A Day of Football
Posted Oct. 29 at 04:17 AM
A lot of key takeaways from yesterday's games, and most of them are general rather than specific. The two that leap to mind are not overrating weather, and not overrating "questionable" tags. If you benched any Falcons or perhaps Trent Richardson, you know what I'm talking about.
Washington at Steelers: Kudos to Washington for sticking to their word as far as not being afraid to put rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III in harm's way, but in the span of a few minutes I saw him get clobbered on a quarterback draw near the goal line (I think defenses are looking for that now), then blown up while lined up as a wide receiver and drawing a downfield pass. I don't know, it just seems like playing quarterback gets you enough hits without drawing more on things like receptions. Griffin's poor numbers, by the way, were influenced in part by his receivers dropping a whole lot of passes. Leonard Hankerson committed an especially bad one on a ball that would have been a touchdown. Like most Index readers, I started Alfred Morris everywhere, getting burned by his 59 yards. (Any stat line that ends with "9" is automatically frustrating, unless you're getting fractional points.) It's always a risk with him not a big part of the passing game, and Washington's defense being awful. ... Pittsburgh's offense is on a roll right now. I still don't know how they struggled somewhat against Tennessee a couple of weeks ago. Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown had relatively low numbers and didn't score, but that was a little flukey; Wallace almost made a nice grab on one but couldn't control it near the pylon. Heath Miller might just get that Pro Bowl bid; one TD and nearly a second, being tackled just short of the goal line. BTW, it's not as big a deal as Trent Richardson, but I was using Shaun Suisham in a couple of leagues this week, only to pull him for Rob Bironas when he showed up as "Questionable" on an injury reports. Some of those reports should be downplayed or ignored entirely. ... I'd leave Dwyer in the lineup if I were the Steelers, but I'm not sure you can count on that. I also don't know how bad Mendenhall's Achilles is, however. Maybe Dwyer stays there for a while as they ease Mendenhall in, and it becomes impossible to bench him.
Falcons at Eagles: If you saw all the scary weather reports Friday and Saturday (and who didn't), you probably considered benching Matt Ryan and his receivers for somebody else in order to avoid the weather. Obviously if you did bench Ryan for, say, Andrew Luck, as I told somebody made sense on Saturday, you're feeling fairly annoyed today. By late in the game it was raining pretty hard out there, but early on it was fine, and clearly Philadelphia's new defensive coordinator isn't getting the best out of his players just yet. Ryan, Julio Jones, Roddy White -- I'm not sure you can bench those guys, at all. ... Jacquizz Rodgers rushed for more yards on 8 carries (60) than Michael Turner did on 24 (58). Not that a switch is coming; it's more a case of, you probably can't comfortably use either of them right now. I don't think they'll risk the chemistry of an undefeated team by making an official depth chart change. ... Eagles are apparently considering benching Michael Vick. Hope they at least wait one more game, because he gets to face New Orleans next week.
Chargers at Browns: So here's a game that make you kick yourself for benching Trent Richardson with him sporting the "questionable" tag due to a rib cartilage injury. I mean, what are you gonna do? If you started him last week, with the same injury and the same questionable listing, you got 8 carries for 8 yards. Yesterday he went for 122 and a touchdown on 24 carries. So basically if you did the same thing both weeks, you got burned one time and lucky another, and yet most (I suspect) started him a week ago and benched him yesterday, losing in both cases. Easy to say, but I don't think you can beat yourself (uh, or us...) over it. He was iffy to play and limited all week. Painful injury and he said he "wasn't himself." And of course weather made passing for both teams impossible. Start Richardson going forward. Check the highlight of his touchdown run; he was nearly brought down by two of his own teammates after breaking through the line, who then basically propped him up and ushered him into the end zone. Downgrade San Diego's 2nd-ranked run defense, too.
Seahawks at Lions: I don't like Lions coach Jim Schwartz very much. I feel like he talked as if Matthew Stafford's return was imminent while basically shutting him down for the rest of the season two years ago, and now he's playing games with his running backs. Mikel Leshoure was running fine yesterday, then taken out of the game when he seemed to get dinged. But after the game Schwartz just talked as if Joique Bell and Kevin Smith were playing well, and the team was just rotating its backs, and that's why Leshoure didn't play. I'm not sure what game he was watching. Whatever. If Leshoure is healthy, he's the guy. Bell's a nice complementary player, that's it. ... Calvin Johnson dropped a touchdown. It's a ball he normally catches easily. Gotta think he's not completely healthy, and indeed he conceded after the game that his knee is hurting. Not that you sit him down, but it seems clear he's not 100 percent. ... Big touchdown run for Marshawn Lynch, but it wasn't enough. That's kind of the story with Seattle's offense right now; not enough. And the defense didn't look so hot today, either.
