Tuesday Morning Dimes – 2-16-16

You would have thought the doldrums of the major league baseball season drug on like water-boarding seminars at Gitmo, during this #NBA All-Star Break – it has.  For me, and I’m not sure I believe I’m saying this is, I miss basketball.

Look back a year ago at what we talked about here at the DiRT Canon, it was non-stop sports news of what seemed like epic proportions – even the NBA Trade deadline was huge – remember its glory here.

This no basketball, is tension and chaos.  I’ve resigned myself to naming ravens and crows outside the DiRT Canon Bunker Dumpster, creating action on who ends up with the most discarded food stuffs – Ol’Bossy has been killing it.  Funny thing about crows and ravens.  A pack of crows can destroy an owl or an eagle, but a single big bad Boss Raven will attack a whole gang of crows and rip the hearts out of its leaders – most crows would rather kamikazee into an oncoming windshield than go head-to-head with a Boss Raven.

It’s the downtime that’ll getcha – maybe that’s why D-Wade decided to get Kobe Bryant a year-long subscription to Netflix for his retirement-all-star-gift.  Could you imagine Mamba kickin’ back, filling his days with some binge-watching House of Cards?  You know he’ll commit and watch like no one else has before – he’ll dress up in his finest compression socks, drink some fine Italian wine and dig in to “Making A Murderer” like the “Boss” he is – evermore.


+ Miami Heat forward Chris Bosh has another blood-clot scare

Chris Bosh's status for the rest of the season is uncertain after another blood-clot scare.

Bosh pulled out of the All-Star Game and the 3-point contest over the weekend because of what he and the Heat described as a calf strain. He was shut down at the All-Star break last season because a blood clot had found its way to one of his lungs, and that issue is something that Bosh believes started as a calf problem.

He went to Toronto expecting to participate in All-Star weekend, then was examined there – presumably because of the calf pain – and the NBA subsequently announced on Friday afternoon that Bosh was withdrawing from the game and the 3-point event. Bosh remained in Toronto to cheer on his Eastern Conference teammates, then returned to Miami and met with team medical personnel Monday….

Source: Miami Heat forward Chris Bosh has another blood-clot scare – NY Daily News


+ Watch Every Perfect Score in Dunk Contest History

dunkcontest

Saturday night’s dunk contest was pretty much immediately dubbed one of the best, if not the best dunk contest of all time.

Zach LaVine and Aaron Gordon put on a remarkable show, combining for a whopping eight 50/50 scores, five for LaVine and three for Gordon.

The question is, was LaVine and Gordon’s performance better than Dominique Wilkins and Michael Jordan in the 1980s? Better than Vince Carter in 2000?

To help you decide for yourself, a YouTube user has created a truly incredible video, a 52-minute compilation of every perfect score in dunk contest history.

Source: The Comeback  |  By Alex Putterman


+ From Projected Top Pick to Struggling Reserve: The Decline of Skal Labissiere

hi-res-cd3fa3d2b1aafdb7754e4af4d8338890_crop_north

The trajectory of Skal Labissiere since he arrived at Kentucky has been the equivalent of a hot new stock taking an unexpected nosedive once it reaches the market.

Labissiere was one of the top two prospects by every recruiting service, and both Rivals and Scout had him at No. 1 ahead of LSU’s Ben Simmons.

“As a junior-to-be, he worked Karl Towns over,” Rivals national recruiting analyst Eric Bossi told Bleacher Report. “The summer before out in Vegas, he was ridiculous. He looked like a guy who was ready to play in the NBA from a skill level right then and there.”

Labissiere had also impressed NBA scouts during the Nike Hoops Summit last spring and at Kentucky’s combine in the fall….

Source: From Projected Top Pick to Struggling Reserve: The Decline of Skal Labissiere | Bleacher Report


+ It’s All Outta Order…

Peyton Manning

Tis’ the political season and no one is safe.  Not even in your cozy little nook with nothing but your sports blanket keeping you warm.  People say they turn to sports to get away from “it”, without knowing what “it” really is and when you find out what “it” is, they go and change “it” on you, making you confused if you were ever with “it” in the first place.

Lately, and more specifically quarterbacks, have been dragged into a political arena were pundits demand you choose based on criteria no one should care about, except for performance.  The Sports-Media appears to be as much muck-rackers and click-baiters as their counterparts in politics – with equal parts of sewage-ethics and empathy.

Hypocrisy never knows no bounds and is on full display here.  Your opinion may vary by the tint of your glasses, but Daniel J Flynn from Breitbart, believes that Peyton has picked some fine enemies.

Read: With Enemies Like These, Does Peyton Manning Need Friends? – Breitbart

 

What You Need To Know…#SB50 Weekend Update

name of site - hunter thompson stylemanning-miller

1.

Orange Crushed:

Everyone was betting on Carolina. All the experts were picking Cam and company. Good thing the powers that be decided to go ahead and play the game on the field anyway. After all the intensity of the regular season, Super Bowl 50 was pretty anti-climatic and one of the more boring ones. The highlight video alone is less than 4 minutes long letting you know there weren’t that many. You can check it out here.

Denver must not have known they were supposed to lay down as the underdog. The Broncos opened up the scoring as Manning drove the offense easily down the field before settling for a field goal. 3-0 Denver with the oldest quarterback in Super Bowl history looking healthy and sharp.

Read: Super Bowl 50 High Anticipation Low Return for Cam Newton’s Panthers Plus those ads


On Thursday, three days before the winningest quarterback in NFL history would play The Last Game (or at least the game we’re sure is the last one), he lined up his offense around the defensive 20-yard line and barked out signals. This would be the last full series of plays in the Super Bowl 50 practice week for Denver at Stanford Stadium, their home for the week … and maybe the last full series of practice plays in Peyton Manning’s life.

The sun was nearly touching the top of the west stands of the stadium on this beautiful California winter afternoon, creating an image of a sunset and lengthening shadows on the field as Manning directed traffic.

“Be alert! Be alert!” he called out, motioning Emmanuel Sanders across the formation. And Manning shouted out the play, which began with “Z Motion!” And then the snap, and then … nothing. No one open.

“One more time!” Manning yelled, annoyed. “Do it again!”

And the offense did, Sanders trolling the back of the end zone and Manning hitting him for a touchdown.

Read: Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos beat Panthers in Super Bowl 50 | The MMQB with Peter King


The dirty secret about all Super Bowls is that ultimately they’re just football games. Take away the halftime shows, the $25 glasses of wine, the tired commercials with tired celebrities doing tired lines, all of it, and these Super Bowls have to rise and fall on the games themselves. Last year, the Super Bowl seemed like the pinnacle of American popular culture because Left Shark and the dead Nationwide kid and all the other memes nestled themselves comfortably alongside a taut, terrific game between two all-time teams at the peak of their powers. Cap it off with one of the most infamous boneheaded play calls in the history of the sport at the end, against the most hated (and successful) team, and damn, that’s entertainment.

That is not what happened this year.

Read: Broncos’ Super Bowl win wasn’t pretty, but it was dominant.

+ Denver wins Super Bowl despite low yardage total

The Broncos defeated the Panthers, 24-10, to win Super Bowl 50 despite gaining only 194 yards. That was the lowest yardage total by any of the 50 teams to win a Super Bowl. In fact, only seven teams that lost a Super Bowl gained fewer than 200 yards; Denver’s was the lowest total by any team in the big game, win or lose, since the Giants were held to 152 yards when the Ravens won Super Bowl XXXV 15 years ago.

+ High-scoring Panthers neutralized by Broncos defense

Carolina led the NFL with an average of 31.3 points per game during the 2015 regular season. Denver was the sixth team to win a Super Bowl by holding the league’s highest-scoring team to 10 or fewer points. The others were Green Bay vs. Kansas City, 35-10 (following the 1966 season); Kansas City vs. Minnesota, 23-7 (1969); L.A. Raiders vs. Washington, 38-9 (1983); Pittsburgh vs. Seattle, 21-10 (2005); and, ironically, Seattle vs. Denver, 43-8, just two years ago.

+ #2 outplays #1 in Super Bowl

Von Miller, who was named the Most Valuable Player of Super Bowl 50, had 2.5 sacks againstCam Newton on Sunday. As even Stephen Colbert noted last night, Miller was the second pick in the 2011 draft, chosen immediately after Newton. Colbert failed to mention that there was no other Super Bowl in which the top two picks from the same draft faced each other. But it did happen in the 1942 NFL Championship Game, when the Redskins defeated the Bears, 14-6. Ki Aldrich, the top pick in the 1939 draft, played for Washington, and future Hall of Famer Sid Luckman, taken second in 1939, played for Chicago.

null+ For this one time, Manning is carried by his mates

Peyton Manning, the first quarterback in 30 years to start a Super Bowl with a sub-70 passer rating during the season, passed for 141 yards and no touchdowns in the Broncos’ win. Inevitably it will be said that Denver and its top-ranked defense reached and won Super Bowl 50 not because of its quarterback but despite him. Only three other QBs started and won a Super Bowl passing for less than 150 yards and no TDs: Bob Griese (following the 1973 season), John Elway (1997), and Ben Roethlisberger (2005).

But let’s give Manning his due: Each of his three previous Super Bowl starts was made for a team that ranked in the bottom half of the NFL in defense (that is, yards allowed): the 2006 Colts (21st), 2009 Colts (18th), and 2013 Broncos (19th). Only two other quarterbacks started even two Super Bowls for “bottom-half” defensive teams: Jim Kelly with the Bills (27th in both 1991 and 1993) and Tom Brady with the Patriots (24th in 2001, 31st in 2011).

null+ Broncos’ kicker is flawless in Super Bowl run

Finally, let’s not overlook the role of Brandon McManus in Denver’s run to the Super Bowl. McManus made all 10 of his field-goal attempts during the postseason. Only one other player in NFL history kicked as many as 10 field goals in one postseason: Adam Vinatieri was 14-for-15 for Indianapolis in the playoffs following the 2006 season. The previous record for FGs without a miss in one postseason was nine, by Chuck Nelson of the Vikings (1987).

