For pure NFL excitement, you really can't beat Romeo Crennel running in the open field with a challenge flag in his hand.
With apologies to Brian Westbrook, the highlight of the day belonged to the Browns head coach. Crennel dashed onto the field in the second quarter at Pittsburgh, raving, his team leading 14-6. Just seconds before his field goal unit could snap the football and attempt a kick, Crennel lofted his challenge flag in the direction of an official. This catch was subsequently reviewed, and an incompletion became a touchdown.
Many of us really needed that touchdown, too.
Crennel only traveled about 15 yards in order to get the official's attention, but they seemed to be tough yards. If you own Braylon Edwards or Derek Anderson in a fantasy league, Crennel is your MVP today.
If you're a Browns fan, you might not be thinking so highly of him. In the fourth quarter, Cleveland spent two timeouts reviewing Heath Miller's TD. He took the first timeout in order to decide whether or not to challenge; then lost a second timeout when the challenge failed. They could have used one or both of them in the final minute.
• The day began so well for the Browns, too. Their opening drive involved 16 plays, four successful third-down conversions, and ended in a Kellen Winslow touchdown. On Jamal Lewis' first carry, he buried Larry Foote, then dragged other tacklers along for 11 yards. After the Edwards touchdown, Cleveland led 21-6. Then things obviously took a wrong turn.
•Brian Westbrook had 183 total yards and three TDs against Washington. Two of his touchdowns – and 18 of his fantasy points – came in the final 3:30 of the fourth quarter. Donovan McNabb again demonstrated that he bounces back from self-inflicted controversy as well as anyone. He finished with 251 passing yards and four TDs. He also looked downright mobile.
•If someone had asked you back in August what the final score of the Rams-Saints game would be in Week 10, you might have guessed 37-29. That was today's result. It's doubtful you would have guessed that the Rams and Saints would enter the day with a combined record of 4-12, though. Marc Bulger had a nice day against a user-friendly defense, throwing for 302 yards and two touchdowns. Steven Jackson ran for one TD, and threw (somewhat girlishly) for another. Reggie Bush had only 44 total yards, but a touchdown and a pair of two-point conversions helped for fantasy purposes.
•With 3:05 remaining in the first quarter, Ryan Grant already had 78 rushing yards. Minnesota began the day allowing only 70.4 per game. The Green Bay running back finished with 119 yards and one TD. He's still only 18.6 percent owned in Yahoo! leagues.
•The Redskins finally managed to throw a touchdown pass to a wide receiver. It only took them eight games, 16 minutes and 44 seconds. The TD went to James Thrash; it was only his fourth reception of the season. Thrash also caught Washington's second wide receiver TD. Keenan McCardell caught the third.
They really gained some statistical ground on the Patriots this week. Washington receivers now trail New England receivers in TDs, 23-3.
Thrash injured his ankle late in the game, by the way, and he had to be helped off the field. It didn't look good. Don't spend a waiver claim there.
•Miami led Buffalo 3-0 at halftime. And Jay Feely very nearly missed the field goal. Buffalo pulled within one with 10:58 left in the third quarter when Cleo Lemon was sacked in the end zone by Chris Kelsay. Yup, the third quarter score was actually 3-2. Lemon later ran for a touchdown – his fourth rushing TD in five games – and Marshawn Lynch eventually found the end zone for Buffalo. Lynch finished with 85 total yards. J.P. Losman was useless, fantasy-wise, going 12-for-23 for 157 yards and an interception. Jesse Chatman carried 27 times for 124 yards.
•Late in the third quarter at Green Bay, Brett Favre tripped over a lineman's foot and fell. Pretty much every NFL quarterback takes a sack there. But not Favre. He picked his head up and – from his knees – chucked the ball toward a receiver who he couldn't possibly see clearly. The pass fell incomplete, which was just about the best possible outcome, considering the circumstances.
