Quick-Hit Reactions from Week 14 in the NFL

Every Sunday throughout the 2011 NFL season I’ll compile quick-hit reactions from the day that was in football. I vow to always overreact, side with sensationalism over rationalism, and draw conclusions based on small sample sizes instead of cold, hard facts. It’s the only way I know how to write…

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Joe Webb celebrates his touchdown against the Philadelphia Eagles during the third quarter of their NFL football game in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, December 28, 2010. REUTERS/Tim Shaffer (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

– Holy facemask, Batman – why wasn’t a penalty called on linebacker DeAndre Levy when he grabbed Joe Webb’s facemask on that crazy final play in Detroit today? Granted, the game should have never come down to that play for the Lions, who were up 31-14 at one point. But how do you miss that if you’re the refs?

– Speaking of Webb – dude was fun to watch today. The Lions didn’t prepare for a running quarterback in practice this week so it’s not surprising that Webb was able to burn Detroit with his legs. But he nearly led Minnesota to the most improbable win of the day. I feel like I’m back in 2010 when Webb was starting for that perv Brett Favre.

– It’s hard to criticize the effort that Jake Locker put in today while replacing the injured Matt Hasselbeck (calf). For three and a half quarters Locker went toe-to-toe with Drew Brees and nearly willed the Titans to a huge come-from-behind victory. He flashed his athletic ability on a 6-yard touchdown run that gave the Titans a brief lead in the second half, and threw a couple beautiful passes in the fourth quarter to put his team into scoring range. That said, THROW THE BALL, KID! Anything but take a sack in that situation.

Tim Tebow: Five fourth-quarter or overtime wins this season. That’s amazing. The guy won’t complete a pass for the first quarter and a half (although his receivers didn’t help him today), will look completely horrendous until the fourth quarter and then pull some miraculous victory out of his backside. He’s a mixture of luck, clutch play and pure disaster but Denver now owns the AFC West with three games remaining. Think about that for a second.

– What’s the big deal? So Tom Brady got yelled at. Stop the presses. He threw an ugly interception midway through the fourth quarter and it pissed off offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien. Even Super Bowl MVPs deserve a tongue-lashing from time to time. Neither Brady nor O’Brien will let this dustup affect their relationship moving forward.

Rob Gronkowski is essentially uncoverable one-one-one. Washington’s defensive backs were draped all over him on several of his catches and he/Brady still made plays. Gronk has some big-time mitts.

– I’m done doubting the Texans. That’s the grittiest team I’ve seen play in a long time. Without its top two quarterbacks, its top defensive player and its top offensive weapon, Houston just keeps plugging along. I keep waiting for the Texans to eventually come up short and it looked like they would today in Cincinnati. Then all of a sudden T.J. Yates is throwing a game-winning touchdown pass as time expires. Tim Tebow lovers may disagree but Houston is the best story of the season.

– That’s a blow that I don’t think the Bengals will be able to come back from. Wowzers. Talk about snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

– If Shonn Greene continues to run as hard as he did today, the Jets will be dangerous again if/when they make the playoffs. New York’s entire success offensively revolves around its running game. It has to with Mark Sanchez at the helm.

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) calls out the play against the Carolina Panthers during their NFL football game in Charlotte, North Carolina December 12, 2010. REUTERS/Chris Keane (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

– Down 23-7 at halftime, the Falcons looked like a team that didn’t deserve to be a playoff team. They had zero urgency or energy, their offensive line looked like a complete mess and the defense couldn’t tackle a soul. Then they came out in the second half and played like the team people thought they would at the beginning of the season. Matt Ryan threw four touchdown passes, including two to Julio Jones (who had a case of the drops earlier in the game) and one beautiful rainbow to rookie Jacquizz Rodgers. It appears as though the Saints will win the NFC South but the Falcons are in great shape assuming they don’t crap the bed from here on out. They have a very winnable home game against the Jaguars this week before heading to New Orleans for a rematch with the Saints and hosting the Bucs in Week 17. There’s no reason Atlanta shouldn’t get to 10 wins and secure the fifth seed in the NFC (assuming the Saints keep winning, that is). Had the Falcons lost today in Carolina, they would have been on the outside looking in. Good thing they woke up.