After 38 Seasons, Wade Phillips Is A Guy With A Super Bowl Ring

2.

Between Cam Newton’s unraveling and Peyton Manning’s brand smooching, you might be having a hard time finding something to be unabashedly happy about in the wake of Super Bowl 50. Allow me to submit Broncos defensive coordinator Wade Phillips as a target for adulation.

What do you think about when someone says Wade Phillips’s name? The question is easy to answer this morning: he’s the engineer behind the fearsome Denver defense that spent the last month making all-world quarterbacks look like rattled third-stringers.

Read: After 38 Seasons, Wade Phillips Is A Guy With A Super Bowl Ring

3.

Cam Newton had a dreadful performance in Sunday’s Super Bowl. The league’s MVP followed that up with an even uglier showing in his press conference.

Newton, who abruptly walked off the podium, was unenthusiastic, brief and clearly dejected. Understandably so.

Newton, however, drew some criticism from NFL Media’s Deion Sanders after his presser.

Read: Deion Sanders sums up Cam Newton’s ugly press conference perfectly | FOX Sports

4.

On the field, the Super Bowl might not have been the most fast-paced of all time, but at least the ads provided some extra entertainment. Here’s a look at the commercials that rose above the rest.

Read: What were the best ads of Super Bowl 50?

marsh

5.

Marshawn Lynch, Done?

kd

6.

After the Golden State Warriors fended off the Oklahoma City Thunder in a 116-108 win, Ron Adams, Golden State’s assistant coach and defensive guru shrugged, “I don’t know how to stop him. I coached him and I don’t know how to stop him.”

Adams was referring to Kevin Durant, whom he worked with as an assistant in Oklahoma City from 2008 to 2010. That’s quite a concession from Adams, known to be one of if not the top defensive assistant in basketball. The admiration is mutual. Before the game, the two warmly greeted each other. The 27-year-old Durant said of the 68-year-old Adams, “We always had a great relationship. He was hard on me. He expected a lot out of me and that’s the type of coaching I like and he never shied away from how he thought.” Durant continued, “Always spoke his mind to me so I’m always going to respect him, always going to be family to me. Whatever team he goes to man, he imposes his will and just changed the whole thought process of the team. He’s a great assistant.”

Read: NBA: Kevin Durant can’t overcome Warriors

null+ Curry and Warriors on record pace after beating Thunder

The Warriors equaled the best 50-game start in NBA history by defeating the Thunder, 116-108, in Oakland. Golden State improved to 46-4 on the season, which is tied with the 1966-67 76ers for the best start to any season in league history. In fact, only one other team besides Golden State and Philadelphia won 46 of 50 games at any point of a season – the Mavericks had a 46-4 stretch in the 2006-07 campaign.

Stephen Curry led the Warriors with 26 points and 10 assists in their victory over Oklahoma City. Including Saturday’s contest, Golden State has earned a win in each of the last 20 games that Curry has compiled at least 20 points and 10 assists, including a 7-0 record in such games this season.

null+ Durant posts big numbers versus defending champs

Kevin Durant had a huge night in a losing effort, scoring a game-high 40 points for the Thunder while securing 14 rebounds, one shy of the team lead. In the last 40 seasons (1976-77 to 2015-16), only two other players totaled at least 40 points and 14 rebounds in a game against the defending NBA champions. Karl Malone (45 points, 17 rebounds) did that in 1995 against the Rockets, and Blake Griffin (43 points, 15 rebounds) did so in 2014 versus the Heat.

Your #NFL Weekend Update + #Superbowl50 Forecast

name of site - hunter thompson style

Daniels helps Denver punch ticket to Super Bowl 50

In the 17th and quite possibly the final edition of “Manning versus Brady,” it was Peyton Manning and the Broncos emerging victorious over Tom Brady and the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game. Manning completed 17 passes for 176 yards and threw two touchdowns, both to tight end Owen Daniels. Daniels caught a 21-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter and a 12-yard TD pass in the second quarter, and those were his only two receptions of the game. Daniels tied the NFL postseason record for receptions in a game, all of which went for scores, last done by the Colts’ LaVon Brazill, also against the Patriots, in the 2013 playoffs.

Daniels is the fourth player to catch two touchdown passes from Peyton Manning in a playoff game. The previous three did so for the Colts against the Broncos: Marvin Harrison and Brandon Stokley in the 2003 playoffs and Reggie Wayne a year later.

Rare struggles for Patriots’ offense

Though a late touchdown pass from Tom Brady to Rob Gronkowski made the final score close, it was a day-long struggle for the Patriots on offense. Brady completed 27 of 56 passes, marking the first time in his professional career that he completed fewer than half of his passes in a postseason game. The 29 incomplete passes on Sunday were also a career-high for Brady in a postseason game.

The Patriots as a team converted two of 15 third-down attempts, good for just 13.3 percent. That’s New England’s lowest third-down percentage in a postseason game under Bill Belichick. The last time the Patriots converted a lower percentage of third downs in a postseason game was Super Bowl XX – New England lost to the Bears, 46-10, and were 1-for-10 (10%) on third downs.

Panthers pound Cardinals in NFC Championship

The Panthers are headed to Super Bowl 50 after overwhelming the Cardinals, 49-15, in the NFC Championship Game. The 49 points by Carolina are the second-most scored by a team that clinched a berth in the Super Bowl – the Bills scored 51 points in the AFC Championship Game in January 1991 against the Raiders. The Panthers, who forced seven turnovers in their blowout victory, are the second team in the last 20 postseasons to score at least 49 points and record seven or more takeaways in a postseason game. The other team to accomplish that feat in that span is the Jaguars, who racked up 62 points and forced seven turnovers in their divisional round victory over the Dolphins in January 2000.

nullSuperman Cam is clutch for Carolina

Cam Newton put up an MVP-like performance in the Panthers’ victory, throwing for 335 yards and two touchdowns while also running for a pair of scores. Newton is the fourth quarterback to total multiple touchdown passes and touchdown rushes in a single postseason game. Otto Graham had two such games for the Browns in back-to-back NFL Championships (1954 and 1955). The other two players to do so prior to Newton were Jay Cutler (Jan. 2011 against the Seahawks) and Colin Kaepernick (Jan. 2013 versus the Packers).

nullPalmer ties ignominious record in loss

Carson Palmer struggled against the mighty Panthers defense, throwing four interceptions and losing a pair of fumbles. Palmer’s six turnovers are tied for the most turnovers by a player in a postseason game. The last player to turn the ball over six times in a postseason game also did so in a Panthers-Cardinals matchup – Jake Delhomme had five interceptions and lost a fumble for Carolina in January 2009 against Arizona.

A first look at Super Bowl 50: Denver Broncos vs. Carolina Panthers

LAS VEGAS – The Carolina Panthers will go to San Francisco favored by more than a field goal to win the Super Bowl for the first time in franchise history.

Oddsmakers didn’t even wait until the Panthers finished off the Arizona Cardinals to install them as favorites for the game against the Denver Broncos on Feb. 7. At most books, the Panthers were a 4-point pick, though the early line varied, with the over/under settling in at 45.

Five Quick Hits

* I wish there had been more time in between games on Sunday. The nail-biter in Denver ended minutes before kickoff in Carolina, and if the game had gone into overtime, that creates a conflict for viewers.

* Even if you DVR the NFC Championship Game while you watch the end of the AFC Championship Game, good luck avoiding the scroll at your bottom of your screen, telling you that it’s 17-0 Carolina before you’ve even switched over. There should be a hour, minimum, between the conference championship games. Probably one and a half. I’d rather watch a pre-game show for 15 minutes than miss the first drive of the NFC Championship Game.

* Anyone else catch Rob Gronkowski complaining to the back judge near the end of the early game? He mimed that the Broncos had basically attempted to murder him, on a play that rightfully drew no penalties. Hey Gronk, there’s another sport where crying and faking does draw penalties. It’s called soccer. Either sign with the New England Revolution, or grow up.

* Cam Newton is an all-pro QB and league MVP, and he played great on Sunday. But I’ve never seen a quarterback so willing to throw a 4-yard pass on 3rd-and-10.

* Congratulations to this year’s finalists for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award: Anquan Boldin, Eli Manning, and Ben Watson. Boldin is the favorite. This is the second year in a row he’s been a finalist. Thomas Davis, who won last season, had also been a finalist for the second year in a row.

* Get an early look at the 2016 Super Bowl commercials.

635872031581512464-2073332763_super-bowl-50_pg_600

The Ghost of Christmas Future

Super Bowl 50: Carolina Panthers vs. Denver Broncos
Santa Clara, California
February 7, 2015

For the third year in a row, the top seeds from both conferences will meet in the Super Bowl. But this result wasn’t as likely as that stat would imply. The hottest teams coming into the playoffs were the Chiefs (on a 10-game win streak), the Cardinals (who lost a 9-game streak with a half-hearted Week 17), and the Seahawks (whose last four wins came by a combined 139-32). The Panthers had a tough road to the big game, and the Broncos just didn’t look particularly intimidating at the end of the regular season.

This is the first Super Bowl for both head coaches, though both have been to Super Bowls in other capacities. The Broncos’ Gary Kubiak becomes the seventh head coach to make a Super Bowl in his first year with the team, joining Don McCafferty, Red Miller, George Seifert, Bill Callahan, Jon Gruden, and Jim Caldwell. Additionally, Peyton Manning will become the oldest QB to start a Super Bowl, breaking the record held by his employer, John Elway.

CAROLINA ON OFFENSE

Denver has a great defense, but this is a bad matchup. The Broncos thrive on pressure, but Cam Newton’s running ability means he can evade pass rushers, and he’ll run through openings if you leave them. The Broncos will get some sacks, but their pressure won’t have the same effect it did against the Patriots. Denver’s pass defense is better than its rush defense, and Carolina is one of the most balanced offenses in the league, with a good ground game. New England prefers to throw, which played to Denver’s strength, but if Mike Shula is smart, I’d expect the Panthers to run about 50% of the time, more if they get a big lead. I’d also look for some sort of trick play to break things open.

