Mostly NFL Notes: A look around the league in Week 11

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Ray Rice rushed for 131 yards and a touchdown, but his 47-yard run was actually disappointing, as the old Rice would have likely scored. Moreover, take that one aside (in which he had a gaping hole), and he got 3.5 YPC, which would still actually be a season high...Over his first eight games this season, Torrey Smith averaged 88.4 receiving yards (a season’s pace of 1,414) while scoring just one touchdown. Over his past two games, he’s averaged 39.0 yards while recording two touchdowns. Go figure…Over 10 games after signing a monstrous contract, Joe Flacco now has a 6.5 YPA with a 13:13 TD:INT ratio. Pro Football Focus has him graded as the 33rd QB this season…Alshon Jeffery has seen 29 targets over the past two games and also has five rushing attempts over that span, so he’s quickly become one of the most utilized receivers in the NFL. Meanwhile, Martellus Bennett got more receiving yards Sunday than Brandon Marshall despite seeing eight fewer targets (2 vs. 10).

Nick Foles didn’t throw a TD pass Sunday, but he got 11.5 YPA while completing 65.4 percent of his passes (and recording a 105.3 QB Rating) and has still yet to throw an interception this season. He also ran for 47 yards and a touchdown. He has a bye in Week 12, but it’s hard not to consider Foles a top-five fantasy QB right now…LeSean McCoy suffered a hamstring injury late in the second quarter that at the time looked to be severe, possibly season ending. So to say he was able to return (and again be the workhorse) in the second half was a nice surprise to his fantasy owners would be an understatement. Not only that, McCoy, who entered with three rushing touchdowns on the year, scored twice on the ground Sunday and continues to lead the league in yards from scrimmage with 1,408…It was surprising to see DeSean Jackson and Riley Cooper combine for just seven catches and 119 yards, but consider it an anomaly and confidently roll with either when the team comes back from its bye in Week 13…Robert Griffin actually had a good fantasy game, but in real life terms, he was pretty awful. He had 57 yards passing at halftime (50%, 4.1 YPA), as almost all of his damage was done in the fourth quarter with his team down 24-0. RG3 threw a pick and also lost a fumble, and his stats would have looked a lot worse if not for this 62-yard TD pass to Darrel Young,which was helped by an embarrassing effort by an Eagles defense that entered having allowed the most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers in the NFL, and RG3’s late INT to end the game was brutal.

Here’s Jean-Claude Van Damme doing a pretty incredible stunt for a commercial.

The Lions and Steelers combined for 605 yards in the first half, which was the most in the NFL this season. Detroit scored 27 points in the second quarter (when Matthew Stafford threw for 267 yards, and Calvin Johnson had 163 receiving yards) and scored zero points in the other three quarters…Stafford overthrew an open Reggie Bush on a play that might have gone for a long touchdown, but Bush lost a fumble and nearly another (he was ruled down, but it was close) within the first 20 minutes Sunday, resulting in him being benched (although Jim Schwartz claims it was because of the field conditions, as apparently he’s not a “mudder”). But Joique Bell later left hurt, so Bush returned to action in the second half, although it still resulted in a season-low 54 yards from scrimmage. Despite the disappointing performance while getting just 12 touches and also missing a game earlier this year, Bush is on pace to finish with 1,632 total yards, which looks even better if you gaze the current RB landscape…Calvin Johnson had a modest three catches in the first half, but they went for 114 yards and two touchdowns. There’s no way he wouldn’t be the first non-QB taken in a real life draft, right?...Antonio Brown’s 101 targets this season are the sixth most in football, and among the five wideouts ahead of him, only Andre Johnson has as few drops as he does (three)…With 5:14 left in the third quarter, the Steelers kicked a 21-yard field goal on 4th-and-goal from the 3-yard-line down seven points against a team in which they had allowed 361 net yards (and 7.6 yards-per-play) at the time. To be fair, Pittsburgh ended up shutting out Detroit the entire second half, but I criticize processes here and not outcomes...Speaking of which, Detroit attempting a fake field goal with the lead on 4th-and-five in those field conditions was highly questionable as well…Kevin Ogletree had a brutal drop on a bomb late in the fourth quarter, which would have at minimum helped Stafford’s fantasy owners.

