Footballguys Game Recap Writers: Mike Anderson, Bill Brown, Michael Brown,
Jeff Caldwell, Stan Dorsey, Cathy Fazio, Rich Fix, Mike Flynn, Bradley Gabbard,
Cory Gilbert, Tracy Hackler, A. Jalen, Alex Knapik, Mike Krucek Jeff Lewis,
Scott Martin, Allen Matirossian, Dave Oleyar, Jeff Pasquino, Greg Porzucek,
Steve Prosapio, Steve Schone, David Shick, Jeff Siedsma, Mark Strickland, Dave
Teller, Michael Tudor, Kerry Walls, Mark Westmyer, Todd Young
Edited by Joe Bryant
Lions 16 at Denver Broncos 20
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
The Lions were finally able to establish a viable running threat for the first
time this season with 144 total yards rushing. Shawn Bryson was the leading
rusher finishing with 73 yards on 13 attempts. Olandis Gary also contributed
with 7 attempts for 42 yards. Gary had a 20-yard rush brought back because of
a holding call. The rushing threat gave Harrington opportunities in the passing
game and opened up the touchdown reception in the first quarter.
Harrington completed 15 passes out 33 attempts for 149 yards. He threw for
two touchdowns, one to Charles Rogers. His second touchdown went to Scott Anderson,
Harrington threw the ball as he was being hit and Anderson was still able to
make the catch. Harrington was ineffective in the two-minute drill. After throwing
a completion to Charles Rogers on fourth and 8, Harrington threw 4 straight
incompletions and overturned the ball on downs ending the game.
Charles Rogers was the Lions leading receiver. He completed 4 receptions for
62 yards and 1 touchdown. Rogers received 16 targets from Harrington and was
clearly the favorite receiving target. Rogers shows great athleticism and speed,
he was able to outrun his coverage and make leaping catches.
Clinton Portis was inactive for the game with a bruised chest. The normally
powerful Broncos rushing game was anemic in his absence. Mike Anderson started
in his place and finished with 7 rushing attempts for 21 yards. Jake Plummer
was the leading rusher with 6 attempts for 40 yards. Rookie Quentin Griffin
saw time as well and interchanged throughout the game with Anderson and finished
with 12 total yards on 9 attempts.
Jake Plummer played a great game. He completed 25 catches out of 34 attempts
for 277 yards and 2 touchdowns. At one point in the game, he had a 15-completion
streak going. He spread the ball throughout the offense. He showed presence
of mind in knowing when to run and as said before was the leading rusher for
the Broncos. Plummer did make a couple of mistakes none of them too costly.
He dropped the ball on a snap and was tackled in the backfield. He also dove
and fumbled the ball, turning it over to the Lions.
Ashley Lelie was the leading receiver for the Broncos. He had 4 catches for
76 yards and 1 touchdown. The Lions were simply unable to cover him, and Lelie
beat them with his speed and agility.
Shannon Sharpe had an outstanding game. He was Plummer's leading target and
turned his 9 targets into 7 receptions for 74 yards and 1 touchdown. Sharpe
was a third-down target and on the second drive of the game, his 15-yard reception
set up the touchdown pass to Lelie.
This was the first time this season that Denver has not scored on their opening
possession. And this was the first time this season that they have trailed in
WHAT YOU OUGHT TO KNOW
QB: Joey Harrington (15-33-149 passing, 3-10 rushing, 2 TD, 0 Int) Harrington
improved on his play over the last two weeks by most significantly not throwing
any interceptions. While his numbers were not spectacular, his lack of mistakes
and ability to connect with receivers in the end zone kept the Lions close throughout
the game. His first touchdown came during the first quarter on a pass to rookie
WR Charles Rogers. The viable running threat that had been established opened
the field for Harrington and he was able to connect with Rogers. In the fourth
quarter, Harrington threw while being hit and connected with Scotty Anderson
for a 43-yard touchdown pass. Harrington went into the two-minute drill strong
completing a 10-yard pass to Charles Rogers on fourth and 8. But the Lions opportunity
to score any more points ended when Harrington's next 4 passes went incomplete
and the ball overturned on downs, bringing the game to a close.
RB: Shawn Bryson (13-73 rushing, 4-7 receiving, 6 targets) Bryson started at
RB for the Lions and the Lions showed their commitment to establish a running
game by opening up with 2 rushing plays. Bryson was the leading rusher for the
Lions and showed power and strength running up the middle where he was the most
successful. Many of his attempts to pick up yards rushing outside were stopped
Olandis Gary (7-42 rushing, 1- -1 receiving, 1 target) Former Denver Bronco
Olandis Gary was interchanged throughout the game with Shawn Bryson. Gary had
a 20-yard rush during the fourth quarter that was brought back because of a
Avon Cobourne (1-19 rushing) Rookie RB Cobourne's one rushing attempt came
at the end of the second quarter. The Lions were out of time outs and Cobourne
was unable to get out of bounds. The clock ran out ending the half. Cobourne
also returned kicks on special teams standing in for the injured Eddie Drummond.
WR: Charles Rogers (4-62, 1 TD receiving, 16 targets) Rogers was once again
Harrington's favorite target, though he was only able to complete one fourth
of the passes that came his way. Rogers showed speed and was able to beat his
coverage to make his touchdown reception. Rogers made a key 10-yard reception
converting a fourth down during the Lion's two-minute drill.
Scotty Anderson (1-43, 1 TD receiving, 1 target) Anderson's lone reception
was an important one as he broke tackles and turned what should have been a
short pickup into a touchdown reception.
Az-Zahir Hakim (2-9 receiving, 6 targets) Hakim's contributions to the game
Bill Schroeder (0-0 receiving, 1 target) With Hakim's return from injury, it
seems as though Schroeder has been forgotten from the game plan. He was called
for holding in the fourth quarter and a long run by Olandis Gary was brought
TE: Mikhael Ricks (1-7 receiving, 2 targets) Ricks played a small role in the
Lions offense. He had a completion that was negated by a chop block penalty.
Casey Fitzsimmons (1-8 receiving, 2 targets) Rookie TE Fitzsimmons caught a
ball in the second quarter for a Lions first down.
K: Jason Hanson (1-1 FG, 53-yards, 1-2 XPs) Hanson completed a 53-yard field
goal in the second quarter. A bad snap led to an aborted extra point attempt
in the fourth quarter that at that point would have tied the game.
Pass Defense: The Lions pass defense gave up 277 passing yards and 2 touchdowns,
but the numbers are deceiving as they played well were able to keep the game
in check rather than letting things get out of hand as they did last week against
the Raiders. They put pressure on Plummer, sacking him three times. The Lions
were forced to use a time out twice in the second half because they had 12 men
on the field. Those timeouts would have come in handy during their last drive.
Rush Defense: The Lions rush defense was outstanding as they held a normally
potent Broncos rush attack to a total of 79 rushing yards. Even without Clinton
Portis, this was a nice effort.
QB: Jake Plummer (25-34-277 passing, 2 TD, 0 Int, 6-40 rushing) Plummer played
an outstanding game. After his first pass was batted down, he threw 15 straight
completions. And while the Lions started the game with two rushing plays, the
Broncos started with 3 passing plays. Plummer's first touchdown pass was to
Ashley Lelie. His second touchdown pass was a short drop off to his favorite
target of the day Shannon Sharpe. Plummer was the leading rusher for the Broncos
and turned what should have been a sack into a 10-yard gain. He showed patience
and presence of mind, knowing when to look for open lanes. Though late in the
second quarter, Plummer dove to try to pick up yards and fumbled the ball. The
Lions recovered the fumble, but it was late in the half and they were unable
to do anything with it.
RB: Mike Anderson (7-21 rushing, 3-28 receiving, 3 targets) Fantasy owners
who started Anderson in Portis' absence will be disappointed with the results.
He just couldn't seem to get going. After Anderson was shut down on 2 carries
inside the 10-yard line, Shannon Sharpe got the touchdown reception.
Quentin Griffin (9-12 rushing, 2-11 receiving, 2 targets) Rookie Quentin Griffin
came in at RB periodically throughout the game. Griffin did fumble the ball
one time but it was recovered by Plummer. Between Anderson and Griffin the Broncos
averaged 3 yards per carry, but the rushing game was really not the focus of
the Broncos offense. The Lions kept the game close and the Broncos put more
of the focus on their more effective passing game.
Clinton Portis was inactive for the game with a bruised chest.
WR: Ashley Lelie (4-76 receiving, 1 TD, 7 targets, 1-6 rushing) Ashley Lelie
was the leading receiver for the Broncos. The Lions had a difficult time covering
Lelie. Lelie is a great athlete, he broke his tackles, was able to jump and
make difficult catches as evidenced by his 29-yard touchdown reception.
Rod Smith (5-61 receiving, 5 targets) Rod Smith had a decent game and though
his receiving yards were not overwhelming he did turn all of his targets into
completions. Smith's first reception was a short slant pass and Smith was stopped
at the 5-yard line.
Ed McCaffrey (2-8 receiving, 3 targets) McCaffrey's contributions to the game
this week were minimal.
Chris Cole (1-12 receiving, 2 targets) Cole's play bears mentioning in that
he did see a look in the end zone, he made an impressive catch but was unable
to get his feet inbound.
TE: Shannon Sharpe (7-74 receiving, 1 TD, 9 targets) Sharpe played a stellar
game. He was Plummer's safety valve and was often the third down target. His
touchdown reception was a short catch after the Lions were able to hold Mike
Anderson at the goal line.
K: Jason Elam (2/2 FG, 37-yards, 41-yards, 2-2 XP) Elam had a successful game
completing two field goals and two extra point attempts.
Pass Defense: The Broncos pass defense held Harrington to 149 total yards,
though they did allow 2 touchdown receptions. They were able to sack Harrington
Rush Defense: The Broncos rush defense played fairly well, they gave up running
room right down the middle. But the Lions running backs found it difficult to
gain any ground when they tried to cut out to the right or the left.
Titans 30 at Pittsburgh Steelers 13
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Make no mistake about it
the Titans Defense and Steve McNair won this
game for Tennessee. The Titans D returned one interception for a touchdown and
nearly another returning the ball to inside the one yard line. The Titans D
also chipped in with a safety of Tommy Maddox, making the unit directly responsible
for 16 of the Titan points.
Steve McNair enjoyed a nearly perfect game statistically only missing on one
pass and tossing three TD passes, one on a particularly beautiful throw to Drew
Bennett. McNair was also very elusive in the pocket avoiding rushers and completing
The Titans running game is another story. Even with all the "garbage"
time, the Titans only accumulated 40 rushing yards for 1.8 yards per carry.
Eddie George in particular struggled gaining only 21 yards on 11 carries after
coming off a good effort last week.
Justin McCareins and Drew Bennett seemed to be the focus of the Titans passing
game. Of important though are two facts: Tennessee only attempted 16 passes
and Derrick Mason was held to one catch for four yards. Erron Kinney hauled
in the 3rd touchdown on a nice catch from the one yard line. Kinney seems to
be benefiting from Frank Wycheck's absence.
The Tennessee Defense, as stated above, was the difference in this contest.
The D-Line spent the afternoon in the Steelers backfield reeking havoc. Also,
Tennessee made sure tackles of Pittsburgh receivers after the catch limiting
their YAC. Not to mention the touchdown, safety and return inside the one. Tank
Black in particular was all over the field defensively as well as blocking a
field goal attempt.
Pittsburgh came out and dominated this game for the first quarter and a half
almost doubling time of possession. Then, the wheels came off with turnovers
and failed red zone opportunities.
Tommy Maddox had a good yardage day accumulating 332 yards but threw two key
interceptions. One was returned inside the one, and the second was returned
for six by LB Rocky Boiman.
Amos Zereoue received just about all the work out of the backfield with 51 yards
on 18 carries and 48 yards on 6 receptions. The Titan D was very disruptive
to the running game, but despite the non-stellar numbers Zereoue looked very
shifty and elusive. Bettis was a non-factor with 6 yards on 3 carries.
Hines Ward, Plaxico Burress and Antwaan Randle El were held in check fantasy
wise with average numbers. Ward finished with 76 yards, Burress with 64 yards
while doing battle with Rolle, and Randle El with 47 yards. Burress did make
one of the nicest catches you will ever see fully extending his 6'5" frame
and making a finger tip catch. Chris Doering also chipped in with 44 yards on
3 grabs mostly on 3rd downs. Jay Riemersma had three receptions for 44 yards
and nearly another catch off his finger tips inside the two yard line.
The Steel Curtain did not have a bad game despite the somewhat gaudy 30 points.
They were beat for a couple of long throws by McNair, but played good run defense
and only gave up 198 total net yards. The Pittsburgh defense was mostly the
victim of its own offense.
WHAT YOU OUGHT TO KNOW
QB: Steve McNair (15-16 161 yds 3 TD, 0 INT; 2 rushes 5 yds) McNair had a very
good game and was elusive in the pocket. McNair only missed one pass all afternoon
and threw some very nice deep balls. McNair hit three TD's with one each to
Bennett, Kinney and McCareins. Especially nice was a perfectly thrown lob to
Bennett in the corner of the endzone.
RB: Eddie George (11-21 rushing, 1-(-)3 receiving, 1 target) George struggled
to find running room against the 3-4 defense of the Titans. George was repeatedly
stuffed at the line of scrimmage. George's one reception was stopped for a loss.
Tennessee even chose to go to the pass upon getting the ball inside the one
on the INT.
