This week in the NFL gave you all you want as a fan: late-game comebacks and near-comebacks in 7 games, and blowouts in another 6. Oh, and Tim Tebow. If it weren't for the Christian Ponderer (nickname not mine, sadly), the Texans' ridiculously unlikely 10-3 record would be a big story this year. Alas, I'm left adding Tebow to everything.
GIANTS 37, COWBOYS 34
TRIUMPH: Although this really has been more the norm than an anomaly of late, Laurent Robinson overcame being replaced in the starting lineup by Miles Austin by grabbing 4 passes for 137 yards and a touchdown, capping a 7-game stretch (4 of those as the starter) in which he totaled 530 yards and 8 touchdowns. However, with Austin getting back into the swing of things, I don’t anticipate this continuing to the extent that the last couple weeks would indicate.
TRAGEDY: Could have been Jason Witten getting 3 receptions for 12 yards, but I’m going to go with Ahmad Bradshaw breaking a team rule and missing the first half of this game without telling any of his fantasy owners, and then coming back just in time to get 8 carries for 12 yards, while Brandon Jacobs put up 101 yards and 2 touchdowns. Dude…
TREND: Victor Cruz has been Cruzing of late, averaging 7 receptions for just under 110 yards over his past 7 games. Despite being “just” the slot receiver when Mario Manningham plays, Cruz has made big play after big play and is now third in the league in receiving yards and fourth among fantasy wide receivers.
TRAIL MIX: This game worked out just like you would expect an NFC East battle to: high-scoring despite name-brand defenses, lots of passing, botched snaps and fumbles by both teams, Eli Manning making a late scoring drive, and the Cowboys bungling it at the end. All of that adds up to the Eagles still not being eliminated!
TEBOW: Speaking of prolific passers, did you know that Tim Tebow went 18-of-24 for 191 yards AFTER THE THIRD QUARTER this week?
CHARGERS 37, BILLS 10
TRIUMPH: Backup quarterbacks Tyler Thigpen and Billy Volek combined to go 2-for-3 for 19 yards and an interception, as well as having 3 carries for 12 yards. They had combined to go 1-5 for 6 yards prior to this game. Yes, this is a sad, sad triumph, but this was a pretty sad game for a blowout.
TRAGEDY: Vincent Jackson follows up a solid game with another “meh” performance (5 receptions, 55 yards). He is the most consistently inconsistent player in the league, having 21 receptions for 279 yards and 0 touchdowns in games 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, and 13, and 32 receptions for 673 yards and 8 touchdowns in games 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12 this season (and that includes one fewer game AND a 1-for-15 game in the even-numbered set).
TREND: Antonio Gates, when healthy, is the anti-Vincent-Jackson: money in the bank. He has had between 4 and 8 receptions and between 49 and 96 receiving yards in every game he’s played (there’s 9 of them), as well as scoring 6 touchdowns.
TRAIL MIX: The Bills have had a Tale of Two Seasons in 2011, going 5-2 and scoring 30 points per game through Week 8, and going 0-6 and scoring 13 points per game afterward. Also, remember that post I wrote about Ryan Fitzpatrick being a fair-weather flinger? Yahtzee.
TEBOW: The Denver Fighting Tebows have won 8 of Tebow’s 10 starts since last year, and have won 7 of those with drives in the 4th quarter or overtime, while the Denver Broncos (the pre-Tebow Denver football team) have gone 4-14 in the last two seasons.
PATRIOTS 34, REDSKINS 27
TRIUMPH: Big day for former Patriots receivers on the Redskins! Donte Stallworth and Jabar Gaffney combined for 10 receptions for 188 yards and a touchdown in this contest. While Gaffney has had at least 50 receiving yards in 9 games this year, Stallworth had 111 yards all season coming into this game.
TRAGEDY: Deion Branch is an old-time Patriot, so he should be used to totally disappearing from time to time as Tom Brady sees fit. Branch was thrown to twice and caught no passes, which looks awfully similar to his 2-19, 3-37, 2-21, and 1-4 games earlier this season.
TREND: Duh, Rex Grossman. I think we should motion the NFL to rename the strip-sack the Grossman, as he had 2 more fumbles (one lost) yesterday, bringing his total to 7 in 10 games to go with his 16 interceptions.
TRAIL MIX: Rob Gronkowski is just unreal. He is 7th in the league in receiving yards, first in touchdowns (thanks to having 10 TD in his last 6 games), and is doing all of this while being second-fiddle to Wes Welker, who leads the league in receptions and yards and has 9 touchdowns of his own.
TEBOW: Broncos-Patriots this week. Nuff said.