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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Sunday Game Recaps - Week 6
John Tuvey
October 13, 2008
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Colts 31, Ravens 3

Welcome back, Indy offense! Against a most unlikely opponent, the Colts found the rhythm that has eluded them for much of the early going. It helped that they jumped on top early, with Peyton Manning firing first-quarter touchdowns to Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne. Marv would score again before halftime, while Wayne again paced the team in yardage despite losing another long touchdown to a holding penalty. Manning finished with 271 yards and three touchdowns despite handing off much of the second half, while Wayne (8-118-1) and Harrison (3-83-2) both had solid stat lines as well. Dominic Rhodes did the damage on the ground, though much of his 73-yard effort came on one 38-yard run. He did punch across a short touchdown, part of a 25-carry day after Joseph Addai went down with a hamstring injury and Mike Hart injured his knee.

The Ravens’ game plan was to run the ball at the Colts and keep Manning off the field. However, their first four drives consisted of just 11 plays and resulted in 11 yards, two punts, and two turnovers. They weren’t able to cross midfield until the third quarter, at which point they were down 24-0 and forced away from their one offensive strength. Willis McGahee turned 12 touches into 44 yards before leaving with an apparent injury, and Le’Ron McClain touched the ball just three times—fumbling once and netting zero yards. Ray Rice played most of the second half as Baltimore went to the hurry-up, and Joe Flacco’s stat line—28-for-38 for 241 yards—wasn’t bad, except for the three interceptions.

Fantasy Impact: Fear the Colts, and specifically the passing game if Addai is down for any length of time. If Manning is back to dissecting quality defenses like the Ravens, Indy’s remaining strength of schedule won’t matter. Wayne is still the go-to guy, but Harrison showed he can still get behind a cornerback and Manning demonstrated he’ll still go to his longtime running mate. Marv has shown us enough by now that you can dial back those Anthony Gonzalez (4-33 today) expectations.

Vikings 12, Lions 10

Though the Lions largely outplayed them on the field, the Vikings dominated the stat sheet. Gus Frerotte shook off a first-quarter ankle injury to throw for 296 yards and a touchdown to Bernard Berrian, who finished with five grabs for 131 yards and that score. Adrian Peterson rushed for 111 yards on the afternoon. And yet it took a pair of favorable calls down the stretch—a Calvin Johnson fumble and a Leigh Bodden interference call, both of which were at minimum questionable—for the Vikings to pull out a win. Peterson fumbled twice, once inside the Detroit 10; Ryan Longwell had a field goal blocked; the Vikings were whistled for 99 yards in penalties; and the team converted just three of 15 third downs. Yet again, the defense bailed the team out—forcing Dan Orlovsky out of the end zone for a safety and sacking him six times while allowing just 40 yards on Detroit’s first five drives.

Expectations were low as Jon Kitna sat this one out with back spasms, and Dan Orlovsky delivered. Leaning primarily on Calvin Johnson, Orlovsky completed 12 of 21 passes for 150 yards and a score; Cal was responsible for a third of the completions, more than half of the yardage, and the score. However, Detroit absorbed a double-whammy when Johnson was knocked out of the game after a long completion that was also ruled a fumble; from that point the Lions managed just 22 yards in eight plays, punting twice. The only other excitement of the day for the Lions was generated by Kevin Smith, who broke off a 50-yard run that set up a field goal. Smith finished with 62 yards on five carries while Rudi Johnson shouldered the bulk of the workload with 38 yards on 17 carries. Roy Williams’ largest contribution came when he recovered a Michael Gaines fumble, as he was targeted just three times.

Fantasy Impact: Teams may have to stop putting a dozen men in the box against the Vikings, because Frerotte and Berrian are making them pay down the field. Berrian now has 19 catches for 398 yards and two scores since returning from an early-season injury, including 11-241-2 in the last two games. As for Peterson, it appears as if the Vikings feel the fumbles were an aberration; with Chester Taylor at their disposal Minnesota didn’t shy away from giving Peterson carries following the pass interference penalty to set up the game-winning field goal.

Saints 34, Raiders 3

Last year’s top-ranked pass defense was no match for Drew Brees, who stayed hot by completing his first 16 pass attempts en route to 320 yards and three touchdowns. Marques Colston did not return for this game, leaving Lance Moore (7-97) and Devery Henderson (2-68) to do the heavy lifting. Reggie Bush contributed in multiple facets, with 67 yards from scrimmage and a pair of touchdowns while Deuce McAllister helped grind clock with 13 carries for 65 yards as the Saints held the ball for over 36 minutes. Taylor Mehlhaff’s NFL debut was a bit rocky, as he put his first kickoff out of bounds and pushed his first field goal attempt wide right. After that, however, he hit a pair of treys and punched two kickoffs into the end zone.