Robert Holcombe (3-11 rushing, 1-3 receiving, 1 target) Holcombe received spot
duty relieving George.
Chris Brown (6-3 rushing, no receptions, 0 targets) Brown received garbage time
duty at the end of the game as the Titans were running out the clock and was
WR: Justin McCareins (5-81 receiving 1 TD, 5 targets) McCareins was McNair's
favorite target on the day. McCareins seemed to be at ease getting open on crossing
patterns. McCareins added a very nice TD reception.
Drew Bennett (2-52 receiving TD, 2 targets) Bennett made a very nice 42 yard
reception out leaping Chad Scott using his height advantage. On the same series,
Bennett caught a beautifully thrown ball from McNair for pay dirt.
Derrick Mason (1-4 receiving TD, 2 targets) Mason either was either covered
very well all day or not part of the game plan. Mason was a not factor, other
than maybe being a decoy, with his one reception.
TE: Erron Kinney (4-19 receiving, 1 TD, 4 targets) Kinney received four targets
from McNair and caught all four. Kinney was sure handed and was the beneficiary
of a one yard TD from McNair after the turnover.
Shad Meier (1-5 receiving, 1 target) Meier caught the only ball throw to him
on what looked like a check down to the 3rd or 4th option.
K: Gary Anderson (0-0 FG, 4 XP) Anderson hit all of his extra point attempts
and did not attempt a field goal.
Pass Defense: The Titans were almost playing bend but not break pass defense.
Tennessee was giving up receptions but tackling surely after the catch. Tennessee
was able to get consistent pressure on Maddox resulting in a safety and forced
2 INTs one of which was returned for a TD. Rolle seemed to have a particularly
effective game with good coverage on Burress throughout the day. This unit was
the difference in the game.
Rush Defense: The Titan rush defense was also effective and only gave up 2.8
yards per carry. Zereoue was unable to get anything going consistently on the
ground and the Steelers eventually had to abandon the run to try and get back
in the game with only 5 rushing attempts in the second half.
QB: Tommy Maddox (31-47 332 0 TD 2 INT passing) Maddox had a nice yardage afternoon,
but that is bound to happen to anyone who attempts nearly 50 passes. Maddox
did make several very nice throws to his trio of receivers, but also made a
couple bad decisions. The first INT was more of a great play by Rolle jumping
a slant route, however the second INT was a bad decision by Maddox. He was being
pressured and about to be sacked and on the way down, he attempted to dump the
ball to Riemersma, who was releasing from a blocking assignment. The ball was
snagged by Boiman just above the ground and returned 60 yards for a score putting
a nail in the Steelers' coffin.
RB: Amos Zereoue (18-51 rushing TD, 6-48 receiving, 7 targets) Zereoue had a
decent game with nearly 100 combined yards and a rushing TD. Zereoue also seems
to have tightened his grip on the starting job as Bettis was only in on 3 carries
from scrimmage. The Steelers were having some trouble getting the running game
going early and resorted to some tricky plays and misdirections. Zereoue, however,
wound up with under 3 yards per carry.
Jerome Bettis (3-6 rushing 0 targets) After looking like he would challenge
for playing time last week, the Bus was a non-factor only managing a handful
of carries for two yards a clip.
WR: Hines Ward (9-76 receiving, 14 targets) Ward received a very nice number
of targets hauling in nine of his looks. Ward seemed to be the favorite target
as he was matched up with Dyson as opposed to Rolle, the Titan shut-down corner.
Ward had remarkably sure hands, but was handled after the catch and unable to
break any "big" plays.
Plaxico Burress (4-64 receiving, 14 targets) Burress had a sub-par day by his
standards. However, he was frustrated by the coverage most of the day. Plaxico
did receive a nice number of targets as well and a beautiful outstretched catch
(upheld under challenge).
Antwaan Randle El (6-48 receiving 1-15 rushing, 7 targets) Randle El was very
impressive making plays all over the field: receiving, running, returning punts
and even lining up under center and in the backfield as part of the trick plays.
Randle El wound up with decent numbers for a third receiver
were his moves and elusiveness as the Steelers try a number of different ways
to get him involved.
Chris Doering (3-44 receiving, 4 targets) Doering only got in the game on obvious
passing downs with 4 WR packages. Doering did make some nice possession receiver
type plays, but nothing special.
TE: Jay Riemersma ( 3-44 receiving, 6 targets) Riemersma also received a nice
number of targets for a TE. Riemersma nearly pulled one down in the redzone
which went off his finger tips.
K: Josh Reed (2-3 FG (26, 23 yds), 1 XP) Reed hit two of his three field goals,
the miss being on a magnificent block by Tank Black.
Pass Defense: The Steeler pass defense got burnt for 3 receiving TDs with blown
coverage on the McCareins TD and just plain getting beat by Bennett. The Steelers
were able to get decent pressure on McNair, but he was mostly able to step up
or break tackles and complete the pass.
Rush Defense: The Rush defense was very stout only allowing 1.8 yards per carry
and 40 total yards. This begs the question though of was the defense strong
against the run or are the Titans struggling that badly to rush the football?
Cardinals 13 at St. Louis Rams 37
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
The Cardinals are back to being the Cardinals. Jeff Blake who was averaging
230 yards per game "lit up" the Rams secondary for 88 yards on 10-17
passing. Couple that with their grind it out run game that managed 36 yards
on 14 carries and you have the makings of one of the least productive fantasy
games a team can manage.
The one bright spot for the Cardinals was rookie WR Anquan Boldin. He continues
to prove that he's no fluke. He's strong - on 3rd and 8 at the end of the 3rd
quarter, Blake hit Boldin about 3 yards short of the first down marker. The
Rams quickly gang tackled Boldin, but he drug a pile of 6 defenders forward
for 2 yards and almost got the first down. He also makes great catches. He dove
to his right to catch an errant Blake pass for another first down. Even though
it's only 4 games, Boldin has the makings of something special.
Emmitt Smith did score his first touchdown of his career in Arizona. Although
it did take 4 tries from the 2 yard line.
The Cardinals recorded their second sack of the season. You had to look pretty
hard to find bright spots here.
St. Louis Rams
Welcome back. We keep hearing "this is no longer 'the greatest show on
Turf'" - maybe it's not, but bring in the Cardinals defense and the Rams
stats suddenly look pretty good. Marc Bulger threw for 272 yards and 2 TDs.
He also ran for a score. Torry Holt tied a career high with 12 catches for 133
yards and a TD. Isaac Bruce became the Rams all time leader in receiving yards
(9710 passing Henry Ellard).
Lamar Gordon looked good in his first start this year (replacing an injured
Marshall Faulk). He had several good runs and showed excellent speed getting
to the outside often for good gains (something that Faulk had not shown the
ability to do so far this season). With the game well in hand, Gordon split
time in the second half with rookie Arlen Harris. It's likely that Coach Martz
wasn't wanting to risk further depleting his RB situation by getting Gordon
hurt. Harris looked good also averaging just short of 4 yards per carry.
The defense couldn't have played better unless they scored. They held the Cardinals
to 0-8 on third down conversions. That went a long way to only giving up 171
total yards and only having to play for 17 and a half minutes of the game (the
Cardinals time of possession). They only sacked Blake one time, but they did
force 4 Cardinal turnovers all on fumbles. All told, the Cardinals ran only
35 offensive plays plus 6 punts, thus there weren't that many opportunities
for good defensive stats.
WHAT YOU OUGHT TO KNOW
QB: Jeff Blake (10-17/88/0/0) looks to be developing a trend. His first week
he threw for 363 yards then Seattle held him to only 55 yards. Last week he
threw for 273 yards against a good Packers defense only to end up with 88 yards
this week. If form holds true, start him next week against the Cowboys and you'll
be rewarded. He did almost have a TD pass to Bryant Johnson, but the ball was
slightly under thrown and by the time Johnson caught it, the defenders had time
to catch up and knock him out of bounds at the 2 yard line. Josh McCown (3-4/47/0/0)
did come in late for mop up duty.
RB: Emmitt Smith (12-25/1TD) led a pitiful running game for Arizona. After
Johnson was pushed out at the 2 yard line, the Cardinals ran Emmitt 4 straight
times over left tackle. Finally on 4th down he got in for his first TD as a
Cardinal. Marcel Ship did play on a few 3rd downs and caught 1 pass for 3 yards.
Other than that, 270lb fullback James Hodgins was the only other RB to touch
the ball catching 2 passes for 6 yards.
WR: Anquan Boldin (7-86/0) continues to play great football for a rookie WR.
He now holds the NFL record for most yards and catches for the first 4 career
games. Not since Randy Moss has a rookie WR played so well (2003 may come to
be known as the year of the WR - Rogers / Johnson / Boldin). Bryant Johnson
(3-40/0) nearly scored on a 24 yard pass from Blake but was pushed out of bounds
at the 2 yard line. He also was the target on the Cardinal's two point attempt,
but he couldn't hold on to a low Blake pass.
TE: Freddie Jones was a non factor. He had one pass thrown his way, but a mix-up
in the routes had two receivers in the same area and the ball was overthrown
K: Bill Gramatica was solid on his extra point. The Cardinals went for 2 on
their other TD.
Pass Defense: The front 7 got exactly no pressure on Bulger and most of the
day all he did was wait around for Torry Holt to get open. Holt accomplished
this all day without much effort either.
Rush Defense: The rush defense played ok for Arizona. OK might be a stretch,
but they didn't give up 100 yards to any single back. But they did let Gordon
and Harris combine for 128 yards on 33 carries - just shy of 4 yds per carry.
St. Louis Rams
QB: Marc Bulger (28-42/272/2/1int) showed what a true NFL QB can accomplish
given all day to throw with a strong accurate arm. He hit Torry Holt early and
often in leading the Rams to 2 first quarter scoring drives. His only mistake
came at the end of the first half when he tried to hit Bruce on a 48 yard pass
just short of the goal line that was intercepted by Dexter Jackson. He also
ran for a 1 yard TD for the Rams final score.
RB: Lamar Gordon (21-81/1TD) looked solid in his first start this year. He
took advantage of the Cardinals having to constantly play 2 deep safeties (to
cover the pass - which didn't work) and had several good runs outside the tackles.
He displayed speed at RB that the Rams have been lacking this year (was Faulk's
knee limiting him?). He scored the Rams first TD on a nice 3 yard run off left
Tackle and dropped a TD pass in the end zone later in the 4th quarter with the
game already out of reach. Arlen Harris (12-47 rushing and 3-18 receiving) started
the second half and played well as Gordon's backup.
WR: Torry Holt (12-133/1) was the primary WR. The Cardinals could do nothing
to stop Holt as he was open all day tying his career high with 12 catches. His
day could have been a lot better as he got behind his defender and was flying
towards the end zone on what would have been a 70 yard TD early in the second
quarter, but Bulger's throw was too long even for the speedy Holt.
Isaac Bruce (4-58) set the Rams all time receiving yards record but had a tough
day near the end zone. He dropped a TD pass in the end zone on 3rd and goal
from the 7. He was the target on Bulger's long throw at the end of the 1st half
that was intercepted at the 5 and he also caught a ball in the end zone in the
3rd quarter, but he couldn't keep his feet in bounds.
Dane Looker (4-27/1 TD) continued to be a favorite 3rd down target of Bulger's
and seems to have the QB's confidence as two of his 4 receptions resulted in
3rd down conversions including the Ram's second TD.
TE: Brandon Manumaleuna (3-21) had the most targets, but Cam Cleeland got open
on the 3rd play from scrimmage on what would have been a 32 yard TD, but Bulger's
pass either got tipped or slipped out of his hands and ended up 5 yards short
K: Jeff Wilkins scored on field goals of 24, 53 and 31 yards, but missed from
39. His 53 yard attempt was a gift from Dexter Jackson who fumbled his interception
run back with 2 seconds remaining in the first half.
Pass Defense: With all the credit usually going to the Rams offense, their
Defense is quietly having a good season. Holding the Cardinals to 0-8 on 3rd
down was the first time they've held an opponent without a 3rd down conversion
since 1983. They blitzed Blake often since the Cardinals really don't have a
lot of speed at Receiver and it worked. Only 13 passes were completed on the
day and the Cardinals only had 9 drives total with only 1 being more than 5
Rush Defense: As good as the pass defense was for the Rams, the rush defense
was better. Giving up only 36 yards on the ground and 8 of those were on a Josh
McCown scramble late in the game. The only blemish on the day came after the
Cardinals got the ball 1st and goal on the 2 yard line and only on their 4th
consecutive Emmitt Smith run did they give up the score.
Bengals 21 at Cleveland Browns 14
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Backup QB Tim Couch hooked up with WR Quincy Morgan for a 71-yard TD pass on
the second play of the game where Morgan took a short pass all the way. Couch
continued to play very well throughout the 1st half, throwing for a second TD,
but he did not play particularly well in the 2nd half. He too fell victim to
Cleveland's offensive line struggles, which include both poor pass blocking
and poor run blocking.
Once again, the Brown's running game was virtually non-existent. Cleveland
RBs combined for 55 yards on 18 carries.
The Cleveland defense did not record a sack, an interception, or a fumble all
day. They gave up 295 total yards of offense to Cincinnati.
Starting QB Kelly Holcomb did not play due to a fractured lower leg. He also
has an ankle injury on the other leg.
The Bengal's recorded their first win of the season Sunday behind the excellent
play of QB Jon Kitna, who threw for 3 TDs, and no interceptions. Three factors
helped Cincinnati win. First, the offense didn't turn the ball over. Second,
the team didn't incur any costly penalties. Lastly, they never gave up.
