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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Fantasy Game Recaps - Week 1
John Tuvey
September 14, 2009
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Atlanta Falcons 19, Miami dolphins 7

Matt Ryan (22-26-229-2) looked solid, spreading the ball around amongst all his primary targets; that may not be good news for Roddy White (5-42), as he had to share with both Tony Gonzalez (5-73-1) and Jerious Norwood (5-49). Michael Turner (22-65 against a pretty good run defense) is on pace for 352 carries, down a bit from last year. He (and Gonzo) also lost a short-yardage touchdown to Ovie Mughelli; not only did it come on first-and-goal from the one—prime Turner territory—it also came one play after Gonzo was stopped three feet shy of his first Falcon touchdown. The only sour note may have been provided by Jason Elam, who missed from 38 and 42 yards as well as an extra point. In short, there were few surprises from the Falcons as they embarked on a season full of expectations with a win.

The phrase "nothing to see here" springs to mind; against a defense that didn't offer much resistance last year, the Dolphins were paced by Ricky Williams, who scored the team's only touchdown and whose 58 yards from scrimmage was the top individual performance. Devonne Bess was close with seven catches for 57 yards, but after that you won't find a fantasy helper in teal. The sorry numbers include Ronnie Brown (1-43, 3-10), Ted Ginn (2-26 plus 2-9 rushing), a couple uninspiring Wildcat snaps for Pat White, and a typically efficient (21-29) but ultimately unproductive (176 yards, one score) outing from Chad Pennington.

Fantasy Impact: Brown out-touched Williams 13-9, but for either to be a fantasy factor the Dolphins will need to either run more plays (56 to Atlanta's 65 as the Dolpins lost the time of possession battle) or stop spreading the ball around (six players carried the ball, nine had receptions). The Falcons, conversely, seem to have too many weapons (and that's not counting Mughelli); playing a tougher schedule this year not only impacts Turner's potential it also means a smaller pie of points and yardage—and more mouths taking bites.

Indianapolis colts 14, Jacksonville Jaguars 12

If you thought the Colts hinged on Peyton Manning to Reggie Wayne before, imagine what the next two-to-six weeks will look like with Anthony Gonzalez sidelined with a strained ligament in his knee. Wayne accounted for 10 of Manning's 28 completions and more than half (162, to be precise) of Manning's 301 yards. Not surprisingly, Dallas Clark (4-39) was the secondary option and targeted on the Colts' first red zone visit. Joseph Addai is still the starter and also proved to be quite productive, rushing for 17-42-1 and catching five passes for another 35 yards. Donald Brown (11-33, 2-16) made it almost a 60/40 split; he received three touches on Indy's second series, four on Indy's first drive of the second half, then carried four times as the Colts tried to kill the clock with a two-point lead late in the fourth quarter.

At this pace, Maurice Jones-Drew will set a personal high for carries before Thanksgiving. MoJo accounted for more than half of the Jaguars' offense with 21-97-1 on the ground and a team high five catches for 26 yards through the air. Jones-Drew also lined up at quarterback and took the direct snap on the Jags' ill-fated two-point conversion attempt. In other news, there wasn't much news. David Garrard completed just half of his 28 passes for only 122 yards against the Colts' banged-up secondary. After Jones-Drew, Torry Holt (3-47) and tight end Marcedes Lewis (3-23) were the Jaguars' top targets in a passing game that completed just two passes beyond 15 yards.

Fantasy Impact: If you were banking on Jones-Drew being Jacksonville's workhorse, you're probably happy that Garrard (4-14) and Montell Owens (1-3) were the only other Jaguars to run the ball. If you're banking on Jones-Drew still being fresh and productive for the fantasy playoffs, you might want to see another back emerge to take a few carries off MoJo's plate, as he's currently on pace for 336—144 more than his previous career high. In Indy, the Pierre Garcon (3-24) vs. Austin Collie (2-15) debate takes on new meaning with Gonzalez out of action. The duo's combined production trailed that of both Indy's backs (7-51) and tight ends (5-45) and was a mere fraction of Wayne's numbers. Is that Marvin Harrison's cell phone ringing?

