There wasn't any real new ground broken in Monday's pinball game, but let's give it a quick fantasy pass. And here's hoping the highest-scoring week in NFL history was good to you.
Saints Wrap: It's hard to play better than Drew Brees did (20-for-26, 323 yards, four touchdowns, no turnovers), embarrassing a Packers secondary that a lot of people felt good about (myself included). As usual Brees threw the ball decisively and to the right target just about every snap, but I was impressed that he kept a few plays alive with his mobility, as well. Dan Marino's yardage record is in serious jeopardy.
Lance Moore was the featured receiver, catching five passes for 115 yards and a couple of scores (including a 70-yarder); with numbers like that, we'll excuse his embarrassing interception on a gadget play. Moore has touchdowns in four straight games and it's probably time to consider him the team's safest WR going forward. Marques Colston was invisible most of the night (two targets) before catching a 70-yard score of his own, courtesy of a blown coverage and a nifty Brees adjustment. A nice bailout, but something's not right here. Jeremy Shockey had an active game (5-57), and Billy Miller (4-36) added a touchdown.
Reggie Bush wasn't able to dress but the Saints didn't miss him at all, mostly because of Brad Evans favorite Pierre Thomas (15-87 rushing, 3-34 receiving, two scores). Deuce McAllister (five carries, five yards) got his hometown history touchdown near the end of the game, but he's not anywhere near the player Thomas is right now. Mike Bell mopped up and showed nothing (six carries, six yards).
There's just one more major bump on the New Orleans schedule, at Tampa Bay next week. After that, let the good times roll: Atlanta, at Chicago, at Detroit (Week 16, baby) and Carolina.
Packers Wrap: It was a funny game for Aaron Rodgers, brilliant for a half, a mess for a half. A couple of picks in the third quarter seemed to shake his confidence, and most of his throws down the stretch were late or lacking the proper velocity. All that said, fantasy owners don't care too much given what the final line looks like (23-for-41, 248 yards, two touchdowns, plus 36 rushing yards and another score). Rodgers did make a hard tackle with his shoulder in the third quarter and let's hope that didn't do anything to him (no evidence it did, just throwing it out there).
Greg Jennings was consistently open (8-101, touchdown), but no one else did a lot downfield (Donald Driver hasn't topped 60 yards or scored for three games). Ruvell Martin vulture a late touchdown and 2-point conversion just to keep the fantasy public on edge.
Ryan Grant had a respectable game (18-67 rushing, 3-19 receiving), but he only saw two carries after halftime as the Packers lost control of the game. Grant as usual got snubbed in the red zone, with Rodgers and fullback John Kuhn stealing a touchdown each. The three catches for Grant were a nice surprise, he had just five receptions entering the night.
I wrote a lot of complimentary things about the Packers pass defense during the week, and I'd like to take them all back. You need to credit the Saints offense, of course, but there's never a positive way to spin a 51-point beatdown, or a 157.5 quarterback rating on the other side. At least Green Bay doesn't see an offensive juggernaut for the rest of the season: they close with Carolina, Houston, at Jacksonville, at Chicago and Detroit.
Miscellaneous: I don't know what else can really be said about the Tony Kornheiser experiment on Monday Night Football. It doesn't work. I don't know anyone who's in favor of it. Kornheiser kept jabbering with awkward Brett Favre themes all night, and at times Mike Trico and Ron Jaworski seemed to be peeved with Kornheiser's crazy tangents. At this point you have to wonder if ESPN likes the train-wreck element of Kornheiser in the booth, maybe it wants to give everyone something to talk about.
Hey, I like Kornheiser on PTI, I really do. And he seems like a decent enough chap. But let's all hope this terrible match is coming to an end soon; his presence makes it increasingly difficult to enjoy the telecast, and the normally-sharp work of Tirico and Jaworski.
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