Eight different players caught a pass from Kitna, but WR Chad Johnson came
through with the best performance, catching 2 TDs.
The Bengal defense barely outplayed Cleveland's. They recorded 2 sacks, 1 INT,
and forced a fumble (did not recover). The TD they gave up on the second play
of the game was not a defensive breakdown- everyone was just blocked very well.
T.J. Houshmandzadeh did not play because of a hamstring injury. TE Eric Schobel
did not play for the same reason.
WHAT YOU OUGHT TO KNOW
QB: Tim Couch finished with a productive day: 23 of 36 for 280 yards, 2 TDs
and 1 INT. He was "hurried" 15 times, knocked down 11 times, and intercepted
once. The long TD pass to Morgan was actually a short throw that Morgan took
the distance. Couch should have had 2 more interceptions, but luckily for him,
the ill-advised passes ended up on the ground. His comeback bid fell short as
he was intercepted with little time left on the clock.
RB: William Green had 16 carries for 47 yards. He also caught 3 passes for
17 yards. On Cleveland's second possession, Green took a helmet to helmet hit
that appeared to knock him out, causing a fumble. He tried to go to the huddle
after that play, but was clearly dazed and confused. Instead, he was escorted
to the bench. Once again, he had a few nice runs, but could not break away for
any big gains- it seems like he pauses after getting through the line of scrimmage,
wondering why he hasn't been taken down. At that moment, he gets tackled.
Jamel White had 4 catches for 20 yards and 1 TD. He did not have any rushing
attempts. He was targeted only once in the 1st half. The result was a TD catch
on 2nd and goal.
James Jackson had 2 carries for 8 yards. He also had 1 catch for 7 yards. Both
runs came right after Green came out.
WR: Kevin Johnson had 5 catches for 89 yards, and no TDs. He was only targeted
3 times in the 1st half. One of those targets resulted in a 59-yard TD catch
being nullified for an offensive holding penalty on WR Quincy Morgan. He got
more looks in the 2nd half, but wasn't used nearly as much as he was last week
with Holcomb. Total targets: 8.
Quincy Morgan had 3 receptions for 92 yards, 1 TD, and 1 fumble (recovered
by Cleveland). The screen pass he caught for a TD was made possible, in part,
because of some great downfield blocking. His speed took care of the rest. He
was targeted 6 times.
Andre' Davis caught 3 passes for 29 yards, and no TDs. He also carried the
ball twice for 11 yards. He was targeted 5 times.
Dennis Northcutt played this week and contributed 3 catches for 23 yards. He
was listed as questionable going in to the game. He was targeted 4 times.
TE: Steve Heiden had 1 catch for 3 yards. He was targeted twice.
K: Phil Dawson missed his only field goal attempt (36 yards) of the game for
the second week in a row. He did have 2 extra points.
Pass Defense: The Cleveland secondary gave up its first passing TD of the season
on Cincinnati's first drive of the game. They proceeded to give up 2 more in
the losing effort.
Rush Defense: Cleveland held Cincinnati RB's to only 81 yards on 26 carries,
for an average of 3.1 yards per carry. They didn't get to Kitna all day.
QB: Jon Kitna's final numbers on the day: 23 of 31 for 215 yards, 3 TDs and
0 INT. His passes looked sharp most of the day, with the exception of a few
that were way too high. The offense responded extremely well in their first
series after the quick Cleveland TD. Kitna led the way by completing 8 of 9
passes; the last of which resulted in a touchdown to WR Chad Johnson.
RB: Corey Dillon had only 4 carries for 20 yards, and did not play the entire
2nd half due to a lingering groin injury. Dillon's injuries continue to limit
his playing time- he has yet to play an entire game this season. He never looked
comfortable running the ball. He was slow to the hole, and appeared to be in
Rudi Johnson was the primary ball carrier for the Bengal's in the 2nd half,
finishing the day with 15 carries for 51 yards. He also caught 4 passes for
11 yards. He looked impressive at times.
Brandon Bennett had only 5 carries for 7 yards. He also had 1 catch for 8 yards.
FB Jeremi Johnson had 2 carries for 3 yards, and 1 catch for another 3 yards.
WR: Chad Johnson had 67 yards receiving on only 3 catches, but his 2 TDs were
key to the Bengal's victory. He was targeted 6 times. Johnson injured his leg
late in the game so keep an eye out for news there.
Peter Warrick had 6 catches for 41 yards. The Bengal's did not use him for
any trick-type plays the entire game. He was targeted 9 times and Cincinnati
seems to want to utilize his quickness getting the ball into his hands on quick
Lawrence Hamilton did not have a catch, but was targeted twice.
Kelley Washington caught both of the passes thrown to him for 28 yards.
TE: Tony Stewart played a relatively big part in Cincinnati's offensive success,
catching 5 passes for 56 yards. He was targeted 6 times.
Reggie Kelly was almost a non-factor, with the exception of his lone catch/target,
which happened to be a 1-yard TD.
K: Shayne Graham did not attempt a FG. He did contribute something, making
Pass Defense: DE Justin Smith batted down a Couch pass on 3rd and 2, forcing
Cleveland to attempt a FG, which was no good. He also had his first sack of
the year. Cincinnati's improved pass defense allowed two 1st half TDs, but none
in the 2nd. Artrell Hawkins and Jeff Burris were both dinged up during the game,
but continued to play. Burris also had an interception late in the game that
allowed Cincinnati to run out the game clock and secure the win.
Rush Defense: The defensive line racked up 4 penalties (all offsides) on Cleveland's
2nd possession, giving the Brown's multiple opportunities to keep the drive
alive. However, the mistakes never ended up costing the unit. They applied pretty
good pressure all day, but Couch managed to get most of his throws off. Persistence
did pay off late in the game, as the defense recorded 3 sacks, only 2 of which
counted- a defensive penalty (offsides) negated one sack.
Francisco 49ers 7 at Minnesota Vikings 35
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
San Francisco 49ers
The best thing that can be said about this game as far as the 49ers are concerned
was that it was an early start. It allowed them to get back on the plane early
for the flight back home. They were able to get an early start on forgetting
the game. Then again, maybe that was the problem. The 49ers didn't wake up early
enough and by the time they did the game was over. After all of Terrell Owens
pre game talk, he forgot to bring his game to the field, ending the day with
5 catches for 55 yards while giving a very poor effort between the lines. He
embarrassed his coach, his team and himself in a much publicized shouting tantrum
on the sidelines.
Jeff Garcia couldn't get going at all. Perhaps it was the groin injury that
caused him to struggle, but he was off all game. He made some terrible throws
that missed the mark badly. Garcia was picked off 3 times. He was finally pulled
at the start of the 4th quarter and replacement Tim Rattay led the team for
their only score. Rattay actually threw for 146 yards in the quarter but it
was against a defense that was willing to give up some yards to keep the clock
running. The offensive line was a revolving door as far as pass protection was
concerned, causing Garcia to be hit or move in the pocket continuously.
The running game, led by Kevin Barlow with 72 yards on 11 carries, was very
effective to start the game, but the game got out of hand so quickly that the
49ers had to go to the pass far earlier and more often than they would have
liked. Hearst and Barlow alternated series to start the game with Hearst seeing
more time as the 49ers moved away from the ground game to play catch up. It
looks like both backs will continue to share time, with Hearst much more involved
in the passing game.
The San Francisco secondary was torched by WR Randy Moss. They gave up 4 touchdowns
through the air, 3 to Moss, on only 21 pass attempts. The defense didn't do
too badly against the running game, in part because the Vikings didn't need
Gus Frerotte was named the starter over the injured Daunte Culpepper at quarterback
and it couldn't have gone better for him. He had an almost perfect game, completing
16 of 21 passes for 267 yards, 4 TDs and no interceptions. He was seldom hurried
as the offensive line did a good job in protection and he made several nice
audibles resulting in big plays, including a Randy Moss touchdown reception.
Three of the touchdown passes went to WR Randy Moss. Moss also came into the
game injured, having suffered with back spasms all week. It didn't seem to affect
him, though, as he caught almost every pass thrown his way. He finished the
game with 8 catches for 172 yards to go along with the 3 touchdowns. The showdown
between Moss and Terrell Owens was no contest.
The Vikings scored on their first possession and three of their first four.
They led at the half 28-0. This allowed the defense to play the pass and spend
a lot of the day in the San Francisco backfield. A defense that was among the
worst in the league last year has been one of the stronger units this year,
playing well against the pass in particular. They had 4 sacks and 3 interceptions
and totally frustrated the 49er offense.
The running game was solid enough although they didn't have any need to rely
on it. Onterrio Smith saw extensive playing time with 10 carries for 43 yards
including his first touchdown, while Moe Williams also got 43 yards on 13 carries.
Doug Chapman, recovered from his injury, saw very limited action. On their second
series they ran 7 plays in a row, culminating in Onterrio Smith's touchdown.
WHAT YOU OUGHT TO KNOW
San Francisco 49ers
QB: Jeff Garcia (11-23-108 3 INT, 1-17 rushing) was off from the start of the
game until he was benched to start the 4th quarter. He threw the ball high,
low, and behind his receivers. He was often pressured by the Vikings and didn't
seem comfortable in the pocket even when he had time. He made bad decisions
on some of his throws as he tried to force it in to his receivers. His line
didn't give him a lot of time, but even when he wasn't pressured his throws
weren't sharp. He looked frustrated almost every time he came off the field.
His one highlight was a 17-yard scramble on which he didn't look affected by
the groin injury. Coach Dennis Erickson said Garcia was pulled not because of
his groin injury, but because of the score.
Tim Rattay (12-18-146 1 TD) came on in relief of Garcia on the first 49er drive
of the fourth quarter. He was far more accurate but by this time the Viking
defense had settled into prevent mode. He did have a touchdown pass to Tai Streets
and it was impressive that he ended up throwing for 146 yards in his quarter
RB: Garrison Hearst (13-56 rushing, 6-31 receiving, 6 targets (4 Garcia)) started
out running the ball ok but as the score got out of hand he became the primary
receiver, finishing as the leading receiver with 6 catches. He was in the game
more than RB Kevan Barlow was in the second half although the game started out
with them alternating series.
Kevan Barlow (11-72 rushing) ran very well, averaging 6.55 yards per carry.
The score of the game dictated that the 49ers abandon the running game and that
took Barlow out of the mix more normal. He started out alternating series with
Hearst but saw far less action in the second half. He was a non-factor in the
Fred Beasley (2-6 receiving, 3 targets (2 Garcia)) wasn't a factor in the game.
WR: Terrell Owens (5-55 receiving, 12 targets (7 Garcia)) was far more active
on the sidelines than on the field. He dropped a pass, didn't try much on a
pass down the sideline that looked catchable, and in general looked disinterested
in playing. He followed up last week's post-game tirade with a sideline tantrum
screaming at offensive coordinator Gregg Knapp. It was an embarrassing display
Tai Streets (4-81 1 TD receiving, 6 targets (3 Garcia)) scored the lone touchdown
for San Francisco. He caught 4 of the 6 passes thrown his way, averaging over
20 yards per catch. He didn't complain about anything.
Cedrick Wilson (4-41 receiving, 8 targets (4 Garcia)) was on the field when
San Francisco went to 3 receiver sets which ended up being most of the game.
He was the second-most targeted receiver for the 49ers.
TE: Jed Weaver (1-17 receiving, 4 targets (1 Garcia)) caught one of the balls
thrown his way. He was looked at more by Rattay for dump-offs but caught the
pass from Garcia.
Aaron Walker (1-23 receiving, 1 target (1 Garcia)) caught the only ball thrown
K: Owen Pochman (1 XP) made his only extra point. He did not have any field
Pass Defense: This phase of the game was absolutely horrible. They couldn't
cover anyone, particularly WR Randy Moss. The entire secondary was overmatched.
They surrendered 267 yards on only 21 attempts. They did have 2 sacks but Frerotte
had plenty of time to find his receivers.
Rush Defense: The rush defense ended up with deceiving numbers. While they
only gave up 102 yards on the ground that was more a factor of the Vikings being
able to throw the ball just about any time they wanted to. They gave up 1 touchdown
on the ground that came at the end of 7 consecutive running plays. The longest
run that they gave up was 12 yards.
QB: Gus Frerotte (16-21-267 4 TD passing, 3 - -4 rushing) was named the starter
shortly before kickoff. He had about as good as a game as a quarterback can
have throwing the ball, connecting on 4 touchdown passes, 3 to WR Randy Moss.
He averaged a fantastic 12.71 yards per attempt and his favorite play was throwing
the ball up in the air and letting Randy Moss go get it. He was very accurate,
evidenced by his 16 for 21 passing, and hit WR Nate Burleson with a perfect
strike for a touchdown. Although he was sacked twice the line gave him more
than adequate protection to find his receivers, usually Moss. Out of his 21
attempts, 10 went to Moss.
He also did a good job managing the game, particularly changing the play at
the line. One of his audibles resulted in the last touchdown pass to Moss on
the first play in the fourth quarter. His rushing stats included 3 kneel downs
to end the game.
RB: Moe Williams (13-43 rushing, 2-16 receiving, 3 targets) had a quiet day.
He alternated plays with RB Onterrio Smith starting on the first series. Williams
was usually in the game on obvious passing downs and was in the game for more
total plays than Smith. He ran hard but averaged only 3.3 yards per carry.
