Tuesday, September 29, 2009

NFL Week 3 Hangover

New York Giants 24 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers 0

Rumors of the demise of the Giants’ running game seem to have been greatly exaggerated. The end of Byron Leftwich’s career may be close at hand, however. The Giants’ defense held the Bucs without a first down until late in the third quarter. Leftwich managed the offense to 34 total yards before being yanked for 2nd-year man, and new starter, Josh Johnson.

Fantasy Studs: Eli Manning (14/24, 161 yards, 2 touchdowns, 0 interceptions), Ahmad Bradshaw (14 carries, 104 yards), Brandon Jacobs (26 carries, 92 yards, 1 touchdown), Steve Smith (7 receptions, 63 yards, 1 touchdown), Giants’ defense (0 points allowed, 1 interception)

Next Week:
New York Giants (3-0) at Kansas City (0-3) – 10 AM; Tampa Bay (0-3) at Washington (1-2) – 10 AM

Detroit Lions 19 – Washington Redskins 14

The dismal streak that the Lions had endured for nearly two calendar years ended with a solid team performance that might be the harbinger of good things to come in Detroit. #1 overall draft Pick Matt Stafford found 8 receivers en route to a solid passing day. Kevin Smith rushed for over 100 yards. And the defense held Clinton Portis to just 42 yards.

Fantasy Studs:
Jason Campbell (27/41, 340 yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 interception), Kevin Smith (16 carries, 101 yards), Bryant Johnson (4 receptions, 73 yards, 1 touchdown)

Next Week:
Tampa Bay (0-3) at Washington (1-2) – 10 AM; Detroit (1-2) at Chicago (2-1) – 10 AM

Green Bay Packers 36 – St. Louis Rams 17

The Rams went toe-to-toe with the Packersinnearly every statistical category, with the only major differences being in turnovers (Rams: 3, Packers: 0) and points scored. Rams QB Marc Bulger left with a shoulder injury, but Packers’ QB Aaron Rodgers showed that he is feeling just fine with a solid day that included one of the hardest thrown touchdown passes in recent memory.

Fantasy Studs:
Aaron Rodgers (13/23, 269 yards, 2 touchdowns, 0 interceptions, 8 carries, 38 yards, 1 rushing touchdown), Steven Jackson (27 carries, 117 yards), Greg Jennings (2 receptions, 103 yards), Donald Driver (4 receptions, 95 yards, 1 touchdown), Mason Crosby (3 PAT, 3 FG – 48 yards, 38 yards, 25 yards)

Next Week:
Green Bay (2-1) at Minnesota (3-0) – Monday 5:30 PM; St. Louis (0-3) at San Francisco (2-1) – 1:15 PM

Minnesota Vikings 27 – San Francisco 49ers 24

It wasn’t quite a “Hail Mary,” but the game-winning pass thrown by Brett Favre on the game’s last play may as well have been. Favre was being hit as he threw and half of the players on the field were in the endzone where backup receiver Greg Lewis was the only one to actually touch it. Questions about Favre’s ability to, and his fire for, playing the game are quickly fading away.

Fantasy Studs:
Brett Favre (24/46, 301 yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 interception), Vernon Davis (7 receptions, 96 yards, 2 touchdowns), Percy Harvin (4 receptions, 51 yards, 4 kick returns, 180 yards, 1 kick return-touchdown [101 yards]), Ryan Longwell (3 PAT, 2 FG – 40 yards, 52 yards)

Next Week:
St. Louis (0-3) at San Francisco (2-1) – 1:15 PM; Green Bay (2-1) at Minnesota (3-0) – Monday 5:30 PM

New England Patriots 26 – Atlanta Falcons 10

They didn’t quite look like their 2007 counterparts, but the Patriots dominated both sides of the ball against Atlanta, and shook off their Week 2 loss to the Jets. New England nearly doubled-up on the Falcons in total yards, plays from scrimmage, and time of possession, holding Matt Ryan’s potent offensive machine in check, while putting up some solid offensive numbers of their own.

