Week 14 takeaways

BY foxsports • December 14, 2009

Browns 13, Steelers 6

•  Brady Quinn was just 6-for-19 passing, yet it was good enough to get Cleveland past the Steelers. In Cleveland's only other win this year, Derek Anderson completed just two passes. Has any team in the NFL ever won two games with a combined eight completions? It's a tedious task, but I'm going to research it. I'd be shocked if the Browns aren't the first to pull that off.

• Something is wrong with Ben Roethlisberger. He's been posting strong numbers in a few of his recent games, but 201 passing yards, no scores and eight sacks (for those of you who are in leagues which deduct for that sort of thing) was major underproduction considering it came against the sorry Browns. I refuse to believe the bitter cold weather was a factor since he had been producing in similar weather ever since coming into the league. Why did you pick the first week of fantasy playoffs to flop, Ben?

•  Rashard Mendenhall, you should be just as ashamed of yourself. Sixteen carries for 53 yards against this defense is like rushing for 12 yards against an average D. Looks like Mike Tomlin needs to add more fuel to his unleashing of hell.

Saints 26, Falcons 23

• For the last two weeks, I told you how Chris Redman seemed to be getting more comfortable with the offense. He had his best game since taking over for Matt Ryan with 303 yards, one touchdown and just one pick. If you started him, it was because one of your regulars was injured. How much more could you have asked from a plug-in on the first week of fantasy playoffs? Redman's a hero as far as I'm concerned.

•  Robert Meachem's touchdown streak came to an end, but I won't listen to any crying about it. It's the equivalent of someone whining they lost a spin at the roulette wheel after having hit 10 straight spins before it. Meachem should be back in business this coming Saturday against the Cowboys. Drew Brees, by the way, seems to deliver three-TD games with the regularity of an assembly line worker who punches in every week at a certain time.

•  Mike Bell was a late inactive, and Pierre Thomas didn't really pick up the slack in his absence. In fact, Thomas left the game to have his leg looked at and finished with only 47 yards on 13 carries. The Saints were more effective tossing the ball to Reggie Bush out of the backfield (six catches, 46 yards, two TDs) than they were running it.

Packers 21, Bears 14

• Say what you want about Ryan Grant, but he gets the job done against the Bears for whatever reason. He racked up 137 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries, which was his best overall fantasy effort of the season. He had a nice Week 1 against Chicago, too, but the huge majority of the rest of his games have been rather disappointing. If only he could play the Bears every week.

•  Aaron Rodgers, believe me when I say your owners are very grateful for the solid season you've had so far. But did you really have to pick now to flop? Having only 180 yards and no scores today was a big disaster for a lot of guys who count on you.

• I would love to talk about yet another hugely disappointing game from Matt Forte, except it probably doesn't really matter at this point since most of his owners who drafted him in the first round are probably out of the playoffs at this stage of the season. It's pretty tough to have a good year when you get absolutely nothing from your top pick.

Texans 34, Seahawks 7

•  Andre Johnson — my goodness. Is it just me, or does he seem to have at least one game every December where he blows up for two touchdowns and somewhere in the neighborhood of 200 yards? He was pretty close to 200 at halftime and may have flirted with 300 had the Texans felt like passing the ball in the second half.

•  Ryan Moats had 10 carries for 43 yards and a score. Am I cynical for assuming Steve Slaton wouldn't have produced as well had he been healthy?

•  Justin Forsett didn't tear it up, but Julius Jones had 39 yards on 10 carries. Can someone just text me whenever the Seahawks finally decide to end the Jones experiment? Should have happened weeks ago, especially since we've seen what Forsett can do as the featured back. Leave it in his hands.

Vikings 30, Bengals 10

• What, you thought Adrian Peterson was just going to take his lousy performance in Arizona lying down? It's too bad he was three yards shy of the century mark in Week 14, but the two touchdowns he scored should ease your pain.

•  Brett Favre looked rather ordinary against the Bengals and is throwing interceptions, which had been pretty foreign for his owners this year. Is this an indication that another December meltdown is on the way?

•  Cedric Benson owners are bummed he didn't find the end zone, but not many running backs tally 96 rushing yards on Minnesota's defense. Take it and be happy.

Bills 16, Chiefs 10

•  Jamaal Charles is absolutely the real deal. I had him buried on my bench in one of my big money leagues this season, and now I feel fortunate that I did. I don't think he's a first-rounder in 2010 drafts since the offense he plays for is so pathetic, but he is definitely worth considering in the second.

• The good news for Matt Cassel — he amassed 224 passing yards and got that part of his game back on track. The bad news? No touchdowns and four interceptions against what isn't exactly a lockdown defense. Cassel is still very much in development mode.

•  Fred Jackson and Marshawn Lynch both had pretty good yardage on the ground today, but neither scored a touchdown. Are you telling me that I need to prepare for this to become yet another split workload where each RB is just good enough to keep the other one from becoming a top fantasy talent?

Colts 28, Broncos 16

• The four touchdowns were great, but the three interceptions from Peyton Manning were kind of puzzling. Still, you'll take that every week you can get it since it still nets out to just under three TDs worth of points in most scoring formats.

•  Joseph Addai failed to find the end zone, and when that happens, it makes him a mediocre fantasy start. Still, give him a break. He's scored at least once in four of his last six games.

•  Brandon Marshall set an NFL record with 21 receptions in one game. He had 200 receiving yards and two touchdowns, which makes him a demigod in every single fantasy format that I can think of. The second-highest catch total for the Broncos today? Jabbar Gaffney and Knowshon Moreno each had three. At what point wouldn't Indy's coaching staff start double- and triple-teaming Marshall in coverage? Nonetheless ... congratulations, Brandon. Your contract whining this past offseason was justified in my opinion.