The Broncos need to contain the rush, while preventing big plays downfield: make Newton throw short and intermediate passes, string together long drives. He’s capable of that, but the Broncos can’t get run over on the ground, or killed on sudden, momentum-generating big-play strikes. The Broncos have won with their defense all year, and they’ll need a low-scoring game if they’re going to win, so giving up a 50-yard TD would be devastating. Force the Panthers to work the ball down the field, preferably through the air, and hope you can force a couple of turnovers.

DENVER ON OFFENSE

This still seems weird to say about a Peyton Manning offense, but the Broncos are best when their offense is smart and conservative, with an emphasis on ball control. You expect to see what the team has shown its last few games. They’ll stick with the run, mostly grinding out short gains to keep the defense honest, and probably break a long one at some point. Manning has to take a few shots downfield, but his role is more to find the right plays and pick up first downs on 3rd-and-6. The priority is avoiding turnovers. The Broncos aren’t going to win a shootout, and they’re not expecting to win with explosive offense; they want big plays from their defense.

Carolina’s priority is probably to prevent Denver from establishing its run game and getting into a rhythm. Don’t make mistakes, and force Manning to win with his arm. The Panthers are effective ballhawks, as we saw in the NFC Championship Game, but they probably don’t need to force turnovers as long as they’re solid throughout the game. They need to be creative enough that Manning doesn’t pick them apart with his calls at the line, but they don’t need to be aggressive, exactly. Luke Kuechly and Josh Norman are terrific players, but Carolina’s most important defender in this game might be Kawann Short. Manning can’t overcome a good interior pass rush.

SPECIAL TEAMS

This might be a small advantage for Denver, which has a slightly better kicker, slightly better punter, and a more consistent return game. For the Broncos to win, they’ll probably need an edge from special teams: a big return or a blocked kick or something.

THE FORECAST

The three best teams in the NFL this year were all in the NFC: the Panthers, Cardinals, and Seahawks. The Panthers have already beaten the other two, pretty handily, and they’re 4-point favorites to win Super Bowl 50. Denver has a great defense, though, and you should never underestimate great defensive teams in a championship. The Broncos were in the Super Bowl two years ago, so they have Super Bowl experience, which the Panthers do not – not that it matters a damn. And it’s widely assumed that this will be Manning’s last game. I hate to imply that players don’t always perform at their peak, especially in a game of this magnitude, but sometimes you see a little more when emotions are running high. Who’s to say the Broncos don’t find something extra to help the Sheriff ride off into the sunset?

All the intangibles point in Denver’s direction. But the Panthers are a better team. They have a good defense, too, as their seven takeaways against Arizona would attest, and they have an offense that scores more points. Their ground game plays away from Denver’s strengths, and interior defensive pressure could radically disrupt Manning’s gameplan.

Source: Sports Central NFL – Super Bowl 50 Preview

#NFL Week 17 – United Stats of America – Elias Sports Bureau

name of site - hunter thompson style

null


Age is no obstacle for NFL’s rushing champion

Adrian Peterson, who turned 30 years old in March, won the NFL rushing race when Doug Martin fell 16 yards short of Peterson’s total heading into the Vikings’ Sunday night game at Green Bay. Peterson is the third player in league history to lead the NFL or AFL in rushing yards in his 30s. The only other players to have done so were Marion Motley in 1950 (at age 30) and Curtis Martin in 2004 (31).

Ryan gains sweet revenge against the Jets

The Bills defeated the Jets, 22-17, and that result, combined with Pittsburgh’s victory at Cleveland, denied the Jets a spot in the postseason. Thus, Rex Ryan became the first head coach in NFL history to help keep a team that he had head-coached in the previous season out of the playoffs by beating that club, head to head, in the season’s final week.

Additionally, Ryan is the first NFL head coach in 85 years to sweep a two-game season series against a team of which he was the head coach in the previous season. The last to do so was Jack Depler, a player-coach with the Orange Tornadoes in 1929 who bolted to coach the Brooklyn Dodgers a year later. The Tornadoes moved from East Orange, New Jersey to Newark in 1930, enduring a 1-10-1 season that included a pair of shutout losses to Depler’s Dodgers: 32-0 at Ebbets Field and 14-0 on the infield of the Newark Velodrome.

nullMarshall makes a great first impression

Brandon Marshall finished the season with 1502 receiving yards, breaking Don Maynard’s team record that had stood since 1967. Notably, Marshall fell six receiving yards short of the NFL record for a player in his first season with a team-any team, that is-a mark that Marshall himself set with the Bears three seasons ago.

Marshall and Eric Decker scored touchdowns in the same game for the ninth time this season, tying an NFL record. The only other teammates to score TDs in the same game nine times in one season were Michael Irvin and Emmitt Smith with the Cowboys in 1995.

Brown caps season with another spectacular game

Antonio Brown caught 13 passes for 187 yards and a touchdown in the Steelers’ 28-12 win at Cleveland. For most players, even some great ones, that would be a “career game.” Consider that Tony Gonzalez never gained even 150 receiving yards in one game; Cris Carter never had a 170-yard game; and neither Larry Fitzgerald nor Hines Ward ever had as many receiving yards in one regular-season game as Brown did on Sunday.

But that was Brown’s fourth-highest total this season, following games of 195 against the 49ers, 284 against the Raiders, and 189 against the Broncos. Brown is the first receiver in NFL history to reach the 180-yard mark in four games in the same season.

nullSung to the tune of you-know-what: “Peyton never subbed before”

Peyton Manning made the first relief appearance of his career and he made it count, engineering the Broncos’ rally in a 27-20 come-from-behind win over the Chargers to clinch the top seed in the AFC playoffs. Manning has started 265 regular-season games; this was the first in which he came off the bench. That’s a record of sorts. The last player to start even 200 games before his first game as a substitute was the Raiders’ Hall of Fame guard, Gene Upshaw. Upshaw started 207 games before his first appearance as a sub in 1981.

Carolina ends a great season with a noteworthy victory

The Panthers walloped the Buccaneers, 38-10, to finish their season with a 15-1 mark. It was the largest season-ending victory posted by any of the seven teams that won at least 15 games. The only other club among that group that won its season finale by at least 20 points was Chicago in 1985. The Bears finished their regular season with a 37-17 win at Detroit. Carolina’s head coach, Ron Rivera, was a linebacker on the 1985 Bears.

nullWatt captures sacks title with three in season finale

J.J. Watt sacked Blake Bortles three times in Houston’s 30-6 victory over Jacksonville, to pass Khalil Mack of the Raiders as the NFL leader for the 2015 season. Watt became only the second player to lead the NFL in sacks twice within his first five years in the league. He previously led the league as a second-year pro in 2012. The other player to do so was Reggie White in 1987 and 1988, his third and fourth seasons in the NFL.

It should be noted that Watt’s three sacks on Sunday were enough to catch and pass Mack, but not enough to lead his team in sacks in its win over the Jags. That distinction goes to Whitney Mercilus, with three-and-a-half sacks of Bortles. Over the last four seasons, only one other pair of teammates had at least three sacks each in the same game: Chris Long and Robert Quinn of the Rams in a loss to Seattle in 2013.

Seahawks end season with rout of powerful Cardinals

The Seahawks made a bold season-ending statement with a 36-6 victory at Arizona, crushing a Cardinals team that had a 13-2 record coming into the game. It was the fourth-largest margin of victory in NFL history against a team with a record at least 10 games above the .500 mark. The largest was a 41-0 victory by the Boston Patriots at San Diego on the final week of the 1961 AFL season. The Chargers had a 12-1 mark prior to that game. One week later, San Diego lost the AFL Championship Game to the Houston Oilers, 10-3.­­

nullCousins’ fast start dooms Cowboys

Kirk Cousins threw three touchdown passes to give the Redskins a 21-0 lead in the first quarter and Washington rolled to a 34-23 win at Dallas. Only one other player has thrown three first-quarter touchdown passes in a game against the Cowboys: Randall Cunningham in a memorable 46-36 Vikings win at Texas Stadium on Thanksgiving Day 1998. Cunningham’s early TD passes all covered more than 50 yards. He connected with Randy Moss for first-quarter TDs of 51 and 56 yards and with Cris Carter for a 54-yard touchdown. For good measure, Cunningham found Moss on a 56-yard scoring pass in the third quarter.

nullEagles’ Thurmond asks the Giants, “Hey, remember me?”

Walter Thurmond recovered a fumble by Eli Manning in the third quarter and returned it 83 yards for a go-ahead touchdown in the Eagles’ 35-30 win over the Giants. Thurmond, who played two games for New York in 2014, became the first ex-Giants player to score a second-half game-winning TD against the team since Bobby Hammond did it for the Redskins in 1980, scoring on a 7-yard pass from Joe Theismann in the final minute of a 23-21 victory.

It was yet another blown opportunity for the Giants, who lost nine of the last 18 games in which they led in the second half. New York has lost six of the last nine games against the Eagles in which it led at some point after halftime, dating back to 2009.

Chiefs turn season around, finish with 11-5 mark

Kansas City extended its winning streak to 10 games, capping its season with a 23-17 win over the Raiders. The Chiefs, who lost five straight games after winning their season opener, finished with an 11-5 mark, the best in NFL history by a team that suffered five consecutive losses during the season. The previous record was the Jets’ 10-6 mark in 1986, when they lost their last five games after a 10-1 start.­

nullBengals’ Hill snaps drought with long TD run

Jeremy Hill flashed rarely-seen breakaway ability, running 38 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter of the Bengals’ 24-16 win over the Ravens. That was Hill’s longest run from scrimmage by far this season, snapping a streak of 232 carries for less than 20 yards.

