and showed just how good the Packers at home can be and how bad the Raiders still are on the road. The lackluster game by Fargas shows he is just the last man standing this season and not a future consideration. The 266 passing yards by Favre now means he will be setting the passing yard record on the road with two away games in a row coming up. Ryan Grant has to be considered the starting tailback going into 2008, he's just been thoroughly impressive.

MIA 17, BUF 38

Oh yeah, 0-16. Write it down. The Bills enjoyed their biggest win of the year with Trent Edwards looking all world when he completed 11 of 23 passes for 165 yards and FOUR touchdowns. Better than one of every three completions scored. Lee Evans was held to only two catches which were both touchdowns including one for 70 yards. Robert Royal had three catches for 46 yards and the other two passing scores. While the runners here did not score, they merely saw Fred Jackson rushing for 115 yards on 15 carries and Marshawn Lynch ran 23 times for 107 yards. It was a thorough beat down which shows what happens when the Fins meet a team that actually takes them seriously. The rookie John Beck was benched after only two passes because he also lost a fumble that resulted in a score. Cleo Lemon did pass for 241 yards and two interceptions. The rookie Derek Hagen had a career game with eight catches for 93 yards and the rookie Ted Ginn reeled in four passes for 67 yards as well but the only scoring here came from Samkon "hey, it is a job" Gado who rushed for 52 yards on 12 carries and scored twice. The 0-13 Fins return home to host the Ravens who will take them seriously enough while the 7-6 Bills head to Cleveland.

Fantasy Notable: Hard to take much from the game really. Gado looks no worse than Chatman but relying on the Fins to get near the goal line is a tall order to rely on. Both BUF runners were productive but split 38 carries between the two. Marshawn was back and running well, he should take a more primary role next week. It was Christmas a little early for the Bills this week.

TB 14, HOU 28

Ends up that the Texans have a better second string quarterback than the Buccaneers do. And by now, the Bucs have to know that their second string guy will be a starter at some point every season. Luke McCown threw for 266 yards but no scores while Earnest Graham posted 61 yards on 15 carries and two touchdowns. Joey Galloway led the Bucs with six catches for 87 yards and Graham turned in six receptions for 65 yards to conclude the only good performances by the team. Sage Rosenfels had a solid showing here with 209 passing yards and three scores that were distributed over Andre Johnson (9-82), Kevin Walter (5-47) and Owen Daniels (3-20). Ron Dayne was in and out of the lineup with his leg bothering him and only gained 17 yards on seven rushes while the rookie Darius Walker filled in for 16 carries and 46 yards. The loss sends the 8-5 Buccaneers back home to face the Falcons while the 6-7 Texans remain at home and welcome the Broncos this week.

Fantasy Notable: The rookie Darius Walker is the latest in a long like of HOU backs who get playing time but he wasn't wildly productive against the sound Bucs defense. If Dayne's leg continues to be an issue, Walker will fill in again this week against a softer Denver rush defense. Rosenfels is a decent backup quarterback and upholds the fantasy value of the wideouts - three scores against the Bucs is really good. Without Garcia, the Bucs cannot generate enough offense to stay competitive, at least not on the road.

SD 23, TEN 17

Definite contender for Game of the Week. After playing horribly in the first three quarters, it took a 14 point effort in the final seven minutes of regulation to tie the game and then LT to win it outright on a 16-yard touchdown run. Philip Rivers ended with 228 yards and two scores but had two interceptions earlier in the game and did not come to life until the last minute. Chris Chambers hauled in four passes for 90 yards and Antonio Gates made fantasy owners wet their pants when he went down with an injured hip and left the game but later returned and totaled six catches for 57 yards and a touchdown that sent the game into overtime. LaDainian Tomlinson rushed 26 times for 146 yards and one score and added five receptions for 27 yards and another touchdown. He's showing up huge right when fantasy playoffs are starting up. Vince Young left the game for a bit but returned to turn in a more typical 121 passing yards and two interceptions. No Titans receiver had more than three catches or 30 yards on the day. LenDale White rushed for 113 yards on 30 carries and scored once while Chris Brown also had a touchdown on his five carries for 16 yards. Tough loss for the Titans who led during all but the end of the game when it went to overtime. Great defensive effort and not a lot of offense. Now the 7-6 Titans head to Kansas City this week while the 8-5 Chargers host the Lions.

