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Week 11 First Impressions
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Nothing like added minutes to pad your fantasy total. In Week 11, Houston quarterback Matt Schaub and his favorite receiver, Andre Johnson, used 13 extra minutes to post amazing totals and likely pace their owners to a win just as they did the Texans.

Now on to our initial thoughts of this week's action.

Arizona at Atlanta

Now here's something you don't see every day. The Cardinals benched starting quarterback John Skelton ... even though they were ahead by 10 points when they made the switch. Skelton watched the rest of the game on the bench after completing just two passes on seven attempts.

Unfortunately for Arizona, Ryan Lindley wasn't much of an upgrade over Skelton. Lindley completed just nine of 20 throws for 64 yards.

LaRod Stephens-Howling went nuts on Sunday. He showed incredible speed by collecting a pair of 40-yard runs in the first half and overall, he finished with 127 yards rushing. Too bad he'll go back to the bench next week when Beanie Wells returns from injury.

Matt Ryan was just dreadful all day. He chucked up a career-high five interceptions while failing to throw a TD for the second time in his last three games. If it's any consolation to fantasy owners, he did throw for over 300 yards.

The play of the game had to be Arizona cornerback Greg Toler's diving deflection to keep Jason Snelling's fumble in bounds. The ball was recovered by Cardinals linebacker Sam Acho at the 28-yard line.

Tampa Bay at Carolina

Josh Freeman was intercepted on Sunday, the first time that's happened in over a month. Fortunately for fantasy owners, he was able to right the ship with a pair of touchdown passes late in the game. Freeman's 15-yard score to Dallas Clark won the contest in overtime and it gave him 248 yards passing for the game.

Doug Martin posted an excellent 138 yards rushing but I'm sure fantasy owners weren't pleased to see him fumble the ball at the 1-yard line on 4th-and-goal. He now has exactly 1,000 yards rushing for the season.

It was another sluggish day for the Carolina offense. Cam Newton was hit or miss (16-for-29, one touchdown) and Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams both averaged less than three yards per carry throughout the game.

Cleveland at Dallas

Dez Bryant is like a box of chocolates: you never know what you're going to get. We've seen the good, the bad and the ugly from Bryant this season. Luckily, today was mostly good. He racked up 145 yards on 12 catches including a 28-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter.

Brandon Weeden owners probably threw their popcorn bowls at the television when Weeden missed tight end Jordan Cameron on fourth and goal from the 1-yard line. A minute later, all was forgiven after Weeden heaved up a brilliant 17-yard TD throw to Benjamin Watson. Overall, Weeden was 20-for-35 with 210 yards passing and a pair of touchdowns (both to Watson).

Felix Jones hit a brick wall on most of his carries, finishing with a mere 43 yards on 14 carries. Second-stringer Lance Dunbar relieved him during the overtime period. Jones was able to salvage the tough day, somewhat, with a two- yard touchdown rumble in the fourth quarter, his third score of the season.

Green Bay at Detroit

Most thought Randall Cobb wouldn't be as effective with Jordy Nelson back in the lineup. All he did Sunday was catch nine balls for 74 yards and a game- winning TD. He has now scored in four straight games. Even with Nelson healthy, Cobb remains a must-start.

Jermichael Finley's last visit to the end zone before Sunday? That came all the way back in Week 1 during a loss to the 49ers. He finished the day with three catches for 66 yards.

While not as impressive as his monster game against Jacksonville in Week 9 (74 rushing yards, 3 TDs), this was definitely one of Mikel Leshoure's stronger performances. The Lions' running back registered 84 yards in the loss. The 1- yard touchdown in the second quarter was his fifth rushing score of the year.

Remember that slump Megatron had earlier in the season? Me neither. He blew up for 143 yards on Sunday, giving him a ridiculous 479 yards receiving over his last three games. He has now registered touchdowns in back-to-back weeks after scoring just once in the first eight games of the season.

Jacksonville at Houston

Chad Henne's 8-of-11 for 177 yards and two scores first half effort against a tough Houston defense may have signaled the end to the "Blaine Gabbert Era." After he finished the day with 354 yards and four touchdowns, we think it's a near certainty.

