Monday Morning Jolt
By Leo Paciga @FFHoudini
Welcome to this week’s edition of the “Monday Morning Jolt” – a weekly look back at the happenings and performances from around the NFL, focusing on situations and players that caught my eye or made me scratch my head in either awe or disbelief. First, a special thanks to my friend Dan Heins (@Dan_DFW) for doing a great job while covering for me last week, but I’m happy to be back and eager to jump in and take a closer look at week number thirteen of the NFL season.
- Has anyone ever made more money off of one game than Matt Flynn? You folks remember that particular game, right? It was the final game of the 2011 season and the Green Bay Packers were in the comfy confines of Lambeau Field taking on the Detroit Lions. Playing with mostly backups, Flynn set franchise records with 480 yards passing and six touchdowns in an impressive 45 – 41 victory. Three months later, Flynn cashed in on that magical performance by signing a three-year, $26-million dollar deal with the Seattle Seahawks. Talk about a bad investment….ouch. Since then, Matt Flynn has bounced around from Seattle to Oakland to Buffalo and now back to Green Bay and his pitiful performance against those same pesky Detroit Lions on Thursday brought Flynn’s journey full circle. Flynn’s career to date can be summed up like this…..one magical game equaling one enchanted bank statement….with very little evidence of talent found along the way. Hurry back Aaron Rodgers….hurry back.
- While we’re discussing big performances, mediocre talent and the stars aligning….let’s say hello to DeMarco Murray. The Dallas running back found the end zone 3 times against the Oakland Raiders in the second game of the Thanksgiving Day triple-header. I’ve never been a big fan of Murray’s running style or his skill set and I find him to be maddeningly inconsistent. Murray gets dinged up so easily and he does a poor job of running to daylight, leaving chunks of yardage on the field on a regular basis. The Cowboys may be happy with DeMarco Murray at running back for the moment, but it’s a position they’ll need to address sooner rather than later if they want to give QB Tony Romo a real chance at post season success during his career in Dallas.
- I know I’ve mentioned it before in previous “Monday Morning Jolt” articles, but I absolutely love watching Torrey Smith mature and develop into a true WR #1 for the Ravens right in front of our very eyes.
- Hey redraft owners…….now you know why dynasty owners have been drooling over Michael Floyd, Alshon Jeffery and Josh Gordon since the beginning of last season. At least redraft owners will have an opportunity to get their hands on these talented young wide receivers next August. Dynasty aficionados, unfortunately, will have very little chance of prying Jeffery, Gordon or Floyd away from their current owners.
- Carolina’s Cam Newton has always had the natural ability to be a Super Bowl caliber quarterback, but it’s his mental maturity and maturation as a leader this season that have made Newton much more dangerous week in and week out.
- Cleveland wide receiver Josh Gordon…..WOW…….wow, wow, wow. Gordon has topped the 125 yard mark in 6 of his 10 games this season and his two most recent outings have been performances for the ages. Gordon racked up 14 receptions for 237 yards and a score against the Steelers in week 12 and topped those numbers on Sunday with 10 catches, 261 yards and 2 TDs. As much as I love watching Gordon establish himself as a premier NFL receiver, I can’t help but temper some of my enthusiasm. I sincerely hope Gordon has learned some real life lessons from watching the unfortunate circumstances surrounding Justin Blackmon‘s substance abuse issues and the poor choices Blackmon has made during his short NFL career.
- It’s pretty obvious the Indianapolis Colts really miss Reggie Wayne‘s leadership and experience. The Colts may have escaped with a much needed win against the Tennessee Titans yesterday, but Andrew Luck and the entire Colts offense have been out of sync since Wayne went down with a torn ACL back in week 7.
- I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…..Adrian Peterson simply isn’t human.
- It’s funny that quarterback Matt Cassel can actually see Greg Jennings running wide open through the opposing secondary and yet he’s been utterly invisible to any other player lining up under center for the Vikings.
- Coming into the 2013 season, we all knew Alshon Jeffery had the talent to be a tremendous second option in the Bears passing game and the perfect compliment to teammate and fellow wide receiver Brandon Marshall. I never thought I’d say this, but Marshall has done a great job mentoring Jeffery and it’s becoming evident that the changing of the guard will happen sooner rather than later in Chicago.
- Geno Smith has slowly morphed into Akili Smith. Head coach Rex Ryan has an innate ability when it comes to derailing talented offensive players and it looks like Geno Smith is no exception when it comes to Rex’s Midas touch. Somewhere Mark Sanchez is smiling…….while eating a hot dog, of course.
- Nick Foles is doing a nice job running Chip Kelly’s up tempo offense. Not only that, Foles is simply a better all around quarterback than I gave him credit for and his 19 TDs and ZERO interceptions for the Eagles are a testament to his ability.
- Nobody seems to win more tight games in the closing minutes than the New England Patriots. Every week it seems as if the Patriots are battling not only the opposition, but also the game clock and the odds while trying to secure the victory. New England fans have been spoiled with the clutch ability of Tom Brady and it’ll be interesting to see how they adjust to things once he’s no longer directing the two-minute drills in Foxborough.
- Falcons defense, meet C.J. Spiller. C.J. Spiller meet that ever elusive century mark. C.J. Spiller finally got on track against the porous Atlanta run defense racking up 147 yards on 15 carries and a TD. The two touchdowns scored by Fred Jackson yesterday, however, simply added to the frustration that Spiller owners have endured all season. Of course Spiller owners may be so numb at this point that nothing phases them anymore. And while we’re talking about the Bills game in Toronto; that was a horrific playing surface. The last time I saw artificial turf look that bad; I was standing on a putting green at the local miniature golf course……and that course had been closed and out of business for a few years.
- The 49ers are finally starting to flex their muscles on defense. After getting smacked around like a pinata, I’m betting there’s a good chance Rams running back Zac Stacy wishes he hadn’t cleared concussion protocol prior to Sunday’s game in San Francisco.
- Nothing makes a team look more vulnerable than a few key injuries coinciding with a major drop on the thermometer …….just ask the Denver Broncos. Somehow the Broncos were able to find enough offense to defeat the Kansas City Chiefs for the second time in three weeks. I guess you can overcome a lot of shortcomings and injuries when Peyton Manning is calling the shots in the huddle.
- San Diego tight end Ladarius Green is here to stay. I know the Chargers appreciate Antonio Gates and all he’s done for the team over his long, illustrious, Hall of Fame career, but Green needs to be on the field as much as possible. Just 23 years old, Green’s size and speed make him far more dangerous than the 2013 version of Antonio Gates.
- Someone needs to tell Andy Dalton to throw the football to the guys with tiger stripes on their helmets. Even though the Bengals came away with a victory against the Chargers, 9 interceptions over the past four games is a statistic that is unacceptable for any NFL quarterback, let alone a quarterback on a team with Super Bowl aspirations.
Well, that wraps up this week’s “Monday Morning Jolt” and a look back at week number thirteen of the NFL season. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to reach out to me here at DFW or on Twitter @FFHoudini. Until next Monday, here’s hoping all your fantasy starters perform well and stay injury free.
Read more DFW articles by: Leo Paciga