Fantasy Notable: Rivers still looks erratic though he got it together at the end when he had no option. He was banged around pretty good by the Titans and both QB's left the game temporarily. LT is turning it up right when his owners need him most but at least Lendale White owners got a nice game from him despite his injured finger and pregame statements by HC Jeff FIsher that Chris Brown was going to play a bigger role this week. The Titans still have no reliable passing game and even Justin Gage only managed one catch for 12 yards.

CAR 6, JAC 37

So much for the notion that the Panthers are much better on the road than at home. The Jaguars were in peak form when they dominated the Panthers in every facet of the game. David Garrard passed for 230 yards and two scores while Fred Taylor burned the Panthers for 18 carries and 132 yards with one score thanks to an 80-yard "turn on the afterburner" run. But that left Maurice Jones-Drew with only 11 carries for 24 yards though he added two catches for 21 yards. Reggie Williams continues his revival with five receptions for 90 yards and one score while Matt Jones had a touchdown on his only catch in the game. The Panthers could get nothing going with Testaverde only passing for 84 yards and one interception before giving way to Matt Moore's 3 of 10 for 21 yards to end the game. Somehow Steve Smith managed to catch six passes for 44 yards but no other receiver here had more than 26 yards. DeShaun Foster rushed for 46 yards on 11 carries in this major butt-whooping. The loss sends the 5-8 Panthers home to host the Seahawks this week while the 9-4 Jaguars go to Pittsburgh.

Fantasy Notable: The Panthers are in full self-destruct mode and there is nothing that Steve Smith can do about it. Not even Testaverde can salvage his offense. The Jags are getting great play from Reggie Williams who only took three years to decide he wanted to play in the NFL and Fred Taylor has been better than Jones-Drew lately. Recall Jones-Drew as the late season fantasy darling of 2006 - ain' t happening now.

NYG 16, PHI 13

This would have been the Game of the Week if three times the points were involved. The Giants never led until late in the third quarter and then extended the lead to 16-10 to open the fourth quarter. The Eagles drew to within 16-13 midway through the fourth quarter and the game ended with Akers' attempting a 57-yard field goal to throw the game into overtime but it hit the right upright and bounced back. Donovan McNabb ended with only 179 passing yards and one score while Brian Westbrook gained 116 yards on 20 carries and added five catches for 38 yards and the lone Eagle's score. Reggie Brown led the Eagles with seven catches for 71 yards. Eli Manning redeemed himself, at least in part, by passing for 219 yards and one score without any interceptions. Brandon Jacobs returned from his hamstring strain to rush for 70 yards on 22 carries while Plaxico Burress had some trouble in pregame warmups, went to the locker room but still played well enough to have seven catches for 136 yards and a score. Close game that slides the Eagles back to a 5-8 record and they have to travel to Dallas this week. The 9-4 Giants have all but locked up the #1 NFC wildcard and how the Redskins this week.

Fantasy Notable: Close game between two long-time rivals, McNabb was back from injury but still looks no better than he has though Reggie Brown had an unusually good game here. The Eagles still live and die by what Westbrook does. Jacobs also was back from injury but he didn't run as well as he has been. He should be better next week back at home. The fantasy value of Jeremy Shockey is inconsistent at best and he only had one catch this week for just four yards. He's been less effective this year than in the past.

ARI 21, SEA 42

What does it say about Shaun Alexander when the Seahawks score 42 points and he contributes just ten carries for 38 yards? It says "thanks for the memories". Maurice Morris wasn't any better with 13 runs for 36 yards but compare that to Matt Hasselbeck who passed for 272 yards and four touchdowns. It was a day that you did not get much yardage from your Seattle receiver but they all had a touchdown. Bobby Engram (4-55), Deion Branch (3-42), Nate Burleson (5-50) and Marcus Pollard (2-15) all posted touchdowns in this easy romp. Edgerrin James only managed to gain 46 yards on 13 carries but added three catches for 24 yards. Kurt Warner had a great fantasy week with 337 yards and three scores unless your league deducts for interceptions since he had a career high five of those. Anquan Boldin was a scratch but Larry Fitzgerald played and gained 79 yards on six receptions with one score. The best receiver in the entire game ended up to be Jerheme Urban with 123 yards on six catches and one touchdown. The win grants the 9-4 Seahawks with the NFC West title and they head to Carolina for what will be a meaningless game in many ways. The Cardinals drop to 6-7 and head to New Orleans this week.