Giants at Cowboys: I have Dez Bryant in a league. I didn't draft him; he was essentially a throw-in in a recent trade. So the fact that his day began with being at least partly to blame for an interception, and then fumbling away a punt, isn't something that gives me strong anti-Bryant feelings. But just two days ago I was talking with a Cowboys fan friend, asking him, Why do the Cowboys use Bryant on punt returns? I believe at some point in his career he's done something worthwhile in that capacity, but mostly I've seen him get injured. And now, fumble it away. It's crazy. Do they seriously have no better option? ... After that early disaster, Dallas' offense played much better. It included a couple of big plays by Bryant, and Dallas took the lead. Austin was also big. Romo got hit a lot. New York's offense did very little. Jason Witten caught everything in his vicinity. (Congrats if you drafted him even with the spleen injury; he rewarded you big-time today.) And Romo hit Witten for a spectacular game-winning touchdown...only to have it overturned by replay when Bryant's hand came down barely on the chalk in the back of the end zone. Typical heart-breaker for the Cowboys, typical up and down game for Tony Romo and Dez Bryant. ... Felix Jones didn't do much. DeMarco Murray's job is safe whenever he's healthy. Dallas even tried Philip Tanner in for Jones at the goal line a couple of times (which didn't work), leaving Jones in the next time they got in close. ... Eli and Cruz let you down; they'll make it up to you next week.
Random notes from other games: Saw Alex Green trip over his own feet or maybe his lineman's ankle on a third and short play. He ended up rushing for just 54 yards on 22 carries. I think we can reasonably speculate that he cannot play. ... Brutal drop by Robert Meachem on what should have been a long (probably game-winning) touchdown against Cleveland. I think all of Meachem's good games this year have come against his former team, who does not appear on his remaining schedule. Granted, weather was a major factor for both passing games, but I'm not sure it impacted Meachem's drop. ... Toward the end of Bears-Panthers, after Cam Newton's pick-6 that gave the Bears a 1-point lead, Jay Cutler's 2-point conversion pass was intercepted. The guy who picked it off ran it back -- even though it was a dead ball -- and players from both teams, including Jay Cutler, went after him. Cutler got blocked out of the way, but while watching it all I could think was, This would sure be a terrible way to get injured. One more note from that game: Newton and Steve Smith were inches from connecting on a spectacular touchdown to win the game. Just like in Dallas, game of inches. ... What a game-winning touchdown in Tennessee. Watching it live I didn't think it had a chance of holding up, but on further review, it did and was the right call. Phenomenal individual effort. Last week I speculated Vick Ballard needed something big to keep a role in the Colts backfield once Donald Brown returned. Maybe that was it.
Monday, Monday: I don't know whether I'll get to see this game, given the whole electricity issues in the Northeast. On the bright side, if you're gonna pick a Monday Night Football game to not see, this would be the one. Sounds like Frank Gore is going to be fine, so look for San Francisco to run the ball an awful lot. I haven't done so great picking scores lately, but I'll try one more: 49ers 24, Cardinals 17.
Posted by PETER DEBIASE | Oct. 29 at 09:33 AM
Andy: For the most part, I agree with your points in the first paragraph. The only player I benched in the Atlanta-Philly was Bryant since wind is rarely conducive to kicking. Picked up Prater due to matchup, altitude, weather. Bryant scored two more points so I guess I'll be kicking myself if I lose my game by less than two points but if faced with the same decision again, I will opt for the kicker in better weather. Regarding injuries, until the NFL changes its rules, we are at the mercy of clowns like The Hoodie, Shanahanigans and The Schwartz who routinely mislead us (or tell us nothing) about the injuries of their players. At least Shurmur gave us an honest (and encouraging) assessment of T-Rich on Friday.
Posted by Matt Mumford | Oct. 29 at 10:19 AM
SD-Cleveland game: I believe Rivers is an elite QB, however, his supporting cast leaves much to be desired. The year he threw to 27 different receivers made the Chargers believe he could throw it to anybody & voila! Here we are ... Aside: Is this a play to get out of San Diego so they can move the team to LA??
Posted by ANDY RICHARDSON | Oct. 29 at 11:25 AM
I believe the same about Rivers, but I try to be realistic that some of the stumbles are on him. When you add up the decline of Gates, departure of VJax, and disintegration of the offensive line the last couple of years, though, I think it's fair to say that most of it is beyond his control. We can question playcalls, too. I have a fondness for him because he's my dynasty QB, although I'm becoming aware that his days of being a star for my team are probably fading.
Posted by BEN HOGEVOLL | Oct. 29 at 02:34 PM
Giants vs Cowboys All i have to say is Romo sucks!!!36 of 62 ?? and FOUR INTERCEPTIONS!!!
Posted by Adam Bjork | Oct. 29 at 06:00 PM
I'll back Ben! Was up by 28 with Eli and Cruz going against Romo and Austin. Romo throws 4 picks, Eli's average starting position is the Cowboys 20 and tied going into Sunday night. Garrett Hartley kicks two extra points and I lose by two...
Posted by PETER DEBIASE | Oct. 30 at 11:25 AM
Andy: Need a D with NE on bye. Was (v Car), Den (@ Cin), Cin (v Den), SD (v KC), Oak (v TB), Det (@ Jax), Car (@ Was) are FA. Sacks worth 2 points and Cin, Car and Den are 1, 2, 3 in sacks YTD and Was has the most points YTD. But I'm leanin toward SD in what should be a great matchup on a short week v Matt Cassel and KC. What are your thoughts? Thanks much.
Posted by JEFF FOSTER | Oct. 30 at 08:56 PM
The chargers offense went bye-bye when they let sproles get away....o-line problems and dropped first downs are manageable when you can quickly dump it off to a dynamic back like sproles....he moved the chains...now noone does.
Posted by ANDY RICHARDSON | Oct. 31 at 06:34 AM
Peter, both sd and denver look good to me
Add a Comment
Already a registered user? Please sign in to add comments.
To add comments, you must become a registered user of our site. To register, please click here.