Onterrio Smith (10-43 1 TD rushing, 1-1 receiving, 1 target) ran for his first
touchdown, scoring from 5 yards out. He saw extensive time on the field, usually
on first and second downs, coming out in passing situations. He averaged 4.3
yards per carry, but this was not a day that the running game was the big focus.
Doug Chapman (1-2 rushing) Although he returned from an injury this week Chapman
was not a factor in the game as his one carry would indicate. He really never
got into the rotation that included Williams and Smith.
John Avery (1-0 rushing) was not a factor in the game.
WR: Randy Moss (8-172 3 TD receiving, 10 targets) was a man among boys. Of
the 10 passes thrown his way he came down with 8 of them, 3 for touchdowns.
He had a fourth touchdown called back when he was called for pass interference.
It looked like he would have been able to catch the ball anyway, but he pushed
off in the end zone. As it was, he averaged 21.5 yards per catch. He scored
the first touchdown from 15 yards out when QB Gus Frerotte tossed a jump ball
and Moss easily came down with it. The second touchdown was very similar but
from 35 yards away and Moss had to out-jump the defender and keep his feet inbounds.
He did both. His last touchdown was a long pass down the middle that he took
in stride for a 59-yard completion.
After the catches he didn't show off or act in ways that he may have in the
past. In general, he showed Terrell Owens how to play and act like the best
player on the team. He totally out-played the 49er secondary and it didn't matter
who covered him.
Nate Burleson ( 3-54 1 TD receiving, 4 targets) caught his first professional
touchdown pass, thanks in part to Randy Moss' pass interference penalty 2 plays
earlier. He caught a strike on a deep crossing pattern and was able to keep
his balance after being hit and bull his way just across the goal line. He caught
3 of the 4 balls thrown his way.
Kelly Campbell (1-7 receiving, 1 target, 1-6 rushing) was very quiet in this
game. He was thrown to only once and ran the ball on a reverse.
TE: Jimmy Kleinsasser (1-17 receiving, 1 target, 1-12 rushing) lined up as
a tight end and fullback. He went out after being shaken up in the second quarter
and wasn't a factor after that.
K: Aaron Elling (5 XP) made all of his extra point attempts. He had no field
Pass Defense: The pass defense was exceptional while the game was close. The
Vikings, who had a horrendous pass defense last year, put constant pressure
on QB Jeff Garcia, sacking him and backup Tim Rattay 4 times. They were able
to intercept 3 Garcia passes. While they gave up 254 yards in the air, 146 of
those were to Tim Rattay in the fourth quarter, long after the outcome had been
decided. The only real blemish on the day was the touchdown pass they surrendered
in the fourth quarter. Through 3 quarters they had held Garcia to 108 yards
on 23 attempts. They gave up only one big play, that being the 37-yard touchdown
Rush Defense: The rush defense left a little something to be desired at the
start but the game quickly turned as the Viking's offense put up a lot of points
quickly, forcing the 49ers to go away from the run. Overall they gave up 145
yards, 5.8 yards per attempt. The longest run given up was for 24 yards.
England Patriots 17 at Washington Redskins 20
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
New England Patriots
The running game that was so effective last week vs. the Jets disappeared against
Washington, as Kevin Faulk was bottled up all day before suffering a hand injury
in the third quarter. He did not return. Antowain Smith took over and had moderate
The ineffectiveness of the running game, made Tom Brady a busy man. It also
allowed the Redskins to drop seven defenders into coverage for most of the day.
The result: 38 passes for Brady and three interceptions. Two of the picks were
damaging to Patriots' scoring drives. Brady's overall numbers were respectable
(289 yards passing, 2 TD, 3 INT), and he made a few outstanding throws. But
with no running game to help his cause, he was forced into bad decisions and
bad throws several times.
At last Patrick Ramsey was able to play with a lead. Unlike the last couple
of weeks where he has put up big numbers while bringing Washington back from
a deficit, this week he played conservatively. His numbers were not spectacular
(10-22, 147 yards passing, 0 TD), but he made the throws when he needed to to
help Washington build a lead. More importantly he played smart, error-free football
and kept his team in the game.
RB Trung Canidate and Ladell Betts pretty much had their way running the ball
against an injury-riddled Patriots defense, which eased the burden on Ramsey.
Canidate especially, looked good, but he was passed over twice in key goal line
WR Laveranues Coles was his usual dependable self, hauling in half of Ramsey's
passes, but he did not reach the end zone.
WHAT YOU OUGHT TO KNOW
New England Patriots
QB: Tom Brady (25-38, 289 yards passing, 2 TD, 3 INT) looked pretty bad in
the first half. He tried to force the ball in to a covered David Givens in the
back of the end zone and got picked off. Then he tested Redskins CB Champ Bailey
down the sideline late in the second. Bad idea. Bailey picked it off. But when
the Redskins switched to more zone defense in the second half, Brady took advantage.
He spread the ball around to 8 different receivers and threw for 198 yards in
the second half as he tried in vain to rally the Patriots to victory.
RB: Antowain Smith (14-56 rushing; 1-16 receiving, 1 target) didn't touch the
ball until 10 minutes into the 2nd quarter, as Faulk clearly seems to be the
primary back for the Patriots now. It took a third quarter injury to Faulk for
Smith to get more action. Much of his success was due to the fact that the Redskins
were playing soft on defense to counter the Patriots' passing attack.
RB Kevin Faulk (10-12 rushing; 1-7 receiving, 1 target) didn't have any success
running the ball early and then compounded his troubles when he fumbled the
ball away on the third play of the second half. He hurt his hand on the play.
RB Larry Centers (3-15 rushing; 3-26, 1 TD receiving, 4 targets) did a nice
job working the underbelly of the Redskins defense, and also picked up some
nice yardage after the catch. He was the best receiving option for the Patriots
out of the backfield, and as long as New England is banged up on the offensive
line, Centers will see his share of throws as an outlet.
WR: Troy Brown (7-60 receiving; 1-10 rushing, 7 targets) was not very involved
early in the game (1 catch in the first half), but Brady began looking his way
frequently in the after halftime. Brown did his usual blue-collar work underneath
finding holes in the Redskins defense and making the tough catches. Still, most
of his work came between the 20s, and Brady looked elsewhere when the Pats were
in the red zone.
WR David Givens ( 4-57 receiving, 1 TD, 6 targets) had a career game, as he
saw additional playing time thanks to the absence of injured WR David Patten.
He made a couple of difficult catches in the first half, and then got behind
the defense for a spectacular, diving 29-yard TD catch. He made more of his
opportunity than fellow Patriots receiver Deion Branch, who many expected to
fill Patten's role. On two of Brady's interceptions, including one in the end
zone, he was looking for Givens, but made horrible a throw.
WR Deion Branch (3-38 receiving; 1-11 rushing, 8 targets) turned in a disappointing
fantasy performance starting for injured David Patten. He was targeted more
than any other Patriots receiver on the day, but was unable to get enough separation
from the defender to make the grab.
TE: Christian Fauria (3-31, 4 targets) failed to reach the end zone for the
second straight week. Larry Centers is starting to get more of Brady's attention
in the red zone as defenders are keeping a closer eye on Fauria in close.
TE Daniel Graham (3-54 receiving, 6 targets) had one of his better days as
a pro, averaging 18 yards per grab. He was able to stretch the Redskins linebackers
vertically and made a couple of nice catches with defenders on his back. He
flashed the sort of downfield speed and running after the catch that makes him
so dangerous, but he has yet to do it on a consistent basis.
K: Adam Vinatieri uncharacteristically missed a 46-yard FG wide left. He connected
on 23-yard FG earlier in the game.
Pass Defense: Considering how many starters they were missing due to injury,
the Patriots did a decent job defending the pass. But the reality is, they simply
weren't that busy. The Redskins passed the ball only 22 times - the fewest in
a game in the Steve Spurrier era.
Run Defense: New England had a rough day, giving up 116 yards on 29 carries
to the Redskins.
QB: Patrick Ramsey (10-22, 147 yards passing) came back down to earth after
throwing for more than 300 yards in his last two outings. Unlike in past weeks,
Ramsey was playing with the lead, so the Redskins did not need his heroics.
In fact, Redskins coach Steve Spurrier played it so conservatively in the second
half that Ramsey only threw seven passes after the break. The 22 passes he threw
on the day were he fewest in a game since Spurrier took over in Washington.
When he did throw, Ramsey showed poise in the pocket and made good decisions.
Much of his yardage came on short passes and screens, which the Washington receivers
then turned into big gains. But he also showed good accuracy when he had to
make the tough throw, finding WR Coles several times for clutch first downs.
RB Trung Canidate (12-67 rushing; 1-25 receiving, 1 target) looked very good
running the ball, but his fantasy value was seriously hindered by his teammates
who stole his carries in the red zone. Canidate led the team with 12 carries,
but in the team's two visits inside the 10 yard line, Canidate gave way to RB
Ladell Betts (1 yard TD run) and RB Rock Cartwright (3 yard TD run). For much
of the day Spurrier rotated Betts and Canidate, seemingly trying to keep the
Patriots off-balance with the two different running styles.
RB Ladell Betts(11-35 rushing, 2 targets) had little success moving the ball
early, but made the most of his first opportunity on the red zone, punching
it in with authority for a 1-yard TD early in the third.
RB Chad Morton (1-30 receiving, 1 target) had a key third down reception early
in the game, but was otherwise not a factor. He had 1punt return for 9 yards
and averaged 18 yards on four kickoff returns.
RB Rock Cartwright (1-3 rushing, 1 TD; 1-11 receiving, 1 target) scored the
Redskins final touchdown of the day on a 3-yard run in the third quarter. It
was his only carry of the day. Inside the 5-yard line, Spurrier clearly seems
to favor Betts and Cartwright to Canidate.
WR Laveranues Coles (5-62 receiving; 1-2 rushing, 8 targets) made several clutch
catches on the day, and Ramsey looked for him whenever he was in a jam. Most
of his work was done across the middle on short crossing routes. He was the
recipient of half of Ramsey's completions and accounted for nearly half of the
team's receiving yards.
WR Rod Gardner (2-19 receiving; 7 targets) had two catches early in the game
and then was not heard from again.
K John Hall made good on his first two attempts, but had his third kick, a
48-yard try, blocked. New England got good penetration on the block, but Hall
didn't help by kicking a line drive right into the defender.
Pass Defense: The Redskins put pressure on Tom Brady with four linemen for
much of the day, and their defensive backs came up with the big plays when they
needed them. Champ Bailey was all over the field, making a pick late in the
second quarter, and forcing a fumble in the third quarter that proved to be
the big play of the game.
Run Defense: Washington stuffed the Patriots early, and forced Tom Brady to
try to win the game with his arm.
Eagles 23 at Buffalo Bills 13
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
The bye week was just what the doctor ordered for QB Donovan McNabb and the
Philadelphia Eagles. Looking sharp and confident, McNabb guided his offense
to a touchdown and field goal on the opening two drives. McNabb hung in the
pocket well, giving his receivers time to get open.
He also showed his elusiveness, scrambling for 47 yards.
With three solid options out of the backfield, the Eagles continued to use
the running back by committee approach. RB Duce Staley started the game, but
was used mostly as a decoy, only receiving two carries and two catches. RB Correll
Buckhalter and RB Brian Westbrook split the majority of playing time, each receiving
11 carries. After Buffalo had pulled within a field goal, late in the fourth
quarter, Westbrook put the game out of reach with a 62-yard TD scamper through
the right side.
Already without the services of starting CB Bobby Taylor and S Brian Dawkins,
CB Troy Vincent was lost on Buffalo's opening drive after injuring his hamstring.
The Eagles patchwork defense continued the Bill's offensive struggles only allowing
129 yards through the first three quarters.
Whereas the Eagles used a Running back by committee approach, the Buffalo Bills
had to go to a Running back by depletion scheme. With starting RB Travis Henry
sidelined because of torn rib cartilage and backup RB Sammy Morris out due to
a hernia, the Bills started third string RB Joe Burns. He was completely shut
down by the Eagles defense, only mustering 17 yards on 8 carries.
Without the threat of a running game, QB Drew Bledsoe was forced to throw into
double coverage all day. He looked out of rhythm early and the only promising
drive, late in the first half, was ended when WR Bobby Shaw fumbled the ball
away at the Philadelphia 23-yard line. Bledsoe did rally the troops late, orchestrating
two touchdown drives in the fourth quarter to bring the Bills within a field
The Bills receivers had to settle for short routes against a blanketing Eagles
secondary. WR Eric Moulds and WR Bobby Shaw had eight catches apiece to lead
the Buffalo receivers. WR Josh Reed left the game with a back injury.
The Bills defense was unable to come up with the big play and allowed the Eagles
offense to convert on 9 of 16 third-down attempts.
WHAT YOU OUGHT TO KNOW
QB: Donovan McNabb (18-29-172, 0 TD, 0 INT; 9-47 rushing) regained his smile
this week. During the Eagles bye week, McNabb took some time off and vacationed
down in Arizona. Using his feet and his arm, he led the offense on a 8 play,
71-yard TD drive to open the game. McNabb followed that drive up with a 16-play,
65-yard drive capped off by a 26-yard FG. He made smart decisions and accurate
passes to help the Eagles to a much needed win. McNabb showed his toughness,
playing the entire second half with a jammed thumb on his throwing hand.
RB: Brian Westbrook (11-96 rushing, 1 TD, 1-5 receiving, 3 targets) thwarted
a Bills comeback when he broke off a 62-yard TD run late in the fourth quarter
sealing the victory. Westbrook and RB Correll Buckhalter shared the workload
in the Eagles RBBC game plan.