Fantasy Studs:
Fred Taylor (21 carries, 105 yards, 1 touchdown), Randy Moss (10 receptions, 116 yards), Stephen Gostkowski (2 PAT, 4 FG – 21 yards, 33 yards, 22 yards, 33 yards)

Next Week:
Baltimore (3-0) at New England (2-1) – 10 AM; Atlanta (2-1) – bye

New York Jets 24 – Tennessee Titans 17

Both teams’ season continued in the unexpected courses they’re been on since the start. The Jets and their rookie quarterback and head coach won another gutsy game, while the Titans and their balanced, dominant, veteran squad still has yet to get up off the mat. Each team took turns dominating the other, but it was the Jets that were able to capitalize on forced turnovers, and Mark Sanchez managed the team to their third win, the longest winning streak by a rookie starting quarterback to start his career since the NFL/AFL merger.

Fantasy Studs:
Jericho Cotchery (8 receptions, 108 yards, 1 touchdown), Chris Johnson (22 carries, 97 yards), Jets’ defense (17 points allowed, 2 interceptions, 2 fumble recoveries, 3 sacks)

Next Week:
Tennessee (0-3) at Jacksonville (1-2) – 10 AM; New York Jets (3-0) at New Orleans (3-0) – 1:05 PM

Philadelphia Eagles 34 – Kansas City Chiefs 14

The off-season story in Philadelphia was a potential quarterback battle brewing between incumbent Donovan McNabb and newcomer Michael Vick, but it now appears that Kevin Kolb might be the best option behind center even after McNabb comes back from injury. Kolb had his second straight huge game as Philly’s starter and will take over the job permanently if given the chance.

Fantasy Studs:
Kevin Kolb (24/34, 327 yards, 2 touchdowns), LeSean McCoy (20 carries, 84 yards, 1 touchdown), DeSean Jackson (6 receptions, 149 yards, 1 touchdown), Brent Celek (8 receptions, 104 yards, 1 touchdown)

Next Week:
New York Giants (3-0) at Kansas City (0-3) – 10 AM; Philadelphia (2-1) – bye

Baltimore Ravens 34 – Cleveland Browns 3

It’s looking more and more like neither Brady Quinn nor Derek Anderson is the right man in Cleveland. Although the Ravens’ defense can do that to a lot of quarterbacks. Joe Flacco certainly looked comfortable at QB though as the Ravens continue to look like the class of the NFL on both sides of the ball.

Fantasy Studs:
Joe Flacco (25/35, 342 yards, 1 touchdown), Willis McGahee (7 carries, 67 yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 fumble lost), Derrick Mason (5 receptions, 118 yards, 1 touchdown), Ravens’ defense (3 points allowed, 4 interceptions, 2 sacks)

Next Week:
Baltimore (3-0) at New England (2-1) – 10 AM; Cincinnati (2-1) at Cleveland (0-3) – 10 AM

Jacksonville Jaguars 31 – Houston Texans 24

Overshadowed in college by another slightly undersized back playing across town, Maurice Jones-Drew has emerged as an unstoppable runningback in Jacksonville. In a nearly perfectly evenly matched game, where the teams were separated by just one total yard and traded scores all day long, it was Jacksonville who scored last and held on for the win.

Fantasy Studs:Matt Schaub (26/35, 300 yards, 3 touchdowns, 1 interception), Maurice Jones-Drew (23 carries, 119 yards, 3 touchdowns), Kevin Walter (7 receptions, 96 yards, 1 touchdown)

Next Week: Tennessee (0-3) at Jacksonville (1-2) – 10 AM; Oakland (1-2) at Houston (1-2) – 10 AM

Chicago Bears 25 – Seattle Seahawks 19

Jay Cutler seems to have put his disastrous first game with the Bears behind him and is on his way to living up to what Bears fans hoped he’d be. Seneca Wallace did a good job at quarterback in place of the injured Matt Hasselbeck, but the Seahawks defense just couldn’t keep Cutler and the Bears out of the endzone on their final drive in the last two minutes.