Fantasy Notable: Man, if Alexander still has gas in the tank it must also be full of sugar or something. Hasselbeck was in top form this week with his four scores and completing 22 of 33 but there isn't a primary wideout in SEA to take advantage of and most weeks will NOT have everyone scoring. The Cardinals without Boldin are unable to sustain drives and many of those interceptions this week by Warner would not have happened with Boldin around. Urban had one good game here but he is a career back-up type.

MIN 27, SF 7

Sure, this was the blowout we all expected but what was new on the menu was Adrian Peterson rushing for only THREE yards on 14 carries but Chester Taylor amassing 101 yards on eight runs and having three catches for 23 yards. So much for breaking Eric Dickerson's record at this rate. Tarvaris Jackson was his usual self with 163 yards and one score that went to Robert Ferguson (4-57) while no other MIN receiver had more than 25 yards. The 49ers lost Trent Dilfer and turned to Shaun Hill but the game was already well out of hand and never improved. Frank Gore ran for 68 yards on 16 carries which was actually pretty good against the Vikings rushing defense and he added eight catches for 49 yards to prop up his fantasy value but it was a whole lot of nothing else going on here with tight end Delanie Walker (6-66) as the top receiver. The win sends the 7-6 Vikings home to host the Bears this week while the 3-10 49ers host the Bengals this week.

Fantasy Notable: Gore still has some fantasy value in point per reception leagues but otherwise the 49ers have zero fantasy value on their roster. Peterson is a marked man from now on but it was still a surprise that he was contained so well. Home games the next two weeks should get him back in form while Chester Taylor owners are still giggling or crying depending on whether they started him this week. Taylor remains a weekly start on this powerful rushing attack because he gets the benefit of not being Peterson and therefore lesser focus by the defenses.

PIT 13, NEP 34

The Patriots took their latest road bump still cruising at 60 MPH and not even the 32 oz. Coke without a lid did not spill a drop. The Steelers were up for this game but unfortunately, so were the Patriots. Tom Brady ended with 399 yards and four scores which primarily went to Randy Moss (7-135, 2 TD), Jabar Gaffney (7-122, 1 TD) and Wes Welker (9-78, 1 TD). That was much more than what the Steelers could get out of Ben Roethlisberger who passed for only 187 yards and one score that went to Najeh Davenport, Hines Ward (5-39) and Santonio Holmes (1-13) were nonfactors when they needed to be game changers. Even Heath Miller only managed four receptions for 28 yards. Surprisingly Willie Parker gained 124 yards on 21 carries and this game was 13-17 at the half before the second half being all Patriots, all the time. Now the 13-0 Pats continue their drive to destiny by hosting the soon to be embarrassed Jets and the 9-4 Steelers return home to face the Jaguars in a game that is not going to be a gimmee for either team.

Fantasy Notable: Tom Brady and company are pretty good. All he did was to pass for about 400 yards and three scores against the #1 pass defense in the NFL. What will be fascinating is if the Patriots get into a bad weather game since they evidently have no rushing ability any more. Maroney only gained 18 yards on eight carries and ten of those yards came on one play. The Pats do not even pretend to have a running game. Be interesting if they ever actually need one which may never happen anyway. Gaffney has really come on strongly lately while Stallworth is withering on the vine. This was a pecking order game and the Steelers now know where they stand.

