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Tunnel Vision - Week 7
David Dorey
October 16, 2006
Sunday Salutes
Quarterbacks Yards TD
Marc Bulger 360 3
Matt Hasselbeck 300 3
Kyle Boller 257 3
Running Backs Yards TD
LaDainian Tomlinson 135 4
Travis Henry 181 1
Willie Parker 109 2
Wide Receivers Yards TD
Torry Holt 154 3
Reggie Brown 136 2
Steve Smith 189 1
Tight Ends Yards TD
Jeremy Shockey 55 2
Antonio Gates 78 1
Todd Heap 55 1
Placekickers XP FG
Josh Brown 3 3
Nate Kaeding 6 2
John Kasay 2 3
Defense/Special Teams TDs Sacks TOs
Pittsburgh 1 1 3
NY Giants 0 7 2
Detroit 0 5 3

Week 6 Bumps, Bruises & Bow-outs

Delightfully light this week so far...

Deuce McAllister - Hamstring tweak
Steve McNair - Concussion/neck sprain
Roscoe Parrish - Hamstring strain
Shawn Bryson - Quadriceps injury
Justin Fargas - Shoulder sprain

Get back to where you once belonged

The highest scoring running back for the week was the first back drafted in many leagues - LaDainian Tomlinson. Tiki Barber showed up with a monster game as well.

Two of the highest scoring wideouts this week were often the first two wideouts drafted - Torry Holt and Steve Smith. Even Terrell Owens showed up.

The best of all came with the tight ends. The highest scorers on Sunday were Jeremy Shockey, Antonio Gates and Todd Heap, followed by L.J. Smith, Chris Cooley, Randy McMichael and Alge Crumpler. Finally - a position that is scoring exactly like it was drafted. Of course it is the lowest scoring position, but a little consistency by week six is rather nice to see.

Forecast - Clear and Sunny

Week six served up some very important games that finally saw the black clouds leave several teams. Going into this week, there were four teams that still had not won a game this season - Detroit, Oakland, Tampa Bay and Tennessee. The Lions managed to hang on to a win over the visiting Bills, the Buccaneers surprised the visiting Bengals and the Titans took down the Skins in Washington D. C..

So that only leaves the Raiders as the only win-less team in the NFL and next Sunday they get to host the Cardinals coming off a shortened week. If they don't get a win over Arizona, they go on to face the Steelers, Seahawks, Broncos, Chiefs and Chargers before finally hosting the Texans in week 13. On the plus side, Art Shell probably just sends an assistant up to the owners box to tell Al Davis that they won the game. "We're 5-0, Mr. Davis!... now take your med's..."

The RIght Place, the Right Time

Mark Clayton enjoyed his career best game on Sunday when he faced the visiting Carolina Panthers. He ended with five catches for 101 yards but it wasn't really supposed to happen that way. In the second quarter, the Ravens had reached the CAR 14-yard line when Kyle Boller tried to Derrick Mason but the ball was deflected - and Mark Clayton caught it right before it went out of the back of the endzone. In the fourth quarter, Boller was trying to hit Todd Heap on a third and 13 from the BAL 38-yard line. The ball was deflected by a defensive lineman and end up, of course, being caught by Mark Clayton who proceeded to run 67 yards for his first ever two touchdown game.

And to think of the last two years when the Ravens mistakenly threw spirals to Clayton instead of just lobbing it end over end.

Huddle Player of the Week

Tory Holt - While Tomlinson scoring four times was huge, let's be serious - all four touchdowns were on runs of five yards or less and he only gained 71 yards on 21 carries ( 3.4 YPC). All Holt did was to catch eight passes for 154 yards while scoring on passes of 9, 10 and 67 yards which almost won the game for the Rams. Holt now has seven touchdowns on the year - three more than any other wideout. For a position that is typically inconsistent (and wildly so this year), Holt is indeed one of the rarest of all fantasy studs - a highly reliable and productive wideout. It would be hard to argue that anyone in the NFL has better hands than Tory Holt.