Pats lose second straight intradivision game

The Dolphins finished the season with a 6-10 mark, defeating the Patriots, 20-10, to snap New England’s streak of 20 consecutive wins against teams with a record at least five games below .500. Combined with a 26-20 loss to the Jets last week, it marked the first time that New England lost consecutive games, both to divisional rivals with Tom Brady at quarterback. It’s also the first time that a team head-coached by Bill Belichick lost its last two games of a season since 1991 and 1992, Belichick’s first two seasons as an NFL head coach (both with Cleveland).

Bears end historic season with home loss to Lions

With a 24-20 loss to Detroit, the Bears finished the 2015 season with a 1-7 record at Soldier Field. That is the team’s worst home record, whether based on winning percentage or games below .500, in any of its 96 seasons in the NFL. By either of those standards, the Bears suffered their previous worst home records at Wrigley Field in 1969 and at Soldier Field in 1973 (1-6 in both seasons).

New Colts QBs lead team to win over Titans

With Andrew Luck, Matt Hasselbeck, and Charlie Whitehurst all injured, Josh Freeman and Ryan Lindley each threw a touchdown pass in the Colts’ 30-24 win over the Titans. Over the last 25 seasons, only one other pair of teammates both threw a TD pass in the same game in which each was making his team debut. Andy Dalton and Bruce Gradkowski did it in the Bengals’ 2011 season opener.

Source: Elias Says: Sports Statistics – Stats from the Elias Sports Bureau

#NFL Weekend Update: 9 Things We Need To Know on Monday

AltX.Logo.white

It’s was a strange weekend, from undefeated teams going down, to threats at WWE in Atlanta to the Mafia telling ISIS, NYC is their turf and to stay away – it all leaves us with more questions then answers and first off, is this:  How does the #NFL concussion protocol fail Case Keenum?  So Let’s Get It On with the 9 things we need to know, (h/t Elias Sports Bureau).

1

Famous Jameis and the Return of the Muscle-Hamster

Doug Martin ran for 235 yards, the highest single-game total in the NFL in the last three seasons. But he had to share the headlines with Jameis Winston, who threw five touchdowns passes in the Buccaneers’ 45-17 win at Philadelphia. Winston tied the record for TD passes in a game by a rookie, nullset by Ray Buivid of the Bears in 1937 and tied only once previously, by Matthew Stafford in 2009.

The last player to gain as much rushing yardage in one game as Martin was Martin himself, with a 251-yard performance at Oakland in 2012. He fell 2 yards short of the highest rushing-yards total by a player who didn’t score a touchdown in the game. Barry Sanders gained 237 rushing yards without scoring in Detroit’s victory over the Bucs in 1994.

There was only one other game in NFL history in which a player rushed for at least 200 yards and a teammate threw five or more TD passes. Jamal Lewis gained 216 rushing yards and Derek Anderson threw five scoring passes for the Browns in a 51-45 win over the Bengals in 2007.  What it means is Tampa might be relevant again at 5-5.

2

For Chiefs – The Last 3 weeks Has Been the Playoffs

One week after routing the Broncos, 29-13, at Denver, the Chiefs posted their biggest win at San Diego in 47 years, defeating the Chargers, 33-3. Kansas City’s last victory at San Diego by at least 30 points was a 40-3 win in 1968­­. In that game, Len Dawson threw three touchdown passes and the Chiefs made a team-record seven interceptions.

But Kansas City’s performance over the last two weeks deserves more than a comparison only to the team’s own history. It marks the first time since 1992 that any team NFL won consecutive games, both on the road against division opponents and both by a margin of 16 points or more. The last team to do so was San Diego, with road victories against the Raiders (36-14) and Seahawks (31-14) in December 1992.  Would anyone be shocked if the Chiefs finished 10-6 and and beat up the AFC South champ in a wild-card game?

3

Panthers Troll Washington

crop_exact_Screen_Shot_2015-11-22_at_9.02.58_AM

A question for Redskins fans: How long have you rooted for your team? Because unless you saw Sammy Baugh play, you never saw a Redskins game that started as explosively as Sunday’s, in which each team scored two touchdowns in the first quarter. It was the first such game in Carolina’s 21-year history in the league, and it was the Redskins’ first since a 45-35 loss to the Giants in 1949 in which Baugh threw a pair of early TD passes to Hugh Taylor.  The Redskins kept Cam Newton out of the end zone on Sunday, but Newton threw five touchdown passes in the Panthers’ 44-16 victory. Newton, who scored six TDs in Carolina’s first nine games this season, is only the third player in NFL history with five or more touchdown passes in a game and at least five rushing TDs in that same season. Yes, it’s a bit tortured, but there’s a payoff for fans who enjoy a bit of NFL history in Elias Says. The first player to do so was Dandy Don Meredith with the Cowboys in 1966; in fact, he had two games with five TD passes that season. The other was Steve McNair of the Titans in 1999.

4

With Romo, The Cowboys are Undefeated

Tony Romo passed for 227 yards and two touchdowns as the Cowboys snapped a seven-game losing streak with a 24-14 win at Miami. The Cowboys’ losing streak coincided with the seven games that Romo missed with a broken left collarbone. Dallas has won the last seven regular-season games that Romo has started and lost the last nine that Romo missed.

But don’t overlook the contribution of Darren McFadden, who rushed for 129 yards. Romo has a 23-8 record as a starting quarterback when a teammate has gained at least 100 rushing yards.

5

Peyton Place

During the pregame show for Sunday Night Football, Mike Florio reported that not only is Manning planning on came back for another season in 2016, he is willing to do it for a team other than the Broncos.  Clearly, he wants to erase the stink of the last game he played and does not want to go out like that.  As for Peyton getting healthy, it may not matter, because Kubiak is already quiet with his decision on who gets the start against the Patriots.  Pretty sure that Elway, Kubiak, and the rest who wear Orange-Colored Glasses all want the same thing and it’s the guy he played in Chicago.  Brock Osweiler played a turnover-free game in the Broncos’ 17-15 win at Chicago. Osweiler connected with Demaryius Thomas for a 48-yard score in the game’s 3rd minute. The only other active players to throw a touchdown pass that long in the first 3 minutes of their first start in the NFL were Matt Ryan in 2008 and Marcus Mariota two months ago. Note that Manning threw at least one interception in each of his nine games this season, for a total of 17.

6

Old Guys Win in C’Ant’Lanta

Matt Hasselbeck improved his record to 3-0 as the Colts’ starting quarterback in a 24-21 victory at Atlanta. Only two other QBs won three consecutive starts after turning 40 years old: Warren Moon and Brett Favre.

Last month, Adam Vinatieri kicked a field goal in overtime in Hasselbeck’s first victory for Indianapolis. That marked the first time in NFL history that a player in his 40s scored the winning points in the fourth quarter or OT in a game started by a quarterback age 40 or older. Vinatieri did it again yesterday, kicking a game-winning 43-yard field goal with 52 seconds to play.  For the Colts, it’s “No Luck, No Problem” – do we need to rethink Andrew’s place among the Elite?

7

Break up the Lions!

The Lions defeated the Raiders, 18-13, one week after a surprising 18-16 win over the Packers – That’s the first #NFL Team to score 18pts and win back-to-back games. It was also the first time in 15 years that Detroit won consecutive games despite scoring fewer than 20 points in each of them. Over the last 15 seasons, the Lions have a 16-99 record when they scored fewer than 20 points.  For the Raiders it seemed like the same ol’story and might not be ready for PrimeTime just yet – or it’s just the curse of Jack Del Rio.

8

Takeaways from #NFL Week 11

It’s Thanksgiving and what a glorious time of year – but when you look around the #NFL you might see the coincidence that, after tonight, all teams will be at the 10 game mark – No more BYE’s, and we begin the stretch run to the playoffs.  6 games, all the marbles and some thoughts on what we witnessed.

Source: Top 10 takeaways from Sunday’s Week 11 NFL action

9

Worst QB Performances of week 11

A few of the NFL’s top quarterbacks suffered through miserable performances on Sunday.

More often than not, these guys are lighting up opposing defenses and leading their teams to victory, but the football gods had different plans this time around.

Of course, as usual this list is also populated by guys you would expect to play poorly. Without any further ado, these were the worst quarterbacks from Week 11.

Source: Eight worst quarterback performances from Week 11

Free-agent Rawls makes history in Seahawks’ win

Thomas Rawls gained 209 yards on 30 carries and 46 yards on three receptions, and he scored a pair of touchdowns in the Seahawks’ 29-13 win over the 49ers. Rawls was the first rookie in NFL history with at least 250 yards from scrimmage, a rushing touchdown, and a TD reception in the same game.null

Only one other undrafted rookie rushed for 200 or more yards in an NFL game, and that was nearly six decades ago. Tom Wilson of the Rams ran for 223 yards against the Packers on Dec. 16, 1956. That was three weeks after Wilson, who according to an Associated Press story at the time, did not play college football, returned a kickoff 103 yards for a touchdown.

pablo (4)

 

9 Things To Know – #NFL Weekend Update

AltX.Logo.white

1. Calvin and the Lions

Detroit survived a pair of missed extra points in an 18-16 victory at Green Bay, and a huge mistake from Calvin Johnson. The Lions’ streak of 20 consecutive regular-season losses at Lambeau Field, which began 20 years and one month earlier, was the longest in NFL history by any team at any stadium.

Of course, Green Bay’s dominance at home had extended well beyond its games against Detroit, particularly with Aaron Rodgers at quarterback against struggling teams. Rodgers had won 21 consecutive home games against opponents with a losing record at the time of kickoff, dating back to 2009.

Ironically, Matt Prater, who missed two extra-point conversions for the Lions on Sunday, finished the day as something of a hero, having kicked field goals of 49 and 51 yards in Detroit’s two-point victory. Prater was the first player in NFL history to miss two extra points but kick two field goals of 40 yards or longer in the same game. Only one other player kicked two FGs of 49 yards or longer in the same game at Lambeau Field: longtime Lions kicker Jason Hanson in 2010.

