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Andy Behrens

Sunday Scene, Week 2: Johnsons, Gore, Jets D dominate

Andy Behrens
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The Houston defense gives up long, game-changing touchdowns with incredible regularity. It's almost ritualistic, as if 50-yard TDs were sacrificial offerings.

Tennessee running back Chris Johnson was the latest opposing player to benefit from Houston's generosity. Entering the Sunday night game, Johnson had both the second-most rushing yards in Week 2 (197) and the 14th most receiving yards (87). He found the end zone three times against the Texans, scoring from 57, 69 and 91 yards. Houston somehow neglected to cover Johnson on the 69-yard reception -- just totally ignored him when he lined up at receiver. Video here.

That's either a mistake or it's complete resignation. For a second it seemed that Zac Diles(notes) noticed him, but no.

Johnson totaled 46 fantasy points in public leagues in Week 2, which is an obscene number. It might hold up all year as highest single-game imaginary point total. We're interested in hearing from you in comments if A) you're a triumphant Johnson owner, or B) your entire starting roster failed to score 46 points.

If you started both Johnson and Frank Gore(notes), then please just take the win and shut your mouth.

Fourth Quarter

Gore had a spectacular day (see below), although he checked out early with an ankle issue. After the game he declared, "I feel good." This is a time for cautious optimism. It should go without saying that Gore is the centerpiece -- arguably the only piece -- of the Niners' attack.

Typically, when Baltimore decides to triple-cover you, that means you're erased. Out of the play. Non-factor. But Vincent Jackson(notes) somehow beat a trio of Ravens on a beautifully thrown 35-yard toss from Philip Rivers(notes) on third-and-18. Highlight here. Rivers put up a huge yardage total (436) in a losing effort against a great defense. That's his team now, in case there was any doubt.

IDP alert: Cincinnati defensive end Antwan Odom(notes) recorded five sacks on Sunday, treating Daryn Colledge(notes) like a big green turnstile.

Another IDP alert: Denver's Elvis Dumervil(notes), who qualifies at LB and DE, had two tackles, four sacks and one pass-defended against Cleveland

The Steelers-Bears tilt wasn't traditionally pretty -- unless you like to watch Jeff Reed(notes) suffer -- nor was it loaded with fantasy goodness. All the wrong players scored touchdowns (Matt Spaeth(notes), Kellen Davis(notes), Johnny Knox(notes)). But that was a satisfying game, in the muck. We've confirmed that Willie Parker(notes) (14 carries, 47 yards) is not the answer. We've also confirmed that Jay Cutler(notes) (236 yards, 2 TDs) can, if fact, play a little.

Terrell Owens(notes) whiffed on a perfectly thrown ball early in the Bills 33-20 win over the Bucs, which could have set up some excellent post-game drama. He was in line for a two-catch, nine-yard performance. But Trent Edwards(notes) gave T.O. a late look, connecting on a 43-yard fourth quarter TD against single coverage. Fred Jackson(notes) delivered a big yardage number against Tampa Bay (163), highlighted by a 43-yard run where he seemed to be constantly surrounded by a cloud of Bucs. Not really a tackling clinic.

For the second straight game, a running back delivered a highlight run against Cleveland's defense. It was Adrian Peterson in Week 1 and Correll Buckhalter(notes) in Week 2. Check the 45-yarder here. Nice of him to give Eric Wright a ride to the end zone. The Denver backfield still remains a pileup, however. Knowshon Moreno(notes) had 17 carries for 75 yards, Buckhalter had nine for 76, and Peyton Hillis(notes) scored on a 1-yard dive.

Does the Jets defense have your attention? It really should. Many of the postgame headlines -- and probably all the TV face time -- will belong to rookie QB Mark Sanchez(notes), but he was not the story in New York's 16-9 win over New England. That D still hasn't allowed an offensive touchdown, and they've beaten down the Texans and Patriots. They'll get Tennessee next week before traveling to New Orleans in Week 4, for an irresistible force/immovable object matchup.

Justin Forsett(notes) had 11 touches (five carries, six receptions) and 92 combined yards for the Seahawks. Also receiving 11 touches: Julius Jones(notes). Forsett could easily force his way into an ownable role. He's a reasonable speculative pick-up for Week 3.