Cecil Shorts has provided the Jaguars with a deep threat for most of the season, but Justin Blackmon finally showed the all-around talent that made him a first-round draft choice with 236 yards on just seven receptions.

Jalen Parmele was the Jaguars' primary running back, not Rashad Jennings. It may stay that way until Maurice Jones-Drew returns.

In the first half, the Texans had 2nd-and-goal from the 1-yard line which should be Arian Foster territory, but Schaub hit tight end James Casey to the dismay of a large number of fantasy owners. The same thing happened in the fourth quarter, except the receiver was the other tight end - Garrett Graham. A new trend?

Schaub, who was averaging just 223.6 ypg and 1.4 TD passes per game, blew those averages out of the water with 527-yards passing and five touchdowns.

Andre Johnson was unstoppable with 14 receptions for 273 yards, though he didn't get into the end zone until 73 minutes into the game.

Cincinnati at Kansas City

Andy Dalton figured to have a big day against Kansas City and his first half (11-for-17 for one score and a rushing touchdown) did nothing to change those expectations. However, the Bengals cruised to a 28-6 victory and Dalton didn't do much more in the second half.

After going four games without a touchdown run, BenJarvus Green-Ellis has now scored in two of the last three. He also cracked the 100-yard mark for the first time this season.

Jamaal Charles seemed to be the only effective Chiefs player on the field, but he only barely offered owners double-digit fantasy points.

New York Jets at St. Louis

Mark Sanchez hit Chaz Schilens for a 25-yard touchdown to the delight of almost no one. Schilens is the Jets' fourth receiving option when even starting any of the top-three would be a big stretch.

Bilal Powell probably upset Shonn Greene fantasy owners with his two short touchdowns.

Sam Bradford hit Brandon Gibson for two touchdowns, yet the receiver's three receptions didn't total 10 yards of offense.

Philadelphia at Washington

Nick Foles got off to a rough start with two early interceptions and never could get the Eagles into the end zone. If he couldn't do it against the porous Redskins' pass defense, he's not going to be much help the rest of the way.

Robert Griffin III didn't need to throw often, but made them count going 8- for-9 for 99 yards and two scores in the first half and finishing with 200 yards and four touchdowns - to four different receivers. RGIII also ran for 84 yards.

As expected, Garcon, who caught three balls for five yards, was more decoy than factor.

New Orleans at Oakland

Even with Darren Sproles a late scratch, the Saints' running game was still a three-man RBBC situation.

When Drew Brees has been sitting in the pocket for too long, he frequently ends up looking to his favorite receiver - Lance Moore. He hit him on a 38-yard touchdown after sliding up in the pocket to give the New Orleans a commanding a 21-7 lead. He found him again for a 15-yard touchdown later in the game.

Marcel Reece may look like a big, hulking fullback, but he's got great hands and enough speed to be dangerous as his 193 combined total yards will attest. He could become the Raiders' third down back even when Darren McFadden returns.

Carson Palmer may be the best "garbage time passer" in the league. Chalk up another 300-yard passing day after getting down by a 35-10 score.

San Diego at Denver

Philip Rivers looked nervous in the pocket. Perhaps he didn't have confidence in his line protection, but whatever the reason it showed in his sub-par performance.

Peyton Manning wasn't sharp either, but still managed to throw a trio of touchdown passes. In typical Manning fashion, he kept all his wideouts happy by throwing one each to Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker and Brandon Stokley. He's got 24 touchdowns in 10 games this season with just seven interceptions.

Willis McGahee was headed for a big day when he was knocked out of the game by a knee injury. McGahee already had 55 yards on seven carries when injured.

Indianapolis at New England

In a battle between one of the league's best quarterbacks, Tom Brady, and one of the next generation's best, Andrew Luck, Brady dominated. Brady tossed three touchdown passes, while two of Luck's four touchdown passes were to the Patriots' secondary.

Aqib Talib paid immediate dividends during his first game in a Patriots uniform with a pick-six. The Pats D/ST scored three times.

Gronkowski is back to his record-breaking form of a year ago with 395 yards and seven touchdowns over the past four games.

Only a garbage time touchdown by Stevan Ridley saved him from disappointing fantasy owners after rushing for just 28 yards on 13 carries. Julian Edelman led the team in rushing with 47 yards.




Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at sschwarz@sportsnetwork.com.


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