What with the new coach and all, maybe the Raiders thought this was their bye week. Actually it was Oakland getting on the board first, capitalizing on a long Johnnie Lee Higgins punt return with a Sebastian Janikowski field goal. The rest was all downhill. JaMarcus Russell’s return to Louisiana was anything but triumphant as he was 13-for-35 for 159 yards and an interception; only two Raiders caught more than one pass, and Zach Miller’s 46 yards led all Silver & Black receivers. It didn’t get much better on the ground: Justin Fargas carried 10 times for 35 yards in his first game back from a groin injury, while Darren McFadden carried eight times for 30 yards and couldn’t bust anything longer than eight yards. Maybe Lane Kiffen got out while the gettin’ was good.

Fantasy Impact: Brees has topped 320 yards in five of six games despite not having Colston at his disposal. While Marques’ imminent return might devalue Moore and Henderson, it can only help Brees—who at this point is far and away the top fantasy quarterback.

Jets 26, Bengals 14

The Bengals are no longer a layup defense, though if they continue to receive such little support from their offense they may be by season’s end. A fumble return put the Jets down early, but behind Brett Favre and the short passing game they controlled the ball for more than 35 minutes and wore Cincy down. Thomas Jones was the workhorse, accounting for all three Gang Green touchdowns on 17 rushes for 65 yards and another three receptions for 13 yards. Favre took just seven shots down the field on 33 attempts, completing three to his teammates and two to the Bengals; otherwise he worked underneath, with Laveranues Coles and Jericho Cochery combining for 16 grabs and 146 yards but only two completions beyond 20 yards.

Sans Carson Palmer the Bengals’ offense was just north of pathetic. Spotted a 7-0 lead by their defense, Cincy produced four total yards on its first four possessions, punting thrice and fumbling once. Their touchdown drive before halftime was aided by a questionable Ben Utecht catch that Ryan Fitzpatrick capitalized on, calling his own number from the one to cut the deficit to three. Coming out of halftime, however, Cincy’s next four possessions resulted in 39 yards and four punts; only on their final drive did they muster anything resembling offense. Chad Johnson posted his best game of the year: five catches for 57 yards. Oucho stinko. T.J. Houshmandzadeh led the Bengals in catches with seven, resulting in 49 yards. Chris Perry didn’t fumble, but he also averaged just over one yard per carry with 14 yards on 11 totes. Cedric Benson was equally putrid with four carries for six yards.

Fantasy Impact: Palmer is headed to a specialist this week; even if he returns this year—and at this point there is little incentive to—it’s difficult to see this offense generating anything resembling the production you were likely expecting when you drafted Housh and/or Ocho. Jones should have had more success against a soft Cincy run defense, though it’s tough to argue with three touchdowns. This is still Favre’s team, however, and you can expect them to go back to the long ball down the road.

Falcons 22, Bears 20

Let’s just go ahead and expedite that Matt Ryan timetable. Not only did he complete 22 of 30 passes for 301 yards and a touchdown against a pretty good Bears defense, he did it under some pretty dire circumstances. For starters, he was 9-for-11 on third downs, including first-down conversions of 8, 9, 9, 11, and 16 yards. Then there was the money completion with six seconds left to Michael Jenkins, a 26-yard out that set up the game winning field goal. And all this was accomplished sans much help from the ground game, as Michael Turner mustered just 54 yards on 25 carries. Jerious Norwood was perhaps more productive, with 31 yards on three carries and 178 yards in kick returns including an 85-yarder in the fourth quarter that set Jason Elam up for a potential game-clinching field goal. Elam missed that attempt, but tucked a 48-yarder inside the right upright as time expired to pull out the victory. Back to the passing game, where Roddy White bounced back from two missed days of practice to haul in nine balls for 112 yards and a touchdown. He wasn’t the only productive pass-catcher, though; Jenkins finished with 58 yards on four catches, none more important than the aforementioned 26-yarder, and Harry Douglas went deep for 96 yards on five grabs.

