I’ve conveniently categorized my thoughts through the use of several headings for 11 Sundays now, and they’re available to you for a nominal (see: non-existent) 100 Yards and Running subscription fee. But this is very much a space for weekly marvels
Without fail, I always end up back at a central theme each week, whether I really intended to or not. While we ascend the mountain of numbers and highlights compiled over the course of each NFL Sunday that make the fantasy machine whirl, what rises are the oddities, and performances that were unique, or different, or puzzling, or, well, odd.
The Detroit Lions were all of those things on this particular Sunday. So sure, let’s start there.
The Lions visited Pittsburgh, and right now for Detroit every win is precious with two of the starting quarterbacks in their division (Aaron Rodgers and Jay Cutler) watching football due to injuries. So they arrived to play a 3-6 team that’s aging quickly defensively, and seemingly had little shot at containing Calvin Johnson, Matthew Stafford, and an offense that’s averaging 310.6 passing yards per game.
What happened next to result in a 37-27 loss was, yes, odd.
The Lions scored 27 points, which on its own is not at all unique, and is directly in line with their season per game average of 26.5. But doing all of that scoring — their entire scoring for the entire game — in one quarter is a little different. Very different, so much that every offensive number associated with the Lions was also isolated in that one quarter.
Specially, it was the second quarter, which is when Calvin Johnson had 163 of his 179 total receiving yards. That means in just one quarter Johnson had more receiving yards than every other receiver in Week 11 had throughout an entire game, with the exception of Michael Floyd and Vincent Jackson. Taking that further, A.J. Green led Week 10, and he did it with 159 yards.
Johnson’s totals over his past four games (746 yards with 35 catches and seven touchdowns) are simply staggering, and he’s done it while recording three catches for 50 yards or more, including a 79-yarder today. But getting a significant chunk (nearly 25 percent) of that yardage in one quarter of one game and then being essentially shut out over the other three is…odd.
Stafford’s split was similar, with 267 passing yards in just that second quarter, and just 95 over the other three while completing a season-low 41.3 percent of his passes. He was pressured, though not hounded while getting sacked twice, and the result of his wild wavering between quarters was the most wayward number of all: of the Lions’ 451 total offensive yards, 222 came in the second quarter.
That’s half the output for the game in one quarter, a severely slanted degree of isolation that goes beyond a sluggish start or the poor weather conditions both teams dealt with, especially with LaMarr Woodley and Brett Kiesel out. The Steelers gave up 368 yards of offense in the first half , but then just 83 in the second.
It was just…odd, and it’s just the beginning.
Fun with numbers
- The Jaguars scored their first touchdown at home…in Week 11.
- This is how you lose a crucial game in primetime against a division rival that’s dropped just one game: the Chiefs had eight drives Sunday night that totaled 10 yards or less.
- E.J. Manuel completed two 40-yard passes on one drive during the Bills’ pumping of the Jets, which is, in a word, difficult.
- The 49ers were held to only 196 total offensive yards in their loss to New Orleans, far below their previous average of 321.6 yards.
- Some Andy Dalton depression/ regression numbers (whichever reality you’d like): between weeks 6 and 8 he threw 11 touchdown passes with only two interceptions, and now after two picks yesterday in the Bengals’ win over Cleveland (both to Joe Haden) he’s thrown eight interceptions and five touchdowns over the past three weeks. When your turnovers outnumber your touchdowns over any stretch, that’s bad, but on this particular Sunday the decline for Dalton went further. He finished with only 93 passing yards, which was a career single-game low (excluding a meaningless Week 17 game last year when he was yanked early), and was dramatically lower than his average of 286.1 yards over the previous 10 weeks
- But that mattered little, because between a blocked punt that was recovered for a touchdown and a Vontaze Burfict fumble return TD, the Bengals scored two defensive touchdowns over a stretch of just five plays. The league leader in defensive touchdowns entering Week 11 was Kansas City with six through nine games and many, many more plays than five. The Bengals defense was very kind to its fake football owners, finishing with 31 points in a game that look horrible in the first quarter when Cleveland went up 13-0. No worries, though, because 31 second-quarter points fixed that real fast.
- After his 43-yard touchdown catch today during Buffalo’s win over the Jets, Marquise Goodwin has three catches for 40 yards or more on just 16 total receptions. Here’s some fun perspective: Dez Bryant has four 40-yarders on 52 receptions. Goodwin’s downfield blazing is rather efficient.
- The Redskins did something truly remarkable in the first half of their loss to Philadelphia. Actually, this is quite comedic during any half of football: they recorded 160 rushing yards, and yet they still failed to score a single point.
