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Scouting Notebook: Sent Packing

Michael Salfino
Yahoo Sports

Not even a blizzard can stop Tom Brady(notes) and the Patriots now, as they defied the snow and the reported 30-mph winds to register 300-plus passing yards and 36 points against the No. 1 pass defense in football.

Many Brady owners were frantically looking for backup options on the waiver wire as they resolved it was best to forgo their star in these conditions against that defense. But you could tell on the first drive that the wintry conditions weren't going to be a factor, as the winds seemed far less disruptive than advertised in the pre-game build up.

Here's what happened around the rest of the league on Sunday as chronicled in my Scouting Notebook.

Aaron Rodgers'(notes) injury came on a scramble that his owners love but that greatly increases injury risk. The blow that ended his day didn't cause the injury directly but instead provided the force that bounced Rodgers' head off the Ford Field turf. Rodgers came up looking like Apollo Creed after a standing eight count and soon after his day was over and so were the seasons of most owners who started him.

The Eagles came into Sunday night as the worst in the past 22 years in red zone scoring percentage allowed, a very dumb stat for predictive purposes. It's very meaningful to describe why teams win, but using it to forecast a game or to project whether a defense will make a stop on a given drive is foolish. There's not only no meaningful correlation for teams from year to year, but even when you sort by last three weeks, you find some full-season leaders near the bottom and some full-season trailers near the top. The sample of plays is just too small for it to hold meaning apart from the overall defensive rankings.

Peyton Hillis(notes) has been a great scorer but his fumbling is sure to negatively impact playing time if it continues – especially next season. Hillis now has eight fumbles in 295 touches, nearly double the acceptable rate of fumbling on 1.5 percent of touches (even that is too high for many coaches). Not even saying the fumbles are necessarily Hillis' fault. But he has the label now.

Is Mike Goodson(notes) playable? Last week's workload was the result of an early injury. But the 50/50 split seems to have turned to about 67/33 in favor of Jonathan Stewart(notes). He's quite good though and will be useful next week when Carolina hosts Arizona.

Roddy White's(notes) touchdown drought is continuing at the most inopportune time for his owners. But he's been steady in point-per-reception, which is the No. 1 fantasy wideout's best friend because there's really no projecting scoring strikes from week to week. The more serious the league, the more I think PPR should be rewarded. Maybe the best approach is to only award points on catches that result in first downs.

Oakland and Jacksonville provided the best setting for fantasy scoring, predictable given the Jaguars incredibly inept defense (especially against the pass). Jason Campbell(notes) played great but had to leave the game for a bit, providing a small window for Kyle Boller(notes) to work his anti-magic (threw a pick among his three attempts).

Darren McFadden(notes) is on a 2,000-yard, 15-TD pace over 16-game season, but misses more than his fair share of action. Still, he's a top five pick next year in PPR formats. McFadden seems like he's been around forever but is still just 23.

It's sad to imagine the things that Bengals teammates are saying behind Carson Palmer's(notes) back. But they're the same things his owners scream at the TV every week. He's in need of a change of scenery where maybe he gets a second career like Kurt Warner(notes) had after he looked completely shot. However, Palmer was never as good as Warner.

You had to be in a pretty deep league to play Ryan Torain(notes) this week. But he's quite playable the next couple of weeks at Dallas and Jacksonville, as is Donovan McNabb(notes) and Santana Moss(notes).

Okay, I give up with Steven Jackson scoring touchdowns. He just has no feel for finding the creases in tight spaces.

Do not trust Alex Smith next week at San Diego.

NFL seasons can take turns for the worse quicker than in any other sport and Mark Sanchez(notes) is reeling now. Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer rarely gets a primary receiver open beyond the line of scrimmage, and that's the playcaller's responsibility. This is his fifth season and the Jets have finished 16th, 26th, 21st, 21st and 25th (heading into Sunday and surely worse now) in net yards per pass attempt (including sack yards and counting sacks as attempts). That's with Chad Pennington(notes), Brett Favre(notes) and Mark Sanchez with a little Kellen Clemens(notes) thrown in. Schottenheimer does not know how to manufacture either a highly efficient or explosive passing game and, thus, must be fired. Not counting the last two minutes of the first half or last 3:40 when they were down four points – the Jets ran the ball on 1st-and-10, 18 out of 22 times. In the NFL, first down is the easiest down on which to throw, by far.

Everyone who thought Matt Cassel(notes) was inessential to the Chiefs very solid offensive performance all year need to take notice of Sunday's 67-yard output at San Diego (0-for-11 on third downs).

Michael Salfino writes for the Wall Street Journal and is a regular contributor to Yahoo! Sports.

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