Drama 101 - Somebody has to laugh, somebody has to cry

Comedy Lineup Yards TDs Tragedy Lineup Yards TDs
QB Kyle Boller 253 3 QB David Carr 141 0
RB Brandon Jacobs 53 1 RB Rudi Johnson 52 0
RB Najeh Davenport 78 1 RB Jamal Lewis 50 0
WR Mark Clayton 101 2 WR Plaxico Burress 44 0
WR Nate Washington 68 1 WR Terry Glenn 47 0
WR Drew Carter 65 1 WR Derek Mason 0 0
PK Nate Kaeding 2 FG 6 XP PK Lawrence Tynes 1 XP

Huddle Fantasy Points = 112

Huddle Fantasy Points = 26

Sunday's Couch Commentary

BUF 17, DET 20 The Lions finally get one in the win column with big games from Kevin "guess which week" Jones (23-127, 1 TD) and Roy "every week here" Williams (10-161, 1 TD) combining for all fantasy value for the team. The Bills got 207 yards and two scores from J.P. Losman and before you send me an email about my projecting Losman for 270 and three scores, realize that he just missed on a sure 40-yard touchdown pass to an open Lee Evans with four minutes left to play or I would have been almost exactly right (yes, I track this). McGahee was held to only 66 rushing yards while Lee Evans still led all receivers with 8 catches for 82 yards. It was a career high day for Roy WIlliams in catches and yardage. Sure, the Tigers may have won the AL pennant but come on - the Lions won a game! The Bills return home to face the Patriots while the Lions travel in New York to play the Jets.
CAR 23, BAL 21 This was a contender for the Game of the Week because the lackluster passing numbers from Jake Delhomme apparently only needed to face the best defense in the NFL as a visitor. Delhomme threw for 365 yards and two scores which went, of course, mostly to Steve Smith (8-189, 1 TD). DeShaun Foster only gained 58 yards on 26 carries and was no help. Steve McNair left in the first quarter with a concussion and left Kyle Boller behind to make everyone wonder why he was replaced when he had 226 passing yards and three touchdowns. Mark "Carom" Clayton had two scores with the third going to Todd Heap. Mason was held without a catch and Jamal Lewis only gained 41 yards on nine carries. For a bit of perspective, when Delhomme threw for three touchdowns he doubled the amount allowed by the Ravens over their five games this year. The Panthers have now won their last four games and draw to within one game of the NFC South leader of ... the Saints? The Ravens fall to 3-2 and are still tied with the Bengals who have also lost their last two games. Does anyone want to win in the AFC North anymore? I mean besides the Steelers...
NYG 27, ATL 14 This game followed the normal script. The Giants struggle early and trailed 14-3 in the third quarter before finally remembering all the parts of each play and posted 24 points in the final 22 minutes of play to win because they actually took a lead which meant that Michael Vick was going to have to come from behind and, well, that doesn't usually go over that great. The Falcons had their standard 223 rushing yards with both Vick and Dunn scoring and Dunn even set a team record with a 90 yard run in the third quarter. But Crumpler (5-66) was the lead receiver while the wideouts faced one of the softest secondaries in the league and none could come up with more than 30 yards in the game. Barber (26-185) ran wild and Shockey scored twice with leading receivers with 55 yards on six catches. If the Giants ever start being productive before the third quarter they could be dangerous. If the Falcons could actually throw to wideouts, they would be dangerous. But so far - neither can. The Giants are a half game behind the Eagles thanks to their loss while the Falcons now fall to 3-2 and must actually admire the Saints.