Baltimore Ravens 38, Kansas City chiefs 24

Air Baltimore? Joe Flacco threw a career-high 43 passes to produce his first 300-yard game and first three-touchdown effort. Unfortunately for fantasy purposes, the passing-game productivity was spread amongst multiple receivers, paced by Mark Clayton (5-77-1) and a resurgent Todd Heap (5-74-1); Derrick Mason's contribution was a hum-drum 4-47. Despite the aerial circus there was enough left over for the running game to produce fantasy-worthy numbers for Ray Rice (19-108 and two catches for 12 yards), Willis McGahee (10-44-1 on the ground and 4-31-1 in the air), and even Le'Ron McClain (6-19-1 rushing, 3-23 receiving). And the Ravens' defense, facing a backup quarterback, couldn't generate a turnover and gave up 24 points.

Raise your hand if you gave the Chiefs a prayer once you learned they'd be throwing Brodie Croyle at the Ravens on Sunday. Those of you with your hands in the air, you're lying. Yet despite just 29 rushing yards the Chiefs managed to hang around long enough to cause serious concern; in fact, Croyle's 10-yard scoring strike to Sean Ryan (his only catch of the day) tied the score with 5:21 remaining. Checking the numbers, though, reveals the kind of game you expected from the Chiefs; in addition to Larry Johnson's futility (11-20, a long run of seven yards), Dwayne Bowe was held to 4-40-1 and the bulk of Mark Bradley's 4-73 came on one 50-yard catch.

Fantasy Impact: The good news is, regardless of quarterback and/or opponent Bowe seems capable of getting his; after all, it's not going to get any tougher than a road date against the Ravens with a backup quarterback at the helm. In Baltimore it appears as if there will be plenty of fantasy burn in the running game, with Rice as the yardage guy and McGahee as the red-zone guy—though Rice did get a couple touches inside the 10 and was pushed out at the one prior to McClain's TD. Five of McClain's six carries came with the Ravens needing one yard for a first down or touchdowns; he converted all five and certainly projects to be the short-yardage guy. As for McGahee's role, all four of his red zone carries came on the Ravens' final put-the-game-out-of-reach TD drive, and his touchdown grab came in the red zone as well (after two Rice carries). So, clear as mud—but at least for now there's enough mud to go around.

Philadelphia Eagles 38, Carolina Panthers 10

The Eagles didn't get any standout individual performances, but thanks to five interceptions and two fumbles from the Panthers they didn't really need any. Brian Westbrook played and played well, shaking off the rust with 13-64 on the ground and 3-8-1 as a receiver. Understudy LeSean McCoy contributed 9-46 and 1-1 as Philly played from ahead most of the afternoon. Donovan McNabb only produced 79 yards, but he threw for two scores and ran for another before leaving with a broken rib suffered on that TD run. Tight end Brent Celek picked up where he left off last year; his six catches were more than any other two Eagles receivers and produced a touchdown among his team-high 34 yards. DeSean Jackson was limited as a receiver (2-9) but certainly helped the Philly D/ST effort with an 85 yard punt return for a touchdown; combined with Victor Abiamiri's fumble return for a score, the Eagles D/ST was the team's top fantasy producer.

For a while it was just as scripted for the Panthers, with Carolina driving 70 yards and capping the drive with yet another DeAngelo Williams touchdown. And then Jake Delhomme started throwing the ball, mostly to the Eagles, and things went downhill in a hurry. The opening drive saw Williams and Jonathan Stewart combine for eight carries and 41 yards; the tandem's remaining 17 carries produced just 31 yards as the double-digit deficit rendered the Panthers' powerful ground game all but impotent. Worse, half of Carolina's passing attempts came from Matt Moore and Josh McCown. Not that Delhomme was any more productive, but the trio combined to find Steve Smith just three times for 21 yards. Muhsin Muhammad's 4-41 wasn't much better, as Williams paced the Panthers with 4-42 through the air.

Fantasy Impact: The last time Smith played without Delhomme for any extended length of time he produced his lowest yardage total as a starter and his second-lowest touchdown total. Odds are you're looking for more than 1,002 and seven (Smith's 2007 numbers) from your No. 1 receiver. In Philly, Andy Reid hasn't ruled out McNabb for next week's game, broken rib or not. Michael Vick won't be eligible until Week 3, meaning it maybe Kevin Kolb at the helm in the short term and Vick after that. If the receiver situation was a mess previously, that's not exactly the jump start it might need.