The Bears continue to get steady production from Kyle Orton, who threw for 268 yards and a touchdown that seemingly gave Chicago a victory. With Brandon Lloyd out Devin Hester stepped to the fore with 87 yards on six catches; Rashied Davis chipped in 4-41 including the go-ahead score, while tight ends Desmond Clark and Greg Olsen combined for seven catches and 91 yards. Matt Forte continued to get in on the action with five catches for 34 yards to augment his 20-76-1 rushing performance. However, it was the yard he didn’t get on fourth-and-goal from the one-yard line early in the fourth quarter that loomed largest.

Fantasy Insight: While Turner has more rushing yards and touchdowns, Forte is the more consistent fantasy play. Forte has scored in four of six games and at least managed 85 and 113 yards from scrimmage in the games he failed to hit paydirt; Turner has had three monster games of 100-plus rushing yards and at least one touchdown, and three dogs with 56 yards or less. It’s like choosing between Mark McGwire and Tony Gwynn; you can swing for the fences if you can live with the strikeouts, or you can take the singles hitter who’ll put the ball in play on a far more consistent basis.

Buccaneers 27, Panthers 3

The Bucs used a blocked punt to get up early, rode Jeff Garcia’s short game to an early lead, then sat back and let the defense and Warrick Dunn take them home. Garcia was 15-for-20 for 173 yards and a touchdown, with 11 of his completions to backs and tight ends; he only took three shots down the field, completing two of them. Earnest Graham scored a touchdown but handled the ball just seven times on the day as Dunn took most of the tailback workload with 115 yards on 22 carries—17 of them in the second half. From a fantasy perspective this one was a yawner, as it was all about time of possession (the Bucs held the ball for almost 35 minutes) and field position (Tampa Bay started on average at their 38; the Panthers started on average inside their 21).

Turnovers, special teams miscues, and the aforementioned poor field position combined to make this a long afternoon for Carolina. Jake Delhomme threw for 242 yards but was picked three times—all of them on balls that initially hit his receiver in the hands. Steve Smith had no trouble hanging on to Delhomme’s offerings, hauling in six balls for 112 yards, but the Carolina ground game never got going. Last week’s hero, DeAngelo Williams, managed just 27 yards on 11 carries while Jonathan Stewart contributed 12 yards on six carries and collided with Delhomme on a carry at the goal line that might have not only salvaged his fantasy day but maybe Carolina’s as well.

Fantasy Impact: The Bucs miss Joey Galloway’s deep presence, though how much of that he’ll return with given his age and the nature of his injury (a bum wheel) remains to be seen. Conversely, Carolina needs to run the ball more effectively to keep the pressure off of Delhomme; John Fox would rather run 39 times and throw 20 than vice versa. It would also help if Carolina receivers pulled in balls that hit them in the hands. And Dante Rosario blocking in punt protection wouldn’t be bad, either.

Rams 19, Redskins 17

Of course an 0-4 team goes on the road to face the top team in the league’s toughest division—and presents their new coach with a victory. Makes perfect sense. Heading into the drive that set up the game-winning field goal the Rams had mustered all of 155 yards on offense, and their only touchdown came on a fumble return. Then rookie Donnie Avery stepped up, contributing two catches for 55 yards to put St. Louis in position. Richie Incognito did his best to sabotage the victory party, arguing with the officials until they flagged him for unsportsmanlike conduct and made Josh Brown’s attempt 15 yards longer. He knocked it through anyway. As for the Rams’ formerly potent fantasy trio, Steven Jackson managed 111 combo yards on 25 touches; Marc Bulger threw for 136 yards, most of them on the final drive; and Torry Holt caught five balls for 23 yards, none longer than seven yards. There’s your recipe for victory, evidently.

After turning a St. Louis fumble into a Clinton Portis touchdown, the Redskins decided to return the favor. Three times they drove into Rams territory, and each time they handed the ball back to St. Louis via fumbles. Even after letting the Rams hang around it appeared that 10 fourth-quarter points would let the home team escape with a win; obviously that did not hold up. Don’t blame Portis, who carried 21 times for 129 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Jason Campbell wasn’t awful, with 208 yards, but he was indirectly involved in all three Redskin turnovers: he fumbled while being sacked; was unable to come up with a botched shotgun snap; and threw a pass that was tipped to guard Pete Kendall, who was then stripped of the ball—which the Rams picked up and returned for their lone touchdown. Chris Cooley also fumbled but was otherwise solid with five catches for 57 yards, while Antwan Randle El led the way with 87 yards on five grabs. Santana Moss was silent for the second straight week with just two catches for 22 yards.

