He cut at the line and exploded up field. Brandon McGowan had both arms around Peterson's left leg at the 45, but the rookie shrugged off the tackle. He made an obscene cut at the 50, causing Adam Archuleta to lose his footing and skid away. Another cut turned Charles Tillman around. Peterson veered toward the right sideline, switching the ball to his right hand. He then found himself in a footrace with Tillman and Brian Urlacher.
There may not be five running backs in the NFL with the combination of skills necessary to make that run. In fact, it's possible there aren't two.
The 67-yard TD wasn't the only play where Peterson outsprinted Tillman, either. He did the same on a 73-yard touchdown in the third quarter.
And it wasn't the only time he broke a McGowan tackle. He did that late in the fourth on a 35-yard touchdown.
At some point during the game, Fox displayed fantasy stats for various Bears and Vikings. "Probably too late to trade for Adrian Peterson," said Brian Baldinger dryly.
Unless LaDainian Tomlinson is on the other side of the deal, that's about right.
It's a cliche to say that a player took over a game, and in the NFL – unless a player's ineptitude takes over – it's almost never true. But in Week 6, Adrian Peterson came as close as any individual player can to single-handedly deciding a game for his team. He was orders of magnitude better than any other skill position player on the field, with the notable exception of Chicago's Devin Hester.
Peterson finished with 224 rushing yards on 20 carries. He also had 128 return yards and one reception for nine more yards. With the game tied at 31, Peterson brought back a kickoff 53 yards to set up Ryan Longwell's 55-yard, game-winning field goal. Minnesota's run blocking was terrific against Chicago and Tarvaris Jackson avoided turnovers. But this was unquestionably Peterson's game.
Peterson's average Yahoo! draft position this year was 74.4. You're not getting him outside the first round in a fantasy draft again for a long time. I'm wrong as often as anyone, but c'mon … you have to give me Adrian Peterson. At the very least, I regretted not taking him before anyone else regretted it.
A few other notes from Sunday, while you consider how exactly to bring a final end to the Frank Caliendo menace…
• These were headlines from two competing fantasy sites on Sunday Morning: "Report: Maroney to sit out Cowboys game" and "Report: Maroney likely to play." Both cited the Boston Herald as their source, too. You can't really blame anyone for reporting Patriots injury information incorrectly. Everyone is questionable all the time. When it comes to disclosing useful details to fantasy owners, New England simply stinks. They're pretty good at everything else, though.
For the record, the Sunday morning KFFL note on Maroney's player page on Yahoo! Sports read as follows: "Maroney made the trip with the team, but he will miss the game." Might have been nice if we'd also told you that Sammy Morris would leave with a chest injury, but that would have required precognition. Which you only get if you purchase StatTracker.
• Entering Week 6, two NFL passing offenses had completion rates of 70 percent or greater, New England (74.1) and … any guesses? Indianapolis? No, but you're close. They complete 69.7 percent.
It was actually Houston (70.7). The Texans led the league in completion percentage last season (68.4), but they only passed for 189.5 yards per game. This year, they're passing for 260.8. Late efficiency from Sage Rosenfels on Sunday (11-for-12, 82 yards, one TD) will keep their completion rate over 70 percent for another week. Matt Schaub was 19-for-31 with 259 yards. Kevin Walter had most of the yards, finishing with 12 catches for 160.
• Caught a bit of Rick Schwartz's interview with Dan Patrick on Fantasy Football Live this morning. Apparently, Patrick has been playing fantasy football since 1979.
Just for fun and geekery, this would have been the ideal starting fantasy lineup in '79: QB Dan Fouts (4082 yards, 24 TD), RB Earl Campbell (1697 yards, 19 TD), RB Walter Payton (1610/14), WR Steve Largent (1237/9), WR Stanley Morgan (1002/12), WR Ahmad Rashad (1156/9), TE Ozzie Newsome (781/9), K John Smith (115 points).
• Cedric Benson dropped at least three short passes against the Vikings, all of which hit him in the hands. He managed 85 total yards against Minnesota, but – as he seems to do every week – he left a bunch of yards on the field.
Lots of drops in that Bears-Vikings game, though. Tarvaris Jackson's first pass of the day was a perfectly thrown slant to Troy Williamson, who let the ball rattle off his hands and facemask before losing it. Sidney Rice later dropped a similarly well-thrown slant that might have resulted in a TD.
• Week 6 waiver adds Jason Wright and DeShawn Wynn both scored first-quarter touchdowns. Then they faded a bit, ultimately rushing for only 59 and 37 yards respectively. Wright added 39 receiving yards. Of course, Wright was also facing the 0-6 Dolphins, who've allowed 31 or more points in four of their last five games.
• Derek Anderson and Cleo Lemon staged a preposterous duel in Cleveland. Preposterous because A) they both put up 28 fantasy points, and B) I haven't been able to give away Anderson in any experts leagues, and no one owns Lemon. Miami's quarterback looked a little better than OK, running for two touchdowns – including a draw where he punished a tackler at the end – and throwing for two others. But the Dolphins get New England next week, so you don't need to rush out and add Cleo Lemon. Anderson had yet another huge fantasy day, throwing for 245 yards and three touchdowns. He also poached a short-yardage rushing TD from Wright.
• For the first three or four seconds of his first-quarter punt return TD, Devin Hester did … well, he did nothing you would ever teach. He caught the punt, immediately turned his back to the coverage, drifted sideways for maybe 20 yards, then abruptly turned into a swarm of four pursuers.
He lost them all, and quickly. Hester makes a silly number of subtle, twitchy moves while running at unreasonable speeds. He added an 81-yard touchdown reception late in the fourth quarter. It's becoming more difficult to make the argument against owning him in 12-team leagues.