New Orleans Saints 45, Detroit Lions 27

Not that anyone expected the Lions to put up much of a fight against one of the league's most potent offenses, but you still have to be impressed with Drew Brees. Had Sean Payton felt like putting the boot to Detroit's throat he could have had Brees go after a record-tying seventh touchdown; instead, the Saints closed with eight straight running plays to kill the clock. So Brees had to settle for 358 yards and six touchdowns, spreading them amongst his receivers (Marques Colston, 3-30-1; Robert Meachem, 2-51-1; Devery Henderson, 5-103-1), tight end Jeremy Shockey (4-31-2), and fullback Heath Evans (4-35-1). Reggie Bush caught five balls for 55 yards and carried seven times for another 14 yards; he also had a late TD run wiped out by a penalty. Lance Moore (2-38) was the only significant Saint to miss out on the party. With Pierre Thomas sidelined, Mike Bell shouldered the load with 28 carries for 143 yards.

The Lions actually made this a game for a little while; Kevin Smith's touchdown run early in the second quarter made the score 14-10. Ultimately, however, three picks from Matthew Stafford in his first NFL start and a 3-for-13 completion rate to top target Calvin Johnson prevented the Lions from adding anything more than garbage-time numbers. Smith carried 15 times for 20 yards, including failure to convert a short-yardage opportunity that ultimately was sniped by a Stafford sneak, and chipped in seven catches for 52 yards as well. Johnson broke off a 64-yard catch-and-run that saw him pushed out at the three (setting up the Stafford score) and also drew a questionable personal foul penalty on Darren Sharper in the end zone that set up Smith's score; if this were hockey, his two assists would be helpers... but unless your league is based in Canada, odds are you got nothin', eh?

Fantasy Impact: The thought was that if Dan Orlovsky and Jon Kitna and Drew Henson and Daunte Culpepper could get the ball to Calvin, Stafford could too. But three catches in 13 attempts isn't going to cut it. It's too early to hit the panic button on Megatron, but it's not as if the Lions will see softer secondaries than the Saints. As for New Orleans, there will clearly be plenty of production to go around—though maybe not as much against foes who have actually won a game in the past 21 months. Trouble is, Bell is taking bites out of the numbers fantasy owners drafted Bush and Thomas for, while Shockey and Meachem are swiping from the projected plates of Colston and Moore. It's not as serious a problem as getting no scoring, but it's a hit to the fantasy bottom line nonetheless.

Dallas Cowboys 34, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 21

Terrell who? Tony Romo missed his former No. 1 receiver only slightly less than his former girlfriend's meddlesome father, throwing for 353 yards and three touchdowns. Perhaps more importantly, he found not one but three receivers capable of filling T.O.'s deep ball duties; Patrick Crayton counted an 80-yard touchdown among his 4-135-1 day, Roy Williams split the defense for a 66-yarder as part of his 3-86-1 afternoon, and Miles Austin had one catch for a 42-yard touchdown. Almost forgotten were Jason Witten's team-leading five catches for 71 yards. With Romo having so much success in the air, the Cowboys barely needed to run the ball; Marion Barber carried 14 times for 79 yards and a late touchdown, while Felix Jones (6-22) was mostly quiet.

The Buccaneers' "2-2-1" running back committee kind of left out the "1"... and the first "2"—Carnell Williams—was brought back onto the field at the goal line for a touchdown dive. Tampa Bay can't be disappointed with 13-97-1 from Williams and 12-62-1 (plus 2-21 receiving) from Derrick Williams. Earnest Graham's "1" turned out to be both his number of touches and yardage produced. Despite the running game productivity, the Bucs found themselves facing a double-digit deficit for most of the game and were forced to have Byron Leftwich throw 41 times. His 276 yards wasn't a bad total, and perhaps more impressive was the zero times he was sacked; however, Michael Clayton (5-93) and Jerramy Stevens (4-41) are only in fantasy lineups in the largest of leagues, while more popular pick Antonio Bryant posted a quiet 2-29. Kellen Winslow scored late to salvage a 5-30-1 afternoon.

Fantasy Impact: Despite the loss, there is good news to be found for the Bucs. You know they're going to run, and a split backfield is better than the 2-2-1 mess. And Leftwich is not an easy quarterback to keep upright, so the zero sacks on 41 dropbacks is a building block as well. Now it remains to be seen if the Bucs can use that building block to get the ball to Bryant. As for the Cowboys, it's all good right now—unless you were looking for something more from Jones, that is. It's tough to see the NFC East secondaries losing track of receivers like the Bucs did, which may force Dallas to run the ball more. But as it stands, no T.O. means all systems go for Romo.