TEN 25, WAS 22 This was a very strong contender for the Game of the Week but we already knew the Titans were bad, we just we not aware that the Redskins were even worse. The previously win-less Titans came into Washington D.C. and proceeded to out-duel the Redskins. Mark Brunell (180 yards, 1 TD and 1 int.) was outplayed by Vince "sidearm this, sucker" Young (160 yds and 1 TD). Clinton Portis scored twice but only gained 58 yards on 14 carries while Travis Henry had 32 runs for 178 yards and one score. Travis Henry. On the road. Again. While this game plays huge for the Titans searching for their first win, the loss for the 2-4 Redskins likely dooms their playoff hopes already as they sit in the NFC East cellar wondering what just happened. The only positive here was that Brandon Lloyd caught a 52-yard pass (and his only one in the game). Brunell must have thought he was Santana Moss (5-50). This game ended as do all Redskins games - with a deep pass to Moss but this one was intercepted. The Titans go into their bye week with a smile while the Redskins merely have a road game to Indianapolis this week. Chances are they won't be smiling when they reach their week 8 bye.
CIN 13, TB 14 The Buccaneers were bound to win a game soon and the Bengals are hardly invincible, but holding the Bengals offense to just one touchdown was a surprise. Palmer only had the one score with 261 passing yards that went almost entirely to Houshmandzadeh (10-102, 1 TD) and even Chad Johnson who had six catches for 99 yards but no score so he would still frustrate owners that would have bonus points at the 100 yard mark. Rudi Johnson was held to only 52 yards on 17 carries and the offense really could have used that 62-yard field goal from Graham at the end of the game. Then again - they would not have deserved the win anyway had he somehow made it. The rookie Gradkowski had 184 yards and two scores that included the final drive where Michael Clayton (6-55) caught the winning score with 35 seconds left to play. Carnell Williams (19-94) remains "back" and the Buccaneers now finally get one for the win column. They now get the treat of hosting Philly this week who come off a road loss to the Saints and could be testy. The Bengals fall to 3-2 but head home to host the resurgent Panthers this week. After five contests, Carson Palmer has yet to turn in two games that are remotely similar to each other.
SD 48, SF 19 "Thank you sir, may I have another?" The wrapping is off Philip Rivers and 334 yards and two scores says this guy is plenty good and getting better. He not only had a big game, he didn't use any receiver for more than 88 yards (Parker) and is hooking up with Gates very well (5-78, 1 TD). But the story of the game was that Tomlinson was only marginally effective rushing the ball but took four short runs near the goal line for the biggest scoring day by any running back this year. Tomlinson had 71 rushing yards and added seven catches for 64 yards as well. The 49ers were over matched from the start and already trailed 35-19 at the half. Frank Gore only had 10 runs but gained 55 yards and added five catches for 35 yards. Alex Smith threw for two scores but no one on the planet had Bryan Gilmore or Moran Norris starting on their fantasy team. The Chargers remain tied with the Broncos and now head to Kansas City for a big AFC West match-up. The 49ers get to lick their wounds during their bye this week and plan on viewing film from the 1990's to see what a defense looks like when it wears a 49er uniform.
KC 7, PIT 45 It was bound to happen eventually and the Chiefs chose the wrong time to show up in Pittsburgh. The Steelers offense evidently managed to dry out all the fuses and went with guns blazing in the first half to rack up a 31-0 lead. Ben "I said I was OKAY" Roethlisberger find himself once again when he completed 16 of 19 passes for 238 yards and two scores while Fast Willie Parker ran for 109 yards and two scores with enough trash time left over for Najeh Davenport left the closet long enough to gain 78 yards on 12 runs with a touchdown as well. Larry Johnson only gained 26 yards on 15 carries and just three catches for six yards but he scored once and made the highlight reel by tackling Troy Palomalu by his hair after an interception. The Steelers went at it like a virgin who found a pile of tokens for a cathouse. "Well... what's one more score going to hurt?" The Chiefs return home to face the Chargers and then the Seahawks so they really appreciate the Raiders making them look so comparatively good in the AFC West. The Steelers appear to have finally shaken free of the rust and now head into Atlanta where visitors are finding better accommodations these days.
