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. Let’s jump right in and take a closer look at week number fourteen of the NFL season.
- Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow. The first week of the fantasy playoffs is never a good time for inclement weather to blanket a large part of the country since it can easily stymie offenses that are usually quite prolific in good conditions. Luckily, the snow subsided in the 2nd half for most of the early games on the East Coast and the offenses returned with a vengeance.
- After the Texans lost their 11th consecutive game on Thursday night, including two losses to the Jacksonville Jaguars over the past three weeks, it came as no surprise that HC Gary Kubiak was let go this past Friday. What was surprising, however, was Kubiak’s indecisiveness when addressing the quarterback position and not committing enough to Case Keenum. Obviously Kubiak lost his balance while straddling the fine line that exists between leading a recent playoff contender that is deteriorating rapidly and laying the foundation for a much needed overhaul and rebuild.
- In that same Thursday night game, Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson became just the 15th player in NFL history to haul in 900 total receptions. While congratulations are certainly in order, I’m amazed when I watch defenses try and shut down Andre Johnson without using some type of bracket coverage. Johnson has lost a step (maybe two) and he’s no longer the dominating physical presence he was in his younger days, but he’s still a dangerous wide receiver that can exploit single or zone coverage on a consistent basis.
- Nothing can derail the dreams of a fantasy league championship like an early injury to one of the NFL’s leading rushers. Adrian Peterson left Sunday’s contest against the Ravens after injuring his ankle in the first half – delivering a tough blow to not only the Minnesota offense, but also fantasy owners everywhere.
- All season long, the Vikings secondary has been notorious for giving up huge chunks of yardage to the opposition’s top wide receiver on a weekly basis. With that said, you would have expected Baltimore wide receiver Torrey Smith to be in line for a nice statistical performance on Sunday. I guess nothing shores up a porous secondary like waffle sized snowflakes falling from the sky for three quarters of a football game because Smith finished the game with 1 catch for 11 yards and a two-point conversion.
- Cordarrelle Patterson is simply electric and the fast paced, explosive 4th quarter in Baltimore was the perfect stage for the rookie wide receiver to showcase his excellent vision and incredible open field ability.
- Is it possible that the Indianapolis Colts finally have an amazingly talented and extremely cerebral quarterback that doesn’t fall apart on the road in cold weather? Yes I know, Andrew Luck struggled early on against the Bengals, but the second year quarterback found his rhythm in the third quarter and did his best to rally his team by finishing the game with 326 yards and 4 TDs and, more importantly, zero interceptions.
- Well, hello Da’Rick! Dynasty darling Da’Rick Rogers finally made the splash his owners have been patiently waiting for since the rookie came into the NFL as a UDFA earlier this summer. Rogers hauled in 6 receptions for 107 yards and 2 TDs in the loss to the Bengals and his unique size, power and speed were on display for the world to see.
- Last week I wrote the following about the Patriots…….“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.” Well, this week the Patriots where up to their old tricks yet again, reaching straight into the jaws of defeat to pull out another last second victory. I would be thoroughly convinced that the fantasy gods where die-hard Patriot fans, but the New York Giants proved that theory wrong not just once, but twice, on the biggest stage in the NFL.
- The hottest wide receiver in the league over the past few weeks has been Josh Gordon of the Cleveland Browns. The Patriots did a great job of manhandling Gordon for the first half, taking him right out of Cleveland’s game plan. Even the best laid plans, however, sometimes fall to superior ability and Gordon was able to find daylight in the second half, finishing the game with 7 catches for 151 yards and a touchdown.
- During the Patriots game in Foxborough, tight end Rob Gronkowski suffered a gruesome hit to his right knee and had to be carted off the field. It was another tough injury for the talented young tight end and a devastating blow to New England’s Super Bowl aspirations. Sadly, low hits are becoming more prevalent in the league with the NFL’s primary focus (and subsequent fines) being placed on head to head contact.
- I’m sorry, but how the hell did the New York Jets score 37 points?
- After watching LeSean McCoy rack up 217 yards on the ground yesterday, I’m convinced he should switch his nickname from “Shady” to “Shifty”. The Philadelphia Eagles running back is so fluid at changing his speed and direction without sacrificing any of his balance or leg drive.
- Miami tight end Charles Clay is a pretty darn good football player.
- Tampa Bay running back Bobby Rainey finished Sunday’s game against the Bills with a stat line of 22 carries for 127 yards and a score. Conversely, Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller combined for 34 yards on 16 carries for the Bills. Even Jets head coach Rex Ryan would be embarrassed at that type of pathetic offensive production.
- The Kansas City Chiefs have struggled recently having previously dropped three games in a row, including two tough loses to the division leading Denver Broncos. After getting back on the winning track and dropping 45 points on the Redskins in a blow out victory Sunday, I’m pretty sure the Chiefs have found their swagger and want nothing more than another shot at the Manning led Broncos.
- The Washington Redskins displayed the worst tackling on special teams I’ve ever witnessed in a single game.
- Green Bay quarterback Matt Flynn has the mobility of a 20 year old…….and by 20 year old, I mean a 20 year old sleeper sofa.
- Instead of Bronco fans worrying about Peyton Manning performing in cold weather, they should be concerned that their defense heads south anytime the thermometer drops below freezing. Sunday, Peyton was firing on all cylinders against a tough Titans pass defense in frigid weather, but Denver’s defense was barely adequate in the victory over Tennessee.
- I seldom mention kickers, but I think Denver’s Matt Prater could kick a 70 yard field goal at Mile High Stadium.
- With his great hands, laser sharp focus, precise route running and an ever present team first mentality, Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald is a pro’s pro in every sense of the word.
- Remember when Eli Manning and the Giants were good on offense?
- The Seahawks and 49ers have everything you look for in an NFL rivalry. They have two outspoken confident coaches, two young quarterbacks with unlimited potential, two hard hitting, smash mouth defenses and a mutual respect and genuine dislike for one another.
Well, that wraps up this week’s “Monday Morning Jolt” and a look back at week number fourteen 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