Here’s my Rapid React to the Thursday night Colts/Titans game.

Here’s my latest Mostly NBA Notes column, which includes talk about Derrick Rose, Roy Hibbert and most of this week’s Headlines.

Most assumed Matt Ryan was a decent quarterback who was a product of his environment, helped by playing indoors and having two elite wide receivers and a Hall of Fame tight end at his disposal. So it was a little eye opening when he got 10.5 YPA with a 3:0 TD:INT ratio playing without Roddy White and Julio Jones for the first time in Week 7. But he was coming off a bye and playing at home against a Tampa Bay team in complete disarray. Since then, Ryan has gotten 5.9 YPA with a 5:9 TD:INT ratio over four games, including a rematch against the Bucs on Sunday in which last year’s No. 1 seed in the NFC got blown out against a team that entered 1-8. There’s no question the Falcons’ defense is a joke, and they have also suffered injuries on the offensive line, but Ryan is a quarterback who depends on his playmakers and not a superstar in his own right, as most assumed before we got the chance to see it…R.I.P. Steven Jackson, it’s been a great career…Over two games against the Falcons this season, Vincent Jackson has 20 catches for 303 receiving yards and three touchdowns…Bobby Rainey (did some people really spend more FAAB on Brian Leonard?) rushed for 163 yards (on 30 carries) and two scores, adding another TD catch as well (he almost scored a fourth time). He looked very good, as did Mike James before he went down with a season-ending injury last week. Meanwhile, Doug Martin was terrible before he was lost for the year, which makes him look so much worse in hindsight. It came against an awful Falcons defense, but Rainey forced seven missed tackles Sunday, so forget the pedigree or the record of the team he plays for, he can be a difference maker down the stretch, although a difficult schedule admittedly stands in his way.

Here’s a commuter losing his mind, head butting cars and “windscreens.” Police say drugs or alcohol may have influenced him, but that seems awfully presumptuous.

The Bills entered without their top two wide receivers, while Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller combined for 40 rushing yards on 25 carries, yet Buffalo still won by 23 points against a team that had a winning record. Pretty crazy…Seriously, did Spiller really total 16 yards on 15 touches? I don’t know what else to say at this point…Stephen Hill was targeted seven times against a Bills secondary that had allowed the second-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers this season, including an NFL-high 16 touchdowns. He had zero catches…If you remove one dud, Chris Ivory has now totaled 341 rushing yards and two TDs in three of his last four games…E.J. Manuel completed two 40-yard passes on the same drive, which isn’t exactly easy to do…Over the past five games, Geno Smith has a 1:8 TD:INT ratio…The Jets are the first team in NFL history to alternate wins and losses in each of their first 10 games of a season.

Here’s a Moscow Subway Ticket Machine That Accepts 30 Squats as Payment.

I expected Cecil Shorts to do better with Justin Blackmon out, although to be fair, he’s gone up against Alterraun Verner and Patrick Peterson mostly the last two weeks…While it wasn’t exactly surprising to see Rashard Mendenhall get just 14 yards on 13 carries, it was that Andre Ellington gained only three yards on eight totes, especially facing a Jacksonville team that had allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to enemy backs this season. It was an all around rough day for Ellington, who also lost a chunk of his hair during one tackle…This marked the first game this season in which Carson Palmer didn’t throw an interception…Maurice Jones-Drew entered the year averaging 4.6 YPC during his career. This season, he’s averaging 2.9…Danny Noble is getting 62 yards-per-target in 2013…Jacksonville has somehow yet to have the ball in a tied or one-score game in the fourth quarter this season…This Michael Floyd TD catch was pretty legit.

Here’s an Excerpt From Mike Tyson’s ‘Undisputed Truth.’ I personally choose to believe this just confirms the story from “Chappelle’s Show,” rather than Iron Mike is just a huge fan of it.