Willis McGahee(notes) had more touches than Ray Rice(notes) on Sunday (17 to 13), which is no small concern for many of us. Both backs were involved in the fourth quarter -- Rice had four touches to McGahee's three -- but Willis again hogged the goal line work (two TDs). He's still available in a handful of Yahoo! leagues, too. That clearly shouldn't be the case. Rice gained 82 total yards, so it wasn't a useless effort. If this season is anything like '08, McGahee will get a mysterious DNP in Week 3. Just when you think you've got John Harbaugh figured out, he ruins you.

Updated at 9:50 pm ET

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Third Quarter

Niners running back Frank Gore is threatening Chris Johnson's position atop the Week 2 scoring leaders. Gore has a pair of 75-plus yard TD runs against the Seahawks, both up the middle. Highlights here. He outraced a parade of DBs on his way to the end zone on both runs.

Gore entered Sunday's game averaging 1.4 yards per carry, but he'll exit with a very different number. It now seems possible that in Week 1, the St. Louis offense made the Seattle D look slightly better than they actually are. Slightly.

Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck(notes) was drilled in the back by Patrick Willis(notes) late in the first half at San Francisco, and Seneca Wallace(notes) has taken over. (Clean play, no slide). Hasselbeck was shelved by a back injury last year, so this is clearly a concern.

UPDATE: The team is officially calling it a rib injury. And there's no reason to think an NFL team wouldn't be totally honest with you where injuries are concerned.

Eagles running back Brian Westbrook(notes) injured his surgically repaired ankle in Philadelphia's decisive loss on Sunday. This from the Inquirer:

Westbrook has spent a lot of the second half getting looked at by trainers on the Eagles' sidelines. He appears to have injured his right ankle. Earlier he had the ankle taped and went back out on the field. He caught a short pass from Kevin Kolb(notes) but didn't look very explosive. He limped back to the huddle and eventually off the field.

The 71 percent-owned LeSean McCoy(notes) is a necessary add, if he happens to be lurking in your league's free agent pool.

Buffalo had a chance to take total control of their matchup with Tampa Bay, but a Fred Jackson red zone fumble was caught in mid-air by Sabby Pisticelli, who returned it to the Buffalo 8-yard line. (Nice pursuit by Roscoe Parrish(notes); not nice blocking by Parrish). Byron Leftwich(notes) hit Carnell Williams(notes) for a TD on the next play, bringing the Bucs within six late in the first half.

The Praters lead the Dawsons 13-6 in Denver, mid-way through the third quarter. Knowshon Moreno and Correll Buckhalter are splitting the carries, as expected.

With nose tackle Jamal Williams(notes) out for the season (triceps), the Chargers have no one to offer resistance up the middle. Baltimore's Willis McGahee has taken advantage so far, scoring a pair of short TDs. Most of us assumed that if Darren Sproles(notes) was going to do any damage against the Baltimore D, it was going to have to happen on screen passes -- and that's exactly how he's helped fantasy owners. Check the highlight here, especially if you're a fan of blown coverage.

Updated at 6:20 pm ET

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Second Quarter

Let's hope you didn't give up on Matt Schaub(notes) after one rough week. He led the Texans to a 34-31 win on Sunday, overcoming another no-show by his defense and a spectacular performance by Titans running back Chris Johnson (284 total yards, 3 TDs). Here's the final fantasy line for Schaub: 357 passing yards, four touchdowns, no INTs.

Schaub is not just a match-up play; he's a must-start.

That Houston-Tennessee game really had everything…except Steve Slaton(notes). He gained only 59 yards on 20 touches. Chris Brown poached red zone snaps. But still, if you're selling Slaton, I'm buying. The schedule ahead is friendly: vs. JAC, vs. OAK, at ARI, at CIN, vs. SF, at BUF, at IND.

We'd show you Chad Ochocinco's(notes) Lambeau leap, but a Packers fan made an unfortunate (yet understandable) gesture, spoiling the photo. (Video here). Ocho finished with four catches for 91 yards and the promised TD. Some dude in a Cedric Benson(notes) suit had a workhorse-type game for the Bengals, rushing for 141 yards on 29 carries. Ced had a bunch of red zone chances, but he doesn't quite have the necessary push and he can't turn the corner. Pity.

