Week 4 Late Game Reviews
We are a now a quarter of the way through the 2013 NFL season, and it seems to have gone by in a flash. Last night was a battle of the unbeatens, but the Saints easily dispatched the overmatched Dolphins. Below are my notes from the rest of the week four games.
Jets @ Titans
The Jets were absolutely clobbered in this game. Jake Locker had a good game with 149 yards passing and 3 TDs before leaving with a gruesome hip injury that may cost him as much as 8 weeks. Ryan Fitzpatrick is a capable backup, but there is a noticeable difference in talent. Nate Washington was the biggest beneficiary with 4 receptions for 105 yards and a 77 yard TD catch. Chris Johnson had a terrible game with only 21 yards on 15 carries. Owners looking for the CJ2K of old can start assuming that player is never returning.
For the Jets, there was nothing good to take from this game, although I guess Bilal Powell’s 106 total yards from scrimmage is the highlight of the day. Geno Smith is overmatched and makes comically bad plays. The receiving options are lackluster at best. Kellen Winslow led the Jets with 6 receptions for 73 yards. That’s enough on the Jets for this week.
Eagles @ Broncos
The Eagles were shut down again and Peyton Manning continued his aerial assault on the NFL. It got so out of hand that Nick Foles relieved Michael Vick just to avoid injury. The Philly offense did nothing all game. Vick had no TDs and 248 yards passing, LeSean McCoy had only 73 yards rushing and DeSean Jackson was invisible for the second week in a row. I had a feeling the league would catch on to Chip Kelly’s offense, and that seems to be the case. I hope you sold high on DeSean Jackson because he won’t replicate his first two games anytime soon.
Peyton Manning threw for 327 yards and 4 TDs. He is the NFL and fantasy MVP so far, and it’s not even close. He continued to spread the wealth, as Eric Decker had 5 receptions for 88 yards, Demaryius Thomas had 9 catches for 86 yards and two TDs and Wes Welker had 7 catches for 76 yards and two TDs. Julius Thomas had a “poor” game with only 4 catches for 43 yards, but that’s still a decent game. Knowshon Moreno had 12 carries for 78 yards and a score and has seemingly grasped the starting position. I still don’t trust him on a weekly basis, but he has been getting more carries than Ronnie Hillman and Montee Ball lately. I can’t wait to see what type of video game numbers Peyton puts up against the Jaguars.
Redskins @ Raiders
This was an ugly game all around. Both teams are terrible and tried to give the game away. The Raiders only offense was a TD pass from Matt Flynn to Mychal Rivera. Flynn was replacing the concussed Terrelle Pryor and was absolutely dreadful. He threw a pick six to rookie David Amerson, who took it to the house for his first career TD. Both Marcel Reese and Darren McFadden left due to injury, so that left third-stringer Rashad Jennings to carry the load in the running game. He finished with 45 yards on the ground but also led the team in receiving with 8 receptions for 71 yards because Flynn can’t throw the ball more than 10 yards down the field with his noodle arm.
The Redskins lost start RB Alfred Morris to bruised ribs in the second half just as he was finding his groove and was on his way to 100+ yards rushing. He finished with 71 yards and his backup, Roy Helu, finished with 41 yards rushing and 43 yards receiving. The Redskins have a bye this coming week and all reports indicate Morris will be fine. RG3 continues to look bad as he had 227 yards passing and a TD to Pierre Garcon. I don’t know if he’s still rusty, or his knee is just not in good shape, but whatever it is, I would be terrified if I am a Redskins fan.
Cowboys @ Chargers
The Cowboys blew another big lead and lost to a resurgent Chargers team. Dez Bryant accounted for the entire Dallas offensive scoring with 6 receptions for 81 yards and two TDs. Tony Romo had his usual solid game with 244 yards and the two TDs to Dez. He doesn’t have eye-popping numbers like Peyton or Brees, but he has become the model of fantasy consistency and is almost a lock to get you 15 points a week or so. Jason Witten had another subpar game with 5 catches for 43 yards. He did have 10 targets though, so I think better games are on the horizon. DeMarco Murray had a quiet game after his monster game against the Rams last week, as he finished with 70 yards rushing and 20 yards receiving.
The Chargers were again led by Philip Rivers, who threw for an astounding 401 yards and three TDs. He is shockingly becoming a top tier QB option again. Two of the TD passes went to Danny Woodhead and the other went to Antonio Gates, who had his best game since 2007 with 10 catches for 136 yards and a TD. Ryan Mathews continued to be average with 62 yards rushing and I don’t consider him anything but a flex play going forward. Keenan Allen also had a great game with 5 receptions for 80 yards. He is going to be a good sleeper play while the SD receivers are banged up.
Patriots @ Falcons
The Patriots went into Atlanta and pulled off a mild upset, leaving the Falcons scrambling at 1-3. Tom Brady was precise as always with 316 yards passing and 2 TDs. Kenbrell Thompkins continues to recover after a poor start to his rookie campaign, as he finished with 6 catches for 127 yards and a TD. Julian Edelman was again a PPR monster with 7 catches for 118 yards. What surprised me was the continued infectiveness of Stevan Ridley. Ridley only had 53 yards rushing and 26 yards receiving, so if you own him, I would now be officially concerned. LeGarrette Blount had 9 carries for 64 yards, but 47 of those yards came on a TD run. He seems to be more effective than Ridley, so I wonder if it’s only a matter of time before he supplants Ridley at the top of the depth chart.
Matt Ryan threw for 421 yards and two TDs, but his comeback fell short. Tony Gonzalez caught both of the TD passes to go along with his 12 catches for 149 yards. Julio Jones had what seems to be a “normal” game for him, as he had 6 catches for 108 yards, including a ridiculously difficult reception late in the game. Roddy White played almost all of the offensive snaps, but was again an afterthought with 3 catches for 28 yards. He needs to be benched until further notice. The Falcons run game was ineffective, as the team had a combined 58 rushing yards. I don’t see that improving until Steven Jackson returns from injury.
Dolphins @ Saints
Drew Brees had another outstanding game, as he continues to have the Saints offense running at a Super Bowl level. He threw another 4 TDs along with 413 yards. Two TDs went to the unstoppable Jimmy Graham, who had 4 receptions for 100 yards. Darren Sproles actually had a better game than Graham, as he had 7 receptions for 114 yards and a TD to go along with a rushing TD. He broke out of a mini-slump in a big way. The rest of the Saints running game was useless, but that doesn’t matter when you have such a potent aerial attack. Marques Colston got back on track as well with 7 catches for 96 yards.
This game was a big test for Miami, and they failed miserably. While it’s hard to contain the Saints offense for an entire game, the Saints defense isn’t a total shutdown unit. They are above average, but good offensive teams should be able to move the ball. Ryan Tannehill struggled all game with 3 interceptions. Charles Clay caught his lone TD pass, and his chemistry with Mike Wallace looked awful. They don’t appear to be on the same page, and it shows in the stats. Wallace finished with 3 catches for 24 yards. He needs to show more consistency before he is back to being a weekly starter. Lamar Miller had a solid game with 62 yards and a TD on 11 carries. Why Daniel Thomas plays at all will remain a mystery to me, he is just awful. Miller should be the feature back in any situation.