Correll Buckhalter (11-25 rushing, 1 TD, 1 target) alternated with Westbrook
and was used in the Eagles goal line offense. He scored the first touchdown
of the game with a 2-yard plunge. Buckhalter did have a fumble in the Eagles
second drive, but it did not hurt his playing time.
Duce Staley (2-4 rushing, 3-16 receiving) started the game, but was used sparingly
as a third down back. He was the odd man out in the Philadelphia backfield.
WR: Todd Pinkston (6-60 receiving, 9 targets) was McNabb's favorite target
and was instrumental in the Eagles' second scoring drive with two key catches
on third down conversions.
James Thrash (3-47 receiving, 6 targets, 1-5 rushing) was a solid compliment
to Pinkston in the game. He also contributed two catches on third down conversions,
the biggest coming on a leaping catch on the last Eagles' scoring drive.
Freddie Mitchell (2-24 receiving, 5 targets) was not a factor in the game.
TE: L.J. Smith (2-16 receiving) made an important catch for a third down conversion
keeping the Eagles first TD drive alive.
Chad Lewis was not heard from at all in the game.
K: David Akers made all three of his field goal attempts, with the longest
being from 34 yards. On his third field goal from 22 yards, Akers became the
all-time leading kicker in scoring in Eagles history.
Pass Defense: The Eagles pass defense, playing without three starters, shut
down the high powered Bills offense. They put constant pressure on QB Drew Bledsoe
and recorded two sacks.
The secondary recovered a fumble by WR Bobby Shaw late in the first half that
led to the Eagles' second field goal. It was the first recovered fumble for
the Eagles defense this year. Much of Bledsoe's 296 yards passing was put up
late in game when the Bills went to a spread offense.
Rush Defense: The Philadelphia rush defense was outstanding, controlling the
line of scrimmage and only allowing Buffalo running backs 21 yards on 12 carries,
a miserly 1.8 yard per carry average. By being so dominant, this allowed the
safeties to play deep and help out in coverage of the Bills receivers. The Bills
were forced to start 3rd teamer Joe Burns at RB, but this was still a dominant
QB: Drew Bledsoe (27-43-296, 1 TD, 0 INT; 2-0 rushing, 1 TD) was hampered by
a total lack of a running game. Without the threat of RB Travis Henry's speed
in the backfield, the Eagles' safeties played two-deep coverage and took the
big hitter away from Bledsoe. Bledsoe had to settle for the short routes and
was out of sync for the first three quarters. He got it together in the fourth
quarter, leading the Bills to touchdowns on consecutive drives. In the first
scoring drive, Bledsoe hit WR Bobby Shaw for a 3-yard TD on fourth down, but
failed to convert the two point conversion when his pass to WR Eric Moulds was
wide. Bledsoe capped off the second TD, with a 1-yard QB sneak on fourth down.
Unfortunately, for Bledsoe and the Bills, it was too little, too late. The Buffalo
offense had gone 129 minutes without a touchdown before finally reaching the
end zone on Shaw's TD catch.
RB: Travis Henry did not suit up for the game, nursing his torn rib cartilage.
Backup Sammy Morris was also out with a hernia.
Third string RB Joe Burns (8-17 rushing, 3-34 receiving, 4 targets) could not
get anything going against a stout Eagles defense. He was able to save a little
face catching a pass out of the backfield for a third down conversion that helped
set up the Bills first TD.
RB Ken Simonton (2-4 rushing), just activated off the practice squad, started
the second half, but was equally ineffective.
WR: Eric Moulds (8-114 receiving, 14 targets) continued to be QB Drew Bledsoe's
favorite target. He had only two catches in the first half, receiving a great
deal of attention from the Eagles' secondary. Moulds was the intended target
on the Bills' two point conversion attempt, but the pass from Bledsoe was wide.
He was also a target of a 22-yard pass in the end zone, but the Eagle defensive
player was just able to tip the pass away.
Bobby Shaw (8-92 receiving, 1 TD, 13 targets) fumbled away the ball on the
Bills' only promising threat in the first half. His fumble led to an Eagles
field goal, just before the end of the first half. He did make up for his turnover
with a 3-yard TD catch for the Buffalo's first score. He picked up the slack
for WR Josh Reed when he went out of the game with a back injury.
Josh Reed (1-9 receiving, 3 targets) left the game with a back injury and was
not a factor.
TE: Mark Campbell (5-38 receiving, 11 targets) did a nice job getting open
for Bledsoe and was rewarded with several passes thrown his way. On the first
scoring drive, he caught a 7-yard pass and was tackled at the 1-yard line to
set up the Bobby Shaw TD catch. Campbell was also open in the end zone of the
Bills' second scoring drive, but the pass was thrown high and went off his fingertips
TE Dave Moore (1-7 receiving, 1 target) had his only catch in the red zone
and was tackled at the goal line, setting up Bledsoe's QB sneak for the second
K: Rian Lindell missed his only field goal attempt from 51 yards, short and
Pass Defense: The Buffalo pass defense was less than stellar in allowing seven
different receivers to catch passes. The pass defense recorded two sacks, but
allowed QB Donovan McNabb to break containment several times for big runs. They
also allowed the Eagles offense to convert an inexcusable 9 for 16 third down
Rush Defense: The Bills rush defense did a solid job of holding the Eagles'
running backs in check to the tune of 23 for carries for 63 yards, until RB
Brian Westbrook ran for a 62-yard TD to put the game on ice late in the fourth
quarter. They did have a much tougher time with QB Donovan McNabb, allowing
him to pick up 47 yards in 9 carries on the ground. The big stop eluded the
Buffalo defense all game long.
Falcons 3 at Carolina Panthers 23
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
The Atlanta Falcons offense was shut down for more than 3 quarters today and
will have few pieces of film to add to their highlight reels. A shutout was
avoided however when K-Jay Feely hit a field goal in the fourth quarter.
Filling in for the injured QB-Michael Vick, QB-Doug Johnson was under heavy
pressure and mostly ineffective moving the ball through the air, only gaining
19 passing yards in the first half, and in desperation putting up 133 in the
RB-T.J. Duckett, currently the subject of trade rumors, started for the first
time this season and had a 100 yard rushing game. Making a statement in an otherwise
dismal offensive outing by the Falcons.
The Falcons went into this game looking to get the ball to WR-Peerless Price
but were not able to do so as TE-Alge Crumpler was once again their top receiver.
Most of Crumpler's yardage came on a single catch-and-run in the fourth quarter
to set up the Falcons only points.
The Carolina Panthers combined a balanced offensive plan with a stunning first
half pass defense to put a 6 game losing streak to Atlanta to rest today. This
victory takes them to their second successive 3-0 season start.
Carolina QB-Jake Delhomme, in his second start for the Panthers, was calm and
precise leading two touchdown drives in the first half. His 168 yards and single
touchdown pass were all that were needed with the rushing game well established.
RB-Stephen Davis had his third 100 yard rushing game in-a-row in Carolina and
finished with 191 total yards of offensive production, and a touchdown.
The three primary Panther wide receivers all had catches today with WR-Steve
Smith hauling in 5. WR-Ricky Proehl had the only receiving touchdown on the
Kicker John Kasay's three field goals weren't needed for the victory, but they
did add up to another fine day kicking the ball through the uprights.
WHAT YOU OUGHT TO KNOW
QB: Sacked a total of 6 times today, QB-Doug Johnson (14-23-152, 1 INT) was
obviously frustrated and had a difficult day getting his passes off as the defensive
pressure was on top of him almost every play. With only 19 yards passing in
the first half, most of Johnson's yardage came during the second half, as Atlanta
abandoned the rushing game to try and catch up. Johnson's interception in the
fourth quarter was the result of an overthrown ball on a rushed pass attempt.
QB-Woodrow Dantzler (3-12 rushing) ran a total of 4 plays from scrimmage, all
of them rushing plays with one of them being aborted on a bad snap.
Seen wearing walking shoes on the sidelines for the first time today, QB-Michael
Vick's earliest possible return date is next week, however, week 6 or 7 are
RB: T.J. Duckett (14-100 rushing, 1-21 receiving, 2 targets) got his first start
of the season and put in a very good effort, proving that an Atlanta RB can
have a 100 yard rushing day. What won't show up in Duckett's stats though is
the ball popping out of his hands twice, after he was called down. Both fumbles
were on the Falcons second possession and the result of Duckett running through
the hole with only one hand on the ball. A problem he appeared to correct, as
he had no further troubles holding onto the ball.
Not getting many opportunities today, RB-Warrick Dunn's (4-20 rushing, 1-3
receiving, 1 target) longest run from scrimmage was 12 yards.
Rookie FB-Justin Griffith (2-12 rushing, 1 target) played minimally.
WR: The Falcons had been making noise in prior weeks about getting the ball
to WR-Peerless Price (5-30 receiving, 9 targets) more, and it sounds like they'll
have to wait another week for that to happen. Price was thrown to more than
any other target on the day but his stats were a casualty of the Carolina Panthers
outstanding pass defense.
Getting his third start replacing injured WR-Brian Finneran, WR-Quentin McCord
(2-10 receiving, 2 targets) caught both balls thrown his way today. McCord is
a likely start next week with Finneran expected to return October 13 for the
Monday Night game in St. Louis.
TE: Alge Crumpler (3-76 receiving, 5 targets) was once again the Falcons leading
receiver with most of his yardage coming on a 63 yard catch-and-run in the fourth
quarter. A run on which he ran right through Panthers DB-Mike Minter and was
finally caught at the Carolina 14. This play setup the Falcons' only points.
After a 10 yard catch in the third quarter Crumpler appeared shaken up, but
was back in a few plays later.
TE-Brian Kozlowski (1-8 receiving, 2 targets) also received reps also 1 catch
on 2 targets.
K: Jay Feely had only two scoring opportunities today and went 1 for 2 on field
goals, hitting from 28 yards in the fourth quarter to prevent the shutout. Feely
missed wide right from 55 yards in the third quarter, a kick that replay revealed
to have been tipped by Carolina's defense. However, the tipped ball did not
appear to change trajectory and its doubtful this would have been good otherwise.
Pass Defense: The Falcons defensive front was unable to put pressure on Carolina
QB-Jake Delhomme who had plenty of time to find the open receiver when he needed
it. The few times the Falcons pushed Delhomme out of the pocket, he was effective
throwing the ball on the run, either connecting with a receiver or throwing
the ball away.
Rush Defense: The Falcons were unable to contain Carolina RB-Stephen Davis
and gave up 193 yards and a touchdown on the ground. With a healthy lead, Carolina
pounded the ball on the ground and wore the Falcons defense down in the second
QB: The Panthers look like they have found their man in Jake Delhomme (17-27-168,
1 TD), who could be seen winking at the camera and laughing behind center at
one point today. He had good reason to as he orchestrated the Panthers two touchdowns
in the first half with a balanced attack and the help of a strong rushing game.
Of Delhomme's 10 incompletions, only a few were due to poor throws before he
found his groove, and one dropped pass would have resulted in a second passing
touchdown on his stat sheet.
RB: Stephen Davis (21-153 rushing, 4-38 receiving, 4 targets, 1 TD) has yet
to put on a Panthers uniform and not gain more than 100 yards on the ground.
Davis' intuitive running kept the Atlanta defense honest and opened up the Panthers
passing game. One caveat, Davis' backup, RB-DeShaun Foster, rotates in more
than Davis' fantasy owners would like to see when the Panthers are closing in
on a score. Davis also had two short gains called back on holding penalties
during today's game.
Getting good reps for a backup, RB-DeShaun Foster (10-46 rushing, 2-4 receiving,
4 targets, 1 FUM) contributed to the outstanding Panthers ground game today
and received several touches inside the redzone. Unable to gain more than a
few yards however on successive redzone attempts in the first quarter, QB-Delhomme
went to the air to set up first and goal at the 1 yard line where RB-Davis got
the call. Foster was responsible for the Panthers only turnover today when after
gaining 13 yards to Atlanta's 20 yard line, the tackler stripped the ball away.
WR: Steve Smith (5-47 receiving, 2-[-1] rushing, 7 targets) caught more passes
than other receivers in a well balanced passing game that was second to the
Panthers rushing today. Smith worked for extra yards every time he caught the
ball and came up 1 yard short of a touchdown in the first quarter. Earlier on
that same series, Smith was interfered with and the ball sailed over his head
out-of-reach or he might have added at least another 15 yards to his total.
The Panthers tried the end-around play three times today and Smith had the only
one for a gain, 5 yards, however that was wiped out as he lost 6 yards on the
play the next attempt.
WR-Muhsin Muhammad (2-27 receiving, 1-[-2] rushing, 7 targets) should have
had two touchdowns today, maybe even three, but ended up with more misses than
catches. In the first quarter Muhammad got behind Atlanta's secondary but QB-Delhomme
hadn't settled in yet and overthrew him. RB-Davis would eventually score on
that drive. Muhammad was also lucky to have recovered his own fumble after being
hit at the Atlanta 1 yard line, or no Panther would have scored on that second
quarter possession. Then in the third quarter, a perfect pass in the endzone
slipped through Muhammad's hands. Muhammad also lost yardage attempting and
Third down receiver WR-Ricky Proehl (2-10 receiving, 2 targets, 1 TD) was utilized
little but was perfect on the day and had the only receiving touchdown for the
TE: Three tight ends played for the Panthers today and starter TE-Kris Mangum
came up empty with only 1 target. Backup TE-Jermaine Wiggins' (2-42, 2 targets)
two catches were for 19 and 23 yards respectively, while rookie TE-Mike Seidman
had one target in the second quarter that hit him in the hands.