If you're a Shaun Suisham(notes) owner, you can't be too happy with Jim Zorn right now. Washington declined to kick a gimme field goal late in the game on fourth-and-1, despite the fact that the 'Skins led by two. Clinton Portis(notes) ran for a short loss, then St. Louis took over with 1:55 remaining and a chance to take the lead with a field goal. But Brian Orakpo(notes) basically took over the game, harassing Marc Bulger(notes), refusing to let Zorn become the goat he should've been. When does a win feel like a loss? Maybe when you're at home and you narrowly beat a bad team, 9-7.

Give a game ball to Jets head coach Rex Ryan. His defense brought all kinds of pressure against Tom Brady(notes) in the final two minutes after the Pats took over at their own 10, trailing 16-9. No Prevent D for New York. Instead they stormed Brady, rushed his throws and forced incompletions. Jets corner Darrelle Revis(notes) basically made the Pro Bowl today, limiting Randy Moss(notes) to four catches for 24 yards. You'll recall that Revis locked down Andre Johnson(notes) in Week 1 (4 REC, 35 yards).

OK, Mike Bell(notes) is clearly a problem for Pierre Thomas(notes) owners. He stubbornly won't go away. Bell carried 17 times for 86 yards and a touchdown; Thomas was barely a rumor. Drew Brees(notes) had a massive day, per his usual. He connected with Marques Colston(notes) for a pair of scores -- the second of which was a serious degree-of-difficulty throw and catch -- and finished with 311 passing yards and three TDs. The Saints hung 48 points on the Eagles, in Philadelphia. They travel to Buffalo in Week 3.

UPDATE: Bell suffered a knee injury late in the mauling of the Eagles. This from the New Orleans Times-Picayune:

Running back Mike Bell had another big game, although he left in the fourth quarter with what Coach Sean Payton called a "slight knee sprain."

Expect an MRI soon and vague updates from the Saints.

Brett Favre(notes) hit Percy Harvin(notes) for a short touchdown on the exact same play on which those two connected in Week 1. But this time, Favre did not assault the rookie. No. 4 finished with 155 passing yards and two TDs, going 23-for-27.

While Favre's completion percentage was terrific, it wasn't quite as good as Kurt Warner's.(notes) The Arizona QB set an NFL single-game record with a 24-for-26 performance, throwing for 243 yards and a pair of scores. David Garrard(notes) had a Jim Everett sort of game, throwing for a pair of late scores long after the game was lost.

Welcome to the end zone, Michael Turner(notes). The Burner's TD drought lasted seven quarters, but the nightmare is finally over. He broke the plane on a 1-yard score early in the fourth quarter at home against Carolina. Turner finished with 105 rushing yards on 28 carries.

JaMarcus Russell(notes) led a late game-winning drive in Kansas City, finishing off the Chiefs with a nifty misdirection pitch to Darren McFadden(notes), who ran for a 5-yard score. (Highlight). There weren't many useful fantasy lines in that tilt, but DMC and Dwayne Bowe(notes) (5 for 56 and a TD) still managed to deliver.

Updated at 5:10 pm ET

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First Quarter

BREAKING NEWS: Houston's defense is still a mess. That team specialized in giving up long TDs during exhibition play, and they've carried the tendency into the regular season. At the end of the first quarter in Tennessee, Titans running back Chris Johnson had 139 combined yards and two touchdowns. The first score was on a 57-yard run; the second TD was really as easy as it gets in the NFL. Johnson lined up at receiver and was literally left uncovered. Ridiculous. It was an easy pitch from Kerry Collins(notes), then Johnson sprinted to the end zone. And he does not lose sprints.

For the second straight week, Drew Brees was perfect in his first series (5-for-5, 53 yards) and he punctuated the drive with a Marques Colston touchdown. They're robotic, these Saints. But Kevin Kolb is apparently looking for a gunfight. He found a way-too-open DeSean Jackson(notes) for a 71-yard touchdown less than two minutes later.