2. What’s Wrong With Aaron?

The Packers have lost three in a row. The good news is that the team built up some margin for error with a 6-0 start. But, that is mostly eroded now, and they need to start playing better immediately for this season to be a meaningful one. Though Green Bay had a chance to steal Sunday’s game against Detroit, a win may have masked some structural deficiencies. Right now, this is an average football team, or worse. Here’s hoping that the team is more aware that major adjustments are necessary than they are letting on publicly……(continue reading)

3. Sunday Was a Bad Day To Be a QB

The NFL’s Week 10 schedule featured some quarterback performances we’d all like to forget about.

Some of the worst showings from the league’s leading men were put forth by the usual suspects, while others were definite surprises.

This upcoming list would be even longer if not for some outstanding late-game efforts by a couple of superstars who pulled themselves and their teams up by the bootstraps after sub-par outings, saving the best for last.

The following quarterbacks would love to have a do-over after poor showings in Week 10……(continue reading)

4. OBJ and the Giants Can’t Close Out The Champs

You can debate all you want whether Odell Beckham Jr. technically “caught” a potential game-winning touchdown Sunday, but he knows there should never have even been any doubt.

The New York Giants wide receiver came close to snagging a go-ahead score with 2:02 remaining and the Giants trailing the New England Patriots 24-23. The superstar wideout had the ball in his grasp and came down in the endzone before Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler knocked the ball loose. The play was reviewed and it was ruled Beckham didn’t complete the catch……(continue reading)

5. All-Day and the Best of Sunday

Week 10 of the NFL season saw Peyton Manning break another passing record, the New England Patriots and Carolina Panthers improve to 9-0 and the Detroit Lions win a game in the state of Wisconsin for the first time in almost a quarter century.

Sunday also saw Manning benched during the worst game of his career, the Lions nearly choke away said win and a couple of disastrous defensive performances.

Here is the rest of the best and worst from the NFL’s tenth week……(continue reading)

6. Edelman Broken Foot

Tom Brady looked a little downtrodden when he took the podium after the New England Patriots’ dramatic last-second win over the New York Giants on Sunday.

It seemed a little peculiar to see Brady at anything less than elated given the nature of the incredible comeback victory. But there was good reason for Brady’s lack of exuberance. One, of course, was just straight fatigue, both physical and emotional.

The other reason was Julian Edelman.

The Patriots lost Edelman in the first half……(continue reading)

7. It’s Never Been This Good For The Cardinals

During the “Sunday Night Football” broadcast of the Arizona Cardinals’ wild, breakthrough 39-32 road win over the Seattle Seahawks, television analyst Cris Collinsworth paused for a moment to reflect on what he was seeing. “When you’ve thought about the Arizona Cardinals over the years, you can describe it in one word: Futility.”

You’re telling me, pal.

In my 30-or-so years of being a fan of the Arizona Cardinals, there have been three periods of success. I don’t mean periods of sustained success; there has been no sustained success. I mean one-or-two-year stretches where it has been not been actively……(continue reading)

GettyImages-4972971228. Worst Penalty Ever

The 2015 Baltimore Ravens have shown an incredible knack for losing close games. To be sure, all nine of their games have been decided by one score, yet the team is now essentially finished with a 2-7 record.

How does this happen? The end of Baltimore’s 22-20 loss to the Jaguars Sunday is a good example. Baltimore had the game won when Jags quarterback Blake Bortles was sacked on the Jacksonville half of the field when time expired. The only problem: Ravens linebacker Elvis Dumervil was flagged for a facemask penalty to extend the game by one untimed down……(continue reading)

9. The Rest Of It All

+ Six Super Bowl-winning QBs go down, an NFL firstnull

For the first time in NFL history, six quarterbacks who had previously started and won a Super Bowl lost on the same day: Drew Brees, Joe Flacco, Eli Manning,Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, and Russell Wilson. The previous high on one day was four.

The most shocking performance among those six losing QBs was by Peyton Manning, who completed only five of 20 passes and was intercepted four times in the Broncos’ loss to the Chiefs. Manning was the first player in 29 years to throw as many as four interceptions and complete five or fewer passes in the same game. The last quarterback to do so was Warren Moon with the Houston Oilers in 1986 (5-for-23 with 4 INTs against the Browns).

+ Hurns extends his scoring streaknull

Allen Hurns opened the scoring with a 5-yard touchdown reception in the Jaguars’ 22-20 victory at Baltimore. Hurns has now caught a TD pass in each of his last seven games. It is not certain that Jacksonville (3-6) will finish the season with a losing record. But it’s worth noting that only four players in NFL history caught TD passes in seven straight games for a team that finished the season with more losses than wins: Buddy Dial for the 1960 Steelers (an 8-game streak), Carl Pickens for the 1995 Bengals (7), Santana Moss for the 2003 Jets (7), and T.J. Houshmandzadeh for the 2007 Bengals (8).

+ Cutler and Langford star in Bears’ big winnull

Jeremy Langford scored two touchdowns, including one on an 83-yard screen pass, in the Bears’ 37-13 win at St. Louis. It was the longest TD reception by a Bears rookie since 1991, when Anthony Morgan scored on an 84-yard pass from Jim Harbaugh.

Of course, we may have buried the lead, since Langford’s TD reception wasn’t evenJay Cutler’s longest touchdown pass in the game. Cutler threw a short pass thatZach Miller turned into an 87-yard score. In 89 previous games with the Bears, Cutler had thrown only one TD pass of 70 yards or longer (89 yards to Matt Forte in 2010).

Weekend Update: #NFL Week 9 Edition

name of site - hunter thompson style


1. It was Supposed To Be Different:

You said this year would be different after starting 2015 the same way you started 2014 – the only thing different is you beat Atlanta and not sure how that happened.  Sure, one particular play or tip did not cost the Saints the game – it’s everything.  Even history is stacked against this team – Does anyone remember the last time the Saints beat a rookie QB?  Tim Couch, first year back for the Browns – hail mary – I remember that one the most because it cost me a 15 team $50 parlay in Vegas, and that was the only way I could have lost!!! I did and so did the Saints.  The Saints lost to RG3 and his 1st game at home.  Lost to Jameis Winston already, at home – and now Marcus Mariota!  How do you still have a job Rob Ryan?  When does it end?  Brandon Browner can you go more than one series without a penalty?  You made Mariota look like he’s ready for Canton and he just lost his coach!!!  I hope we do not play the 49ers, because I’m not sure I could handle losing to Blaine Gabbert.


Mariota stakes his claim to looming NFL stardom

Marcus Mariota passed for 371 yards and four touchdowns, including a 5-yard toss to Anthony Fasano in overtime, to give the Titans a 34-28 win at New Orleans. But the most impressive number on Mariota’s record on Sunday was a zero in the interceptions column. It was the second game this season in which Mariota threw four TDs and no INTs, matching the total of all other rookie quarterbacks since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970. The only other rookie QBs with even one such game during that time were Trent Edwards of Buffalo (2007) and Robert Griffin III of Washington (2012).

Incidentally, both of Mariota’s tours de force were accomplished on the road. His first game with four TDs and no interceptions was Tennessee’s season opener at Tampa Bay. The only other rookies to do so in a road game were Ray Buivid of the Bears (1937), Mickey Slaughter of the Broncos (1963), and Greg Cook of the Bengals (1969).


Another signature game for Newton in Panthers’ win

The Panthers improved to 8-0 with a 37-29 victory over the Packers, as Cam Newton ran for one touchdown and passed for three others. It was the fifth time that Newton threw at least three TD passes in the same game in which he himself scored a touchdown. That’s one short of the highest such total in NFL history, a record set by Tobin Rote and matched by Billy Wade, Jack Kemp, and Steve Young.  Can we also stop with the Cam Newton MVP talk – he has the same numbers as Xerxes, look it up – he is not any better than before this year – he’s just on a team that is undefeated.


Packers’ own perfect record succumbs to a pair of other undefeated teams

Green Bay’s record now stands at 6-2 following a pair of losses to undefeated teams: Denver last week and Carolina this week. Only three other teams in NFL history faced consecutive unbeaten and untied opponents with at least six wins each: Detroit in 1934, Pittsburgh in 2004, and Indianapolis this week and last, same as Green Bay.AltX.Logo.white

Against all odds, the Steelers won both of those games, against New England and Philadelphia, and they did it with a rookie quarterback. Those were Ben Roethlisberger’s fifth and sixth starts in the NFL.

The 1934 Lions won their first 10 games by a combined score of 215-27. But Detroit ended the season with three straight three-point losses: 3-0 to the Packers, and then 19-16 and 10-7 to the Bears, who finished the season with a 13-0 record (but lost the title game).


Brown & Williams post gaudy numbers in Steelers’ win

Antonio Brown caught 17 passes for 284 yards-both team-record totals for one game-and DeAngelo Williams gained a total of 225 yards (170 on 27 carries and 55 on two pass receptions) in the Steelers’ 38-35 win over the Raiders. It was only the third game in NFL history in which teammates both gained at least 200 yards from scrimmage. Clem Daniels and Art Powell did it for the Raiders in 1963; Brian Westbrook and Kevin Curtis did it for the Eagles in 2007.


Blount is key to Patriots’ victory

LeGarrette Blount was the star of the Patriots’ 27-10 win over the Redskins, gaining 129 yards on 29 carries. Over the last 10 seasons, only one other New England player rushed the ball that many times in a regular-season game: Jonas Gray, who gained 201 yards on 37 carries against the Colts last November. Of course Blount set a team postseason record with 30 carries in the AFC Championship Game last January, gaining 148 yards and scoring three touchdowns.


Patriots tie NFL record for quarter-by-quarter scoring

By scoring in all four quarters of its victory, New England tied an NFL record of scoring in 31 consecutive quarters. That mark was set by the Colts in 2005 and previously equaled by the Rams, who did it spanning the 1999 and 2000 seasons.