Fantasy Impact: Another Orlando Pace injury (he left this game with a quad injury) could lead to Jackson being further devalued. This offense has shown zero pulse outside of Jackson, and running uphill—potentially without his best lineman yet again—could wear him down over the rest of the season. Portis, meanwhile, continues to state his case to be the top back in fantasy football, and his immediate schedule (Browns, Lions) suggests that case will remain strong for at least another fortnight.

Texans 29, Dolphins 28

Just as late quarterback play cost the Texans a win last week, early quarterback play—this time Matt Schaub instead of Sage Rosenfels—threatened to end this one before it even began. Schaub interceptions ended Houston’s first two drives, and only a Jacoby Jones punt return touchdown had the Texans in the game at halftime. Then Schaub and Andre Johnson took over, though a Johnson fumble into the end zone on the second drive of the half set the Texans back a bit. After throwing for 379 yards and a touchdown—with Johnson hauling in 10 balls for 178 yards and the lone score—Schaub took it upon himself on fourth-and-goal, scampering three yards on a designed quarterback draw to seal the victory. Houston’s dynamic duo received help from a two-headed ground game, with Steve Slaton contributing 58 yards on 15 carries and Ahman Green adding 41 yards on eight totes. Kevin Walter (4-98) and Owen Daniels (4-70) were also their usual complementary selves.

Every week there’s a new wrinkle out of the “Wildcat”. This week, Ronnie Brown handed off to Ricky Williams, who pitched back to Chad Pennington, who threw deep to… Patrick Cobbs? Later, a fake run right out of the same formation led to Cobbs taking a screen pass left down the sidelines 80 yards for another touchdown. Brown and Williams both scored short rushing touchdowns as well, though aside from Cobbs (and, as a result, Pennington) no Dolphin put up monster fantasy numbers. Miami combined for 96 rushing yards on 24 carries, actually throwing the ball more and spreading the wealth as nine different Dolphins caught passes—11, if you include the laterals to Justin Smiley and Samson Satele on the game’s final play.

Fantasy Impact: Maybe it was the threat to revoke his “Every Week Starter” card. Since looking somewhat disinterested earlier this season, Johnson has more than lived up to his vast potential. On a key fourth-down play during the Texans’ final possession he took the ball away from a defender (thanks to replay) to keep the drive alive. He was targeted 18 times and caught 10; two were intercepted, so defenses know it’s coming. And yet… 178 yards and a score.

Jaguars 24, Broncos 17

You can run on the Broncos, especially if you’re Maurice Jones-Drew. The mighty mite produced 125 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries, then kicked in 23 yards on two receptions to boot. Didn’t hurt MoJo’s production that Fred Taylor left the game early on after taking a blow to the head; he returned later and ran hard, but he finished with only four touches on the day. David Garrard continues to do that voodoo that he does: 276 yards and a touchdown, with no interceptions. Matt Jones was once again his go-to guy with seven catches for 69 yards, and Marcedes Lewis scored for the second straight week. Ultimately the Jags followed their own blueprint for success to a T, holding the ball for more than 33 minutes and mixing in enough Garrard to keep the chains moving.

Wasn’t this supposed to be another easy mark for Jay Cutler? Maybe he missed Eddie Royal and Tony Scheffler; while Brandon Stokley and Daniel Graham both scored in place of their fallen comrades, the Denver receiving corps other than Brandon Marshall could muster but 12 catches for 94 yards, spread amongst five players. Marshall himself tallied 98 yards on nine catches. Add it up and while Cutler threw two touchdowns, his 192-yard performance was less than expected. The real surprise of the day was Michael Pittman being the only Bronco running back to get carries. The not-so-surprising result from a team that clearly knows how to run the ball: 20 carries, 109 yards.

Fantasy Impact: Taylor returned late in this game, so hopes of Jacksonville’s ground game becoming a permanent one-man (MoJo) show may be premature. So, too, are hopes that Pittman will be Denver’s every-week ballcarrier. Keep in mind that Selvin Young sat this game out with a groin injury and Andre Hall is still nursing a bum wrist, so Mike Shanahan didn’t have the stable he usually works with. With Ryan Torain expected back in the mix soon, Pittman is unlikely to see any more 20-carry games this year—though as the goal-line back he still holds the most value of any Bronco runner.