– All that crap the Bears talked about this week regarding the Broncos’ style of play and they go out and cough up a potential victory. That soft Tampa 2 the Bears run on defense makes it awfully easy for even a guy like Tim Tebow to complete passes with the game on the line.

– Was today’s loss to the Cardinals the product of their division-clinching win last Sunday against the Rams, or are the Niners starting to show some cracks? I think a little bit of both. Clearly San Francisco was out of whack and it wasn’t surprising that the Niners came out flat after securing a playoff berth last weekend. But they’re susceptible to the deep pass defensively, which isn’t a good sign considering San Fran could eventually play Green Bay or New Orleans in the playoffs. Starting left tackle Joe Staley was also hurt, which is a huge problem considering Alex Boone is his replacement. Hopefully for San Fran’s sake, this loss will serve as a wakeup call for the Niners.

– The Cardinals have six wins on the year and John Skelton is essentially responsible for four of them. (He didn’t start today but he essentially won the game for Arizona once Kevin Kolb was forced to leave with a head injury.) Oh those scrappy John Skelton-led Cardinals…

– I truly didn’t expect the Raiders to beat the Packers today at Lambeau but what an ugly performance by Oaktown. For entertainment sake, here’s hoping Tebowmania keeps rolling and the Broncos make the playoffs over the Raiders, who have looked completely lethargic the past two weeks.

– Whistlegate? Titans’ offensive linemen Jake Scott and Michael Roos said that a whistle was being blown in the area of the Saints’ bench late in New Orleans’ 22-17 victory in Tennessee. My question is, wouldn’t the ref on the New Orleans’ sideline hear the whistle? This story ranks right up there with “Tripgate” from last year.

– It’s amazing how Raheem Morris has gone from being one of the league’s brightest young coaches to being on the hot seat. The organization will have to figure out whether or not it wants Morris to be a lame duck in 2012 or fire him this offseason, because clearly the Bucs can’t give this guy an extension. That was an ugly performance by Morris’ Bucs in Jacksonville today.

– Somehow, the Chargers are still alive…

Green Bay Packers’ Greg Jennings fails to catch a pass while playing against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the second half during their NFL football game in Green Bay, Wisconsin November 20, 2011. REUTERS/Darren Hauck (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

– While watching the Packers absolutely destroy the Raiders today at Lambeau, I thought to myself, “Why even have a playoff? Just hand the ‘Discount Double-Check’s’ the Lombardi.” Then Greg Jennings left the field on a cart after suffering a leg injury that obviously left him in a ton of pain. Green Bay overcame a slew of injuries to win the Super Bowl last year and the Pack certainly have enough weapons to keep terrorizing opponents on a weekly basis. But losing Jennings would be a massive blow.

Santana Moss won’t sleep well tonight. With the Skins knocking on the door of a potential game-tying score against the Patriots in the closing minutes, he was flagged for offensive pass interference, which moved Washington back to the 15-yard-line. Then he had a Rex Grossman pass bounce off his hands and into those of linebacker Jerod Mayo, which ended the Skins’ comeback attempt. You have to hand it to Washington though. They keep fighting no matter who the opponent is.

– Just think if the Philadelphia defense played that well every week. Given how shaky the rest of the NFC East is, they’d probably be closing in on a playoff spot right now.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

Moss told teammates that he received treatment from Galea

Redskins’ receiver Santana Moss told his teammates that he received treatment from Canadian doctor Anthony Galea, who has been charged with smuggling and distributing HGH. But his teammates believe him when he says that he knew nothing about Galea’s involvement with HGH.

From the Washington Post:

Defensive end Phillip Daniels said Moss told a handful of teammates last week that Galea had treated him on three occasions. But Moss, a nine-year veteran, wasn’t certain whether he had received HGH.