CLE 24, NYJ 18

This too was another low scoring affair but had Game of the Week sort of theatrics. The Browns took a 17-6 lead early in the fourth quarter on Dawson field goal and the game plodded along until Kellen Clemens rushed in a touchdown with 3:02 left to play with an unsuccessful two point conversion to make it 17-12. After successfully recovering an onsides kick, they kicked a field goal with 1:48 left to play to draw to within 17-15. The next onsides kick was recovered by the Browns who witnessed Jamal Lewis score from 31 yards out running harder than he maybe ever has. It was quite impressive and rather unlike the last several years. That made the score 24-15 but the Jets took the ball and kicked a field goal on a first down with only 37 seconds left to play to make it 24-18. Most coaches would have gone for the TD and worried about getting the field goal later. The next onsides kick went out of bounds to end the game but the Jets came to life at the end and at least made this interesting. Derek Anderson threw for 185 yards and two scores while Jamal Lewis not only gained 118 yards on 21 carries with one touchdown, he also yet again caught a scoring pass. Braylon Edwards (3-63) had the other CLE score. Clemens had 286 passing yards and the one rushing score while Thomas Jones ran for 106 yards on 24 carries like a real NFL running back (but did not score like... well... like Thomas Jones). Cotchery not only played with his bad finger, he led his team with six catches for 119 yards while Laveranues Coles only turned in 48 yards on his seven receptions. Now the 8-5 Browns are looking like a strong contender for a wildcard and return home to host the Bills while the 3-10 Jets head to New England... that is if they will get off the plane.

Fantasy Notable: Nice to see Cotchery bounce back productively with a finger injury that was feared would keep him out but Coles was a flop. The Browns were taken down a notch or two thanks to the road game but still managed the win. Edwards salvaged his fantasy value with the score but Winslow was bad with only 34 yards though he usually shows up big in home games anyway. The Jets are fighting the urge to just give up.

KC 7, DEN 41

We have been treated to both the good Broncos and the bad Broncos this year but this is the first time we have witnessed the "really, really good" Broncos. This game was over in the first quarter. Jay Cutler ended up with 244 passing yards and four touchdowns while Selvin Young ran for 156 yards on 17 carries and Travis Henry rushed in a score on his ten runs for 24 yards. Brandon Marshall had a monster game with ten catches for 115 yards and two scores and Daniel Graham converted three catches into 55 yards and a touchdown as well. Even banged up Brandon Stokley caught a score on his only catch in the game. The Chiefs were overmatched and dominated in a major way. Kolby Smith only gained 12 yards on 13 carries while Brodie Croyle turned in just 132 passing yards and one score that went to Tony Gonzalez (7-76) while Dwayne Bowe accepted just two receptions for 35 humbling yards. Major beat down here. The win sends the 6-7 Broncos to Houston this week while the 4-8 Chiefs return home to host the Titans.

Fantasy Notable: If this game means anything, it is that the Broncos have finally turned the corner and will be kicking ass from here on out. On the other hand, they have looked great before only to flop the next week (which sort of defines their 2007 season) and it was just a game at home against the Chiefs. Henry had the score but Young looked like the much better runner yet again. Kolby Smith was reminded that games away from Arrowhead are not always that much fun and his pitiful performance won't help his case if Larry Johnson appears even remotely healthy enough to play.

IND 44, BAL 20

Speaking of major beatdowns... this game was over before most people were seated in the stadium. With a 23 point explosion in the first quarter, it was cruise control the rest of the way. Peyton Manning threw for 249 yards and four scores and left the game mid-way through the third quarter. Joseph Addai did not run very well with 13 carries for 32 yards but he scored two rushing touchdowns and added three receptions for 49 yards and a third score. Reggie Wayne opened the game with a score but only ended with two catches for 42 yards because simply he was never needed. Instead, the rookie Anthony Gonzalez scored his first two NFL touchdowns and totaled 134 yards on six catches including a 57-yard scoring catch. Dallas Clark only had one catch for 15 yards. The Colts defense was so dominating early that the offense kept taking the field close to the Ravens endzone. Kyle Boller somehow ended with 132 yards and a score but he had three interceptions, one lost fumble and went into halftime with only 17 passing yards. The Colts even blocked a punt out of the endzone for a safety. The sad part of this game was Willis McGahee did not score and only had 45 yards on 17 carries. Mark Clayton ended with seven catches for 90 yards that were 100% trash time benefits and meant nothing. Now the 11-2 Colts head to Oakland this week while the 4-8 Ravens go to Miami where thankfully everyone gets their free win for the season.

Fantasy Notable: The Colts offense was outstanding but rarely tested and had tremendous field position advantages anyway. Addai still is not running well but scored three times. Nice to see the rookie Gonzalez finally deliver on the promise of his hopeful bright future. But the Ravens were throttled here no doubt thanks to the emotional letdown after last week. Nothing worked for them on either side of the ball and they had pretty much resigned themselves from the kickoff to lose this game. That could play into later games like week 17 in Seattle.