Eagles 40, 49ers 26

It was all going so well as Philly lined up for a field goal attempt to take a 20-9 lead heading into halftime. Correll Buckhalter was finally able to punch in from the one and Hank Baskett caught a jump ball for a touchdown to put the Eagles up early. Instead, David Akers’ attempt was blocked and returned leaving Philly up only 17-16—and they didn’t recover until the fourth quarter. Taking advantage of a short field—Philly’s final four drives started, on average, at the 49er 29—the Eagles rolled to 23 fourth-quarter points. All the usual suspects did their duty: Donovan McNabb finished 23-for-36 for 280 yards and two scores, Buck combined 93 rushing yards with 85 receiving yards in a positively Westbrookian performance, and DeSean Jackson continued to pace Philly receivers with six catches for 98 yards. L.J. Smith returned to the scoring column as well, with a two-yard score on his only grab of the day.

There’s Frank Gore, who accounted for 126 yards and the 49ers’ only offensive touchdown, and then there’s everybody else on the Niners' roster. Sunday, "everybody else" did very little to help Gore. J.T. O’Sullivan threw for 199 yards, but two picks led to 10 Philly points in the final frame. The receiving corps cannibalized each other’s numbers, save for Vernon Davis. You remember Vernon Davis, the guy who was going to revolutionize the tight end position? He came into the game with five catches on the year, then almost doubled his totals with six for 75 on the afternoon. He might have had more, too, including a touchdown had JTO not overthrown him on a screen pass that was all set up with a clear path to the end zone. Joe Nedney was the other fantasy player of note, finishing three of San Fran’s four red-zone forays with field goals.

Fantasy Impact: So long as Reggie Brown and Kevin Curtis remain out of the lineup, Jackson and maybe even Baskett have significant fantasy value. One returning likely bumps Baskett to a backup role, and should the stars align and both Brown and Curtis get and stay healthy at the same time Jackson will see a decline in his looks. That said, Brown has a proven knack for getting hurt and the Eagles appear to be concocting ways to get the ball into Jackson’s hands, so he’s not a “sell” candidate just yet. As for Davis, it would make sense that the Niners are trying to get him involved… but we’ve been saying that all year and obviously have seen little evidence prior to today. Right now it feels like an aberration, but the tight end position is so volatile he’s at least worth a flier in TE-mandatory leagues.

Packers 27, Seahawks 17

That it took a booth review to award Aaron Rodgers a touchdown on a quarterback sneak just before halftime wasn’t surprising; that the Pack would risk their quarterback and his banged up shoulder was puzzling. And that said score merely tied the Packers with an undermanned Seattle squad was downright perplexing. Green Bay didn’t actually get it going until midway through the third quarter, when back-to-back touchdown drives put the game out of reach. Rodgers played through obvious pain to throw for 208 yards and a couple touchdowns in addition to his sneak, and in retrospect the sneak may have been necessary given that Ryan Grant was averaging less than three yards per carry on 33 totes. Greg Jennings was again the go-to guy, though Donald Driver actually had more catches. And congratulations if you had John Kuhn in your “What Obscure Guy Will Steal A Score From A Fantasy Guy This Week?” lottery, as the fullback found himself on the money end of a one-yard scoring strike.

Which of Seattle’s 177 yards of offense did you like most? Was it the 88 passing yards from Charlie Frye, pressed into duty due to injuries to Matt Hasselbeck and Seneca Wallace? Frye somehow threw for two touchdowns, one to cap a drive set up by a fumble recovery in Green Bay territory and the other against a prevent defense with Seattle down 17 late in the fourth quarter—though the two biggest plays on that drive were a roughing the passer penalty and a 27-yard Frye scramble. Charlie threw mostly short, with backs and tight ends accounting for nine of his 12 completions and rookie tight end John Carlson scoring his first NFL touchdown while leading the team with four catches. The running game provided little help, though Julius Jones’ 12-44 line would have looked better had it included a 51-yard run that was erased by a holding penalty.

Fantasy Impact: Rodgers has earned his street cred in Green Bay, throwing for 521 and five the past two weeks despite his shoulder injury. Only 252 to go to catch Favre. With Hasselbeck not expected back any time soon, it looks to be a rocky road for the Seahawks. Despite running the ball on 18 of the first 24 plays it was difficult to get a read on whether or not Maurice Morris will be a threat to Jones’ spot as lead dog in the backfield. Morris carried four times and caught two passes, producing 29 yards, making it a roughly two-thirds/one-third split in Morris’ first week back from injury. If there is only to be 177 yards of total offense, however, even the two-thirds share won’t amount to much fantasy help.