- The Bills have allowed 20 or more points in all 10 games to begin this season, the longest such streak in franchise history.
- Another horrid Bills development despite their chllin’ 37-14 win over the Jets: C.J. Spiller finished with only six yards on 13 carries. Seriously, and that adds up to an average of 0.5 yards per carry, the fifth time his YPC has fallen below 3.0.
- With four more today through three interceptions and a lost fumble, Geno Smith has now turned the ball over 20 times this season. At his current pace, he’s kindly giving the opposition the football once every 16.4 drop backs.
- File this one under flukey and quirky, but it’s still notable given the glut of close games that thoroughly entertained us earlier in the season (22 that had a margin of victory of seven points or less over the first two weeks): there were only four games Sunday in which the final score finished within a touchdown.
- Tonight’s Patriots-Panthers game officially concludes Week 11. So at this late, mid-november point in the season when all but two teams have had their bye and six weeks remain on the schedule, there are six teams in the AFC with a record of 4-6 and they’re all one game out of a playoff spot. Parity!
The skies were angry
Throughout the northeast nature let football know that it controls all, and we are forever at its mercy. Two weather systems collided, and the result was anger. Dark anger.
While there were high winds, rain, and sideways kicks in Buffalo, Cincinnati, and Pittsburgh too, Chicago and the Ravens-Bears game was definitely the epicenter. There was a fantasy element to all the blowing chaos too, of course, with the wind gusts that reached 59 mph at the storm’s peak making passing a thing that rarely happened. Combined Joe Flacco and Josh McCown threw for just 358 yards.
Near the end of the first quarter play was halted, with the crowd told to retreat to the concourse, and the players and coaches eventually exited to their locker rooms. The decision proved wise, because shortly after this picture was taken…
— Jeff Dickerson (@ESPNChiBears) November 17, 2013
During the delay that lasted nearly two hours, concessions on the concourse were closed because staff at Soldier Field feared the pleasant Bear-loving folk would get too damn plastered while in storm survival mode. OH THE HUMANITY.
When played finally resumed winds were whipping pretty much everything everywhere, and the forward pass was unofficially deemed illegal. Eventually the Bears won in overtime on what was surely the scariest 38-yard field goal attempt in league history, which was set up by Martellus Bennett doing his Black Unicorn hero thing, with a 43-yard catch.
The overly-protective call that changed the outcome of a game
Yes, as you are I’m fully aware that despite the roughing the passer call on Ahmad Brooks at an absolutely critical juncture of the 49ers’ eventual 23-20 loss to New Orleans in a massive NFC game, Colin Kaepernick et al still had plenty of time left late in the fourth quarter with two timeouts (three including the two-minute warning) to either tie or win the game. They failed colossally in that endeavor, with a sack for a nine-yard loss leading to a three-and-out.
But we all knew a physical play on a quarterback in a physical sport (umm, football?) would result in a vague rules interpretation playing a major role in the outcome of a game, right?
That’s a pretty sweet gumby impression there, Drew Bress.
But hey, enough with the talk of sad things and the reality that football isn’t fair for all people. Let’s begin our meandering through the best and awesomest that Week 11 offered Sunday.
Since we’re well into the fantasy crunch time area code, many of the names below have helped in the effort to clinch a playoff spot for you. Or they did the opposite. Sorry.
Ray Rice has returned
An afternoon of chaos in Chicago turned Solider Field into a muddy horse track. Combine that with the fact that throwing a forward pass became difficult when said pass would be blown in the opposite direction, and the conditions were perfect to finally get a Ray Rice bust out. So there he was on his first carry, running for 47 yards. That alone — that one carry — eclipsed his per game rushing average prior to this week, which was 36.1 yards.
I’m not sure if that says more about his horribleness over his first nine games or how great Rice was today. But yeah, it says something. Speaking of totals, here’s another fun one: 131, which is Rice’s rushing total yesterday (he added 17 receiving yards for 148 yards in total with a touchdown). Throughout the rest of the season he had all of 289 rushing yards, meaning in one game he almost reached half of what he did in eight games.
Matt Forte also enjoyed the slop
Matt Forte was the other running back to benefit from the slop, clomping through the scattered bits of earth for 125 total yards (83 on the ground, and 43 through the air on five catches) while scoring once. He’s now averaging 114.8 yards per game, but what’s most impressive is that his touchdown today gives Forte eight on the season. His career single-season high is 12, but that came way back during his rookie year in 2008. Over the past two seasons combined he’s scored 13 times.