“I believe he’s telling the truth. Santana’s always been a stand-up guy,” Daniels said. “. . . I believe in him. I support him.”

Moss told teammates that he received three treatments from Galea, two for his hamstring and one for his knee.

“As far as the HGH or anything, he didn’t say he knew what it was or anything like that,” Daniels said. ” . . . He was doing the right things, just trying to get healthy.”

It still doesn’t sound as if Moss did anything wrong here. Just because he went to Galea for treatment of his hamstring and knee, doesn’t mean he was given or injected with HGH. And if Galea did inject Moss with the drug at any time, it’s entirely possibly that the receiver didn’t know about it. Furthermore, if Galea did inject Moss with HGH without him knowing about it, then obviously Moss never intended to use the steroid as a performance-enhancer.

But maybe I’m being naïve in thinking that Moss is innocent. Maybe he sought out Galea because he knew that the doctor could provide him with HGH and therefore, a fast recovery from his injuries. Whether Moss’s intention was to use HGH to get bigger, faster and stronger or use it as a healing aid, if he knew that he was receiving the steroid then he should be suspended. And I guess there in lies the crux of all of this: Did he receive HGH from Galea?

Photo from fOTOGLIF

Report: Santana Moss was one of Galea’s clients

According to a report by the Buffalo News, Redskins receiver Santana Moss was one of the professional athletes who allegedly received treatment from Dr. Anthony Galea, who has been charged with smuggling muscle-building drugs into the U.S. But as the article points out, Moss isn’t in any trouble, nor is he being accused of taking performance-enhancing drugs.

“At this juncture, any of the persons who are alleged to have used these substances are considered witnesses, and not targets, of this investigation,” Hochul told The Buffalo News.

“Officials of the NFL and other sports organizations can sleep soundly tonight, because there is nothing he did with these athletes to help them with performance enhancement,” Mahoney said Wednesday.

“[Galea] strictly provided treatment for injuries. If any athlete got [human growth hormone], it was injected directly into injured tissue, in very small amounts, for purposes of healing.”

In a day and age where PEDs are the most controversial subject in sports, it’s too bad that Moss’ name is being tied in with the “Steroid Doctor.” But at least those conducting the trial are going out of their way to make sure the media knows that Moss hasn’t done anything wrong.

Update: I spoke too soon. The Washington Post is now reporting that Moss could be suspended for HGH. I’ll stay on top of the story and post more as news develops.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

You could have had this fantasy team…

We’re only two weeks into the NFL season and some fantasy owners are already lamenting their teams. Nobody – not a NFL team and certainly not a fantasy team – likes to start 0-2, and while some owners are furiously trying to improve their teams, others are no doubt wondering, what if?

As always, I’m here to help. Below you’ll find the team you could have had. The rules? Pretty simple. To ensure the player is available, we have to draft him a round early. That is, if the player has an Average Draft Position (ADP) of 3.02, we have to take him in the second round. The plan is to start one QB, two RB, two WR and a TE, and I’ll leave the K and DT to your imagination. I’ll mow through the first twelve rounds so that we have a starter and a sub at each position.

Keep in mind, this draft is for a 12-team, Points Per Reception (PPR) league, with the Antsports’ High Performance Scoring System.

Off we go…

Round 1 – Reggie Bush (2.07)
Drafted: RB12
Actual: RB3

Someone actually gave me grief about considering Bush in the second round of my Industry Insiders league, and while there are a lot of (Reggie) Bush haters out there, the simple fact of the matter is that in a PPR league, the guy produces. Through two games, he’s averaging 127 total yards, 7.5 receptions, and 0.5 TD per game. He’s on pace for a 120-catch, 2000-yard season.
Alternate: Tony Romo (2.09)

Read the rest after the jump...