This was a week of big blowouts and the favored team won 13 of the 14 games. Usually by a big margin. But one game stood out as the Game of the Week since it pitted the second best record in the NFL against a team that they had a beef with after last year. Amazingly, they may still have a beef even if they won the squeaker:

Dallas 28, Detroit 27

The Lions came into Dallas in week 17 last year and won 39-31 and even made disparaging remarks about the Cowboys defense afterwards which is a bit stinging when a 2-13 team comes into your stadium and lays the wood to you. And gets mouthy about it. So it was with the expectation of revenge that this game unfolded but lo and behold, every team has another that for whatever they just do not matchup well against them. Amazingly, for the Cowboys it is the Lions. Go figure.

At halftime, the Lions already lead 20-14 and both T.J. Duckett (6-49) and Kevin Jones (12-58) had both rushed for touchdowns. This was one of the worst rushing offenses racking up over 100 yards and two scores against the supposedly solid Dallas defense. This was the offense that had Kevin Jones rushing for less than 25 yards in three of the four previous games. Duckett didn't have 49 rushing yards over the three pervious games combined, let alone a score. Go figure.

To make it better, with only 4:24 left in the third quarter, the Lions went up 27-14 when Kevin Jones rushed in his SECOND touchdown. The Cowboys responded with their next drive that went into the fourth quarter and ended with a one yard touchdown run by Marion Barber on fourth down because the Cowboys needed a touchdown - not a field goal. In Detroit. In the fourth quarter. Go figure.

But the Lions just took the next possession down the field in complete defiance of the disparity in season records or the Vegas line and stalled out at the DAL 17-yard line. On trots Jason Hanson who then proceeds to barely miss his 35-yard field goal. With only 10:45 left in the game, the Cowboys take over on their own 25-yard line and march down the field with short passes until with 6:11 left to play, they reach the Detroit 10-yard line with a first down. Time to take the lead back. Time to hit Witten for the go ahead.... fumble. On the 1-yard line, he reaches out towards the goal line but is stripped of the ball and Detroit recovers. Witten hangs his head while Jason Hanson yells "Yeah baby! Who is the goat now?!?"

Taking over at their own 1-yard line with 5:47 left to play, Kitna converts a third and ten with a pass to Shaun McDonald. Another completion to McDonald reaches the DET-36 yard line where two Jones runs and an incomplete pass to McDonald (like they would not be watching him) means the Lions punt away to the DAL 17-yard line with 2:15 left to play.

Romo mixes passes to Witten with being sacked or giving the ball to Barber. On third and six from the DAL 40-yard line with 1:28 left to play, Romo is sacked, loses the ball which shoots forward and is then kicked back by the Lions defender trying to grab it. It ends up with Cowboys lineman Kyle "Johnny on the spot" Kozier. On fourth and six, Romo hits Barber for 13 yards to keep the drive alive. On the DET 47-yard line with 45 seconds to play and no time outs, Romo spikes the ball to kill the clock. The Lions are caught with 12 men on the field and the ball goes to the 42-yard line with a first down. Romo hits Witten for six yards and then finds Sam Hurd for 17 with 26 seconds left to play. After Barber is pushed out of bounds on the DET 16-yard line with 22 seconds left, Romo finds Witten on the same pattern down the middle as the time he fumbled only this time - standing up for the score. Folk tacks on the extra point and nine seconds is not nearly enough time for the Lions to get anywhere after the kickoff.

Romo ended with 302 yards and two scores while Marion Barber ran for only 43 yards on seven carries but scored twice on the ground and once via a pass during his ten receptions for 61 yards. The one-time goat turned hero was Jason Witten with a career best 15 catches for 138 yards and the game winning touchdown.

Kitna passed for 238 yards but the Lions scored three rushing touchdowns. Jones ran for 92 yards on 23 carries and Duckett ended with 60 yards on nine runs. Shaun McDonald turned in 96 yards on eight catches but the Mike Martz pass happy offense turned into a surprisingly great rushing attack.

Witten had a career best effort and won the game. He came back from a painful lost fumble that nearly lost the game to making up for it. After the game he said how pleased he was that he could make amends for nearly losing the game all on his own accord. This left only one thing left to say.

"What are you looking at?" by Jason Hanson.

Now get back to work...

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