• The Chiefs began their opening drive against Cincinnati exactly the way they needed to, and arguably the way they should have started their Week 5 match-up with Jacksonville: they ran the ball three times. On Larry Johnson's first carry, he gained nine yards. You might recall that the Chiefs gained a total of nine yards rushing last week. LJ finished with 119 yards on 31 carries, and he scored a second quarter touchdown. He added two receptions for 24 yards as Kansas City beat Cincinnati, 27-20. Johnson fumbled through the end zone as he was about to cross the goal line on a 35-yard run in the first half, though, costing him another score.
• Most of the ownable Bengals were just fine for fantasy purposes: Carson Palmer threw for 320 yards, T.J. Houshmandzadeh caught two TDs, and Chad Johnson had 83 receiving yards. Rudi Johnson (hamstring) played, but he was really just a rumor. He carried four times for eight yards. Kenny Watson is not the long-term answer, so those of us who own Rudi in – oh, no more than five or six leagues, really, not that we're counting anyway – are hoping for a recovery before Week 7 against the Jets.
• Jared Allen was just a monster for the Chiefs in the first half, recording 2.5 sacks and forcing a fumble. Sunday's best IDP performance belonged to the Packers' Charles Woodson, though. He had three tackles, an interception, and a fumble recovery that he returned for a touchdown. And the Packers needed all of it.
• E.J. Henderson forced a Jason McKie fumble as time expired in the first half of the Vikings-Bears game, and Antoine Winfield recovered for Minnesota. That play, which was almost perfectly meaningless, probably decided someone's fantasy week.
• The Rams third-quarter field goal had to feel like a moral victory. With 6:44 remaining in the quarter, Gus Frerotte was 11-for-21 for 111 yards and three interceptions, Torry Holt had caught two passes for 10 yards and Brian Leonard ran nine times for 11.
• Joey Galloway turns 36 next month. He's still a very fast dude. Not for the first time this season, Galloway coasted into the end zone on a long touchdown after smoking everyone on the field. Jeff Garcia had an efficient day, going 20-for-31 with 274 passing yards, 69 of them on that TD to Galloway (who I, and probably Dan Patrick, have been drafting for 12 years).
The bigger fantasy story in Tampa's 13-10 victory over Tennessee was Vince Young's quad injury. Here's what Jeff Fisher said after the game: "He tried to stay loose if he could, in case we had an issue with Kerry (Collins). At this point, he'll just be day to day, but it was not something he could have played effectively with." It sounds like Young owners might be sweating this one all week. He wasn't touched on the short run where he suffered the injury.
• Whatever Julius Peppers did to Kurt Warner's left elbow on that fumble recovery, it wasn't pretty. Early reports call it a sprain, but early reports lie. Warner's replacement Tim Rattay took a measure of revenge later in the game, throwing a nifty block on Peppers on an end-around.
When your top two quarterbacks are already injured, though, do you really need Rattay blocking Julius Peppers?
• The New England O-line is so good that Tom Brady was able to actually fake both an inside run and a second handoff on an end-around on the Patriots' first offensive play. Then Brady threw to a wide open Randy Moss down the middle, but missed him. The highlight of this week's supposed game-of-the-century might have been the long late touchdown to Moss that was overturned after review. The incredible catch that wasn't.
Brady had his best fantasy day of the year, which is really saying something since he's thrown at least three touchdown passes in every game. His final line: 31-for-46, 388 yards, five TDs. In the epic battle between Terrell Owens and Moss, the winner was … Wes Welker. He finished with nearly as many yards as Owens and Moss combined, and scored two TDs.
• You so don't want to be stiff-armed by Marion Barber III.
• Naturally, after telling you in the clearest possible way on Friday that you didn't want Vinny Testaverde on your fantasy team, he opened eight-for-eight against Arizona. Testaverde finished with 206 passing yards and a TD, and the Cardinals would absolutely love to have him on their roster right now. Did it really take such a terribly old man to figure out the key for Carolina? You throw Steve Smith the ball. Again and again. And if it doesn't work the first five times, you just keep doing it. Smith had 10 receptions for 136 yards, which, you might notice, is a huge percentage of Testaverde's passing yardage.
• Nice coverage Arizona had on Smith on that 65-yard touchdown reception, by the way. Roderick Hood just stopped running, did a triple-take as if Smith had used a level five spell of invisibility on him, and let one of the most dangerous receivers in NFL history race to the end zone.
• As dangerous and sensational and impossible as Adrian Peterson was in Week 6, that Tomlinson guy ultimately had the better fantasy day. The consensus No. 1 overall pick scored all four of San Diego's touchdowns against Oakland, and finished with 199 rushing yards. Here's what his first TD looked like in the Yahoo! box score:
"LaDainian Tomlinson rushed up the middle for 3 yard gain (Nate Kaeding made PAT)."
Go find the video of that play. This is just not a player who can be appreciated via box scores.
On that third-down run, Tomlinson launched himself into the air at the four yard line, flew for a while, stretched the nose of the football across the goal line, then somersaulted before landing. Amazing. Tomlinson finished with 44 fantasy points.
• The Yahoo! box score also does not do justice to the interception Philip Rivers threw in the second quarter:
This was one of the silliest passes you will ever see. If you asked Rex Grossman to describe that play, he'd be like, "Dude, you can't throw the ball back across the field like that. That's (expletive) crazy."
• "Maurice Jones-Drew clearly had a phenomenal game." No less an authority than Jack Del Rio said this, adding, "I don't even have to wait until we got to tape to give him a game ball." MJD had 125 rushing yards on two TDs on 12 carries, and pretty much all the good stuff happened in the fourth quarter – just when you thought he had disappointed you. He added a flourish at the end of the 57-yarder. Didn't quite stick the landing, though.