K: John Kasay had another good game going 3 for 3 on field goals from 53, 23
and 38 yards, and adding two PATs.
Pass Defense: The heroes of Carolina for this game are the Panthers defensive
line. The pressure put on Atlanta QB-Doug Johnson was too much for him to handle
as he was sacked 6 times. The Panthers held Atlanta to a mere 19 yards passing
in the first half. They softened in the second, but with Atlanta trying to pass
their way out of a hole the Panthers still managed to allow only 133 more yards
through the air.
Rush Defense: The Panthers rush defense was more forgiving, allowing Atlanta
to gain 99 yards in the first half and add another 45 yard in the second. Most
importantly, the Panthers did not allow Atlanta into the redzone until late
in the fourth quarter, and at that, Atlanta could only muster a field goal.
City Chiefs 17 at Baltimore Ravens 10
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Kansas City Chiefs
WR Dante Hall returned a 4th quarter kickoff 97 yards for the game-winning
touchdown and Kansas City held on for a 17-10 victory over a Baltimore Ravens
team that continually shot itself in the foot. Hall set an NFL record with return
TDs in three consecutive weeks.
RB Priest Holmes was held in check by a stingy Baltimore run defense. His longest
run was 14 yards, and his longest reception went for 15 yards. He finished with
90 yards on 22 carries, but did not score a TD. He also caught 4 passes for
just 13 yards, losing the much-hyped RB duel with former teammate Jamal Lewis.
WR Johnnie Morton was the offensive star for the Chiefs, and finished with
5 catches for 73 yards. He also carried the ball on an end-around for 36 yards,
as he finished the day with 109 total yards.
QB Trent Green led an offense that struggled to move the ball consistently,
but did not turn the ball over. He finished with 159 yards on 17 of 28 passing
and a 1-yard TD pass to TE Tony Gonzalez.
Despite the TD catch, Tony Gonzalez was used sparingly and finished with 3
catches for just 13 yards. On the touchdown play, Green faked to Holmes and
rolled right, hitting the wide-open Gonzalez for the score. This came a play
after Holmes carried 2 yards to within inches of the goal line on first down.
The Chiefs defense bent all day long, as the Ravens running game wore them
down, but every time they were in danger the Ravens made a drive-killing mistake.
In the first quarter, before Jamal Lewis had worn them down, they managed to
stuff him for no gain on a 4th and 1 carry from their 8-yard line. All three
Chiefs interceptions happened inside the Chiefs 10-yard line.
The Baltimore Ravens defeated themselves with bumbling mistakes on offense
and special teams. Despite this, and thanks to an excellent performance by their
defense and running game, they were still in position to tie the game in the
final minute of play; instead they fell short as QB Kyle Boller threw his 3rd
interception of the game.
Jamal Lewis was unstoppable after a slow 1st quarter. He finished with 115
yards and a TD, and also had 44 receiving yards. You get the feeling that if
the Ravens had eliminated the forward pass as an option in their offense, they
would have been nearly unstoppable.
QB Kyle Boller was horrible on anything over 15 yards downfield. He threw the
ball up for grabs three times, with none of them ending up anywhere near his
intended receiver, and all of them ended in INTs. He finished 140 yards on 15
of 26 passing.
WHAT YOU OUGHT TO KNOW
Kansas City Chiefs
QB: Trent Green (17-28-159 with 1 TD) played a mediocre game and avoided mistakes.
His top target was receiver Johnnie Morton. His inability to convert 3rd downs
allowed Baltimore to stay in the game, as he converted just 1 of 9 on passing
3rd downs. He fumbled on one 3rd down sack, but the Chiefs recovered it.
RB: Priest Holmes (22-90, with 4 catches for 13 yards on 4 targets) was unable
to break any big plays, and finished with solid numbers for anyone other than
him. He failed to convert a 3rd and 1 run early, but ran hard in his goal line
carry. On 1st and goal from the 3-yard line he powered up the middle and just
missed crossing the plane of the end zone. He was not rewarded with another
try, though, as Green threw to Gonzalez on the next play for an easy score.
WR: Johnnie Morton (5-73 on 6 targets) played well. He converted the Chiefs
only 3rd down passing, on two 3rd down attempts. He caught passes of 16, 17
and 19 yards, and also went for 36 yards on a nice reverse, which led to the
Chiefs lone offensive touchdown.
Eddie Kennison (2-27 on 3 targets) was the only other receiver to contribute.
TE: Tony Gonzalez (3-13-1 on 3 targets) caught the lone TD of the day, the one-yard
pass from Green. The TD was as easy as you'll ever see, as the entire Raven
defense bit on the play-fake to Holmes. Outside of that, he wasn't a big factor
seeing just 3 passes thrown his way.
PK: Morten Andersen converted his only FG, a 46-yard kick to give Kansas City
a 3-0 lead at the half. He also made both of his extra points.
Run Defense: The Chiefs run defense could not stop either Jamal Lewis or his
backup Chester Taylor for most of the day. The Ravens finished with 202 rushing
yards on 36 carries. They did stop Lewis on the 4th and 1 in the 1st quarter,
however, which proved to be a huge play in the game.
Pass Defense: The Chiefs pass defense got the job done, intercepting Kyle Boller
3 times inside their own 10-yard line. They sacked Boller 3 times and generally
got good pressure, despite the fact that it was a surprise any time the Ravens
passed the ball. Dexter McCleon was the defensive hero with his two 4th quarter
QB: Kyle Boller (15-26-140 and 3 INTs) threw this game away. He played well,
when not asked to throw the ball downfield, as all the interceptions were thrown
at least 25 yards downfield. He also fumbled into the end zone on one scramble,
but Heap fell on it in the end zone, for a TD that was nullified by penalty.
He completed two 3rd down passes to Travis Taylor on the final drive. Then,
the final interception came a play after Boller scrambled out of bounds and
whacked his elbow on a bench. He was clearly hurt, shaking his elbow, yet still
launched the ill-advised pass to Heap. All of his deep balls were overthrown.
RB: Jamal Lewis (26-115-1 with 4 catches for 44 yards on 5 targets) ran powerfully
behind an offensive line that continued to open holes for whoever was running.
Lewis scored the Ravens lone TD on the one drive where the Ravens did not attempt
an official pass. He carried 6 times for 32 yards on that drive. He also showed
excellent hands out of the backfield, as he made two very difficult catches
on screen passes, and converted both into Raven 1st downs.
Backup Chester Taylor ran 5 times for 47 yards in relief of Lewis, including
a 32 yard run down to the 1 yard line, which resulted in a FG.
WR: Travis Taylor (4-30 on 5 targets) converted two 3rd downs on the Ravens
final drive, the last one a nice 10-yard catch on 3rd and 10. He also ran an
end-around for 16 yards.
No other receivers had an impact. Marcus Robinson caught one pass for nine
yards on one target. Boller threw to Frank Sanders twice, once in the end zone,
with no completions.
TE: Todd Heap (4-48 on 8 targets) was the deep threat for the Ravens. The problem
for Baltimore was that the only thing the deep pass threatened was their continued
possession of the ball. Boller overthrew Heap twice on deep outs, both resulting
in INTs. Heap slipped on the game ending INT, but it would have been a circus
play to even knock the ball away from McCleon. He did recover a fumble for a
TD, but this was called back on a penalty, and he was the target once in the
red zone, but the ball was overthrown.
PK: Matt Stover made his 29-yard FG try and his PAT.
Run Defense: The Ravens run defense played well, considering the opposing RB.
They allowed 4.6 yards per carry, a number inflated by the big 32-yard end-around
to Morton. Priest Holmes never got loose for big runs, but managed 90 yards.
Pass Defense: The Ravens were excellent on 3rd down, forcing 8 punts in 9 tries,
and sacking Trent Green twice. They bent on 1st and 2nd downs, but never allowed
the big play in the passing game. The also never produced the big play, although
they did force a Green to fumble, but the Chiefs recovered it.
Jaguars 20 at Houston Texans 24
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Byron Leftwich directed the offense fairly well despite not putting up stellar
numbers. Jack Del Rio showed confidence in him by twice going for it on 4th
down during the first drive. His interceptions were a mix of his fault and excusable
It appears from this game that Fred Taylor is just as valuable with Leftwich
as quarterback as he is/was with Brunell. Taylor got 23 touches in the game
and totaled 94 yards and a touchdown. Furthermore, he was not pulled at the
goal line and scored on a 1 yard touchdown run.
The Jacksonville wide receiver situation is completely up in the air right
now. Troy Edwards was targeted 4 times, Stokes was targeted 4 times, Hatchette
was targeted 8 times, Hankton was targeted 7 times and Redmond was targeted
QB David Carr continues to show potential as a viable fantasy quarterback spot
starter. He looked very capable evading the pass rush, carefully throwing the
ball away to avoid sacks and hitting wide receivers in stride.
Stacey Mack's job may be in jeopardy. He was benched for a time in the 1st
quarter after a fumble. Coach Dom Capers hates fumbles and did not play Tony
Hollings this week because of his costly fumble last week. When Mack returned
in the second half, he dropped his first carry and although he recovered it,
ran very tentatively after that time. Moreover, he made a horrible decision
to throw a halfback option pass while Houston was driving late in the 4th quarter
that was intercepted. Domanick Davis came in during the critical final drive
and accounted for 37 yards and was involved in the first 6 plays from scrimmage
during that drive.
WHAT YOU OUGHT TO KNOW
QB: Byron Leftwich(17/36, 231 yards, 1 TD/3 INT, 2 rushes 11 yards, 1 fumble
lost) played better than his numbers indicate. His first interception was a
poor throw, however his second interception not only should never have happened
(the prior play was a bad call on a clearly completed pass that the officials
did not overturn upon review) but it was an end of the half "Hail Mary."
His third interception was a remarkable catch by the Houston defender.
RB: Fred Taylor (19 carries 67 yards, 4 receptions 27 yards, targeted 5 times)
had a solid day. He was the first option in both of the Jacksonville red zone
trips and in the first trip he was not pulled at the goal line and scored on
a 1 yard touchdown run.
Brandon Toefield completed a 32 yard pass to Marc Edwards. Edwards had 4 catches
for 41 yards and was targeted 5 times.
WR: Troy Edwards ((2 catches, 111 yards, 1 TD, targeted 4 times) made a brilliant
catch and run for an 84 yard touchdown in his first game as a Jaguar.
JJ Stokes (2 catches, 22 yards, targeted 4 times) did nothing to impress.
Matthew Hatchette (2 catches, 25 yards, targeted 8 times) just couldn't seem
to connect with Leftwich but he did not drop any passes and was targeted more
than any other Jacksonville wide receiver.
Cortez Hankton (2 catches, 15 yards, targeted 7 times) was looked to a lot
by Leftwich. It's obviously early for Leftwich to start determining tendencies
but 7 targets is hard to ignore.
Jimmy Redmond (1 catch, 22 yards, targeted 3 times) had a beautiful catch negated
by a bad call and a worse replay that did not overturn the call that would have
been a 20 plus yard reception. The replay clearly showed he caught the ball
and had both feet in bounds.
TE: Kyle Brady did not have a catch and was only targeted once.
Jaguar Pass Defense: Did not put much pressure on Carr and only sacked him
Jaguar Rush Defense: This unit gave up only 110 rushing yards and Houston only
averaged 3 yards per carry.
QB: David Carr (23/36 234 yards, 1 TD, 1 interception 5 carries 18 yards, 1
touchdown) completed his first 6 passes of the game. His only interception was
tipped at the line of scrimmage and again tipped in the air by a defender. His
numbers and his play in this game were stellar. He put an exclamation point
on his role as a team leader with his game winning TD plunge.
RB: Stacey Mack (16 carries 39 yards, 1 TD, 0 catches targeted 1 time, 1 pass
intercepted) was used heavily on the opening drive and got both red zone carries
on that drive. The second of which resulted in a touchdown. He turned the ball
over on a fumble and an interception. He averaged 2.4 yards per carry and in
the second half ran very tentatively gaining only 11 yards in 5 attempts. It's
of huge significance that Domanick Davis was on the field at the end of the
Domanick Davis 16 carries 53 yards, 4 catches, 38 yards, targeted 5 times)
saw extended action in the 2nd and 4th quarters after Mack's turnovers. He averaged
3.3 yards per carry and accounted for 37 yards on the final critical drive in
which he was involved in the first 6 plays. He did get the first carry at the
1 yard line on that drive but did not score.
WR: Andre Johnson (8 catches 97 yards, targeted 11 times) has become the clear
go to receiver for the Texans. He was targeted on a long pass in the 2nd quarter
that was overthrown and nearly intercepted but Johnson had the presence of mind
to bump the defender and prevent him from intercepting the pass. Intangibles
like this may give Capers and Carr more confidence than normally would be given
Jabar Gaffney (3 catches 38 yards, 1 TD, targeted 6 times) had only 3 receptions
but one was for a touchdown. He disappeared in the second half catching only
Corey Bradford (1 catch 9 yards, targeted 6 times) just couldn't seem to connect
with Carr but was targeted a sufficient amount of passes.
TE: Billy Miller (2 catches 13 yards, targeted 3 times) he did not have a second
half catch because of a sandwich hit which likely left him with a concussion.
His replacement Holloway had 2 catches for 23 yards and was targeted 4 times.