Start ‘Em & Sit ‘Em: Week 2

Every week, I highlight a few players to start and a few players to sit at each position. I’m a firm believer in starting your studs, so I won’t tell you about how Drew Brees or LaDainian Tomlinson has a tough matchup – just go ahead and start them. I’ll focus on the borderline guys – players you’ll only start under the right circumstances. It’s important to note that depending on your roster and situation, you may not be able to follow these recommendations. For example, if I suggest you bench a solid starter like Ben Roethlisberger, only do so if you have a clearly better option on your bench.


QB: Eli Manning (@ STL) has an excellent matchup with a Rams defense that allowed Donovan McNabb to throw for 361 yards and three TD last week. Also, Manning played better away from home last year, so the table is set for a very nice day…Phillip Rivers (@ DEN) has an interesting matchup against the Broncos, who looked great last week, but struggled against the pass last season. Rivers had a nice game in Week 1 against the Panthers, and he’ll probably have to throw the ball a lot to keep up with a dynamic Denver offense…Kurt Warner (vs. MIA) has a great matchup against a historically bad Dolphin defense that allowed 194 passing yards and two TD to Brett Favre and the Jets last week. Warner should be in for a nice day…Aaron Rodgers (@ DET) looked great on Monday night and faces a suspect Lions defense…For the desperate, Kerry Collins (@ CIN) has a great matchup with a Bengals secondary that has struggled to stop the pass over the last several years…For the super-desperate Joe Flacco (@ HOU) has a nice matchup as well.

RB: If Willis McGahee is out, Ray Rice (@ HOU) has a good matchup with a Texans defense that allowed a ton of yards to Willie Parker last week. If McGahee plays, we’re probably looking a split, which will hurt the value of both players…If Ryan Grant (@ DET) ends up playing, make sure he’s in your lineup (unless you have a far better option). The Lions gave up 220 rushing yards to Michael Turner and the Packers should find success in the ground game as well…Brandon Jacobs (@ STL) should find lots of running room against a bad Rams defense…Frank Gore (@ SEA), Willie Parker (@ CLE) and Marshawn Lynch (@ JAX) should have nice games as well.

WR: Jerricho Cotchery and Laveranues Coles (vs. NE) are good starts against a Pats defense that is struggling at CB…Santonio Holmes and Hines Ward (@ CLE) should be in your lineup since they face the Browns, who have been bad against he pass for the last few seasons…Make room in your lineup for Joey Galloway (vs. ATL) who has a good matchup with a suspect Falcons pass defense…Santana Moss (vs. NO) has a nice matchup with a Saints defense that gave up some points to a conservative Bucs offense last week.


QB: David Garrard (vs. BUF) struggled last week and a hot Bills defense (that shut down Matt Hasselbeck and the Seattle offense) is coming to town…In the same game, Trent Edwards (@ JAX) doesn’t have a good matchup against a solid Jacskonville defense…Baltimore did a great job shutting down the Bengals’ high-octane passing game, and that doesn’t bode well for Matt Schaub (vs. BAL) and the rest of the Texans. I’d bench Schaub only if I had a solid option to go with.

RB: Jamal Lewis (vs. PIT) may find the running room is tough to find when he faces a good Steelers defense. He’s startable, but I’m not optimistic about his chances…Steve Slaton (vs. BAL) looks like he will get the start, but he faces a very tough Ravens defense. Bench him unless you are desperate…Neither DeAngelo Williams nor Jonathan Stewart are particularly good starts against a Chicago defense that is normally very stout against he run.

WR: Lee Evans (@ JAX) is startable, but I’m not optimistic about his chances against a good Jacksonville defense stinging from a loss against the Titans last week…Bernard Berrian and Sydney Rice (vs. IND) should probably be benched against a feisty Colts team that lost in Week 1. Adrian Peterson figures to have the most success against Indy.


Looking for a good defense to plug into your lineup this week? Welcome to the world of Defensive Team By Waiver Wire (DTBWW). Here are my picks for this week. (All teams are available in at least 40% of ESPN fantasy leagues.)

ARI (vs. MIA), KC (vs. OAK), HOU (vs. BAL) and OAK (@ KC)

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