Every week during the season, I will throw out some quick observations of the previous NFL week. With the invention of the DVR and Directv’s ”Quick Bits”, I am able to watch every snap of every game and give you a lightning “blitz” war “krieg” to bring to your fantasy league for domination. Bring on the games!
Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees had great nights. The real story was who stepped up during that matchup. Jordy Nelson had a good night with 6-77 yards and a TD. Randall Cobb had a receiving TD in limited action and a huge kickoff return TD. Robert Meachem had 5-70 yards with a TD and two drops. Devery Henderson had 6-100 yards and a TD. Running back Darren Sproles had 7-75 yards receiving and added a long punt return for a TD. At least in the beginning, all three Saint running backs will hurt each others’ value.
The Baltimore defense showed that they are not getting old, as they forced the Steelers into seven turnovers, most of them committed by the surprisingly mistake-prone Ben Roethlisberger. Joe Flacco looked poised in the pocket and was only sacked once. Ray Rice had nearly 150 total yards. He also had a rushing TD, which came in the red zone, and a receiving TD. If the first game is any indication, Ed Dickson is the tight end to own in Baltimore, as he had 5 receptions for 59 yards and a TD. Pittsburgh was out of synch for most of the game. The o-line had issues up front and their defense looked old. Keep in mind this game was against one of the league’s best teams.
The Redskins vs. the Giants game seemed to be a tale of two halves. In the first half, the Giants ran well, mostly relying upon Ahmad Bradshaw. In addition, Hakeem Nicks got open deep, including a 68 yard gain. Tim Hightower was serviceable in the run game, but he didn’t read his blocks well and could have gained more yardage. Rex Grossman had a good game statistically, but he wasn’t overly impressive even with over 300 yards passing and 2 TDs. The breakout guy was TE Fred Davis who had his first 100 yard game as a pro. Rookie LB Ryan Kerrigan swatted a ball and made the pick rumbling for a TD return. If you can, pick up the Washington fantasy defense.
The Sunday night game reminded me of an old USFL game: it had almost too much passing. Both running games were not effective, as Felix Jones ran for 44 yards and a TD and Shonn Greene only had 26 yards on the ground. However, each team used their RBs and TEs well in the passing game to make up for their ground issues, with the Jets using Tomlinson best in that receiving role. Jason Witten had a great day with over 110 yards receiving and Dustin Keller had 61 yards and a TD. Tony Romo had a costly fumble early in the 4th quarter that could have put the game out of reach for the Jets.
The Bears’ defense put on a dominant performance. The Falcons were out of rhythm from the 2nd quarter on because of Chicago’s quick defense and their ability to put pressure on Matt Ryan. Matt Forte struggled early on running the ball, but a nice 27 yard carry brought up his average. He was best used as Jay Cutler‘s dump-off target, as he had 90 yards receiving, including a 56 yard TD. Cutler was not afraid to throw the ball downfield and his receivers made plays for him. Michael Turner had an impressive 10 carries for 100 yards stat line, but much like Forte, this was inflated by a long run of 53 yards. Ryan did not have the time to throw downfield so he took a lot of pressure and was hit often. The Falcons o-line needs to gel in the next few weeks.
Matthew Stafford, although gimpy from time to time vs. the Bucs, was very effective, throwing for over 300 yards. He found Calvin Johnson twice in the end zone (6-88 receiving). Nate Burleson caught everything thrown to him finishing with 5 catches for 60 yards and added 20 yards rushing. Jahvid Best was not spectacular with a total of 114 yards on 25 touches, but he got the job done. Hopefully, Detroit will find a complement to him. On the Tampa side, the running game was abysmal, as LeGarrette Blount struggled against the Lions’ front seven. Kellen Winslow and FB Ernest Graham were the only bright spots, as Josh Freeman did not throw much down the field. The Bucs were not ready for this game but were in it until the end.
The Bengals came out swinging and connected when it counted. Although AJ Green had four targets, he only had one reception, but it counted for the go-ahead 41 yard TD! Jermaine Gresham was Dalton’s receiver of choice, snagging 6 of his 8 targets with a great 2 yard TD reception. Cedric Benson just kept on plugging away and wore down the Browns, finishing with a 39 yard TD scamper to seal the game. Colt McCoy reminded me of a young Bruce Gradkowski as he used his athletic gifts to roll to one side. He found both of his TEs Evan Moore and Benjamin Watson for TDS. Peyton Hillis put in another day of hard work. No fantasy superstars were found here this week.
First, Ben Tate looked awesome, but remember it was against the Colts, who are notoriously bad against the run. For the 20 minutes Derrick Ward was healthy, and he looked good too. Matt Schaub started off throwing high but quickly adjusted and found Andre Johnson seven times, including for a TD. Don’t worry fantasy nation, Houston will have to pass at some point, just not when playing the Colts. Kerry Collins looked old, but he has been with the team for less than a month. Reggie Wayne may be the only fantasy starter left on the Colts. Joseph Addai looked good but had limited touches, and I’m not sure that will change.
Part II of Week 1 Blitzkrieg should be out by Wednesday evening. I still have plenty of games to watch and the double-header tonight!