The Tennessee d-line was the catalyst that ended the Ravens’ chances on Sunday. Baltimore could not get into a rhythm, with Joe Flacco finishing the game on tilt. Flacco ended the afternoon with less than a 50% completion rate. The screen game was the only thing that the Ravens were successful at. Ray Rice finished with 96 total yards with a great 31 yard screen TD. It appeared that the Ravens were emotionally spent from last week’s win over the Steelers.
On the Titan side, Chris Johnson needs more time to get his groove back. Good thing Matt Hasselbeck has “Mr. Off-field Issue” Kenny Britt, who is fantastic at getting separation. Britt had 9 catches for 135 receiving and a TD. Hasselbeck slung the ball around for 358 yard: very impressive considering the rest of his receivers after Britt. The Ravens barely got any pressure, only hitting Hasselbeck twice and not notching any sacks.
The Redskins matchup vs. the Cardinals looked like it might be over quickly. Rex Grossman appeared to have travelled back to mistake-prone “Rexy” by throwing 2 early interceptions. Grossman settled down and ended up throwing for 291 yards and 2 TDs. Washington’s receivers seem to be waiting on the ball to arrive, so Grossman will have to work on that. Fred Davis now has back to back fantasy-worthy games, going 6-86 yards and a beautiful back of the end zone TD. For Arizona, Tim Hightower ran more north and south but also looked stiff running the rock. According to the Shanahans, Hightower got tired and rookie Roy Helu, Jr was used to spell him. Helu ran with wiggle and made people miss, more than I had ever seen in his college days. He hurdled a defender, looked very explosive, and had 112 yards on 13 touches.
Kevin Kolb looked jittery out there, as he couldn’t throw a screen pass to Beanie Wells. Wells ran hard on 14 carries with 93 rushing and a short TD. TE Jeff King must have some sort of magic, as he makes defenders fall down so he can waltz into the end zone. Larry Fitzgerald, once again, did a great job of making Kolb look better than he is, especially with his 73 yard TD catch. Fitzgerald owners will take 7-133 yards and a TD every week, if they can.
The Bears’ offense against the Saints was mostly one man, Matt Forte. Forte only had 20 touches but did plenty with them. He finished with 10 receptions for 117 yards and 10 carries for 49 yards. Jay Cutler was under constant pressure, taking six sacks, and threw for a dismal 43% completion rate.
Drew Brees, unlike Cutler, was poised in the pocket completing 26-37 for 270 yards and 3 TDs. Jimmy Graham stepped up again with 6-79 receiving. Devery Henderson had a 70+ yard TD bomb from Brees. Much of the damage in the air was from Darren Sproles, who caught 8 out of his 10 targets. Mark Ingram had another rough day against a very good Bears rushing defense. Ingram looked powerful, but only had 14-51 yards. He did get the most RB carries, so no concern there..yet.
The rise of Cam Newton continued against the Packers on Sunday. Newton found his best buddy, Steve Smith, on 6 receptions for 156 yards after being targeted 13 times. Newton’s stats were impressive with another 400+ yard outing, even though 3 interceptions were thrown. The fantasy world may have some more insight on which Carolina RB to play after this matchup. Jonathan Stewart had 8 catches for 100 yards and DeAngelo Williams had 4 catches for 24 yards. Combined, these two RBs only had 11 carries for 18 yards rushing.
Aaron Rodgers started off slow but picked it up when the game was on the line. Jermichael Finley had 5 receptions for 68 on 6 targets. The battle for Green Bay’s starting RB is not a battle, as Ryan Grant looks slow and James Starks ran angry, finishing with 115 yards on 12 touches. Jordy Nelson decided that he needed a big play and exploded for an 84 yard TD that was aided by a key block by fellow WR Greg Jennings.
Willis McGahee is for real. He was the workhorse, with 28-101 and a TD. This was also the second straight week of big production for Eric Decker, who finished with 5-113 yards and 2 TDs on 9 targets. Most of this production came after Eddie Royal was injured, when Brandon Lloyd was inactive, and with the “great” Tim Tebow lined up as a slot receiver due to all the injuries.
Andy Dalton, 27-41-332 yards and 2 TDs passing, found the amazing AJ Green 10 times. Green finished with 124 yards on those 10 catches with 1 TD that words cannot describe — just tremendous footwork and body control. Jerome Simpson was targeted 9 times and came down with 4 receptions for 136 yards. The Bengals got too conservative in the last 5 minutes of the game and ran out of time. Dalton isn’t this good, but AJ Green is.