The Bears capped Sunday’s action with a tremendous beatdown of the Vikings. The Jim Harbaugh-Jim Schwartz confrontation had potential, but it ended with a whimper.
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As always, fans and pundits were left scratching their heads as Devin Hester returned a kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown. Why do teams continue to kick the ball to him? Why can’t they join the touchback parade?
Hester was the star of the day for Chicago (along with Julius Peppers, who had been listed as “doubtful”). Not only did he Hester log the kickoff return, he also led the Bears with 91 receiving yards on five receptions with a touchdown.
Jay Cutler stood tall and proud in the pocket and barely noticed that Jared Allen was on the field. Cutler passed for 267 yards with two touchdowns. The first was the aforementioned 48-yard pass to Hester. The second was a 13-yard touchdown bullet to Dane Sanzenbacher in the back of the end zone to make the game officially a rout at 23-3.
Matt Forte continued his torrid pace with another 123 total yards on 23 touches. He carried the ball 17 times for 87 yards while adding six receptions for 36 yards. Forte has averaged 151.3 total yards per game (87.8 rushing yards and 63.5 receiving yards).
I believe that I’ll doff my proverbial cap to Aaron Rodgers and move forward. Rodgers demonstrated tremendous touch and dropped the ball into beautifully into the St. Louis secondary during the second quarter. Rodgers tossed three touchdown passes in the second quarter to complete the blowout. He finished with 310 passing yards and three touchdowns. Through six weeks, Rodgers has averaged 338.5 yards per game with 17 touchdowns passes. He tossed 28 passing touchdowns in 2010.
Jordy Nelson maximized his returns on two receptions on Sunday. He caught a 93-yard touchdown pass from Rodgers, his fourth touchdown reception of the season.
James Jones was a hot topic in chat rooms coming into the Packers’ Week 6 game against the Rams. He caught a 35-yard touchdown pass from Rodgers in the second quarter. It was Jones’ only target of the game.
Steven Jackson didn’t find the end zone, but he did log 125 total yards against the Packers (96 rushing, 29 receiving).
Ahmad Bradshaw didn’t dominate the Bills, as the box score would suggest, but he took advantage of the opportunities afforded by the New York offense. Bradshaw scored three touchdowns, all of which were one-yard touchdown plunges. He finished the day with 104 yards on 26 attempts. Bradshaw logged 55 rushing yards in the drive that yielded Lawrence Tynes’ game-winning field goal.
• Frustrated Eli Manning owners wonder why didn’t call his own number at least once.
Buffalo quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick posted a solid effort overall, but threw a red zone interception to Corey Webster with the game in the balance to take some of the luster off of his fantasy day. Fitzpatrick completed 21-of-30 attempts for 244 yards and two touchdowns. He was sacked three times and threw two interceptions.
Fred Jackson continued his dominant first half of the season with a 121-yard effort, fueled by an 80-yard sprint on the Bills’ second possession. Jackson added five receptions for 47 yards. He averaged 146.7 total yards through the Bills’ first six games.
Stevie Johnson caught five passes for 39 yards and a touchdown. It wasn’t a dominant effort, but the touchdown gets him onto the “Plus” side of the ledger.
The Bengals ran their record to 4-2 with a 27-17 win over the Colts. I know that the schedule has been kind, but the aggressive defense is fun to watch. Cincinnati generated three turnovers and returned a Pierre Garcon fumble for a touchdown to close the scoring.
There were no huge individual efforts in the Cincinnati-Indianapolis game, but we’ll give a nod to a couple players.
• Cedric Benson rushed for 57 yards and scored.
• Dallas Clark emerged from the shadows to catch six passes for 53 yards and a touchdown.
• A.J. Green caught an early touchdown pass from Andy Dalton. It was almost too easy in the back of the end zone. Green caught five passes for 51 yards. His touchdown reception was his fourth of the season.
I called for the Falcons to get back to basics and pound the ball with Michael Turner. Mike Smith must have heard me, as Turner carried the ball 27 times for 139 yards and two touchdowns.
Jonathan Stewart amassed 72 yards on 10 touches (48 rushing yards on seven carries) and scored his first rushing touchdown of the season. Those points were left on benches across fantasyland.
Matthew Stafford and the Lions came up short against the 49ers at home on Sunday, but he got the job done in fantasyland. Stafford completed 28-of-50 attempts for 293 yards with two touchdowns (Brandon Pettigrew and Nate Burleson). He was under duress all day and absorbed five sacks. Through six weeks, Stafford averaged 288.2 passing yards with 15 touchdowns against four interceptions.
