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Week 5 stars: Forte, Floyd perform
Chicago didn’t generate much offense, but things got off to a fast start with two first-quarter Matt Forte touchdowns.
Forte scored twice in the first quarter on 18-yard and 68-yard sprints to daylight. He finished with 166 yards on 22 carries. Forte added two receptions for 22 yards.
Former Chicago runner Cedric Benson was one of the few bright spots in another difficult loss for the Bengals. Benson posted a strong 144 yards on 23 carries, adding two catches for 19 yards. It was Benson’s first 100-yard game of the year.
The most-targeted receiver in the NFL after five weeks (Monday night pending, of course) is the mercurial Terrell Owens with 60 targets from Carson Palmer. Owens hit the mark once again on Sunday, amassing 102 yards on seven receptions. He scored for the second straight week.
Rookie receiver Mike Williams returned from the bye and played an instrumental role in the Buccaneers’ win over Cincinnati. Williams established new season-high marks with seven receptions for 99 yards and caught his third touchdown in four games. He’s caught five or more passes in three of four games and is averaging 59.5 receiving yards per game.
Detroit starter Shaun Hill produced his finest game of the season and led the Lions to their first win of the year in a blowout over St. Louis. Hill passed for 227 yards with three touchdowns. His turnover-free game broke a streak of three consecutive multi-interception outings. Hill has averaged 282.5 yards and two touchdowns in four starts.
Hill welcomed Nate Burleson back to the lineup for Sunday’s game. He’d missed the previous two weeks because of an ankle injury. Burleson caught four passes for 56 yards and a touchdown. Burleson warrants a look-see on the waiver wire this week, as Matthew Stafford is on the comeback trail. He’s available in more than half of FOXSports.com leagues.
Calvin Johnson caught his fourth touchdown of the season against the Rams, and narrowly missed his fifth when he was ruled out of bounds. He caught four passes for 54 yards, his third game with fewer than 60 receiving yards, but gave fantasy owners a glorious trip to the painted grass. Johnson did injure his shoulder in the game, so that should be monitored ahead of Sunday’s game against the surging Giants.
Second-year tight end Brandon Pettigrew made his first touchdown reception of the season. Pettigrew caught four passes for 26 yards. He has racked up 25 receptions and 269 receiving yards in the past four weeks (67.25 yards per game).
St. Louis tailback Steven Jackson didn’t find the end zone in the Rams’ blowout loss to Detroit, but he posted another phenomenal effort for fantasy owners. Jackson carried the ball 25 times for 114 yards (one catch for 12 yards). It was his first 100-yard game of the season. Jackson has averaged 125 total yards in the past two weeks.
Fantasy owners dove to the waiver wire this week for a desperation play at quarterback, and Ryan Fitzpatrick’s name rose to the top of the list. Fitzpatrick passed for 220 yards and three touchdown passes, his third straight game with multiple passing touchdowns. He’s averaged 198.3 passing yards with 96 total rushing yards in the past three weeks.
Steve Johnson has emerged as Fitzpatrick’s top option during this period. He caught two touchdown passes in the loss to Jacksonville (five receptions for 46 yards), and has hauled down four touchdowns overall. Johnson has caught at least three passes in every game this season, averaging a solid, albeit unspectacular, 42.8 yards per game.
One of our “ninja” plays of the week was Lee Evans. Evans caught five passes for a season-high 87 yards in Sunday’s loss against the Jaguars, including an early 45-yard touchdown strike from Fitzpatrick. He’s caught four or more passes in three of his five appearances this year.
David Garrard was another of Sunday’s plug-in heroes of the day. Garrard passed for 178 yards with three touchdowns, one interception and one lost fumble. It was Garrard’s third multi-touchdown game of the season and second straight three-touchdown effort (two passing touchdowns and one rushing touchdown in Week 4). He’s yet to top 180 passing yards in a game this season, but he’s been efficient in the red zone.
Embattled receiver (in the Twitter-verse, anyway) Mike Sims-Walker caught a touchdown pass from Garrard, his second of the year. Sims-Walker caught four passes for 46 yards. It wasn’t a huge effort, but the end zone strike made his trusting owners quite happy.
Marcedes Lewis posted his second multi-touchdown game of the year against Buffalo. Lewis caught four passes for 54 yards. He’s caught multiple passes in every game this season, with just two efforts over 50 yards. Lewis has become the go-to red zone beast for Lewis, so he’s on the radar going forward, particularly with the sieve-like Tennessee pass defense next on the slate.
Eli Manning broke out of his two-game funk with a huge effort in Sunday’s resounding win over the Texans. Manning passed for 297 yards against the terrible Houston pass defense and threw three touchdown passes. It was Manning’s third multi-touchdown game of the season.
Hakeem Nicks dominated for the second straight week. Nicks posted new season-high marks with 12 receptions, 130 receiving yards and two touchdowns. He’s racked up 27 receptions with 296 receiving yards in the past three weeks. If you didn’t see the game, note that Nicks narrowly missed on another huge play downfield from Eli Manning. Yes. His monster day could have been bigger.
Philip Rivers only has two receivers that he can trust, but somehow Antonio Gates and Malcom Floyd find tremendous holes in the secondary. Rivers posted his second 400-yard game in the past three weeks, yet another loss for the enigmatic Chargers. He threw two touchdown passes, his fifth straight multi-touchdown game, with three sacks and two lost fumbles.
Malcom Floyd posted a career day for the Chargers despite the attention from Nnamdi Asomugha. Floyd caught eight passes for 213 yards and a touchdown, his third of the year. He’s caught multiple passes in every game this season, with three efforts of at least 95 receiving yards. Floyd is averaging 22.6 yards per reception, and has already hauled down eight passes of at least 25 yards.