Houston Pass Defense: Did not sack Leftwich and didn't even put pressure on
him to rattle him. They surrendered 263 passing yards at home.
Houston Rush Defense: Did a good job of containing Taylor whose longest run
of the day was 16 yards. Jacksonville only rushed for 79 yards total.
Diego Chargers 31 at Oakland Raiders 34
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
San Diego Chargers
Despite the absence of four major receiving targets and a significant amount
of their offensive line, the San Diego Chargers registered their best offensive
game of the year. Drew Brees was 21-31 for 187 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT, making
sharp passes despite the setbacks in personnel. Brees caught a 21-yard TD pass
from RB Tomlinson as well.
RB LaDainian Tomlinson was electric, finishing with 187 yards rushing on 28
carries. There were no problems working with the replacements on the offensive
line. He rushed for a TD and passed for another to Drew Brees and caught 7 passes
for 24 yards. FB Lorenzo Neal vultured a TD with a 2 yard run.
The no-name WR core didn't excite, though WR Dondre Gilliam had 4 catches for
67 yards. Current leading receiver Eric Parker was held to only 1 catch for
10 yards despite being targeted 3 other times.
TE Justin Peelle caught 3 balls for 24 yards with a 7 yard TD, building on
last week's performance.
Rich Gannon put up the numbers (26 for 43 for 348 yards and 3 TDs) but was
very inconsistent in between the first drive of the game (36 yard TD to Brown)
and the final 6 minutes of the game (2 Raider TDs, one on a 36 yard pass to
Alvis Whitted). He missed receivers despite being given a lot of time in the
pocket by the Raiders' offensive line.
Charlie Garner was little used but effective, finishing with 12 carries for
70 yards, getting a 24 yard TD run to tie the game in the 4th quarter. He was
a non-factor in the passing game, being thrown to 3 times and catching only
1 pass for 8 yards. RB Tyrone Wheatley cut into Garners' carries with an 8 for
28 yard game. Both Zack Crockett and Justin Fargas were used for runs once.
Tim Brown and Jerry Rice came back to fantasy life with a vengeance, finishing
with 6 catches for 110 yards and a TD, and 7 grabs of 118 yards, respectively.
Jerry Rice surprisingly dropped
four passes, a couple that were utterly catchable. TE Doug Jolley was looked
to in the red zone (2 yard TD) and elsewhere on the field (7 total catches for
The Raiders allowed Tomlinson free rein on the field, particularly in the first
half, but managed to trip the Chargers up enough late and in overtime to give
Gannon and company their successful comeback attempt.
WHAT YOU OUGHT TO KNOW
San Diego Chargers
QB: Drew Brees (21-31 for 187 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT) played effectively
considering the team's massive loss of receiving talent. A Chargers passing
game was very limited in the first half (37 yards from the QB) due to tremendous
success with the run. Brees finished netting a slightly lower amount of passing
yards than normal (187 compared to a 218 yard per-game average through three
weeks) but ended with a quarterback rating (81.0) superior to his previous mark
of 58.6. He showed some guts catching and running in a 21-yard pass for a touchdown
on a trick play from Tomlinson on their first drive of the game. Overall, Brees
looked much sharper than in previous weeks, throwing poorly only to Eric Parker
(overthrowing a potential long TD and handing a pick over late in the first
RB: LaDainian Tomlinson was an absolutely destructive force in the first half,
gouging a helpless Raiders defense for 143 yards and a touchdown. Building upon
a successful week three against the Ravens, Tomlinson finished with 187 yards
rushing on 28 carries. Reassuringly, there was no problem working with the offensive
line pressed into service by injuries. He rushed for a TD and passed for another
on the aforementioned trick play to Brees. Tomlinson was a pedestrian 12 for
44 in the second half after a thoroughly embarrassed Raider defense focused
on him. He added 7 catches through the air, finishing with 24 yards as he continued
his extra role as Brees' safety valve.
FB Lorenzo Neal was again utilized by the Chargers as he vultured a 3-yard
TD run in the 4th quarter. He finished with 3 carries for 5 yards, and caught
3 passes for 9 yards (one was an 11-yarder).
WR: Brees looked to second-year undrafted WR Dondre Gilliam, who had not caught
a pass all year, extensively in the second half. He finished with 4 catches
(1 additional time targeted) for 67 yards, including a 37-yard pass on a big
3rd and 11 in the 4th quarter.
The other, and better known, second-year undrafted wide receiver on the team,
WR Eric Parker, fared poorly. The team's leading receiver, coming into the game
with 142 yards and 2 TDs, Parker managed only 1 catch for 10 yards. Brees looked
to him fairly significantly, however (at least three other throws targeted)
but the QB overthrew a TD and had an interception going Parker's way.
WR Kassim Osgood started alongside Parker, but managed only one 23 yard catch
in the second half.
WRs Reche Caldwell, Tim Dwight, and David Boston all missed this game.
TE: Rookie Antonio Gates, yet another undrafted Charger used in this game,
had the first two catches of his NFL career, displaying nice hands on 13 and
17 yard plays. CBS's broadcasters made significant mention of the Chargers'
interest in Gates' potential, and he showed flashes in his debut.
TE Justin Peelle nearly repeated his 4 for 24 week 3 performance, catching
3 balls for 24 yards. This time, though, he added a TD to his game as Brees
tossed him a 7-yarder following a botched punt return by the Raiders.
K: Steve Christie connected his only field goal attempt, a 32-yarder. The Chargers
were hesitant to use him on anything in the outer range and their game plan
may have been affected by it.
Run Defense: 11 total running plays (including a reverse and Gannon scramble)
in the first half weren't enough to even judge the Chargers' ability to stop
the run. But, like last week's performance against Jamal Lewis, the Chargers
slackened in the second half and overtime. They allowed 63 yards from Charlie
Garner after halftime, including being completely unprepared for a 24-yard TD
scamper as the Raiders rallied to send the game into overtime.
Pass Defense: The final stats QB Rich Gannon accumulated against the Chargers
defense make them look awful, though in the game the results were more mixed
than that. Though they let up 348 yards through the air, Gannon often spent
a long time in the pocket waiting for receivers to open up (which the Chargers'
DBs often wouldn't let them do, especially in the 2nd and 3rd quarters). The
Chargers even had three sacks. But Gannon eventually utilized that time in the
pocket, and the Chargers were left helpless as the Raiders marched down the
field in the fourth quarter.
QB: Though fantasy-wise Rich Gannon had a very big day (26 for 43 for 348 yards
and 3 TDs), there were some serious problems with his performance. There were
two Rich Gannons today: one struck Tim Brown for a 36-yard touchdown on the
first drive of the game. He came back with another TD pass with the Raiders
first drive of the second quarter. This Gannon patiently used the time his offensive
line gave him to score 17 points in the fourth quarter and win the game in overtime.
He used Tim Brown, Jerry Rice, and Doug Jolley with a dash of Alvis Whitted
to lay down the Chargers' defense in classic 2002 Raider style. The other Rich
Gannon overthrew and under threw receivers after having more time than any QB
should need in the pocket. He was intercepted two plays after the Raiders' defense
made an important pick of their own. All in all, it was a better performance
than we've been seeing from him, but he still doesn't look back to 2002 form.
RB: Charlie Garner redeemed his fantasy value this week with a 24-yard touchdown
on a unexpected draw play late in the fourth quarter. Before that, Garner was
little used (only 9 carries) but effective (49 yards). He finished 12 for 70.
Surprisingly, Gannon threw only three passes his way, catching 1 for 8 yards.
Tyrone Wheatley was sprinkled in during the game with 8 carries for 28 yards,
splitting his performance down the middle (4 for 14 yards each half).
Zack Crockett saw only carry, gaining two yards on it. He had one 12 yard catch
and angered Gannon by stopping his route on a deep pass during the Raiders'
WR: Tim Brown re-established his presence in the Raider offense by more than
equaling what he had done the first three games. He finished with 6 catches
for 110 yards with a 36 yard TD on the opening drive. A 20-plus yard catch was
negated by a very questionable interference call on Brown in overtime. Gannon
targeted him 8 times total in the game and he didn't disappoint.
Jerry Rice was a key to the team's comeback, finishing with 118 yards (104
in the second half) on 7 catches. The future Hall-of-Famer dropped a shocking
4 passes, though - 2 that seemed almost inexcusable.
Alvis Whitted made a significant impression as the team's #3 wideout during
Jerry Porter's absence for the first time this year. He had 3 catches for 44
yards, starring on the 36 yard TD strike in the 4th quarter. He was targeted
an additional four times, including Gannon's 2nd quarter INT. He is far from
replacing Porter as the team's deep threat but he was utilized in important
situations all game long.
TE: Doug Jolley continued to grow in stature in the Raiders' plans as he caught
7 balls for 55 yards. He was left completely wide open on a 2 yard TD in the
K: Sebastian Janikowski made it look easy, hitting 23 and 46 yard field goals.
His overtime kick that won the game for the Raiders could have been in from
60 yards out.
Run Defense: In one word, horrific. In more than one word, horrific should
continue to be repeated. An inexperienced, substitution-filled Charger offensive
line kept the Raiders at bay, and LaDainian Tomlinson ran wild. They allowed
222 rushing yards on 39 carries (a 5.7 average clip) and two touchdowns. Focusing
on Tomlinson in the second half just opened up the passing game for the Chargers.
It's possible only a minor Tomlinson injury that kept him from being used effectively
in overtime saved the Raiders' defense from a loss.
Pass Defense: The Raiders allowed little in the first half, but only because
it wasn't necessary with Tomlinson running out of control. The Raiders let up
208 yards, far less than their 246 per game average, but allowed Drew Brees
to have his most efficient game of the year. Getting no sacks against the makeshift
Charger line was unacceptable.
Colts 55 at New Orleans Saints 21
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Without James in the lineup, the Colt's didn't have the same option of just
grinding out the game with a power running attack. The result was a new team
record for Manning, as he threw for 6 TDs, and marched the ball down the field
with ease all day. Manning's stats are less than they could be, as he was pulled
for the 4th quarter with the game solidly in hand.
Before the game, the Announcers commented that Manning was going to try and
work Pollard into the game more. That prediction was dead on as Pollard had
63 yards compared to upstart Dallas Clark's 11. Clark was still the intended
target at the Goal line, resulting in a TD, and could have had another, as Manning
overthrew him in the End Zone. Clark is the Goal Line threat, and has replaced
Pollard in the Red Zone.
As with earlier games this season, Harrison was Manning's primary target in
the 1st half, as Wayne and others were virtually ignored. The difference this
week is that with the Manning to Harrison connection working right out of the
gate, Wayne and the other options of attack were never given a chance to perform.
New Orleans Saints
The Bags are back in the Big Easy. While getting blown out by the Colts, the
Camera showed QB Brooks on the sideline laughing and joking around with other
players. Last week, Coach Haslett admitted that he didn't prepare the team for
the Titans, and he obviously didn't prepare enough this week as well. The Saints
could be in for a long season if they don't right this ship quickly.
The Saints were already down a number of key defensive players, which surely
had a large part to do with their total inability to stop the Colts. Adding
insult to injury, the Injury Bug hit the Saints hard in this game. Cornerback
Tebucky Jones and defensive end Kenny Smith are out indefinitely with knee injuries,
while returner Michael Lewis also left the game with a groin injury.
Although Pathon got the start and was seemingly used more in the game, Stallworth
had the same amount of targets, and was just as big a part of the game plan.
WHAT YOU OUGHT TO KNOW
QB: Peyton Manning (20/25 for 341 and 6 TDs, 1/1 Rushing) Manning put on a
clinic. 1st QB in over a decade to throw 6 TDs (Mark Rypien 1991). Unlike prior
weeks, Manning was able to find Harrison early and often, and never had to go
to Wayne and other options. Clark was still a primary target in the end zone,
as Manning hit him for a TD, and another was just slightly overthrown to Clark.
With the game decided, Manning came out of the game for the 4th quarter, putting
up these stats in 3 quarters of work.
Brock Huard (1/2 for 13, 1/0 Rushing, Fumble) Came in to replace Manning with
the game solidly in hand.
RB: Edgerrin James Did not Play
Dominic Rhodes (7/35, 2/16 Receiving with a TD, 2 Targets) Rhodes had a 16
yard run called back on holding. Part of the three headed Monster at RB for
the Colts. He split series with Mungro, moved the ball well. Rhodes scored on
a screen pass from Manning as Harrison cleared out the entire side of the field
Ricky Williams (9/34, 4/40 Receiving with a TD, 5 Targets) had a 17 yard pass
reception called back on holding. Seemingly used more in the passing game, Williams
actually carried his own on the ground as well.
James Mungro (10/30, 1 Target) was used as a power runner, and split 1st and
2nd down carries with Rhodes.
WR: Marvin Harrison (6/158 and 3 TDs, 7 Targets) Unlike prior weeks, the Saints
didn't game plan to take out Harrison. He was able to get going early, and put
on a passing clinic with Manning against the Saints. Harrison worked over the
middle, the sidelines, and made some unbelievable circus catches.
Reggie Wayne (3/26, 3 Targets) was not looked to at all in the 1st half as
Harrison was clicking with Manning. Almost an afterthought on the day.
Troy Walters (1/13, 2 Targets)
TE: Marcus Pollard (4/63, 5 Targets) Before the game, the announcers commented
that Manning was going to try and work Pollard into the game more. That prediction
was dead on as Pollard had 63 yards compared to upstart Dallas Clark's 11. Clark
was still the intended target at the Goal line, resulting in a TD.