Fantasy Studs:Jay Cutler (21/27, 247 yards, 3 touchdowns, 1 interception), Julius Jones (19 carries, 98 yards), Devin Hester (5 receptions, 76 yards, 1 touchdown), Nate Burleson (9 receptions, 109 yards), Olindo Mare (1 PAT, 4 FG -46 yards, 37 yards, 39 yards, 46 yards)

Next Week: Detroit (1-2) at Chicago (2-1) – 10 AM; Seattle (1-2) at Indianapolis (3-0) – 10 AM

New Orleans Saints 27 – Buffalo Bills 7

The time bomb in Buffalo is ticking louder and louder with each game. During Terrell Owen’s postgame interview, he repeatedly expressed his not-so-veiled displeasure with the plays being called andthe way his quarterback, Trent Edwards, was running them. Owens was held without a catch for the first time in 185 games as Pierre Thomas found the endzone twice in the fourth quarter to put away the Bills.

Fantasy Studs: Pierre Thomas (14 carries, 126 yards, 2 touchdowns)

Next Week: New York Jets (3-0) at New Orleans (3-0) – 1:05 PM; Buffalo (1-2) at Miami (0-3) – 1:05 PM

Cincinnati Bengals 23, Pittsburgh Steelers 20

The defending champs are a Week 1 overtime win away from being 0-3 and now find themselves effectively two games behind the Bengals in the AFC North after their narrow loss to Cincy in Week 3. Willie Parker got his running game in gear and Pittsburgh outperformed the Bengals on paper, but couldn’t stop them when it counted as the absence of Troy Polamalu glared.

Fantasy Studs: Cedric Benson (16 carries, 76 yards, 1 touchdown), Mike Wallace (7 receptions, 102 yards)

Next Week: Cincinnati (2-1) at Cleveland (0-3) – 10 AM; San Diego (2-1) at Pittsburgh (2-1) – 5:20 PM

Denver Broncos 23 – Oakland Raiders 3

Any win is a good thing. Any win over a divisional opponent is even better. Any win over a divisional opponent in their own home is the best. And completely embarrassing them in front of their own fans is simply beyond words. Oaklandcrossed midfield only twice all game long. Once was after a forced fumble at Denver’s 11 yard line…which Oakland promptly gave back on a fumble on the next play. JaMarcus Russell had another miserable game and would likely be benched on any other team not owned by Al Davis.

Fantasy Studs: Correll Buckhalter (14 carries, 108 yards), Brandon Marshall (5 receptions, 67 yards, 1 touchdown), Broncos’ defense (3 points allowed, 3 fumbles forces, 1 fumble recovery, 2 interceptions)

Next Week: Oakland (1-2) at Houston (1-2) – 10 AM; Dallas (1-1) at Denver (3-0) – 1:15 PM

San Diego Chargers 23 – Miami Dolphins 13

The Chad Henne era in Miami has begun as Chad Pennington is out for the season with a shoulder injury sustained against the Chargers. Henne led the Dolphins on a late touchdown drive, but the game slipped out of the Dolphins’ hands early on when Ronnie Brown mishandled a hand-off from Pennington and it tumbled out of bounds after the ‘Phins had driven 94 yards to the San Diego 1 yard line on their opening drive. Miami’s offense stalled after that and the Chargers had just enough to pull away in the fourth quarter.

Fantasy Studs: Vincent Jackson (5 receptions, 120 yards), Chargers’ defense (13 points allowed, 7 points scored, 2 sacks, 1 interception, 1 fumble recovery)

Next Week: Buffalo (1-2) at Miami (0-3) – 1:05 PM; San Diego (2-1) at Pittsburgh (2-1) – 5:20 PM

Indianapolis Colts 31 – Arizona Cardinals 10

Peyton Manning won the battle of MVP quarterbacks by tossing four touchdown passes against the Cardinals. Kurt Warner had a big game of his own, but was picked off twice and Indy’s bend-but-don’t-break defense was able to keep the Cards’ one-dimensional offense out of the endzone for all but one drive.

Fantasy Studs:Peyton Manning (24/35, 379 yards, 4 touchdowns, 1 interception), Kurt Warner (30/52, 332 yards, 1 touchdown, 2 interceptions), Reggie Wayne (7 receptions, 126 yards, 1 touchdown), Dallas Clark (7 receptions, 62 yards, 1 touchdown), Steve Breaston (7 receptions, 94 yards), Colts’ defense (10 points allowed, 3 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery, 2 interceptions, 4 sacks)

Next Week: Seattle (1-2) at Indianapolis (3-0) – 10 AM; Arizona (1-2) – bye

Originally published September 28, 2009 on SoCalSportsHub.com

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