•After going 6-for-15 and losing a fumble, Damon Huard was replaced by Brodie Croyle. Probably permanently. Croyle was 17-for-30 passing for 162 yards in relief of Huard. Priest Holmes carried the ball 20 times, which would have resulted in 180 yards and four touchdowns in 2002. On Sunday, it led to 65 rushing yards. Against a poor run defense.
Selvin Young was terrific for Denver, rushing for 109 yards and a TD. He's still only 33.4 percent owned in Yahoo! leagues
•Ben Roethlisberger took off running on third-and-10 in the fourth quarter against Cleveland. He crossed the virtual yellow line, and you waited for him to slide. And you waited … and waited. And he just kept running. If you've ever watched a Steelers game, I'm sure you've heard that their receivers can block downfield a little.
That 30-yard touchdown run converts to nine fantasy points. The play was enough to make Roethlisberger Sunday's highest-scoring quarterback.
•Adrian Peterson went down in the third quarter with what appeared – at least for a few minutes – to be a serious knee injury. Al Harris tackled him low (cleanly) late in the third quarter at the end of an 11-yard gain. Harris drove his helmet and/or shoulder into Peterson's right leg. Peterson then writhed and kicked for a little while. The camera found Brad Childress with his head buried in a play sheet, apparently unconcerned. Because, hey, if Peterson goes down you've still got Mewelde Moore.
Peterson is expected to have Monday's most important MRI. After the game, he told the Associated Press, "I feel a lot better than I did when I got hit." Peterson was jogging not long after the injury, so there's reason for his owners to be hopeful.
•News of the very old: Isaac Bruce caught a nine-yard touchdown pass, his first score of the season … Fred Taylor had 45 rushing yards and a TD, and he went over 10,000 career rushing yards … Vinny Testaverde passed for 153 yards … Warrick Dunn had 89 rushing yards and a touchdown … Brett Favre threw three touchdown passes, and he now has over 60,000 career passing yards.
If you haven't played fantasy football since 1999, you're probably thinking little has changed. And you're waiting for a Bam Morris update.
•At the 12:17 mark in the second quarter, Rudi Johnson had six carries for zero yards. Shayne Graham handled all the scoring for the Bengals, kicking seven field goals. There's nothing quite like losing a tight fantasy matchup to a kicker. Chris Henry led Cincinnati in receiving yards, catching four passes for 99 yards.
•Reuben Droughns poached a touchdown from Brandon Jacobs in the Giants 31-20 loss to the Cowboys. Jeremy Shockey had his first truly great fantasy day this season, with 12 receptions, 129 yards and a touchdown. Tony Romo had his usual four touchdowns against New York. Patrick Crayton was useful again, finishing with 66 receiving yards and a thoroughly-celebrated TD. Terrell Owens proved uncoverable, catching six passes for 125 yards and two TDs.
•Can we all agree that the NFL is a more enjoyable place when Rex Grossman is an active participant? He replaced an injured Brian Griese on Sunday and, despite fumbling his first snap, didn't do enough bad things to lose the game. Leading 6-3, the Raiders allowed Grossman to do the only thing he's proven to be adept at: chucking the ball downfield to Bernard Berrian for long, game-changing touchdowns. Berrian caught four passes for 89 yards and a TD; Muhsin Muhammad caught four for 87. Greg Olsen was curiously absent. Cedric Benson needed 29 carries to get 76 yards against one of the NFL's worst run defenses.
•Sometimes, you just know certain details of a person's life even though you've never met them. Like the way you know Chris Berman owns a lot of turquoise jewelry. I'd bet that Shaun Rogers collects paintings of himself in historical attire – feathery hats, ruffly shirts. That kind of thing. Rogers accounted for another turnover on Sunday against Arizona, but he couldn't run it in like he did last week.
Larry Fitzgerald scored his second and third touchdowns of the season, finishing with eight receptions and 74 yards. The Lions rushed for minus-18 yards, thanks mostly to a Shaun McDonald end-around that failed spectacularly.
- Romeo Crennel