Cardinals 30, Cowboys 24

J.J. Arrington announced his return with authority, bringing the opening kickoff back 93 yards for a touchdown. But that was all the Cardinals could muster for a while, as their next seven possessions yielded just 49 yards on 20 plays. Things changed in the second half thanks in no small part to Larry Fitzgerald. Limited to one catch for 10 yards in the opening half, Fitzy came alive with a touchdown grab to cap Arizona’s first drive and a 39-yard catch to move the Cards into position for the go-ahead score. Fitzgerald finished with five catches for 79 yards and a score but was outproduced by Steve Breaston’s 8-102-1 starting in place of the injured Anquan Boldin. Kurt Warner’s only other significant target was rookie Tim Hightower, whose key conversion on third-and-17 constituted the bulk of his 4-29 receiving line. Warner finished with 236 and two but received little help from the ground game—Edgerrin James rushed nine times for 29 yards and Hightower added 20 yards on seven carries. Oh, and in case you missed it, this game was the first overtime contest in NFL history to end on a blocked punt return for a touchdown.

Tony Romo has Marion Barber and Patrick Crayton to thank for his 321-yard, three touchdown stat line. Barber was pedestrian on the ground with 45 yards on 17 carries, but his 70-yard touchdown grab—most if not all of that distance covered after the catch—bumped his receiving line to 11-128-1. Crayton added plenty of YAC himself, including a 55-yard touchdown as part of his 3-84-1 day. Notable in their non-contributions were Jason Witten (four for 55) and Terrell Owens (four for 36). Owens was all over Cowboys center Andre Gurode following a botched snap; can’t wait to see how he reacts to a sixth straight game under 90 yards. Felix Jones pitched in with 22 yards on three carries before exiting with a hamstring injury.

Fantasy Impact: Fitzgerald is a real goal-line threat, with three two-yard touchdowns in the past two games. Breaston’s value will take a hit when Boldin returns, but at worst he’s a rich man’s Bryant Johnson. And the way the Cardinals are running the ball—or, more accurately, failing to do so—might mean there will be enough balls to go around for everyone, even when Boldin is back in the mix. As for Dallas, few teams have been able to take away both Witten and TO like the Cardinals did, though Owens has yet to lead the Cowboys in receiving in any game this season. Anyone else feel an implosion coming on, or at least some driveway situps?

Chargers 30, Patriots 10

The Chargers were without Chris Chambers and received merely a cursory contribution from LaDainian Tomlinson (20 carries for 74 yards, though his three catches for 44 yards somewhat salvaged the evening), yet they thoroughly rolled the Patriots in this one. Philip Rivers totaled 306 yards and fired three touchdown strikes for the fourth time in six games. Vincent Jackson (5-134-1) and Malcolm Floyd (3-75-1) spent most of the night behind the Patriots’ secondary; the Chargers opened with a 48-yard completion to Jackson and added hook-ups of 49 and 58 yards later in the game. Antonio Gates wasn’t left out of the fun, scoring on a one-yard toss as part of his four-catch evening.

Tom Brady is the most valuable player in the NFL this year, because without him these simply aren't the New England Patriots; under Matt Cassel they offer almost zero offensive threat. Their offense consisted of four deep incompletions to Randy Moss—one per quarter, likely mandated in Captain Randy’s contract—and a bunch of little dump-offs to Wes Welker, who finished with 73 forgettable yards on nine catches. Even sans both Laurence Maroney and LaMont Jordan the running game was fractured, with Kevin Faulk carrying eight times for 48 yards (and adding 29 yards on three catches) and Sammy Morris toting 10 times for 26 yards and a garbage-time touchdown in addition to four catches for 49 yards. Cassel finished 22 for 38 for 203 yards; you have to think a one-legged Brady would have fared at least as well.

Fantasy Impact: LT showed us glimpses of his old burst but still finished at an un-LT 3.7 yards per carry. Can’t write him off yet, but can’t say he’s back yet, either. As for Moss, he spent most of the game with Quentin Jammer uncomfortably close. Used to be Moss couldn’t be single-covered; in fact, it's an insult to his memory that a team would even dare to game plan a scheme that called for one guy on Moss. Either he’s not healthy, has lost a step with age, or has decided he doesn’t want to play—any of which are reason enough to see if there’s a market left for his services. There may not be another game of stats that qualify him for “sell high” status, so you may have to just settle for whatever you can get.

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