Veterans help Colts spoil Broncos’ perfect record

Peyton Manning still has not won a game and in his return to Indianapolis needed 284 passing yards and one victory to surpass Brett Favre’s all-time record totals in those categories. Manning fell three yards and one win short, as the Colts denied him both marks-at least for the moment-and handed Denver its first loss of the season, 27-24. Some notes on the game:AltX.Logo.white

This was the fifth time that the Colts faced a team that was undefeated and untied with at least seven wins, and it was their first victory in such a game.

Frank Gore carried the ball 28 times, his highest total in one game since 2011. Gore was the oldest player in Colts history with that many carries in one game, and he was the oldest to do so for any team since Ricky Williams in 2009.

Adam Vinatieri kicked a tie-breaking 55-yard field goal with 6:13 to play. At age 42, Vinatieri was by far the oldest NFL player to kick a game-winning FG that long in the fourth quarter or overtime. Matt Bryant previously held that distinction, having kicked a 55-yard game-winner for the Falcons in 2012 at age 37.


Jacksonville extends a very specific losing streak

Blake Bortles fumbled the ball away in the fourth quarter as Jacksonville drove for a potential go-ahead touchdown, and the Jaguars lost to the Jets, 28-23. That was the Jags’ 21st consecutive loss in a road game against a team with a winning record. Dating back to the 2008 season, that is now the second-longest such streak in NFL history. But get this: The Jaguars are only halfway to the record. Over a span of 15 seasons from 1990 to 2004, Cincinnati lost 42 straight road games in which its opponent had a winning record at the time of kickoff.


Bills score from distance in win over Dolphins

The Bills defeated the Dolphins, 33-17, in a game that featured three long touchdowns by Buffalo: a 44-yard pass from Tyrod Taylor to Sammy Watkins and runs of 48 yards by LeSean McCoy and 38 yards by Karlos Williams. It was only the second game in team history in which two different players scored rushing TDs of 30 yards or longer. The first was played 51 years ago, and the touchdowns were scored by Cookie Gilchrist (60 yards) and Bobby Smith (37) in a victory over the Houston Oilers (Nov. 1, 1964). Gilchrist was the AFL rushing champion that season, and that was his only 100-yard game of the year (139 yards).


Gabbert a winner in first start for NinersAltX.Logo.white

Blaine Gabbert started in place of Colin Kaepernick and threw two touchdown passes in the 49ers’ 17-16 win over the Falcons. Gabbert hadn’t started a game since 2013, hadn’t won since 2012, and had lost his last 10 starts for Jacksonville. During the NFL’s expansion era, dating back to 1960, only two other quarterbacks snapped a personal losing streak of 10 or more starts with a victory in their first start for a new club: Steve Bartkowski for the L.A. Rams in 1986, and Charlie Batch for the Steelers in 2005.


Zuerlein kicks a second field goal of 60-plus yards

In a game billed as a matchup of great breakaway runners old and new, Adrian Peterson ran for 125 yards and Todd Gurley for 89 yards as the Vikings defeated the Rams, 21-18, in overtime. But it was a kicker-in fact, the kicker for the losing team-that made headlines, as Greg Zuerlein kicked four field goals, including a 61-yarder.

Zuerlein, who kicked a 60-yard field goal against Seattle three seasons ago, became only the second player in NFL history with two FGs of 60 yards or longer. The other is Sebastian Janikowski.

#NFL Week 8 Craziness on All Saints Day

name of site - hunter thompson style

ap_599972857381

Brees and Saints win historic shootout vs. Manning and the Giants

Drew Brees tied an NFL record with seven touchdown passes and Eli Manning threw six TDs. But it was Saints kicker Kai Forbath who delivered the dagger, kicking a 50-yard field goal on the final play of New Orleans’ 52-49 victory. The Giants tied an NFL record as the highest-scoring losing team in NFL history. That mark has stood for 52 years, since a Houston Oilers team quarterbacked by George Blanda lost its 1963 season finale to a Raiders team coached by Al Davis. More on those touchdown passes by Brees and Manning:

It was the second NFL game in which opposing players threw at least six TDs each. Billy Kilmer of the Saints and Charley Johnson of the St. Louis Cardinals had six touchdown passes each in a New Orleans victory at Busch Stadium in 1969.

It was the 10th game in which Brees threw at least five TDs, breaking a tie with Peyton Manning to set a new NFL record.

Brees passed for 511 yards joining Ben Roethlisberger as the only NFL players with two games of at least 500 passing yards.

Brees was the eighth player to throw seven touchdown passes in one game, and it was the 18th game in which a QB reached the 500-yard mark. But the only other player to do both in the same game was Y.A Tittle of the Giants in 1962 (505 yards).

Eli Manning was the 15th player to throw six or more touchdown passes in a game with no interceptions, and he was the first of those players to lose the game.

nullA star is born in St. Louis

For those awaiting the NFL’s next game-changing running back, your man has arrived. Todd Gurley gained 133 yards on 20 carries, including a 71-yard touchdown run, in the Rams’ 27-6 win over the 49ers. Despite an unproductive debut in which he was limited to 9 yards on six carries, Gurley has gained more rushing yards in his first five NFL games (576) than anyone except Eric Dickerson (645) and Adrian Peterson (607).

Only Gurley and Peterson reached the 100-yard mark in four of their first five games. And Gurley is only the third player in league history with a run of at least 40 yards in each of four consecutive games. The others were Tiki Barber in 2002 and Steven Jackson in 2007.

Broncos now 7-0

The Broncos improved their record to 7-0 and knocked the Packers from the ranks of the undefeated with a 29-10 victory at Denver. It was only the fourth game in NFL history between unbeaten and untied teams with at least six wins. The three previous instances:

1921 – Akron Pros 0, Buffalo All-Americans 0. Akron was 7-0-0; Buffalo, 6-0-0. The final score reflected the era and the teams: Akron shut out its first seven opponents while Buffalo allowed just six points prior to this game. The All-Americans missed four field goals.

1973 – Minnesota 10, L.A. Rams 9. Both teams were 6-0-0 prior to this game. Fran Tarkenton connected with Chuck Foreman on a 9-yard pass for the game’s only touchdown.

2007 – New England 24, Indianapolis 20. The Patriots were 8-0-0; the Colts, 7-0-0. The Pats rallied from a 20-10 deficit with eight minutes to play in a rematch of the previous season’s AFC title game. Randy Moss caught nine passes for 145 yards and a TD.

nullManning & Rodgers fail to find the end zone

Whoever would have imagined that neither Peyton Manning nor Aaron Rodgers would throw a touchdown pass in Sunday’s game? It was the first game in NFL history in which each starting quarterback entered with a career average of more than two touchdown passes per game. Sunday was the 65th day on which both Manning and Rodgers started a regular-season game. It was the first of those days on which neither threw a TD pass.

nullAnother big game for Rivers ends in defeat

Philip Rivers passed for 301 yards and three TDs but it wasn’t enough as the Chargers lost to the Ravens, 29-26. That was Rivers’ fifth consecutive 300-yard performance, but San Diego won only the first of those games. He is the third player in NFL history with at least 300 passing yards in four consecutive games, all of them losses. The others were Bill Kenney of the Chiefs in 1983 and Matt Schaub of the Texans in 2010.

Bengals remain perfect after a brief respite

Cincinnati survived its treacherous post-bye game and improved to 7-0, the longest undefeated start in team history, with a 16-10 victory at Pittsburgh. The game following a bye has tripped up many undefeated teams in recent seasons. From 2009 through 2014, teams with a perfect record of 3-0-0 or better lost more post-bye games than they won (4-5). That hasn’t been the case in 2015, as the Panthers, Patriots, and Bengals all avoided a post-bye defeat.

Big Ben coughs up a pair of INTs with game on the line

Ben Roethlisberger threw two interceptions in the fourth quarter of the Steelers’ loss, the first while protecting a four-point lead and the second as Pittsburgh sought a potential game-tying field goal. Roethlisberger hadn’t been intercepted twice in the fourth quarter of the same game since 2013, and he had not thrown a single INT in the fourth quarter of a one-possession game-that is, with a margin of eight points or less-since 2012.

nullPalmer is throwing TD passes at a team-record pace

Carson Palmer threw four touchdown passes in the Cardinals’ 34-20 win at Cleveland, reaching the midpoint of his season with 20 TDs. That’s a team record through the first eight games of their season. The previous high was 16, set by Kurt Warner in 2008 and tied by Warner a year later.

Chiefs big London win extends Lions’ crazy losing streak

The Lions travelled to London for Sunday’s game against Kansas City probably unaware that they had ­lost their last 14 games played on the first day of a month, the longest such streak in NFL history. The last time that the Lions won a game on the day we flipped the calendar was on Oct. 1, 1973, when they beat the Falcons, 31-6, in a game played at old Tiger Stadium with Don McCafferty the head coach, Greg Landry the starting quarterback, and Howard Cosell in the TV booth.

Following a 45-10 drubbing by the Chiefs, you can make that 15 straight losses on the first of the month for Detroit, for eight different head coaches and 10 different starting quarterbacks in 12 different stadiums.

With that win, the Chiefs matched their largest margin of victory outside Kansas City since the merger. Kansas City’s only other 35-point win since 1970 away from home was also by a 45-10 score, at FedEx Field against the Redskins two years ago. The Chiefs largest road win in the AFL was a 59-7 win over the Broncos at University of Denver Stadium in their opening game of the 1963 season-a suitable NFL debut for two KC players en route to the Hall of Fame: Bobby Bell and Buck Buchanan.

Bucs are taking advantage of opponents’ errors

The Buccaneers made the Falcons pay dearly for their turnovers, scoring after each of Atlanta’s four giveaways in a 23-20 overtime victory. Tampa Bay’s total of 20 points off turnovers was their highest in one game in more than three years, and its total of 64 points off turnovers this season is the Bucs’ highest through seven games since 1987 (when three of those games were played by replacements during the NFL players’ strike).

nullA big day for yet another Big 3

Derek Carr passed for 333 yards, as Latavius Murray (113) and Michael Crabtree(102) topped the 100-yard mark by rushing and receiving, respectively, in the Raiders’ 34-20 win over the Jets. It was the second 300/100/100 game this season; Carr, Murray, and Amari Cooper were the players who did it in a September victory at Cleveland. This is the first time in Raiders history that they had two such games in the same season.