MIA 17, NYJ 20 This game was pretty much a mirror of the BUF-DET game. Same score too. The Fins found that Ronnie Brown could still run when he had 127 yards on 22 carries and scored once. Joey Harrington still looks eerily like Culpepper did by throwing for 266 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions but at least one score found Chris Chambers (5-50). Harrington seems to be rather fond of Randy McMichael who had a team high 72 yards on eight catches. While a disappointment to all who grabbed Leon Washington from the waiver wire last week, the Jets opened with Kevan Barlow (13-45) but eventually started using Washington (11-58). Laveranues Coles had both Jets touchdowns on his five catches for 106 yards while Jerricho Cotchery only had one catch in the game. This was a very even game but in the end, Nugent made both his field goals while Mare missed his 51-yarder with only 33 seconds left to play. The Dolphins now sink to 1-5 at the bottom of the AFC East but head home to host the Packers. The Jets are 3-3 and a game and a half behind the Patriots and a chance to keep up with a home game against the Lions this week.
HOU 6, DAL 34 The Texans actually led this game 6-3 at halftime before news reached the Cowboys locker room that Houston had a terrible defense. This led to 31 unanswered points in the second half which included three touchdowns thrown to Terrell Owens just to shut up his ranting and cool down the badgering by the media but then everyone had to hear Owens gloat after the game so it was really just a wash. Julius Jones ran for 106 yards and could be a force once he resolves his allergy to the endzone. Carr was held to only 128 yards and two interceptions because the Cowboys realized that covering Andre Johnson (9-75) was pretty important. Houston continues to use Ron Dayne as the starting tailback and he rewarded Kubiak's faith by gaining 14 yards on ten carries - half of which came on one play. The only thing slower than Dayne is your brother-in-law repaying a loan. Carr ran for 15 yards and actually was the lead Texans rusher. The fans in Houston should start chanting "Wali, Wali, Wali" if only because he ran faster before getting tackled at the line. The Texans get to host the Jaguars this week, so figure on Dayne looking like he is moon walking on every carry. The Cowboys host the Giants this week and if history serves, there will be no points in the first half and then 80 total points in the fourth quarter.
OAK 3, DEN 13 In all honesty, this is about the most painful game you could ever watch. Everyone knew the Broncos would win but they barely did. Andrew Walter (189 yards) actually threw better than Jake Plummer (102 yards) who has apparently no idea there are any receivers outside of Javon Walker. Plummer had a 54-yard completion to Walker - imagine his numbers without that one catch. Tatum Bell posted a score and 83 yards on 22 carries but come on - the Raiders are visiting! Moss had five catches for 86 yards as the best receiver for either team and that was with Walter throwing to him. Lamont Jordan only gained 60 yards on 23 carries and managed to fumble away the Raiders final chance to get into the game. This should have been a huge blowout with some trash time to let the Raiders post some meaningless numbers. But nooooo - the Broncos are 4-1 with a completely inept offense but it doesn't matter when the defense is this good. At least not yet. The Raiders return home to host the Cardinals which should be terrified of becoming "the one". The Broncos head off to Cleveland where just defense alone will likely be enough, yet again, to win the game.