Rashad Jennings is still making you forget about Darren McFadden
When you drafted Darren McFadden, you did so knowing the familiar company line: he’d miss a handful of games, but when healthy he can be explosive and productive and stuff. Well, he’s missed three full games (the latest two with a hamstring injury), and essentially a fourth after going down early in Week 9.
Since you were aware of Jog DMC’s brittleness you handcuffed his backup Rashad Jennings, because that’s what smart people do. And now with his 150 rushing yards in a win over Houston, Jennings has 433 total yards in his last three games. This is the part when we check McFadden’s total yardage over his seven game appearances: oh look, it’s 437 yards.
Ryan Matthews is a pretty funny guy
Not really haha funny. More like hahaha I just stubbed my toe sort of funny. When you own Matthews, you’re mostly laughing because it’s better than crying.
But you own him because of days like Sunday. Although like McFadden you’re aware that he breaks easily, when healthy he can hit a hole hard and find green gas with ease. That’s what he did yesterday during the Chargers’ loss to Miami in which they did the cool thing all the AFC teams are doing by falling to 4-6. Matthews rewarded you for your consistent flexing faith with 127 yards on 16 carries (a YPC of 6.1), most of which came on a 51-yard run.
When Antonio Brown catches balls, they’re usually long balls
Antonio Brown is a fast individual. This much is a known fact, and when a fast guy is running against a poor secondary as he was today while carving up the Lions (ranked 29th while giving up 283.3 yards per game), wonderful things usually happen.
So here we are then, enjoying the glow of Brown’s 147 yards on seven catches with two touchdowns, both of which came in the first quarter of Pittsburgh’s win. Of those catches, three went for 20 yards or more, including his long scoring grabs for 34 and 47 yards.
In the first quarter alone Brown logged 105 yards.
Ben Roethlisberger was throwing Antonio Brown those footballs
To the surprise of absolutely no one, in the right matchup (see: today) against the right crappy secondary (see: the Lions), Ben Roethlisberger can be a great quarterback to plug and play, which is why he’s a fine target in August drafts for those following the late-round QB school of thought.
For the second time in three weeks, the biggest Ben threw four touchdown passes with over 350 passing yards, only this time he also did it without throwing an interception. He reached 367 yards at a pace of 8.2 per attempt, and it all added up to a season-high 31 fantasy points.
Nick Foles also enjoys deep chucking
He’s still deep bombing, and pretty much only deep bombing. Highlighted early by a 49-yard pass to LeSean McCoy that set up a one-yard touchdown plunge from the still surprisingly nimble quarterback himself, Foles completed two +40 yard passes during the Eagles’ narrowly averted disaster against Washington (they nearly gave up a 24-0 lead).
Foles was a little lacking as a fantasy commodity because after 11 touchdown passes over just two games he didn’t throw one Sunday, though he made up for it with that rushing touchdown. But I’m including him here to emphasize the extent of his soaring balls, as Foles has very much embraced the “OK I’ll throw it up and then maybe you can go catch it? OK cool” mentality.
Week 11 marked only his fifth start this year, meaning every other regular starter has appeared in twice as many games. Yet still, Foles’ 11 completions for 40 yards or more put him second among all quarterbacks. Second, and he’s attempted 90 fewer passes than the guy in first (Andy Dalton).
Harry Douglas is pretty much all there is left in Atlanta
It wasn’t supposed to go down like this, but Harry Douglas is the new Justin Blackmon: the abundantly targeted top receiver on a team that’s constantly playing from behind and throwing buckets of passes because.
This week that phenomenon ended in 134 yards and a touchdown for Douglas during the Falcons’ latest groin kicking, losing to Tampa 41-28. Much of that came on a career high 80-yard catch, which led to an average of 22.3 yards per reception. It was the fourth time this year Douglas’ per catch average has gone above 20.
Josh Gordon is Harry Douglas
Josh Gordon had a similar garbage-tim performance while the Browns thoroughly embarrassed themselves after leading 13-0 over Cincinnati in the first quarter.
Gordon had fallen off of late, and a lack of basic ball placement from Jason Campbell is pretty much the reason. We saw that again today when he was able to catch only five of his 15 targets, but that target volume matters much more. Garbage time is fun time, and Gordon used his secondary busting speed to turn one of those targets into a 74-yard touchdown.
After sitting out the first two games of the season with a suspension, Gordon has recorded 100 or more receiving yards four times.
Mike Glennon really, really likes him some Vincent Jackson
Ho hum. Just another week with like a bajillion targets for Vincent Jackson.
