Booms and Busts: Joe Flacco embarrasses the Buccaneers

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Scott Pianowski
Booms and Busts: Joe Flacco embarrasses the Buccaneers
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Joe Flacco wasn't doing anything special through five weeks of the 2014 NFL season. A 87.8 rating, that's fine. A 6.8 YPA, that's so-so. Seven touchdowns, three picks, okay. He didn't have a touchdown pass in last week's loss at Indianapolis.  

And then the Tampa Bay defense showed up on the schedule. Drop in a quarter, fire up the pinball machine. 

The Ravens held a 7-on-7 drill Sunday afternoon at Raymond James Stadium, loosely disguised as a football game. Flacco threw for five touchdowns – all in the first 16:03 of the game – en route to a 48-17 romp. Don't let the final score throw you; the Ravens took their foot off the gas early. If Baltimore cared about record books, Flacco's name would be in them this week. He only threw 29 passes for the afternoon, completing 21 of them (306 yards, 10.6 a pop). 

For the first time this year, Torrey Smith was invited to the party (4-51, two scores), rewarding those brave enough (or desperate enough) to start him. The rejuvenated Steve Smith piled up 110 yards, including a 56-yard score. Off-the-radar Michael Campanaro and Kamar Aiken secured the other scoring passes. The Ravens also rushed for 169 yards, most of them from Justin Forsett (14-111).  

Say this for the Bucs offense, it had some fun in garbage time. Mike Glennon collected 314 passing yards and two scores, and the four main receivers (Murphy, Jackson, Evans, Seferian-Jenkins) had passable days. Tampa Bay also averaged 4.8 yards a carry, but you can't run the ball very often when you fall into a 38-0 hole. We'll miss Tampa Bay's passing game next Sunday, during the Week 7 bye. And we'll really miss Tampa's turnstile of a secondary. 

In other fake-football action from Sunday:

Booms

Mohamed Sanu, WR, Bengals: No A.J. Green, no problem  Sanu hauled in 10-of-14 targets, rolling up 120 yards and a score. It should have been enough to spark a Cincinnati overtime victory over Carolina, but Mike Nugent missed a chip shot at the overtime gun. Much to the chagrin of elimination poolies everywhere, the Bengals had to settle for a tie. Cincinnati has an interesting game at Indianapolis next week, and you get the idea Sanu will be the featured target again. 

Cam Newton, QB, Panthers: I don't know how his ribs are feeling, or how his ankle is doing. Newton also sustained a thumb injury in the Cincinnati tie. But it's fun to see Newton scrambling again, extending plays with his legs and making defenses pay for breakdowns in structure. Newton needed 46 pass attempts to get to 284 yards (that's just 6.2 YPA), but then you see 107 yards and a score on the ground and you give him a pass. Superman is back in the building. We look forward to a Newton-Rodgers matchup next week. 

Jacksonville Passing Game: No one throws you a parade for a 14-point effort  (and a loss) at Tennessee, but we're just in it for the fantasy numbers. Rookie Blake Bortles posted a tasty 32-46-336 line, with one touchdown and 36 rushing yards. That'll do. Oft-injured wideout Cecil Shorts finally made an impact (10-103 on 16 targets), with most of the production coming late. Tight end Clay Harbor (3-91-1) has been on the same page with Bortles all along. Jacksonville-Cleveland should be fun next week. 

Rob Gronkowski, TE, Patriots: I was one of the Gronk doubters in the summer, not willing to pay a second or third-round pick for someone with his physical history. I didn't regret that call over the first five weeks (despite a flurry of Gronkowski touchdowns), but I have to change my opinion after watching Gronkowski dominate the Bills defense for three hours (7-94 on nine targets). Gronk looked unstoppable and untackleable from the opening snap, and he also had a touchdown wiped out by penalty. 

Other Booms: Detroit D/ST, Derek Carr and Andre Holmes, Antone Smith, Tom Brady and Brandon LaFell, Julius Thomas, Scott Chandler, Carson Palmer, Jay Cutler & Friends 

Busts

Bishop Sankey, RB, Titans: For weeks, we implored Ken Whisenhunt to play his most talented back, his hotshot rookie. The call finally came in Week 6, but Sankey let us down with the return (18-61 rushing, 1-7 receiving). Mind you, The Wiz didn't do us any favors by farming out a one-yard touchdown to journeyman Jackie Battle. But Sankey should have been able to produce a lot more against the ordinary Jacksonville defense. 

Wes Welker, WR, Broncos: The Thomas Boys did their usual damage through the air, as you'd expect, in Denver's 31-17 victory at the Jets. But Welker was Mr. Invisible, seeing one piddly target, for nine crummy yards. It might be a long year for Welker, as Denver clearly has three better pass receivers on the roster.  

Eddie Lacy, RB, Packers: Just when we thought we were out of the woods with Lacy, he releases a 14-40 stink bomb at Miami (no touchdowns, no receptions). James Starks stole 10 touches, and even John Kuhn had four rushing attempts. Maybe Lacy's going to be a RB2 this year, not the bell cow everyone expected. Carolina looks like a friendly matchup for Week 7, but it's difficult to trust Lacy. 

Matt Stafford, QB, Lions: Okay, he was on the road against a respectable Minnesota defense, and he didn't have Calvin Johnson or Reggie Bush to work with. But a measly 185 passing yards won't pay the fantasy rent, especially on 33 attempts (5.6 YPA). Stafford had one touchdown flip, took four sacks. Stafford has been one of the volume kings of fantasy for many years, but with the Lions playing dominating defense, the shape of the game has changed. 

Other Busts: Keenan Allen, Shane Vereen, C.J. Spiller, Russell Wilson, Knowshon Moreno, Ben Roethlisberger, Matt Ryan.