NFL Football Column: The Morning After
Dinner with Andre (and Matt)
Andre Johnson and Matt Schaub didn’t come to wax philosophically this Sunday, they came to feast on the Jacksonville Jaguars defensive backs, and they did just that. The first three plays for the Texans were Schaub completions to Johnson of 7, 22 and 45 yards. And that was just the beginning. Schaub went on to complete 43-of-55 passes for 527 yards, five touchdowns and two interceptions, while Johnson caught 14-0f-19 targets for 273 yards and a touchdown.
Matt Schaub’s 527 yards are tied with former Houston Oiler Warren Moon for the second most passing yards in a game, behind Norm Van Brocklin’s 554 yards passing in 1951. Johnson's 273 receiving yards are the seventh most in NFL history and most in a single game since Terrell Owens had 283 yards in 2000.
Of course this game wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for Chad Henne, Justin Blackmon and the Houston Texans defense or lack thereof. Coming into this game it sure didn’t seem like the Texans would need Schaub or Johnson to do much of anything facing a team that was averaging a league worst 14 points per game, but that was under the direction of Blaine Gabbert. Gabbert only threw two passes before he left with an elbow injury and was replaced by Henne, who then went on to pass for 354 yards and four touchdowns; 236 of those yards and one touchdown went to rookie Justin Blackmon who hadn’t topped 67 yards once this season. And this all against the Texans who were giving up the second least amount of yards (281.6) and third least amount of points (15.9) in the league.
This game defied all logic, but it just shows you how much the philosophy of a team dictates their players’ fantasy value. Matt Schaub led the league in passing in 2009, but as the Texans rushing game and defense improved, Schaub’s numbers declined. This season he hardly needed to throw the ball, averaging just 21.8 passes per game to lead the Texans to an 8-1 record. In this game he had to throw the ball 55 times to keep up with the juggernaut known as Chad Henne.
Robert Griffin III – The rookie quarterback had been slumping a bit of late, but he unslumped in a big way this week. He was the definition of efficiency against the Eagles this week, completing 14-of-15 passes for 200 yards and four touchdowns. That 93% completion percentage is a single game rookie record and his current 67% season completion rate would break Ben Roethlisberger’s rookie record. Oh, and he ran 12 times for 84 yards this week. He’s not bad.
Rob Gronkowski – Before Gronk broke his arm he caught seven passes for 137 yards and two touchdowns. That gave him 10 on the season and seven in his last four games. He’s impossible to cover and it sure would have been fun to see him finish another whole season, just to see how many records he could break.
T.Y. Hilton – Andrew Luck faltered in his first matchup with Tom Brady, but Hilton went to touchdown town twice as well as catching six passes for 100 yards. Donnie Avery’s concussion helped him get a few more targets, but he has tremendous speed and seems to be on the same page with his fellow rookie Luck. This was his third 100 yard receiving game on the season, which leads all rookie receivers.
Dez Bryant – You can say what you want about Dez Bryant as a person, but the dude can play football when he wants to. On Sunday he caught 12 passes for 145 yards and a touchdown. He is on pace for 91 receptions, 1,176 yards and 6 touchdowns. We know he has all the ability in the world and slowly, but surely, it is emerging.
Marcel Reece – He had exactly 150 total yards at halftime and finished with 193 total yards. I find it odd he didn’t have another reception after the half, especially with the Raiders in catch up mode. But either way, Reece has shown his ability to be real and somewhat spectacular. In the last two weeks he has 43 touches for 297 yards. He has earned himself some extra looks, even when/if Darren McFadden returns.
Matt Ryan – The Arizona Cardinals are a good pass defense, but Matt Ryan shouldn’t have thrown five interceptions and zero touchdowns against them. It truly is unacceptable for a quarterback that has been matchup proof this season to lay an egg quite that large. I don’t think there is any reason to panic as a fantasy owner, but maybe a little as a Falcons fan.
Jeremy Maclin – Last week Maclin was targeted 12 times and caught 8 of those for 93 yards and a touchdown. And many of those targets came from the new quarterback Nick Foles. So this week they face one of the worst pass defenses in the league in the Redskins and Maclin had three targets and caught none of them. Sad trombone.
Denarius Moore – I though Moore had turned a corner into every week wide receiver two status. I was incorrect. He saw seven targets and caught one of those for nine yards. Oh, and they were playing the Saints, who are staunchly against stopping opposing teams from catching the ball.
Matthew Stafford – Stafford reverted back to his early season self against the Packers this week. He completed just 43.5% of his passes and tossed two interceptions to just one touchdown. He is sloppy and Ron Jaworski may have been correct when he ranked him as the 14th best quarterback in the league. He has the ability, but he is not under control. He better right the ship.
Early Waiver Look
QB: Chad Henne
Fantasy MVP of Week 11: Andre Johnson
Fantasy Breakout Player of Week 11: Justin Blackmon
Fantasy Rookie of Week 11: RGIII
Fantasy Disappointment of Week 11: Matt Ryan
Fantasy Fluke of Week 11: Garrett Graham
3 – The number of seasons Rob Gronkowski has caught 10 or more touchdowns, a record for tight ends.
5 – The number of players with a touchdown catch in 10+ consecutive games -- Jerry Rice 13, Crazylegs Hirsch 11, Buddy Dial 11, Carl Pickens 10, Randy Moss 10 and now AJ Green has 9 consecutive games with a touchdown.
@RotoPat -- Jets' No. 2 receiver Chaz Schilens with a special teams tackle.
@evansilva -- It's a miracle!!!! RT @ProFootballTalk Vick could be back as soon as next week.
@CaptainComeback -- That sums up how far the Baltimore run defense has fallen. One of the slowest QBs goes 31 yards for a TD.
@MoveTheSticks -- Last week Matt Ryan had 400+ passing yards and lost. Today he had 5 int's and won. #WeirdGame
@billbarnwell -- Terrible call in that TB game. Martin clearly crosses the plane and they call it a fumble. Just awful.
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