This week had six teams off on bye and yet resulted in the best week yet for the players who are supposed to be studs delivering. Five underdogs won of the eight early games and six of those early match-ups were won by three points or less. The Steelers are back and the Raiders can claim to being the worst team with a compelling argument now. The NFL is shifting more back to the stud players with less surprise performances by the lesser knowns. This season is being defined already and the better teams - and players - are stepping up.

There were so many great games on the early slate that picking the Game of the Week was a challenge. In the end, I had to go with co-winners because each game was won with a wild finish and plenty of points.

Seattle 30, St. Louis 28

The Rams led this match-up 21-7 at halftime thanks in part to the Seahawks missing their stud Shaun Alexander. But the Rams had Stephen Jackson and more importantly Torry Holt as the two studs that delivered big in the first half. The Seahawks scored only once, but it was newcomer Deion Branch (a hopeful stud in the making).

In the third quarter, the Seahawks had Darrell Jackson score a 42-yard touchdown to draw closer 14-21. Two plays into the fourth quarter. Josh Brown kicked a field goal to make it 17-21. On the ensuing kickoff, Kevin Curtis returned it to the STL 22-yard line where he lost a fumble and the Seahawks took over again. Two plays later, Hasselbeck found Deion Branch for a 19-yard touchdown and their first lead in the game, 24-21.

After a three and out, the Rams punted and Seattle took over on the STL 33-yard line. On fourth down, Josh Brown again kicked a field goal and made the score 27-21.

Both teams then had two fruitless series before the Rams took over on their own 7-yard line. Three plays later with only 1:54 left to play, Bulger hit Torry Holt on a 67-yard bobble-bobble-catch and run for a touchdown. It was a beautiful play by Holt and his third score in the game. It also regained the lead 28-27.

Starting on his own 17-yard line with just 1:38 left to play, Hasselbeck threw three completions that went to Hackett (14), Jackson (19) and Branch (9) to reach the STL 31-yard line where Hasselbeck spiked the ball to stop the clock. But it was an illegal formation which pushed them back to the 36-yard line. And it did not matter, because Josh Brown nailed a 54 yard field goal right down the middle to win the game as time expired.

Philadelphia 24, NO 27

The Saints took the early lead 17-3 at halftime but many thought it was only a matter of time before the Eagles came roaring back. They were right. In the third quarter, the Saints were held scoreless while the Eagles used a 60-yard completion to Reggie Brown and a four yard pass to L.J. Smith to score touchdowns and take a 17-17 tie into the fourth quarter where on the first play Reggie Brown ran an end around for a 15-yard touchdown and a 24-17 win. The Saints had been in control and it would have been so cool to see them win but hey -what are you going to do? It's the Eagles and Donovan McNabb.

Apparently "not give up" was in the gameplan for the Saints.

On the next series, Drew Brees found Joe Horn for a 48-yard touchdown despite the popular notion that Horn had sworn off scoring. That tied the game with thirteen minutes left to play. On the next series, the Eagles used up four minutes to drive to the NO 46-yard line where they were forced to punt. There was 8:35 left to play and the Saints started on their own 15-yard line. What could happen?

Apparently a "never say die" attitude.

Brees threw four straight completions and Bush had a run to reach the PHI 47-yard line with 4:48 left to play and a third and two to make. He hit Colston for 12 yards and a fresh set of downs. When it was third and ten from the PHI 35-yard line with 3:13 left to play, Brees was sacked for a seven yard loss but Philly had 12 men on the field so it was third and five. Brees found Campbell for a seven yard gain and a fresh set of downs. He hit McAllister for an 8 yard gain with 2:34 left to play and after Bush only gained one yard, it was third and one from the PHI 14-yard line with 2:22 left to play. McAllister ran for five yards and a fresh set of downs at the two minute warning.

Brees then used up all but three second kneeling down so that with three second left to play, John Carney could boot a 31-yard game winning field goal. The Saints, believe it or not (but you should), are now 5-1 and the beleaguered fans from 2005 have been treated to three consecutive home wins by their Saints.

The season is turning now, going back to the proven studs stepping up and yet with enough room for the biggest surprises of the season to continue to amaze. We have three of the four teams that entered the week without a win now feeling good with only Oakland left to wallow in their commitment to futility. The season is over a third done and the stage is all set. We just have to get used to some of the lead actors while wondering why the program bothered to mention some of the others.

Remember parity? Currently there are only two divisions that have two teams with the same record (and only two in both). That means that almost every team is at a different stage and "everyone is the same" is not happening. By the time the fat lady sings in ten weeks, chances are we're going to look at each other and say "I did not see that coming".

Down in front - this is getting good.

Now get back to work...