Sun Dec 19 10:10am EST
Tebow rushed for 78 yards and one touchdown at Oakland, and he went 8-for-16 through the air, finishing with 138 yards and another score. In the end, he did not ruin Brandon Lloyd's(notes) fantasy value, nor anyone else's. Lloyd caught four passes for 79 yards, and he was on the receiving end of this absurd TD. (That was an absolute jump ball, could've been picked. It ended well, though). Tebow should have had a second passing score, but running back Lance Ball(notes) dropped a well-thrown toss.
All things considered, it was an encouraging effort from No. 15. We knew he could run effectively — and Tyvon Branch now knows it, too — but Tebow also made several throws that were of the highest quality. He may not be a technically refined passer just yet, but he put the football on the hands of his receivers on Sunday.
The Broncos lost not because of Tebow, but because the defense allowed 502 total net yards and 30-plus points. He's pretty much guaranteed next week's start at home against Houston.
So the question is this: Is anyone starting Tebow in Championship Week? Or at least adding him, so as to keep him off an opponent's roster? Deep leaguers? Anyone? No?
Under normal circumstances, that would of course be an inane question. He's a rookie quarterback, far from a finished product, and it's clear that Denver is going with a conservative gameplan with Tebow at the controls. But he's also about to face the league's worst defense, a unit that entered Week 15 allowing 279.9 passing yards per game. The Texans are who we think they are … and they're profoundly bad.
Somewhere, Josh McDaniels is gloating. (While also secretly filming his neighbor. And firing a member of his household staff for insubordination).
• Jamaal Charles(notes) needed only 11 carries to reach 126 yards on Sunday, thanks largely to this non-scoring 80-yard run. (That was Ron Bartell(notes), taking him down short of the goal line). Charles has hit triple-digits in three of his last four games. Crazy fact: Charles has carried 393 times over the past two seasons, gaining 6.2 yards a pop.
• Darren McFadden(notes) required a little sideline shoulder maintenance during the win over Denver, but he remained in the game, finishing with 158 total yards on 24 touches. Michael Bush(notes) poached a pair of short-yardage scores, however. That pair gets Indy's user-friendly run defense in Week 16.
• Atlanta dismissed Seattle with relative ease in Week 15, despite a slow start. Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselback turned the ball over three times, and was eventually replaced by Charlie Whitehurst(notes). After the game, Pete Carroll declined to name his Week 16 starter. Whitehurst went 8-for-16 in relief, passing for 83 yards and rushing for a score. Crazy as it sounds, the Seahawks are still in the playoff hunt, thanks to the miserable state of the NFC West. Seattle's loss guaranteed that the West champ, whichever team it is, will not finish with more than eight wins. Even the Niners (5-9) are still alive.
• Rashard Mendenhall(notes) managed to overcome a difficult match-up against the Jets, rushing for an even 100 yards on 17 carries. He bulldozed across the goal line for a 2-yard TD in the second half, too. Impressive performance, considering the opponent.
• Another note from Jets-Steelers: That Mark Sanchez(notes) bootleg TD was the result of a terrific playcall, well executed, with the team's season basically on the line. Every Pittsburgh defender bought the fake, and Sanchez walked in. You can feel free to overrate the Jets again.
• Rex Grossman(notes) and Jon Kitna(notes) combined for 627 passing yards and six touchdowns on Sunday. No, the previous sentence was not lifted from a 2006 Sunday Scene. That actually happened in an NFL game in 2010. Those two QBs have extremely favorable match-ups next week, too. Dallas faces the Cardinals, and Washington travels to Jacksonville. I'm starting Rex in a third-place game somewhere, just to say I did it.
• OK, I've now listened to DeSean Jackson's(notes) explanation of his goal line filibuster, and I'm convinced that he really had no idea what he was doing. If he doesn't know, then no one ever will. Incredible. And insane.
• Take note of the fantasy lines delivered by a pair of depth chart RBs in the Jags-Colts game: Rashad Jennings(notes) led Jacksonville in receptions (7) and receiving yards (64), while Donald Brown(notes) had 14 carries for 129 yards and a TD for Indy. We should also mention the fine work by Mike Sims-Walker(notes) (42 yards, 2 TDs), who fought through an ankle injury.