DENVER BRONCOS 12, CINCINNATI BENGALS 7

For the first 59 minutes or so, this game was nothing for the Broncos to write home about. Knowshon Moreno (8-19) and Correll Buckhalter (8-46, 2-11) split the backfield duties with only a bone thrown to Peyton Hillis (1-2, 1-6), while Brandon Marshall (4-27) and Eddie Royal (2-18) were no more productive in the passing game than Daniel Graham (3-40) and Jabar Gaffney (3-25). And then the ghostly hand of Great Broncos Past reached down and directed a tipped ball into the waiting arms of Brandon Stokley, who scampered 87 yards with his only catch of the day for the game-winning score. Moreover, Stokley had the presence of mind to run along the goal line to kill as much time as possible before crossing the stripe. That play accounted for a third of Kyle Orton's 243 passing yards and more than a fourth of the Broncos' total offense.

For the first 53 minutes or so, this game was nothing for the Bengals to write home about. Then Cincy remembered they have some offensive talent, producing a 91-yard drive that accounted for almost a third of their total offense and produced what was very nearly the game-winning touchdown. Cedric Benson capped the drive with a touchdown, give him a respectable 21-76-1 afternoon. And Carson Palmer was sharp as well, leaning heavily on Chad Ochocinco (5-69), Andre Caldwell (6-54), and even Benson (4-32). Unfortunately for Bengals fans, they came alive about 30 seconds too soon.

Fantasy Impact: Benson is supposed to beat up soft defenses (like the Broncos, who ranked second in fantasy points allowed to RBs last year); just don't expect similar results against the Steelers and Ravens. And with offseason acquisition Laveranues Coles (1-11) and preseason hero Chris Henry (1-18) being usurped by Ochocinco and Caldwell, there's a very real possibility the Bengals' receiving corps will provide the kind of fantasy headaches normally associated with the Eagles. As for Denver, if not for the fluke TD we're talking about Orton's 16-27-156 day or Moreno doing nothing or Marshall doing nothing, etc. But a win is a win is a win, and sometimes it's the kind of win that springboards a team into bigger and better things. Truth be told, it's tough to see the Broncos' production getting smaller or worser.

New York Jets 24, Houston Texans 7

The Jets have a new coach and a new quarterback but the same recipe for success. Mark Sanchez put up a very respectable 18-31-272-1-1 stat line in his NFL debut, but the backfield of Thomas Jones (20-107-2) and Leon Washington (15-60 plus 4-24 receiving) did the heavy lifting. Sanchez focused his attention on limited targets; tight end Dustin Keller (4-94) was the top receiver, followed by Jerricho Cotchery (6-90), Chansi Stuckey (4-64-1), and Washington. The other portion of Gang Green's winning recipe was a defense that completely shut down the Texans, whose only score came on a fumble return.

So much for the Texans being ready for their close-up. Steve Slaton carried nine times for just 17 yards, possibly salvaging his fantasy day with 35 yards on three catches. Andre Johnson produced the same yardage, 35, on four catches as he battled Darelle Revis while Owen Daniels paced the Texans with four catches for 44 yards. As you might imagine, that didn't add up to a particularly good day for Matt Schaub, whose 18-33-166-0-1 was a major disappointment to his fantasy owners.

Fantasy Impact: Did the Texans really miss Kevin Walter that much? It's much more likely that the Jets' defense under new coach Rex Ryan is just that good, but it's still disheartening to see last year's third most productive offense lay a collective egg on Kickoff Weekend. How bad? Houston penetrated the Jets' 40 yardline just twice—and turned it over both times. The Jets proved they'll have enough backfield production to make both Jones and Washington owners happy, though what happens when Shonn Greene works his way into the mix remains to be seen. Sanchez also demonstrated the ability to be a little more than just a game manager, though tougher tests than a defense that ranked sixth in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks last year.

Minnesota Vikings 34, Cleveland Browns 20

Despite the addition of Brett Favre, you knew the Vikings were all about Adrian Peterson. And you knew the Browns didn't figure to offer much resistance to last year's leading rusher. Through the first half, however, Cleveland was holding its own. But by the time Peterson busted off the 64-yard "if you haven't seen it yet just turn on SportsCenter and wait five minutes" TD run that included three Heisman-worthy stiff arms, the totals stood at 25-180-3 and that first overall pick was paying dividends. As per the blueprint, Favre's numbers were subdued: 14-21-110-1, with no interceptions. And it appears the veteran has a soft spot for the kid, as he delivered Percy Harvin (3-36-1 and 2-22 on the ground) his first NFL touchdown. Sidney Rice was denied a touchdown because Vikings coach Brad Childress had used up his challenges, but his 2-17 was exactly 2-17 more than Bernard Berrian produced.