Glennon attempted 23 passes during the Bucs’ win over Atlanta, and over half of them (12) were directed at Jackson. That turned into another pretty chunky day for Jackson with 163 yards on 10 catches, most of which came on receptions for 47 and 53 yards. In total Jackson has now been targeted 114 times this year, and he’s been in double digits during four of Glennon’s seven starts, absurdly topping out at 22 targets back in Week 7.
This isn’t typo: Bobby Rainey is your Week 11 rushing leader (so far)
With his 43-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, Bobby Rainey already had two runs of 30 yards or more on just 14 carries at that point. For some perspective to show how sort of good that is, I refer you back to Rice above, who had his first carry of over even 20 yards today despite 115 attempts overall.
With the Bucs doing some clock punching against Atlanta, those who made a Rainey claim last week were smiling wide smiles. He received 30 carries that he turned into 163 yards, and now over just the past two weeks Rainey has 210 rushing yards at a pace of 5.5 per carry.
Michael Floyd did some long balling too
With Carson Palmer feeling cozy and warm in an undisturbed pocket due to the Jaguars’ listless pass rush (they’ve recorded only 15 sacks), he passed for 419 yards. And most of those yards went to Michael Floyd, who had a career high 193 of them, highlighted by a 91-yard touchdown.
Of Floyd’s six catches, four of them went for 20 yards or more. It all added up to 25 fantasy points, which nearly equaled Floyd’s total over his last four games.
Hi, and welcome to synchronized falling with the Jaguars defenders…
Terry Bradshaw owns your nightmares
Until this very moment I believed I would never see the maximum amount of happiness a human can experience.
Quotes of the week
Cecil Shorts was quite perturbed after he was hardly used in the Jaguars’ latest loss. He’s not at all wrong, though saying words like this publicly may not be such a great idea. Justin Blackmon is suspended, and No. 2 wide receiver Mike Brown missed most of the game with a shoulder injury.
Yet still for reasons only Chad Henne and Gus Bradley understand, the Jaguars’ top receiver was targeted for the second time late in the fourth quarter, even during a game that was tied at halftime. Perhaps — and I’m reaching here — it’s this sort of thing that’s made the Jags a one-win team, and the future home of Teddy Bridgewater. Shorts intends to have a little heart-to-heart with some people in the know:
“I have to say something and sit down with (coach Gus Bradley and Chad Henne) because it’s getting ridiculous in my opinion. To have one target until seven minutes left in the game, that’s (expletive) dumb. That’s dumb, period.”
He wasn’t the only offensive player of note to publicly throw his coaches under a large vehicle. Robert Griffin III was displeased after the Redskins’ comeback bid fell short, mostly because the Eagles read their damn mind.
Lastly, Eli Manning — he of the Giants who have now won four straight and are somehow in the playoff hunt by the grace of the almighty after going 0-6 to start the year — is highly skilled at basic observation and deductive reasoning.
Oh hey man, I have some of your hair
The Interwebs were abuzz with an incident of hair crime during that Jags-Cards game when Jason Babin ripped off a chunk of precious dreads while tackling Andre Ellington. But alas, the day was saved, and now Ellington will have hair surgery, or something.
Hair is all good. Nothing serious. Look worse than it really was. S/o to the dread heads! Will get it stitch back in. Birdgang got the win! — Andre Ellington (@Dre23_LilBit) November 17, 2013
— MarkDalton (@CardsMarkD) November 17, 2013
After losing the likes of Aaron Rodgers and Mike James over the past few weeks (also the first time those two names have been put on the same level in the same sentence) we were mercifully given a break from truly excruciating fantasy pain this week.
- Jabari Greer suffered an injury that easily ranks highest on the disgust-o-meter, bending his knee awkwardly after elevating to defend a Kaepernick pass. There hasn’t been anything official yet, but it looked like a season-ending combustion.
- Adrian Peterson has a groin injury that he spoke quite honestly about, saying it bothered him a lot during Minnesota’s loss to Seattle. He won’t miss time (though maybe a practice or two), but a wonky groin is pretty ungood for any running back, especially one like Peterson who can cut and turn quickly.
- Jordan Reed left with a concussion, and will now fight nature while truing to be healthy for a Week 12 Monday nighter.
- Emmanuel Sanders left the Steelers’ win with a right foot injury. Get those Markus Wheaton waiver claims ready.
- Darren Sproles tweaked his ankle early, but still fought through the injury, though he was likely limited. Don’t soil yourself if he misses practice time this week.
- Keenan Allen left the Chargers’ loss to Miami with a left knee injury. Be as worried as you are with any injury, just not more so because has a history with the other knee, not this one.
- Wes Welker left the Sunday night game with a concussion, so he’ll also face the head injury protocol tap dance before Week 12.