Dallas Clark (1/11, TD, 2 Targets) was overthrown for what could have been
another TD in the end zone. Not used nearly as much as recent games, but was
still the target at the goal line.
K: Mike Vanderjagt (2/2 FG [41,42], 7/7 XP)
Pass Defense: LOLB Marcus Washington had a huge sack on Brooks, and then recovered
the Fumble. LOLB Jim Nelson had 2 INTs. Dwight Freeney scored on a fumble return
after Brooks was sacked. Shut down the Saints on virtually every attempt to
move the ball in the air.
Rush Defense: ROLB David Thornton led the team with 15 tackles and an assist.
McAllister was able to move the ball against the Colt's run Defense. The pass
Defense was the star today.
New Orleans Saints
QB: Aaron Brooks' (16/28 for 166, 2/9 Rushing, 2 INTs, 2 Fumbles) first interception
was not Brooks' fault. He had a decent day in the pocket, and looked much better
than the stats indicate. He did overthrow a wide open Horn. While getting entirely
blown out, the camera showed Brooks on the sideline laughing and joking around
Todd Bouman (5/8 for 62, TD) Working against the Colt's reserves, and playing
catch up, Bouman actually looked great after coming in for Brooks. He was able
to move the ball down the field with precision, and score.
RB: Deuce McAllister (17/101, TD, 4/25 Receiving, 5 Targets) had a great day,
finding the seams, and cutback lanes, along with getting involved in the passing
game. With the game so decidedly out of hand, the Saints were unable to just
hand the ball to McAllister to run out the game.
Ki-Jana Carter (4/36, 1 Target) Came in for the last couple of series as the
game was out of control. Did nothing except indicate that he is the primary
backup to McAllister should he go down.
James Fenderson (1/6, 1/5 Receiving, 1 Target)
WR: Joe Horn (6/45, 6 Targets) was the primary WR target for Brooks, and did
all he could for the Saints, catching every ball thrown his way. There just
weren't enough of them thrown to him.
Jerome Pathon (2/41, TD, 5 Targets) got the start over Stallworth but they
seemed to be used equally. Don't read too much into that. Pathon only caught
2 of the 5 balls thrown to him, but did come away with a TD. He was used more
in the first half.
Donte' Stallworth (1/17, 5 Targets) 13 yard pass intended for Stallworth was
Intercepted. Definitely used and targeted as much as Pathon in the game. You
should not assume a demotion by looking at the box score.
TE: Ernie Conwell (6/88, Fumble, 10 Targets) Big part of the offense as Brooks
used him as a safely valve. Also used further down field as a receiver. Looked
to more than the WRs today as the Colt's defense blanketed the wide receivers.
He did have a couple of drops that caught the announcer's attention.
Boo Williams (1/7, 1 Target)
K: John Carney (2/2 FG [38,43], 1/1 XP, 1/3 Rushing on Fake FG)
Pass Defense: RDT Grady Jackson sacked Manning. It was a terrible performance
by the Defense. They were simply unable to contain Manning, much less think
about stopping him.
Rush Defense: MLB Darrin Smith led the Unit with 8 Tackles and 2 Assists. With
Manning having so much success through the air, the Colts didn't need to run
the ball much. When the Colts RBs did run, they were fairly effective rushing
25 times for 100 yards (4 yards per carry)
Cowboys 17 at New York Jets 6
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
HC Bill Parcells returned to his old stomping grounds, the New Jersey Meadowlands,
for the second time in two weeks. His newest team used his old blueprint of
a ball control offense and a solid defense to improve the Cowboys' record to
2-1, oddly enough winning both games at Giants Stadium.
RB Troy Hambrick was the key contributor for the Cowboys, carrying 24 times
for 127 yards and a touchdown. Hambrick's 31-yard touchdown run provided the
Cowboys with a 7-3 lead in the first quarter, a lead Dallas would never surrender.
Hambrick's workload led a combined effort to establish control with the running
game. As a team, Dallas had 41 carries and 202 yards, nearly a 5-yard average.
The conservative offense managed the game and the clock, holding the ball for
over five minutes longer than the Jets.
The passing attack was not emphasized, despite the fact that Dallas led the
NFL in passing entering Week 4. QB Quincy Carter had a shaky start but settled
down to post respectable numbers, going 11 of 23 for 165 yards, 1 TD and an
interception. The Dallas WR corps was led by Joey Galloway, who posted 100 yards
receiving for the second time this year. WR Antonio Bryant had the only other
WR catch, but it was a big one. His 13-yard tapdance in the back of the end
zone in the last minute of the first half made the score 14-6 at the time.
Dallas' defense kept the Jets from getting the big play, but they were certainly
aided by the very conservative play calling by New York. However, whenever the
Jets showed signs of life, they came up large and forced two fumbles. Both turnovers
sparked the two touchdown drives of the first half.
New York Jets
New York kept to their word, as coaches told the media this week that the Jets
would look to establish both the running game and RB Curtis Martin. Seven of
the first ten plays were Martin carries, and he finished the first quarter with
10 carries - but only 31 yards. Martin was never able to break off a big play,
carrying 21 times for a meager 64 yards. He also committed the second Jets fumble
of the first half, when the score was just 7-3 Cowboys. Martin lost the ball
inside the red zone and it was recovered by Dallas for a touchback.
The Achilles' heel of the Jets continues to be a porous run defense. Entering
the game, New York was ranked 31st of 32 teams in yards per game, and Dallas
showed no hesitancy in exploiting this weakness. The run defense allowed Dallas
nearly 5 yards a carry and, more importantly, control of the time of possession.
The Jet passing game produced good numbers for QB Vinny Testaverde (21-29-219),
but the play calling appeared very conservative. WR Santana Moss was the most
targeted receiver (5-65 receiving, 7 targets), but made two glaring miscues.
His first came in the form of a fumble near midfield on a screen pass. The second
was more of a mental error as he made a fair catch at his own four yard line.
The coaching staff is beginning to draw some fire. The Jets committed numerous
errors such as roughing Dallas' punter, 12 men in the huddle and a roughing
penalty on a punt returner. The sideline reporter (Chris Myers) for FOX reported
the team as acting dejected when they were only down 7-3 in the second quarter.
Many will second guess the situation where the Jets had a 4th and 3 at the Dallas
10 yard line, down 17-6 with under 3 minute remaining in the game. Rather than
try the field goal, they attempted a 2-yard pass to WR Wayne Chrebet that came
up a yard short of the first down.
The New York fans voiced their opinion often of the game plan and the Jets
inability to produce touchdowns.
WHAT YOU OUGHT TO KNOW
QB: Quincy Carter (11-23-165, 1TD, 1 INT, 6 carries for -2 yards) had a competent
day, completing nearly half his passes for the game. Carter improved quarter-to-quarter,
as he had a very shaky start in only completing 1 of his first 5 passes in the
first quarter. He seemed to find his rhythm in the second, hitting 6 of 10 for
82 yards, culminating in a nice strike to WR Antonio Bryant for the second Cowboy
In the second half, the passing game was not emphasized. Only 8 passes were
called, and Carter was 4 of 8 for 75 yards. Yet when it mattered most, Carter
hit Galloway for a long pass in the fourth quarter that set up Dallas' lone
FG and extended their lead to two scores.
RB: Troy Hambrick (24-127 rushing, 1-6 receiving, 1 target) tied his career
high for rushing, gaining 127 yards. He had a big TD run of 31 yards early in
the first quarter, a play designed as an end-around fake. First, WR Joey Galloway
ran the end-around as Hambrick smashed up the middle. The next play looked the
same, except Hambrick carried the ball up the middle through a confused Jet
defense and scored. Hambrick averaged over 5 yards a carry and helped Dallas
control the clock in their ball control offense.
Aveion Cason (5-37 rushing, 0-0 receiiving, 0 targets) continues to be used
by HC Parcells as a change of pace running back and to spell Hambrick. Cason
did have one long run of 20 yards.
FB Ritchie Anderson (5-37 rushing, 4-46 receiving, 5 targets) helped the Cowboys'
cause in both the screen passing game and to give Hambrick a breather. Anderson's
long catch of 20 yards came on a screen, with much of the yardage as a run after
WR: Joey Galloway (1-3 rushing, 5-100 receiving, 10 targets) was the most targeted
receiver and the main aerial threat in the Dallas offense. Galloway had a big
catch in the fourth quarter, a 42-yard completion to the New York 7 yard line.
This set up the final Cowboy score of the game, their lone field goal, but extended
their lead to 11 points.
Galloway also had one carry and helped serve as a decoy on a fake end-around
on the Hambrick touchdown run.
Antonio Bryant (1-13 receiving, TD, 3 targets) made only one official catch,
but it was an important one. His 13 yard catch in the back of the end zone came
with just seconds remaining in the first half. The catch was ruled incomplete
at first, but was later overturned for the score. Bryant also had an 11 yard
catch called back on penalty.
Terry Glenn (0-0, 3 targets) did not make a catch on the day. He did drop a
nice ball from Carter that slipped through his hands.
TE: Jason Witten (0-0 receiving, 1 target) was not a factor in the game.
K: Billy Cundiff contributed 2 extra points and made his only FG attempt of
Pass Defense: The Dallas pass defense allowed many completions, but kept everything
in front of them. The Cowboys appeared to be in a prevent defense much of the
second half, and they allowed Testaverde to complete 15 of 18 passes after halftime.
However, they kept the Jets off the scoreboard.
The Cowboys did come up with a forced fumble at midfield in the first half
which set up the Cowboys with excellent field position and led them to their
Rush Defense: Dallas kept RB Curtis Martin from making any big plays, and only
allowed two rushing first downs all day. They allowed a mere 2.5 yards per carry
for Jets. The biggest play by the run defenders came on a forced fumble of Martin
inside their own red zone. FS Roy Williams punched the ball out and it was recovered
in the end zone for the touchback, and more importantly kept the Jets off the
scoreboard. This helped to change the momentum of the game, as the next Dallas
possession went for an 80 yard drive for their second TD.
New York Jets
QB: Vinny Testaverde (21-29-219, 0 TD, 0 INT, 1-(-1) rushing) managed a very
conservative passing attack. Testaverde posted much of his yardage after halftime,
going 15 for 18 for 126 yards. However, the passing game was limited to underneath
passes with Testaverde never showing an ability to take the ball deep.
RB: Curtis Martin (21-64 rushing, 5-65 receiving, 5 targets,1 fumble lost)
was the featured back for the Jet attack, but he could not get many yards per
carry. The Jets wanted to get Martin involved in more of the offense, and they
gave him 7 carries on their opening drive and ten in the first quarter. In total,
Martin accounted for 26 of 55 offensive plays, but he never had any rush for
over 9 yards or a catch beyond 14. All of his catches came in the second half
as Dallas fell into deep coverages.
Martin had one critical fumble in the first half at the Dallas 11. New York
was driving towards a touchdown, but Martin was stripped of the ball by the
Cowboys' FS Roy Williams. Martin was carrying the ball on the inside of the
field rather than towards the sideline, and the ball carried into the Dallas
end zone and was recovered by the Cowboys for a touchback.
Lamont Jordan (3-(-2) rushing, 0-0 receiving, 0 targets) was not much of a
factor in the game.
FB Jerald Sowell (0-0 rushing, 3-21 receiving, 5 targets) saw limited action,
and was featured only as a screen receiver.
Michael Bates saw limited action as a kickoff returner and on special teams.
He gave New York good field position, running back 4 kickoffs for a 29.5 yard
average. However, he committed a bad penalty on a punt coverage, interfering
with the punt returner, costing the Jets 15 yards.
WR: Santana Moss (1-5 rushing, 5-65 receiving, 7 targets, 1 fumble) showed
both the ability to make a spectacular play and also crucial mistakes throughout
the contest. Moss made several nice catches, but lost a fumble at midfield on
a short wide receiver screen. He also made a poor decision to fair catch a punt
at his own 4 yard line.
Wayne Chrebet (4-37 receiving, 6 targets). Had several nice catches and helped
the Jets move the chains. His 5th catch was ruled complete but was overturned
by replay. The catch would have been for 7 yards and a Jet first down in the
Curtis Conway (2-25 receiving, 5 targets) had a minimal impact in the Jet offense.
He did drop one pass in the third quarter which ended a streak of 9 completions
for Testaverde and ended the Jet drive. New York was forced to settle for their
second field goal.
TE: Anthony Becht (1-2 receiving, 1 target) was not a factor.
Chris Baker (1-19 receiving, 1 target) made one nice catch in 3rd quarter for
19 yards while Dallas was in more of a prevent defense.
K: Doug Brien contributed the only scores, two field goals of 34 and 38 yards.
He was 2 for 2.
Pass Defense: The Jets were beaten deep twice by Joey Galloway, but they basically
held Quincy Carter to an average day. The defense's lone interception came when
Glenn and Galloway both were in the end zone. New York did put pressure on Carter
the entire game, but only registered two sacks. Dallas only called 8 pass plays
in 2nd half. However, when the game was on the line, the Jet pass defense gave
up both the TD to Bryant in the last minute of the first half and the 42-yard
completion to Galloway in the fourth quarter, setting up the final score of
Rush Defense: The inability of the Jets to stop the run game was on display
all day. Dallas racked up 202 rushing yards on 41 carries and a TD, and was
able to control the ball much of the game. The Jets allowed Hambrick to tie
his personal best of 127 yards in a game and could not stop Dallas from controlling