At least the Browns managed to end their offensive touchdown drought, with Robert Royal (4-60-1) crossing the stripe in garbage time. With Brady Quinn (21-35-205-1-1) at the helm the Cleveland passing game was unremarkable, though Braylon Edwards (1-12) had a couple of nice grabs that don't show up in the box score thanks to penalties. Jamal Lewis was surprisingly productive, rushing 11 times for 57 yards and catching three balls for another 47. James Davis saw significant action despite being involved in a car accident the eve of the game, though his 4-5 rushing and 3-4 receiving were a car wreck of a different sort. The Browns' most dynamic player remains Joshua Cribbs, who returned a punt 67 yards for a touchdown. Cleveland tried to get him the ball from scrimmage, running him from the wildcat (3-6) and throwing to him as well (2-10).

Fantasy Impact: Edwards was better than his stat line suggests, but the Browns still need to find a way for Cribbs to handle the ball more; maybe they can get some ideas from how the Vikings used Harvin. Lewis demonstrated there's still something left in the tank, and the Browns' young offensive line proved it can stand up to the stiffest of tests. So at least there's room for optimism. In Minnesota, Harvin had the kind of game the Vikings envisioned when they drafted him: 99 yards on three kickoff returns in addition to five touches for 58 yards from scrimmage. That's kind of a small number to bank on for fantasy purposes, but nothing in the way the Vikings handled his first game suggests he won't factor into Favre's game plan.

San Francisco 49ers 20, Arizona Cardinals 16

This wasn't supposed to be a defensive battle, but the first half yielded just one touchdown and four field goals. The touchdown belonged to Frank Gore, who didn't pile up much in the yardage department (22-30-1 on the ground and 3-18-1 in the air) but scored twice. Shaun Hill's afternoon was unremarkable (18-31-209-1), but that's about what Mike Singletary wants from the position. Veteran Isaac Bruce (4-74) was Hill's most productive target, while Vernon Davis (5-40) proved he might be able to shake that bust tag after all.

The Madden Curse didn't claim Troy Polamalu's cover mate, as Larry Fitzgerald (6-71-1) scored Arizona's lone touchdown. But the curse of the Super Bowl loser struck early for the reigning NFC champs as they unfurled a banner only to drop their home opener. When Kurt Warner (26-44-288-1-2) wasn't misfiring downfield, he was checking down against the Niners' bend-don't-break pass defense; as a result, Tim Hightower (12-121 receiving, 8-15 rushing) was the Cardinals' leading receiver. Chris Wells (7-29) was the more productive runner, but he wasn't on the field enough to make himself a factor. Anquan Boldin (2-19) played but wasn't a factor, and with Steve Breaston deactivated Jerheme Urban (5-74) was Warner's downfield target of choice.

Fantasy Impact: The bugaboo for rookie running backs is often times their inability to stay on the field because of their deficiencies in pass protection. And so long as Wells isn't in the Arizona passing game mix, he'll lose touches to Hightower. And if defenses view the Niners' success as a blueprint for taking away Fitzgerald and Boldin downfield, that stands to be a lot of touches. For the Niners, talk of working Glen Coffee (1-(-3)) into the mix seems premature seeing as Gore handled the ball 25 time and the rest of the team combined for 18 touches.

New York Giants 23, WashingtoN Redskins 17

Earth was mostly grounded, but Fire stepped in for the departed Wind and posted solid numbers. Overall, however, the Giants' ground game of Brandon Jacobs (16-46 plus 2-17 receiving) and Ahmad Bradshaw (12-60, 3-11) was merely ordinary; instead, Eli Manning lived up to his contract with a 20-29-256-1-1 line despite a revolving door of receivers. Steve Smith (6-60) paced the Plax-less Giants' receiving corps, which will also be without Hakeem Nicks (2-18) for a couple weeks due to an ankle injury. Mario Manningham (3-58-1) made a nice run down the sidelines to score, and Kevin Boss (3-62) rounded out the cast of thousands. Osi Umenyiora celebrated his return to the field with a sack/strip/fumble return for the Giants' other touchdown, leaving much of the heavy lifting to Lawrence Tynes (three field goals).

The first play was great: Clinton Portis rumbled for 34 yards off the left side, and the Redskins were in business. After that, however, it started looking like a repeat from last season's opening game, complete with the same offensive frustrations that plagued Washington a year ago. Portis' next 15 carries resulted in just 28 yards, and the plan to give Ladell Betts (2-(-1), 1-23) never materialized. In fact, the most productive running play was holder Hunter Smith's eight-yard TD run on a fake field goal. Jason Campbell's line (19-26-211-1-1) wasn't awful, though it funneled mostly through Antwan Randle El (7-99) and Chris Cooley (7-68-1); Santana Moss (2-6) was a non-factor.