• Arian Foster(notes) suffered (or aggravated) an ankle injury in the loss to Tennessee, so Derrick Ward(notes) picked up a few late scraps. We don't yet know haw severe the Foster situation is, but this is clearly a concern. Arian finished with a season-low 15 rushing yards on 11 carries. It should be no surprise to find Ward's name below…
Early waiver adds for Championship Week
QB Jon Kitna at ARI, 49 percent owned
QB David Garrard(notes) vs. WAS, 48 percent
QB Tim Tebow vs. HOU, 8 percent
RB Michael Bush vs. IND, 54 percent
RB Rashad Jennings vs. WAS, 7 percent
RB Derrick Ward at DEN, 6 percent
RB Tashard Choice(notes) at ARI, 28 percent
RB Donald Brown at OAK, 28 percent
RB Maurice Morris(notes) at MIA, 9 percent
WR Anthony Armstrong(notes) at JAC, 10 percent
WR Jacoby Jones(notes) at DEN, 25 percent
WR Josh Morgan(notes) at STL, 3 percent
WR David Nelson(notes) vs. NE, less than 1 percent
- Posted at 10:00 pm ET
• You're going to see the clip of DeSean Jackson's game-winning return TD a thousand times, but nothing that happened in that play is ever going to make sense. Everything seemed to go wrong, beginning with the punt itself.
Matt Dodge(notes) inexplicably kicked a line-drive directly to Jackson, instead of simply sending the ball out of bounds. And then D-Jax dropped the kick. And then he took a few steps backwards. And then, finally, he ran upfield.
After the Philadelphia return team cleared a path, Jackson found himself sprinting down the sideline with no one in front of him and no time remaining on the clock … but he didn't immediately cross the goal line. Instead, he held the ball in one hand and ran parallel to the goal line. Not sure what that was about.
Did Jackson think he was killing the final seconds, even though they'd already been killed?
Was he contemplating the proper flourish for the touchdown?
Would anyone have been surprised if he'd simply dropped the ball at the 1-yard line?
Jackson's odd route to the end zone nearly intersected with the path of New York's DJ Ware(notes). That was just … well, bizarre. The only thing about that play that made any sense was the on-field reaction of Giants head coach Tom Coughlin, who appeared to be ready to assault (and then cut) his punter.
• The Jackson TD might very well be the most heavily discussed play of the year, and it threatens to overshadow yet another remarkable day for Michael Vick(notes). The Eagles QB accounted for three touchdowns in the fourth quarter (two passing, one rushing), and finished the game with 242 yards through the air, 130 on the ground, and 39 fantasy points (standard scoring). He doesn't quite seem willing to concede the MVP to Tom Brady(notes) just yet.
• While we're on the subject of crazy [expletive] we've never seen before, check out the video of Brian Cushing's(notes) 15-yard penalty. It's not every day that a player essentially draws a flag for fighting with a teammate.
• It's already clear that this is going to be a fine day Tim Tebow fetishists. Like my man Shanoff, for example. Denver's passing game is a mixed bag thus far — the Brandon Lloyd TD was miraculous — but there's no denying that Tebow can make special plays as a ball-carrier. His 40-yard touchdown run was as good as it gets (at least in the non-Vick category). You won't see many quarterbacks split a pair of DBs like that. At halftime, the Broncos are Raiders were even at 17, and Tebow didn't appear to be overmatched.
• Knowshon Moreno(notes) suffered an unknown injury of unknown severity in the first half, and as of this writing, we're not sure if he'll be able to continue. It's apparently an injury to his "side," which tells you nothing. Tebow is clearly the Denver running back to own this week.
• This Atlanta-Seattle game is tough to follow. Bird mascots on both sides, Babineauxs all over the field. Here's what we can say with certainty: Matt Ryan(notes) is having another nice day, and I'm gonna need — NEED — a Michael Turner(notes) touchdown. Let's go, Burner.
• As Tim Hightower(notes) demonstrated on Sunday, there are risks involved when you invest in terrible teams. Hightower was a complete dud in Week 15: 28 total yards, fumble, no TDs. Hopefully you avoided the Cards-Panthers tilt, a dog of a game.
- Posted at 6:10 pm ET
• Miserable news here: Austin Collie(notes) suffered yet another concussion, taking a vicious (legal) hit from linebacker Daryl Smith(notes) on this incompletion. Collie's head snapped back on the collision, and he was motionless on the turf for quite a while. You almost have to assume that his season is done; that's his third concussion this year, and each hit has been scarier than the last. Collie was torching the Jaguars' secondary, with eight receptions for 87 yards and two TDs prior to the injury.
• Drew Brees(notes) closed the second quarter by completing his final 10 passes, including a 9-for-9 performance on the Saints' final drive, covering 92 yards. (Related: It feels like Baltimore's defense allows a last-minute, half-ending TD each week). Brees is demonstrating once again that he's the only truly safe investment the New Orleans offense; Jimmy Graham(notes) had both of the early touchdown catches.
• Joe Flacco(notes) and Ray Rice(notes) have of course been terrific on the other side, too. Rice eclipsed 100 total yards in the first half, breaking the plane twice. Flacco connected with him on a 17-yard score, and the ball could not have been thrown any better. Highlight here. Entering the week, Flacco had thrown 20 touchdown passes and just three picks over his last 11 games.