I confidently put the Texans in a two team teaser this week (the other being the Broncos), with the thought being Houston is much better than its win/loss record while playing at home against a Raiders team that hadn’t won on the road since Week 8 of last year and had to travel to play a 10 a.m. game. Houston also seemed like a team “due” for a win having lost its last seven games, and Case Keenum had impressed. Of course, I overlooked something right before my eyes, as I overlooked Matt McGloin, who facing a Houston secondary allowing an NFL-low 166.6 passing yards per game, tossed three touchdowns with zero interceptions during his first career start (including a scoring strike on his very first throw). How could I have missed that? In all seriousness, the unknown of someone like McGloin really was a bigger worry than the clearly hobbled Terrelle Pryor from the past few weeks…The Texans have four turnovers on their opening possession this year. That’s not ideal…With 2:39 left in the third quarter on 4th-and-2 from midfield, the Texans punted, netting 28 yards. They allowed an 80-yard touchdown run on the very next play…Case Keenum had a 7.1 YPA mark with a touchdown, although he did throw his first interception of his career, which somehow resulted in Houston benching him for Matt Schaub. Seriously, what a shortsighted decision for the franchise. I don’t get it at all. Andre Johnson had some choice words toward Schaub after the team failed at the goal line to end the game (they got two tries on fourth down thanks to an Oakland penalty), and I can’t say I blame him…Rashad Jennings leads the NFL with 3.4 YPC after contact…Ben Tate took a shot to his broken ribs Sunday but otherwise looked good and is the team’s clear workhorse right now. He gets to face the Jaguars in two of his next three games.

Tough-Guy Boxing Referee Stops Bout To Threaten Fighters With Fines.

Scaring Strangers Using Their Social Media Prank.

Andy Dalton nearly did the unthinkable, getting almost as many TD passes (three) as he did YPA (3.4) and on 27 pass attempts to boot. He also threw a pick-six, which contributed to a game that had three defensive/special teams touchdowns in the first half. Cincinnati won by three touchdowns while converting 1-of-14 third down attempts…Cleveland’s backfield should mostly be avoided in fantasy leagues, but if you’re desperate, Chris Ogbonnaya is the clear one to use. He got 8.6 YPC on Sunday and also saw 12 targets…What a performance by Joe Haden, who held A.J. Green to two catches and seven yards on five targets, while also scoring a touchdown on an interception return…Jason Campbell entered with a 7.5 YPA mark and a 5:0 TD:INT ratio on the year but came crashing back to earth, finishing Sunday’s game with a 4.4 YPA and 1:3 TD:INT mark, taking four sacks as well…Vontaze Burfict is on pace to record 172 tackles this season…Despite securing just 5-of-15 targets, Josh Gordon gained 125 receiving yards and a score. He’s the rare NFL supplemental draft pick who was more than worth it.

Headlines of the Week: Bloomfield Hills Man Buys House Next to Ex-Wife, Erects Giant Middle Finger Statue...Wal-Mart Asks Workers To Donate Food To Its Needy Employees...Inside The World Of Competitive Laughter...Premier Inn Guest Hurled Racist Abuse With Fire Extinguisher Hose Up His Bottom.

Philip Rivers is having a fantastic bounce back season, completing 70.9 percent of his passes while getting 8.3 YPA. However, he’s also now thrown for just six touchdowns over his past five games, which has really limited his fantasy value. And it’s not like this has happened thanks to a dominant ground game, as San Diego’s four rushing scores are tied for 29th in the league. Put differently, Rivers threw more touchdowns over the first two games this season than he has since Week 5…After rushing for 100 yards five times over the first 38 games of his career, Ryan Mathews has surpassed the century mark three times over his past five contests…Facing a Chargers secondary that had allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing wideouts, Mike Wallace gained just 39 yards on six targets. Wallace, who signed a $60 million contract during the offseason, is on pace to finish with 854 receiving yards and one touchdown…Antonio Gates’ touchdown was his first since Week 4…With 2:08 left in the fourth quarter up 20-16, Ryan Tannehill ran out of bounds on third down, helping the Chargers save 14 seconds…Since Lamar Miller was given 41 touches over Weeks 8 and 9, when he totaled 241 yards, he’s been given 11 rushing attempts over the past two games, resulting in 19 yards. Your guess is as good as mine…This Charles Clay TD catch was pretty awesome.