• Calvin Johnson caught seven passes for 113 yards. He was shut out of the end zone for the first time this season.
• Pettigrew caught eight passes for 42 yards.
• Burleson caught four passes for 34 yards.
Jahvid Best didn’t bust off a huge run against the 49ers, as we expected, and yielded 37 rushing yards on 12 carries. Best added six receptions for 73 yards to save his day.
Forget about the coaches’ handshake thing for the moment. The best contact of the day came from the 49ers offensive line as they pushed around the Lions. Frank Gore rushed 15 times for 141 yards, including a 55-yard sprint. Gore is averaging five yards per carry and has posted his best average yardage total since 2006 (90.2 yards per carry).
The Eagles finally got things rolling on defense and harassed Rex Grossman into four interceptions. With the exception of a late John Beck touchdown plunge, the Eagles controlled this contest. Perhaps this was a jumping off point for the vaunted Philadelphia squad to find its ways.
LeSean McCoy amassed an uncharacteristic 28 carries for 126 yards and a rushing touchdown, his sixth of the year. He added two receptions for 13 yards. McCoy needs one touchdown to match his 2009 season total.
Fred Davis caught six passes for 95 passes. He was targeted 11 times in the loss.
Pittsburgh running back Rashard Mendenhall returned from injury in grand fashion against the Jaguars. Mendenhall rushed for 146 yards on 23 carries (6.3 yards per carry), including an early eight-yard touchdown.
Mike Wallace notched two receptions for 76 yards, including his early 28-yard touchdown. It was Wallace’s fourth touchdown reception in his past five starts. He’s averaged 5.5 receptions and 102 receiving yards per game.
Cleveland quarterback Colt McCoy couldn’t trump the power of “Raider Nation” and the “Win for Al” sentiment in Oakland. McCoy lived up to his “Ninja” status on Sunday, passing for 215 yards and two touchdowns (Mohamed Massaquoi and Alex Smith).
The Raiders scored two special teams touchdowns against the Browns. Jacoby Ford returned a kickoff 101 yards to put the Raiders ahead. Shane Lechler later completed a 35-yard touchdown pass to Kevin Boss on a fake punt.
Jacoby Jones was targeted early and often in Week 5 to little avail (11 targets with one reception for nine yards). Jones was the leading receiver for the Texans against the Ravens, producing four receptions for 76 yards, including a 32-yard touchdown grab.
Anquan Boldin led the Ravens with eight receptions for 132 yards, his best effort of the 2011 campaign. He’d caught eight passes for 102 yards in the Ravens’ previous two games.
The Ravens leaned heavily on Ray Rice to grind down the Texans. Rice logged 23 carries for 101 yards. Though he didn’t score, Rice gets the fantasy kudos when his five receptions for 60 yards are added into the mix.
I anticipated a strong bounce-back effort from the Buccaneers at home against the Saints. Josh Freeman completed 23-of-41 attempts for 303 yards with two touchdowns in the resounding home victory. Freeman connected with speedster Arrelious Benn early in the second quarter for a 65-yard score.
• Benn finished with three receptions for 83 yards.
• Preston Parker caught two passes for 32 yards with a touchdown to extend the Tampa Bay lead to 20-7.
Earnest Graham delivered a strong performance in place of the injury LeGarrette Blount. He amassed 109 rushing yards on 17 carries, adding two receptions for 22 yards.
Jimmy Graham recorded his fourth consecutive 100-yard game. He’s averaged 6.5 receptions and 103.3 yards per game.
Marques Colston nabbed an early 38-yard touchdown pass from Drew Brees (Brees’ lone touchdown pass of the day) and finished with seven receptions for 118 yards. He’s caught 12 passes for 187 yards in the past two weeks to reclaim his place as Brees’ No. 1 target (other than Graham, of course).
Tom Brady saved his best for last. He capped an uneven game against the Cowboys with an eight-yard touchdown pass to tight end Aaron Hernandez in the final minute to complete the comeback win. Brady passed for 289 yards with two interceptions, two touchdowns and three sacks.
The Dallas secondary did a great job on Wes Welker to slow his yardage onslaught, but he did score an early touchdown by extending the ball toward the goal line. Welker finished with six receptions for 45 yards.