• Mario Manningham(notes) was largely useless as New York's No. 1 wideout a few weeks back, but he's thriving again in a secondary role. Manningham caught a pair of long first-half TDs from Eli Manning(notes), as the Giants dominated Philly in the first 30 minutes. Eli added a third passing score, connecting with Hakeem Nicks(notes) on an 8-yarder. (The Eagles allowed just an insane cushion to the receiver. This was much too easy).
• This Washington-Dallas tilt has been a fantasy buffet. The 'Skins defense cannot stop the Cowboys, ever. Through three quarters, Dallas still had not punted. Delightfully enough, both Good Rex and Bad Rex have been involved for Washington. When he's not turning the ball over, he's picking up yards. Grossman-to-Armstrong is the new Grossman-to-Berrian. Santana Moss(notes) has caught a pair of short scores, Ryan Torain(notes) turned a simple screen into a 19-yard TD, and Chris Cooley(notes) has broken the plane, too.
• As feared, that early knee tweaking brought a premature end to Terrell Owens' day. Awful news for his owners, and for anyone who was forced to roll with Carson Palmer(notes) in the semis, for whatever reason.
• Kellen Winslow(notes) was flagged for PI on what would have otherwise been a go-ahead fourth quarter score. The call was legit, a flagrant push. I only mention it here because in one of my fantasy match-ups, I've now had two TDs wiped out by offensive pass interference. (See below). Might not be my week in that league.
• Lance Moore(notes) hauled in a tipped pass in the corner of the end zone, just getting his feet in while possessing the football. Incredible play, on a ball intended for Marques Colston(notes). Video here.
• Ronnie Brown(notes) took a Wildcat snap to the end zone against Buffalo, just like old times. And Brandon Marshall(notes) actually caught a touchdown pass, his third of the year. The Dolphins still lost, but their primary skill players were uncharacteristically useful.
- Posted at 4:05 pm ET
• Uh-oh. Terrell Owens limped off the field in Cincinnati after apparently aggravating his knee injury. There was no contact on the play; those injuries never seem to end well. T.O. has been taken to the locker room for maintenance. Stay tuned.
• Michael Vick's first pass attempt against the Giants fell incomplete, and he absorbed a shot immediately after the ball was released. His second throw was arguably his worst of the season. Vick was flushed left, and he floated a pass downfield that was easily picked by Corey Webster(notes). New York had no problem getting pressure on that first series.
• Peyton Manning(notes) opened with a perfect 5-for-5 drive against Jacksonville, punctuated by a 7-yard Austin Collie TD. You'll recall that Collie opened the season with six touchdowns in his first six games, but he's been sidelined by multiple concussions in recent weeks. Nice to have him back; felt rather good to kick Blair White(notes) to the curb.
• It didn't take long for Kerry Collins(notes) and Nate Washington(notes) to get on the board against Houston, the NFL's worst pass defense. The Texans entered the week allowing 279.9 passing yards per game, and they've given up 29 scores through the air. And crazy things like this keep happening to them. Pick on that defense whenever possible, gamers.
• Not today's MVP: Dallas guard Kyle Kosier(notes). He false-started on third-and-goal from the 1-yard line, in a situation where Jon Kitna was trying to get the defense to jump offside. Not the ideal spot to cost your team five yards, Kyle. The Cowboys were eventually stopped on fourth-and-goal, as Tashard Choice was stuffed.
• Of course there's basically no risk in going for it on fourth down when Rex Grossman is playing QB for your opponent. Rex tossed an interception shortly after Washington took over, and Dallas eventually broke the plane (Kitna to Miles Austin(notes)).
• It was a battle of tight ends in the first quarter at Baltimore, as an early TD by Jimmy Graham (brilliant catch) was soon answered by Ed Dickson(notes). Some of us could have used that Dickson score in Week 14. Not cool, rookie.
• Stevie Johnson(notes) had a touchdown catch negated by a richly deserved pass interference penalty. No argument from this Johnson owner. That was textbook. On the game's next play, Ryan Fitzpatrick(notes) hit David Nelson in the end zone from 18 yards away. (Ridiculous throw, into coverage).
- Posted at 1:50 pm ET
OK, just two more wins and you'll reach the fake pinnacle of imaginary sports. LET'S FINISH THIS THING. No mercy this week. No kindness. No zeros at any roster spots. It's time to put up a big number.
Please stop by Fantasy Football Live beginning at noon ET if you're looking for last-minute news and advice. For Week 15 position ranks, click here. For injury notes, try this link. Sunday Scene will be updated throughout the day per the usual protocol. An unusual number of rookie quarterbacks will see action this weekend — Tebow, Clausen, Skelton, Webb, McCoy, Bradford — so it's not such a bad time to stream a defense.
Just in case your fantasy team looks a little flat in warm-ups, here are a few words of pre-battle inspiration. Now let's go get a win. Survive, advance.
Onward to Championship Week…
Photos via US Presswire