The Rob Ford Chronicles (he’s the Mayor of the fourth largest city in North America): “I’m a Role Model,” says crack-smoking Toronto Mayor Rob Ford...Mayor Rob Ford Wants Mandatory Drug Tests For Councillors...Mayor Rob Ford’s Treatment ‘kind of what like they did to Jesus,’ says brother Doug...Mayor Rob Ford on Fox News: “I want to run for Prime Minister.”...A classic Mayor Rob Ford GIF...Here’s Mayor Rob Ford dominating Hulk Hogan at arm wrestling...I’ll Spare you Mayor Rob Ford’s response to inappropriate sexual allegations, as this is a family site, but feel free to look into it if you are so inclined. Let’s just say he has “more than enough to eat at home."...Mayor Rob Ford Says He’s Quit Drinking, Has Had a ‘Come-to-Jesus’ Moment...Mayor Rob Ford knocks over Councillor During Debate.

Scott Tolzien completed 70.6 percent of his passes and got 10.0 YPA yet also had a 0:3 TD:INT ratio, which is a combination you’ll rarely see. Despite the lack of scores, he managed to maintain the fantasy values of Jordy Nelson and Jarrett Boykin (although James Jones’ disappointing season continues)…Andre Brown totaled 93 yards but had a bad drop and lost an easy goal-line score to Brandon Jacobs, so his day could have been much better. Still, he’s clearly established himself as New York’s lead back. After starting out 0-6, the Giants have won four straight and are at home against a Dallas defense in Week 12 that has yielded the most fantasy points to opposing RBs this season…Eddie Lacy ran for 27 yards and has clearly been hurt by Aaron Rodgers’ absence, as the impressive rookie back has averaged just 2.6 YPC over the past two games. Still, Lacy has also scored in four of the past five games, so he’s not exactly without value…Rueben Randle has more receiving touchdowns (six) than the rest of the Giants’ wide receivers and tight ends combined (five)…New York’s defense had allowed just one touchdown over its previous 17 quarters before Lacy ran in a score during the final frame Sunday, and that one score came against Oakland during a short field (27 yards). This defense is playing very well right now, highlighted by this nice pick-six by Jason Pierre-Paul.

Police Blotter: Fort Pierce Man to 911: My Neighbors Won’t Drink With Me...Floridian Masqueraded as Lawman to Secure “Police Discounts” at Dunkin’ Donuts...Man Sets Another Man’s Genitals On Fire, Cops Say...Ryan Ferguson Freed From Prison After Murder Conviction Overturned.

Colin Kaepernick got just 4.1 YPA, but his numbers would’ve looked a lot different had Frank Gore not dropped an easy pass when wide open that may have very well resulted in a 79-yard touchdown. Still, it’s safe to say the QB continues to disappoint, both in real life and fantasy terms…Drew Brees had a modest game by his standards, but he’s now surpassed 300 passing yards in eight of 10 games this season and is on pace to finish with 5,390 passing yards, which would be second to his own record he set back in 2011…Anquan Boldin and Vernon Davis remain the only 49ers to have receiving touchdowns this season…Pierre Thomas has broken 16 tackles as a receiver out of the backfield this season, with only Jamaal Charles having more (17), but the latter has nine drops compared to Thomas’ two…I’m not really sure what to say about the personal foul call on the Brees hit, which decided the game’s outcome. I do find it funny Ray Lewisliterally pulled out his American Express card during Monday Night Countdown, offering to pay for half should Ahmad Brooks be fined.

One year after Jim Harbaugh was one of the better in-game coaches in the NFL, he’s been one of the worst this season, which is inexplicable. His latest offense was especially egregious as he challenged an eight-yard catch on first down in the first quarter. This reward isn’t worth it even if it’s a 100 percent chance he’s right, but it was a “was Drew Brees past the line of scrimmage when he released the ball” challenge, one that’s typically tough to overturn. And it wasn’t, costing SF its second timeout. To further emphasize the error of this decision, Jimmy Graham gained a first down on a third down play later in the same drive, and the spot was highly questionable, but Harbaugh didn’t want to use both of his challenges in such a short span, so he went with the call on the field (even though this outcome was much more critical than the first one). It only gets worse from here, as Harbaugh not long thereafter challenged a Jonathan Baldwin TD catch that didn’t take more than one replay with half of an eye open to realize it wasn’t a catch (in Harbaugh’s defense, maybe he’s just getting the worst advice ever from whomever he has in the booth above). So with 10:21 left in the second quarter, the 49ers were out of timeouts for the half and out of challenges for the game. Not two minutes later, the lack of timeouts led to a delay of game but much more importantly, what if this play wasn’t ruled a touchback? San Francisco would have been helpless in having it reviewed. Call me crazy, but I think it was slightly more important than an eight-yard gain (which was ruled correctly) on first down at the start of the game, but maybe that’s just me. This is the second straight week Harbaugh has made the worst in-game coaching decision(s) of the week.