Bears suffer a late loss in rare fashion (and we do mean rare)

A quick three-and-out by the Bears after the Vikings tied the score with 1:49 to play was the set-up for Blair Walsh’s 36-yard game-winning field goal in Minnesota’s 23-20 victory at Soldier Field. It was only the second time in the 96-season history of the Bears franchise-as old as the NFL itself-that they lost a game in regulation after leading by at least seven points inside the 2-minute warning. The first was also against the Vikings; it was the final game of the 1965 season. Minnesota scored two touchdowns in the final 2 minutes: a 22-yard pass by Fran Tarkenton and a 35-yard interception return by linebacker Rip Hawkins.

nullA big game for Texans’ pass-rushing duo

Whitney Mercilus was credited with 3.5 sacks and J.J. Watt with 2.5 in Houston’s 20-6 win over Tennessee. It was the first game in Texans history in which two of its players earned more than two sacks each. The only other teammates to do that this season were Chandler Jones (3.0) and Jamie Collins (2.5) of the Patriots in a victory over the Bills in September.

Seahawks stifle the Cowboys

The Cowboys managed only 220 yards of offense in a 13-12 loss to Seattle. That was Dallas’ lowest yardage total in a home loss since Christmas Day 2006, when they gained just 201 yards against the Eagles.

pablo (10)

Weekend Update: #NFL Edition

name of site - hunter thompson style

1. Apologize to Andy Dalton!!!

Sure Andy Dalton needs to improve on his 0-4 playoff record, but he deserves your apology.  He’s been accurate, has made good decisions and is on pace to throw for more than 4,500 yards.  It also doesn’t hurt that those around him are playing well, including Tyler Eifert.  Look no further than the engineered comeback against the Seahawks…Next week, we can bet against the Bengals and be back to business as usual around the league, regarding the Ginger-Rifle – but for now, we apologize.

image (1)

2. Father Time is Undefeated

The Broncos won again with Defense and while Manning has more INT’s than TD’s – we should hold off on the coffin just yet on Peyton’s career.  The Broncos will contend, but will not be a contender.  This team has a major flaw with their inability to run the football.  Yes Manning has lost consistent velocity on his throws, but when the weather turns, and if Denver cannot run the ball – the greatest D in the world will not get them to San Francisco.  Manning deserves a better ending than being on a team that runs as well as an old lady with a walker.

3. Glory Days, They’ll Pass You By

There are lots of columns to right about the fall of Rome, but those are for another day.  Maybe Sean Payton leaves, maybe Drew wears another uniform and maybe romanticizing only temporarily numbs the pain of today.  Because as of today, the Saints are like Elvis:  Once great, but now sad and hunched over a toilet.  The loss in Philly is the final nail in the coffin, and on our way to being one of the worst teams in the league – a decade of excellence and just like that, we could be wearing paper-bags again.  So let’s say thanks for the memories:  Steve Gleason’s block, Deuce McAllister’s run, Hartley’s kick, Porter’s pick 6 and Lombardi Gras.  No matter how bad it gets…they can’t take that away from me…But for now, we stink!

12088570_1010689575644397_9117610824571138671_n

4. Like Blind Men at an Orgy, We’re Gonna Have to Feel Things Out

USA Today Sports’ Tom Pelissero takes a look at 50 things we learned in week 5, in honor of Superbowl 50:

1. Bengals-Seahawks. Redskins-Falcons. Bears-Chiefs. Browns-Ravens. Hard to top those endings, happening simultaneously as the early games came to a close. Wow.

2. Dear Boss: Don’t ever cancel the Red Zone Channel. Thank you.

3. Obviously lots to like about the New England Patriots offense, but we want them to give the ball to Dion Lewis on every play. You never know what’s going to happen when the ball is in hands.

4. We never jumped off the Cincinnati Bengals bandwagon when they fell behind Sunday. But we knew where the emergency exit was.

5. Wonder if we will see a tweet from Marshawn Lynch’s mom after the game Thomas Rawls had for the Seahawks on Sunday.

6. Browns tight end Gary Barnidge’s between-the-legs touchdown catch wins the day. And maybe the season.

7. Charles Woodson picked off a Peyton Manning pass for the first time in his career. Then he did it again. Wish he had hit the Heisman pose, but he is classier than we are.

8. Who is Howard Jones? The world knows now. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker had quite the debut, recording two sacks in his first NFL game action.

9. Washington Redskins QB Kirk Cousins deserved better. Whoa, we fell down as we were typing that.

10. If nothing else, the Buffalo Bills are consistent. They recover a fumble on the opening kickoff inside the Tennessee 10-yard line. But wait. Bills offsides. Play nullified.

11. Jamaal Charles. Damn.

12. Buccaneers fans must have thought it was a dream. Their new field goal kicker was actually making kicks and the team won at home after losing its last 11 there.

13. Break up the Bears! Oh wait, they are already doing that.

14. Make sure you catch the replay of St. Louis Rams RB Todd Gurley picking up the Clay Matthews blitz. Wow.

Imgur

15. And, of course, that just angered Matthews. The Packers LB later just buried Rams QB Nick Foles with a hit that made us hurt just watching it.

16. Remember all of the talk about the Giants’ 0-2 start? Big Blue now is in first place in the NFC East.

17. Hoyer to Mallett. Back to Hoyer. Trick play? No, just Houston Texans coach Bill O’Brien mishandling the QB situation through the first five weeks.

18. Fantasy Tip I: The fantasy running back picture in Kansas City without Jamaal Charles is going to be ugly. You’re better off chasing someone from another team – like the Seahawks’ Thomas Rawls or the Tennessee Titans’ Antonio Andrews – than to rely on Charcandrick West or Knile Davis to be your savior.

19. We know he turned it around, but Sam Bradford threw two interceptions in the end zone in the first half. Heck, Tim Tebow could have done that for Chip Kelly.

20. On their first drive, Cincinnati scored a touchdown against Seattle, the first time in 21 drives the Seahawks have allowed a TD.

21. On the first nine touchdowns scored Sunday, the PATs were all good. Same for the first four FG attempts. We figured that had to be some kind of record this season, so we stopped counting.

22. But there was this kicking gem: Matt Bryant of the Atlanta Falcons had an unusual day. He missed two FGs and both clanged off the uprights. He couldn’t do that again if he tried.

23. Browns QB Josh McCown threw for 457 yards in a huge win over the Ravens. Maybe Mike Pettine was right. Sorry, Johnny Manziel.

25. Look at Joe Flacco run! Elite.

26. The New Orleans Saints and Seahawks both intercepted their first passes of the season on Sunday. So that happened.

27. If nothing else, the Washington Redskins and Baltimore Ravens provided good cover for the University of Maryland, which announced the the firing of Randy Edsall while both teams were playing.

28. Aaron Rodgers’ first-quarter TD pass was his 49th at Lambeau Field since he threw an interception there. Rodgers, of course, then threw an interception. And then another. And lost a fumble. Saved it all for one day, Aaron?

29. We’re told that this is Rodgers’ first three-turnover game since 2009. During that same span, Jay Cutler has done that 12 times. Sorry, Bears fans.

30. To be fair, Cutler played his second straight good game. We don’t get to write that much.

31. New England Patriots at Indianapolis Colts is next week. Deflategate II. And another reminder if Roger Goodell was judged on his record in court and arbitration decisions, he would be watching games with Joe Philbin on Sundays.

32. With 197 total yards on Sunday, Falcons running back Devonta Freeman has gained at least 149 yards in his first three starts.

33. One thing we learned before the game’s even started: Terry Bradshaw still has a fastball.

35. The Titans have blown two straight double-digit leads at home. Not good for ticket sales.

36. The 49ers need to give Carlos Hyde, who had 93 yards on 21 carries against the Giants’ previously top-ranked run defense, at least 25 touches per game.

37. The Bears put eight defenders on the goal line when the Chiefs had the ball at the 22 late in the half with no timeouts. They dubbed it the “Red Rover” defense. We love it.

38. Lions QB Matthew Stafford was benched for Dan Orlovsky after throwing throwing three interceptions against the Cardinals. Another fun week for Jim Caldwell is ahead.

39. The Baltimore Ravens are 1-4. Yes, we have the names of everyone who picked them to win the AFC.

40. Other teams want to pursue Sean Payton, according to an ESPN report. The way he is coaching, he certainly wants out of New Orleans.

41. At one point, the Eagles scored on five straight possessions. That’s not a typo.

42. When is a fair catch not a fair catch? Don’t ask Pacman Jones.

43. The Lions can’t blame the officials for four turnovers less than 20 minutes into the game.

45. It’s one thing for the Chiefs to lose three in a row to teams that were all unbeaten, but to the Bears at home? Andy Reid has some explaining to do now.

46. From a pure football stance, you can see why there was a bidding war for Greg Hardy’s services this offseason.

47. Fantasy tip II: Blake Bortles’ big day signals that he might be the next young quarterback to emerge, at least for fantasy players. But not enough people are talking about how dangerous this Jaguars passing attack has become.

48. Jadeveon Clowney has zero sacks through nine career games. But let’s give him a bit more time before we throw around the “bust” label.

49. If San Diego Chargers TE Antonio Gates catches a touchdown pass Monday night, he will become the second tight end in NFL history with 100 TD grabs, joining Tony Gonzalez (111).

50. Oh, Derek Carr. You can’t throw that pick-six when you have a division opponent on the ropes. Lesson learned, we hope.

Your Monday Night Football, #FanDuel #NFL week4 Retrospectacle…

NFL Week 4 Retrospectacle: Todd Gurley Proves He’s The Man in St. Louis

Oct 05 
NFL Week 4 Retrospectacle: Todd Gurley Proves He’s The Man in St. Louis

NFL’s Week 4 was one that lacked true elite options, as we wrote on FanDuel Insider in the build up to Sunday’s action. In retrospect, we found a new elite player.