Jets 26, Buccaneers 3

•  Josh Freeman was beyond awful today. The Bucs offense didn't register a first down until early in the second half. I was wondering why he wasn't benched in the second quarter since it was obvious it wouldn't be his day. For every decent performance he gives like this, you can expect a horrendous one since he's still learning on the job. He has a good chance to redeem himself next week at Seattle.

•  Thomas Jones rushed for two touchdowns and 99 yards, which had to have irked his owners who only get points if he tops 100. But considering how bad Kellen Clemens looked, Jones probably could have done even better had Rex Ryan decided to hand the ball off more.

•  Shonn Greene is a lost cause in my opinion. He only got six carries today, but he's not going to get many more than that on most weeks since Jones continues to do his thing. Jones is the alpha dog in this relationship and probably will be as long as he's healthy.

Ravens 48, Lions 3

• No touchdowns, two interceptions and only 135 passing yards for Daunte Culpepper? Yeah, Daunte. We all see why you were lobbying so hard to start the Thanksgiving game. I don't know what Detroit's coaching staff was thinking, either.

•  Ray Rice owners had to feel a little cheated. He had 151 rushing yards and a score at halftime, but only managed to add 15 rushing yards to those numbers in the second half. At least he had four catches for 53 yards, which gave him an outstanding overall day.

• Those of you who started Willis McGahee can consider this to be your lucky day. His fantasy value was basically dead and buried as recently as two weeks ago, but he amassed 76 yards and two scores on 12 carries. Don't get terribly excited about picking him up if he's still available in your league. Everyone hits a shot from half court once in a while.

Dolphins 14, Jaguars 10

• The scoring in this game consisted of three different players rushing for one-yard touchdowns. Unless you're a die-hard fan of either team, I suspect you flipped through the rest of the available games on your TVs. This one was a bit of a bore.

•  Maurice Jones-Drew was one of the aforementioned players who managed to score a touchdown, and it's a good thing he did. He tallied just 59 yards on the ground against what isn't really an elite run defense.

•  Chad Henne rushed for a score as well, and it helped offset a lousy day in the air (220 yards, no scores, one INT). If you plan on relying on Henne to carry you through your fantasy playoffs, I highly advise you to stock up on strong liquor while you watch him over the next month. Your nerves will need it.

Patriots 20, Panthers 10

• After flat-out refusing to get the ball to Steve Smith, Matt Moore finally saw what doing so can get you. He hit Smith perfectly in stride for a 41-yard score near the end of the first quarter to put Carolina ahead. Smith only finished with two catches for 83 yards in the game, Listen, Matt — if Smith is only capable of getting 40-yard gains, I don't think your coaching staff is going to yell at you if you do that over and over again. Just my two cents.

• One week after running wild, Jonathan Stewart only managed 29 yards on the ground in this spot. He (and DeAngelo Williams) didn't score a touchdown, and they picked a bad week to both go scoreless. I know a guy whose name rhymes with Ron and writes this article who depended on both players heavily in one of his leagues. No more hints.

•  Tom Brady only had 192 yards and one touchdown in the air, but you'll have to forgive him since he seemed so injured that the wrong kind of hit would make him fall apart.

Redskins 34, Raiders 13

• Something tells me the clock is going twice as fast to strike 12 on Bruce Gradkowski's fantasy value. He didn't have a terrible game against Washington, but you couldn't have expected him to keep up these insane three-TD games, could you? It is, however, easy to imagine him fizzling out and leaving owners who start him over these last three weeks hugely disappointed.

•  Justin Fargas: nine carries, 21 yards, one score. Darren McFadden: eight carries, 21 yards, no score. Fantasy verdict: leave both of them on the waiver wire. Just trust me.

•  Jason Campbell has now thrown two straight solid fantasy games and isn't a bad late pickup to have on your bench. If you're a Matt Ryan or Vince Young owner, Campbell has to look pretty good if you can find him.

Titans 47, Rams 7

• Speaking of Young, he was in the process of pulling off the longest run of his career, and he came up limping with what looked like a hamstring injury. Check his status for next week since Kerry Collins actually didn't do a bad job of moving the offense in relief of the former Longhorn.

•  Keith Null did throw for a touchdown pass, but his last name tells you a lot about his fantasy value over these last few games. Har.

•  Steven Jackson had a disappointing effort at one of the worst times possible, but it wasn't really his fault since the Rams found themselves trailing by multiple scores about 3.6 seconds into the game. Jackson will rebound next week at home against the Texans. Just wait and see.

Chargers 20, Cowboys 17

• It wasn't a huge effort from Philip Rivers, but you can't complain about his 272-yard, one-touchdown day. The only reason it wasn't higher was the Chargers managed to find some running room and gained yards on the ground (shocking, I know).

• I hope those of you who were grouchy with Vincent Jackson didn't bench him. The Cowboys tried to slow down Antonio Gates, which left V-Jax in single coverages a few times today, and he took full advantage. Gates and Jackson owners are probably ready to fight to the death at this point, because it's usually one or the other who has a big game, but not both.

•  Tony Romo actually finds himself in a somewhat similar situation as Rivers — an offense that can't run the ball to save its life, so he's forced to throw the whole game long. His owners were probably giddy with the late garbage touchdown drive he was able to produce. Guess what? He should have ample opportunities to do that on Saturday when the Cowboys travel to New Orleans.


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