Speaking of shaky decisions, it’s safe to say I didn’t agree with the judges’ after the GSP/Hendricks fight. I know this isn’t always perfect, but seriously, look at GSP here. The best takedown artist in the history of the sport was also neutralized in that area, so what's the deal? I really hope UFC doesn’t enter boxing territory when it comes to this.

While Russell Wilson was efficient, tossing two touchdowns on just 18 pass attempts (getting 12.4 YPA), Marshawn Lynch gained just 54 yards on 17 carries (3.2 YPC), although he totaled three scores nevertheless. Either way, Seattle handled the Vikings with ease. It would be a pretty major upset if the Seahawks don’t finish as the No. 1 seed in the NFC at this point. Ben Roethlisberger has the most wins ever by a quarterback over his first two seasons in the league with 22. Wilson now has 21. In other words, he’s going to shatter that record…Some regression obviously should have been expected after last year’s historic season, but Adrian Peterson is averaging a career-low 4.4 YPC, although to be fair, he’s on pace to total 15 touchdowns after scoring 13 times last season. But seriously, maybe he really should have done this...Percy Harvin’s first catch of the season wasn’t bad.

Animal Antics: Here’s a Local News Reporter Interviewing a Cat on the Street...Scientists Date World’s Oldest Animal at 507 Years Old – After They Accidentally Kill It...Here’s an Elephant that really wants to break a stick. He gives up on it in a humorous way.

Favored by more than a touchdown against the league’s only undefeated team, the Broncos beat the Chiefs by 10 points, covering the spread and winning their 12th straight game at home, becoming the only team to score more than 17 points against Kansas City in the process…Andy Reid opened his career 13-0 following a bye, but he’s now lost his last two games in such a situation…Julius Thomas’ first quarter score was the first TD the Chiefs had allowed to a tight end this season…Peyton Manning had his worst fantasy game of the year, finishing with fewer than multiple TD passes for the first time, although he still managed 8.1 YPA and didn’t take a single sack against a Chiefs defense that entered leading the NFL in the category…Knowshon Moreno owners have to be frustrated as the back saw 27 carries and didn’t score, while rookie Montee Ball got just eight rushing attempts and hit pay dirt twice…Not only did Andy Reid call for a field goal on 4th-and-goal from the 1-yard line with 2:55 left in the second quarter, but he also didn’t attempt an onside kick down 10 points with less than five minutes left in the fourth quarter against a historically good offense. He’s going to have to be much more aggressive to give his team a chance to win when they meet again in Arrowhead in two weeks…Eric Decker scored 13 touchdowns last year. He’s on pace to finish with 4.8 this season despite playing in every game and having a QB throwing to him who’s on track to throw an NFL-record 54.4 TD passes.

Longread of the Week: “Winning The Price Is Right: A Complete Guide to Winning Through Game Theory.”

DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart and Mike Tolbert combined for 41 yards on 16 carries (2.6 YPC), while Cam Newton ran for 62 yards on seven attempts (8.9 YPC), highlighted by this ridiculous playShane Vereen was given just one carry during his return to action, but he immediately led the team with 11 targets and will be a factor down the stretch, although his value changes greatly depending upon if you play in a PPR format or not. Stevan Ridley was benched after losing another fumble, but he later returned and scored a touchdown. Still, him being benched (or getting hurt) benefits LeGarrette Blount, not Vereen, who plays in entirely different packages…The Panthers proved they were no fluke under the national spotlight, although the final play in which a flag was thrown for pass interference yet didn’t ultimately result in a penalty, remains in dispute…Aqib Talib is known for making questionable decisions off the field, but I doubt any were more egregious than his willingness to challenge Steve Smith on the field Monday night. There isn’t a player in the NFL I’d want to fight less than Smith, and that includes linemen.

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