Fantasy Impact: Cooley matched his touchdown total from a year ago, giving hope that he'll prove to be a red zone threat and add scoring to the PPR value he certainly looks to hold once again. The struggles of the Giants' ground game—particularly Jacobs' inability to convert both a third-and-one and fourth-and-one from the Washington three-yard line. Perhaps that will encourage the New York passing game to reveal a go-to guy in the red zone sooner rather than later.

Seattle Seahawks 28, St. Louis Rams 0

It took Seattle a little while to get on track, but once they did they pretty much had their way with the Rams. Matt Hasselbeck wasn't sacked, giving him plenty of time to complete 25 of 36 passes for 279 yards and three touchdowns—two of them (along with six catches for 95 yards) to tight end John Carlson. Nate Burleson (7-74-1) and T.J. Houshmandzadeh (6-48) also got in on the fun, though Hasselbeck's day would have been better had he not tossed a pair of passes to the other team. A late 62-yard touchdown run by Julius Jones turned an ordinary afternoon into a 19-117-1 fantasy helper. Edgerrin James chipped in 11 carries, which he turned into a pedestrian 30 yards.

So much for the Seahawks' banged-up secondary being easy pickings, though Marc Bulger's unfamiliarity with both the Rams' new offense and his cast of receivers didn't help any. The result was an ugly 17-36-191 stat line bolstered by Laurent Robinson's 5-87, Donnie Avery's 6-46, and Randy McMichael's 4-44. The anticipated big game from Steven Jackson never materialized; his 16 carries produced 67 yards, and he didn't catch a single pass.

Fantasy Impact: For Jackson to be the offensive producer both the Rams and his fantasy owners expect, St. Louis can't afford to fall behind by double-digit margins—or if they do, Jackson needs to be involved in the passing game. You'd think that wouldn't be rocket science, but he was targeted just twice—once on a busted play. In Seattle, it looks as if we're seeing the healthy Hasselbeck that will prove to be a consistent fantasy starter. Houshmandzadeh's debut was a bit on the quiet side, but with both he and Carlson playing the possession receiver role they may have to learn to share stats.

Green Bay Packers 21, Chicago Bears 15

After roaring through the preseason, the Packers found the going significantly tougher against Da Bears. In fact, until Aaron Rodgers found Greg Jennings for a 50-yard game-winning touchdown late in the fourth quarter the Packers' longest play was a 17-yard run by Ryan Grant. Even with the final completion, Rodgers' stat line of 17-28-184-1 was a significant step down from the expectations established by last season and this year's exhibition slate. And aside from Jennings (6-106-1), Pack receivers like Donald Driver (4-39) suffered; no other Green Bay pass catcher contributed more than 11 yards, and only Donald Lee (3-8) had more than one catch. Grant's ground game effort of 16-61 was merely adequate as well—though perhaps more indicative of the Bears' defense returning to a previously established level of excellence than anything else.

Speaking of excelling defenses, the Packers' revamped 3-4 look under Dom Capers gave the Bears fits. Matt Forte managed just 55 yards on 25 carries and didn't catch a single pass, meaning Chicago's attack had to run through Jay Cutler. Hey, isn't that what you trade two first-round picks for? Cutler, however, had some problems of his own. He completed 17 of 36 passes for 277 yards and a touchdown, but also threw four picks. Devin Hester (4-90-1) could be emerging as the Bears' No. 1 receiver, though more by default than anything else. Deep threat Johnny Knox (2-82) didn't quite have enough speed to house a 68-yard bomb, while Earl Bennett (7-66) rekindled his Vanderbilt flame with Cutler and may prove to be a serviceable possession receiver.

Fantasy Impact: The two most talked-about Bears, fantasy-wise, were Forte and Greg Olsen. The former wasn't a passing game factor and produced just 2.2 yards per carry; the latter had just one catch and wasn't even Chicago's most productive tight end. Yes, it's only one game into the season, but those numbers are a poor portend for anyone who spent the picks it took to acquire Forte or Olsen. As for Green Bay, the step back in production was at least somewhat expected given the opponent and the fact that those games didn't matter. Rodgers-to-Jennings came through in the clutch (including a two-point conversion after the long TD), but there are still expectations to be met for this offense.

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