That mark ties Floyd with teammate Antonio Gates, who posted another big game against Oakland. Gates caught five passes for 92 yards and scored his seventh touchdown of the season (he had eight touchdown receptions in each of the past two seasons). Gates is averaging 5.8 receptions and 95.6 yards per game.
Michael Bush posted a tremendous effort in the Raiders’ upset win over San Diego. Bush carried the ball 26 times for 104 yards with a touchdown. He added three receptions for 31 yards in place of Darren McFadden. Check the wire, as he may still be available for the Week 6 cross-town battle against winless San Francisco.
Zach Miller was drafted as one of the final starting tight ends by fantasy owners this season. He’s been dominant of late, having caught touchdown passes in three consecutive games. Miller has caught at least three passes in every game this season, and has topped 60 receiving yards in each of the past three games.
Alex Smith was nearing the point of being benched against the Eagles, but responded brilliantly to the tongue-lashing he received from Mike Singletary (that last interception notwithstanding). Smith passed for 309 yards with three touchdown passes, his first multi-touchdown game of the season. Of course, he also turned the ball over three times (two interceptions and a fumble). Smith has thrown multiple interceptions in four of five games this season.
Michael Crabtree posted his best game of the season, a nine-catch, 105-yard effort in the 49ers’ latest loss. He also scored his first touchdown of the 2010 season. In the past two weeks under the new offensive coordinator, Crabtree has amassed 14 receptions for 163 yards.
Vernon Davis scored for the second straight week while producing his first 100-yard game of the season. He’s caught three or passes in every game this season while averaging 62.6 yards per game.
Last week, I used the term “flak jacket” whenever possible in discussing LeSean McCoy. McCoy wore extra padding and got back on the field against the 49ers. He carried the ball a season-high 18 times for 92 yards and scored his fifth touchdown of the season. McCoy added five receptions for 46 yards. In the past two weeks, McCoy has accrued a total of 312 yards. Interestingly, he’s racked up 156 rushing yards and 156 receiving yards.
Brent Celek scored for the second straight week. He didn’t log a huge reception total, but Celek found the painted grass to help fantasy owners. Celek has caught three or more passes in four consecutive games. He’s yet to crack 50 receiving yards in any game thus far, but you’ll take the eight-yard bull rush to the goal line.
Jeremy Maclin was Kevin Kolb’s top receiving option on Sunday night. Maclin posted new season-high marks in both receptions (six) and receiving yards (95), including a 41-yard catch.
Tony Romo passed for a ridiculous total of 406 yards in the crushing 34-27 loss to Tennessee on Sunday afternoon. He threw three touchdown passes with three interceptions and six sacks. Romo has passed for at least 282 yards in each of the Cowboys’ first four games (back-to-back multi-touchdown games).
Jason Witten caught five passes for a season-high 84 yards with his first touchdown of the year in this loss. He’s caught five or more passes in three straight games.
Miles Austin broke free in the secondary for a 69-yard touchdown sprint, his second of the year. Austin has caught nine or more passes in three of the Cowboys’ first four games while averaging 118.5 yards per game.
Roy Williams dominated for the second straight week, amassing six catches for 87 yards and a touchdown, his third of the year. He’s caught three or more passes in every game this season, averaging 69.5 yards per game through four weeks.
Felix Jones took over the Dallas ground game, carrying the ball 15 times for 109 yards. He added four receptions for 17 yards. Following many press conferences of “We’ll get Felix involved,” has it finally happened?
Vince Young passed for 173 yards with two touchdown passes, his second multi-touchdown game of the season (zero turnovers). Young added 22 rushing yards to offset three sacks. He’s played three straight games without any turnovers.
Young did connect with top target Kenny Britt on a 12-yard touchdown. He narrowly missed scoring a second touchdown, as he was ruled out of bounds following a 52-yard reception. Britt’s scored in three consecutive games.
Chris Johnson posted his third big game of the year, generating a 131-yard, two –touchdown performance against the Cowboys. He didn’t obliterate the Dallas line, but took advantage of the glorious opportunities presented to him.
Michael Turner didn’t find the end zone, but he did amass 140 rushing yards in the Falcons’ nondescript win over Cleveland. It was Turner’s second 100-yard game of the season.
Roddy White posted his third 100-yard game of the season and third touchdown grab in his past four games. He’s caught five or more passes in every game this season, and is currently averaging 92.6 yards per game.
Peyton Hillis didn’t post a huge yardage total on Sunday, but he scored on a 19-yard pass to extend his scoring streak to five games. Hillis finished the game with 77 total yards (28 rushing and 49 receiving) and lost a fumble. He’s averaging 98.6 total yards per game.
Forget the questions about Kyle Orton of the Broncos. He keeps chucking and finding receivers downfield. Orton passed for 314 yards in the loss to Baltimore with two touchdowns. He’s passed for at least 295 yards in every game this season.
Brandon Lloyd continued his huge breakout season with another pair of long-distance touchdowns. Lloyd finished the game with 135 yards on five receptions. He’s already racked up four 100-yard games this season, and has caught five or more passes in four of five games.
Baltimore running back Ray Rice dominated the heretofore stout Denver run defense. Rice piled up 133 rushing yards on 27 carries with two touchdowns. He added four receptions for 26 yards. Rice had not scored through four weeks, nor had he topped 100 rushing yards. Welcome back to the assets side of the ledger.
I doff the proverbial cap to the defense and special teams of the Raiders, which rose up to vanquish longtime tormentor San Diego.