St. Louis running back Todd Gurley, welcome to fantasy superstardom. Goodbye questions about his health and usage. And we hardly know ye, Tre Mason.

“What can you say about Todd? In the second half, he took the game over and we needed it,” head coach Jeff Fisher told Myles Simmons of the Rams’ official website.

Gurley rushed for 144 of his career-high 146 yards in the second half against a very good Arizona Cardinals defense, and has rushed to the top of one-week fantasy minds with his 17.1-point performance. He was leaving yards on the field late in the game to merely fall unchallenged in patches of green grass to stay in-bounds to run out the clock.

“It’s totally unselfish,” Fisher told Summons, “and beyond that, for a rookie to have the presence of mind to do that—that says a lot for his understanding of this game and putting games away.”

The football acumen is savvy and the performance was savage.

“That just shows you how unselfish he is, how much he really wants to win,” Rams defensive lineman Will Hayes told Simmons. “The average guy is taking the ball inside the end zone, and he [didn’t]. And that was big in itself because people don’t understand how big of a play that is. You run the clock out and the game is over with. He’s a stud.”

The best part of the performance for FanDuelers should be that Mason was a complete non-factor, rushing twice for minus-1 yard Sunday.

It was only a matter of time. You don’t reach up to draft a damaged-goods running back (knee ligament reconstruction) in the top 10 of this modern NFL that has devalued the feature back to just let him stand on the sideline.

Gurley clearly looks worth it now. Heading into Week 5 at the Green Bay Packers, he is a bargain you cannot refuse.

This Week 4 Retrospectacle takes an in-depth look at the rest of the studs, duds and significant injury impacts on one-week fantasy action, starting with the other back you probably have to slot in a majority of lineups going forward.

Studs

RB Devonta Freeman, Atlanta Falcons (35.4 points)

Tevin Coleman’s (rib) injury has been a blessing for Freeman, who has rushed for six touchdowns in the past two games of Coleman’s absence. Freeman went 14-68-3 on the ground and 6-81 receiving.

“Devonta is playing lights out,” Falcons wide receiver Roddy White told Michael Cunningham ofThe Atlanta Journal Constitution. “We’ve got to continue to let him play that way. Feed him the ball, feed him the ball.”

You can bet the Falcons are going to give Coleman one more week to rest next Sunday against the Washington Redskins, particularly with a Thursday tilt at New Orleans immediately following. The Redskins have the second-best run defense in football through four weeks, but no one will be sitting Freeman now.

“Opportunity is everything,” Freeman told Cunningham. “They don’t come around often. You’ve just got to take advantage of them when you get them. I’m just blessed to have the opportunity to play in the NFL.”

K Cairo Santos, Kansas City Chiefs (27.0)—You have to love when a kicker outscores all but one position player, right? See, kickers belong in fantasy football!

WR Tavon Austin, St. Louis Rams (26.6)—Sometimes it takes three years for an NFL receiver to find his niche. Austin appears to have found his, finally. He ripped off 6-96-2 receiving and added 20 more on the ground Sunday, proving he’s more than a mere return specialist now. This is not just a flash in the pan, either. This is the start of something great. He leads the Rams in targets (20) through four games.

QB Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers (26.22)—Here’s the thing about Rivers (358-3): He gets future Hall of Fame tight end Antonio Gates back from his four-game suspension next week. Rivers is going to be a solid value, especially until rookie Melvin Gordon (12-38 rushing) gets rolling.

WR Vincent Jackson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (25.7)—You can be worried about Jackson’s advanced age and playing with a shaky rookie quarterback, but Jameis Winston has been so bad early, the Bucs get blown out and collect garbage-time numbers. It makes Jackson (10-147-1) an unpredictable play.

QB Sam Bradford, Philadelphia Eagles (24.2)—He has been one of the worst dollars-per-point quarterbacks. However, the running game is so bad right now that the Eagles have to pass the ball. Bradford’s 270-3 might be the baseline in Week 5 against the New Orleans Saints.

RB Jeremy Hill, Cincinnati Bengals (24.0)—We love him as the finisher in Hue Jackson’s power-running scheme, we just wish he hadn’t had his fumbling issues that opened the door for Giovani Bernard (13-62-1) to make this a true timeshare. Hill was outcarried and outrushed (9-40-3) despite the touchdowns, and the Seattle Seahawks defense is up next. Ouch.

WR Allen Hurns, Jacksonville Jaguars (23.1)—Blake Bortles (298-1) is showing improvement and Hurns (11-116-1) is right there with Allen Robinson (4-80). We cannot wait to see what this group can do once Julius Thomas (hand) returns from injury. Thomas should open things up for everyone because he requires attention. The Jags receivers do have some sleeper value to them, especially because they are weekly candidates for garbage-time numbers.

RB Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (22.8)—The Bucs finally got their running game going, which is a great sign for those interested in Martin (20-106-1) as a bargain against the Jags next Sunday.

RB Christopher Ivory, New York Jets (22.6)—The Jets offense looks a lot better under the new regime. It’s too bad Ivory is on bye in Week 5, though.

QB Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints (22.36)—He returns from a sore shoulder with 359-2, which is a great sign, even if the throws were more to the backs and tight ends. The Saints are going to manage Brees’ shoulder strength in their game plan, which can keep him productive. This is also a fairly intriguing development for those hoping Andrew Luck (shoulder) can do the same.

QB Josh McCown, Cleveland Browns (22.24)—It was a strange week for the quarterbacks, as many of the top-priced guys were trumped by bargains. McCown was solid in this shootout, but we don’t expect it to continue against the Baltimore Ravens on the road next Sunday.

Duke Johnson, Jr., Cleveland Browns (22.1)—If Johnson pushes out starter Isaiah Crowell (12-63 rushing and 3-62 receiving), look out. Until then, Johnson is just a bargain for his passing-downs production.

QB Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins (21.7)—He put together an impressive game-winning drive that can give him and head coach Jay Gruden confidence. Cousins can get forced into a Week 5 shootout against the high-flying Falcons, too. We should like Pierre Garcon (7-55-1) and Jordan Reed (5-37) in that one—maybe even Jamison Crowder (7-65) if DeSean Jackson (hamstring) remains out.

Atlanta Falcons Defense (21.0)—Dan Quinn has turned this unit around in a hurry. A matchup at home against the Washington Redskins should be another bountiful one, especially at a mere $4,500 for Week 5.

WR Jeremy Maclin, Kansas City Chiefs (20.3)—We should be convinced that Alex Smith’s 2014 struggles to get the ball to wideouts was more a function of the receiver quality than the lack of arm strength. Maclin (11-148) looks just fine with Smith, even if the touchdowns might not come consistently.

WR DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans (20.2)—Like Maclin, Hopkins is the lone receiving threat on a team with a subpar quarterback. You have to love his high-volume production (9-157). The Texans should open it up Thursday night against the Indianapolis Colts at home, especially if Arian Foster (8-for-10 rushing) is ready for a larger role.

Bums the Word

QB Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos (10.32)—He might be 4-0 thus far, but it has been as ugly as 4-0 can get. Manning threw for just 213-2 and had two costly interceptions that allowed the Minnesota Vikings back into the game. Fire up the catcalls for the end of Manning again…until he lights up the Oakland Raiders for four touchdowns next Sunday.

RB Arian Foster, Houston Texans (3.0)—Even Alfred Blue (6-for-17) outproduced Foster in his return from a groin injury. Ouch. It sure doesn’t help he has just a few days rest before the matchup against the Colts. Expect a heavy, heavy dose of Foster in that one, though, making him an intriguing Thursday night play. The Texans can quietly tie for first place in the AFC South division with a victory.

RB Darren Sproles, Philadelphia Eagles (1.7)—Three targets and no receptions. All of the Eagles’ backs are junk right now, DeMarco Murray (5.8) and Ryan Mathews (0.0) included.

RB Carlos Hyde, San Francisco 49ers (2.7)—Week 1 seems really far away now. You cannot like him against the New York Giants’ No. 1-ranked rush defense next Sunday night.

WR Roddy White, Atlanta Falcons (1.8)—Worthless. Leonard Hankerson (6-103-1) is the top Julio Jones sidekick for Matt Ryan now.

WR Anquan Boldin, San Francisco 49ers (2.7)—Colin Kaepernick’s struggles have really made mincemeat of Boldin, Torrey Smith (2-54) and TE Vernon Davis (inactive).

WR Brandin Cooks, New Orleans Saints (4.5)—We would blame Brees’ shoulder, but Willie Snead (6-89) looked just fine. Cooks (4-25) is one of fantasy’s biggest disappointments this season. He was supposed to be the answer to the loss of Jimmy Graham for Brees and the Saints.

WR Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons (5.8)—He’s fine. This was a one-week hiccup with the Falcons so thoroughly in command Sunday against the Texans.

TE Jordan Cameron, Miami Dolphins (2.9)—He just missed a jump-ball TD. These struggles and a Week 5 bye for the Dolphins are good news. There is value to come midseason here.

TE Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers (3.8)—So much for that Week 3 breakthrough. Olsen was right back in the tank, and he’s headed for a Week 5 bye, too.

Buffalo Bills Defense (3.0)—Overrated. It’s a popular chant wherever Rex Ryan is, apparently.

Arizona Cardinals Defense (1.0)—Despite this hard fall, the Cards are still the top-priced unit on the board for Week 5 at $5,200.

Injury Impacts

Raise RB Joseph Randle, Dallas Cowboys—The loss of Lance Dunbar (knee) to season-ending surgery would put more of the onus on Randle in the passing game. That should light up the fantasy scoreboard more for us. Randle is now the same price as the Eagles’ Murray ($7,400) and the better option in Week 5 against at the New England Patriots.

Love WR Hopkins, Houston Texans—Cecil Shorts dislocated his shoulder, per NFL insider Adam Caplan, which elevates rookie Keith Mumphery (4-56) and makes Hopkins even more high-volume than he was already.