Andre Johnson make an absolutely silly one-handed catch along the sideline for a 19-yard score in the first quarter at Tennessee, despite interference by Nick Harper(notes). (Highlight). Johnson later added a 72-yard score, easily shedding coverage. Matt Schaub has three TD passes and 224 yards at half.

Tim Hightower(notes) owners can thank Beanie Wells(notes) for the early TD. Wells fumbled a red zone carry on the Cardinals' first series, but Arizona recovered at the one. Hightower replaced Wells, then went untouched for the short score.

Few plays are quite as entertaining as the unexpected onside kick. You like the call by Todd Haley in Kansas City, even though it didn't quite work. Maurice Leggett(notes) boxed out the receiving team nicely, but a foot landed out of bounds when he plucked the ball. Shame.

It isn't often that you see a corner actually win a jump-ball against Randy Moss, but Darrelle Revis did just that, intercepting Tom Brady in the process. Moss pursued Revis and made a rather nice tackle, but that's really been the lone highlight for No. 81. Julian Edelman(notes) has done a respectable Wes Welker(notes) impression so far (5 receptions, 56 yards), although he hasn't made every play, and Moss had to line him up at least once.

The Cardinals caved in the middle of the Jag's line on a Josh Scobee(notes) field goal attempt early in the second quarter, blocked the kick, and Antrel Rolle(notes) returned it 46 yards for a score. (Actual driving distance on the return, approximately 260 yards). Everyone seemed to go half-speed at the end. Video here.

Matthew Stafford(notes) connected with Calvin Johnson(notes) (no surprise) for his first NFL touchdown pass. And then Brandon Pettigrew(notes) mounted Calvin enthusiastically.

Kevin Kolb tried to throw a red zone interception to Anthony Hargrove(notes) on the Eagles' game-tying second quarter drive -- he hit him squarely in the hands -- but Hargrove batted it around for a few seconds, then let it fall to the ground. David Akers(notes) followed with a short field goal.

Carson Palmer(notes) has certainly had an active first half in Green Bay. He scored a touchdown (barely, inconclusively) on a short-yardage plunge, and he's thrown TD passes to Laveranues Coles(notes) and Chris Henry. Unfortunately, Palmer's leading receiver is Packers corner Charles Woodson(notes). Palmer has thrown two picks, both to Woodson, both on horrid throws.

Matt Ryan(notes) is carving up the Panthers, tossing first half TDs to Tony Gonzalez(notes), Jason Snelling(notes) and Roddy White(notes). If you sellout to stop Michael Turner, you do so at your own peril, coordinators. Gonzalez can still dunk his touchdowns over the upright emphatically, just so you know.

Updated at 3:00 pm ET

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UPDATE: Wes Welker is inactive for the Patriots. Get him out of lineups. Now. Go. Hurry. No time to waste. Bump for Joey Galloway(notes), Kevin Faulk(notes), Benjamin Watson(notes). This won't necessarily make life easier for Randy Moss.

Posted at 11:58 am ET

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Pregame

The masked warrior pictured above is hurting today.

His Chargers will be without Hall of Fame running back LaDainian Tomlinson(notes) (ankle), Pro Bowl center Nick Hardwick(notes) (ankle) and Pro Bowl nose tackle Jamal Williams (triceps, out for season). And they'll get the Ravens in Week 2, then the Dolphins, then the Steelers. It's not the simplest situation. But where there's Norv, there's hope.

For those among you who seek sit/start advice, Fantasy Football Live kicks off at noon ET. Pianowski and Behrens offer thoughtful recommendations in chat; Evans, Funston and Liss make noises on camera.

Also: ranks are here, updated ranks are here, a game-by-game fantasy podcast is here. Good luck, gamers. Keep refreshing Sunday Scene for updates throughout the day.

Now go add Mewelde Moore(notes) (at CHI, 14 percent owned), Davone Bess(notes) (vs. IND, 20 percent) and/or Shaun Hill(notes) (vs. SEA, 25 percent).

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Photos via Getty Images (Chargers fan), AP Images (Schaub, Johnson), US Presswire (Gore)

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