Week 16 First Impressions
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Virtuoso performances by Tony Romo and Dez Bryant were easily the best of the afternoon and likely led many an owner to a fantasy championship. But they weren't the only players to post big Week 16 production. Quarterbacks Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers and running back Jamaal Charles showed why they were early selections on Draft Day.

Here are our initial impressions of Sunday's action.

Oakland at Carolina -

DeAngelo Williams had an early 76-yard touchdown called back on Steve Smith's holding penalty and finished with just 19 yards on 10 carries. That will swing some championship games.

It wasn't his best game, but fantasy owners will take 170 passing yards, 60 rushing yards, two touchdowns and one pick from Cam Newton.

Oakland lost Carson Palmer to a rib injury and had to turn to Matt Leinart at quarterback. That should tell you how this one turned out for the Raiders' offense. Darren McFadden was the standout performer, and he had 33 rushing yards (45 total yards).

New Orleans at Dallas -

Brees has made up for those stinkers in Week 13 and 14 with 753 passing yards, seven touchdowns and zero turnovers the past two games. His 446 yards and three touchdowns Sunday leave him 219 yards and one touchdown shy of his second straight 5,000-yard and 40-touchdown season.

Brees' explosion allowed five receivers to have quality fantasy performances, including Marques Colston (10-153), Darren Sproles (7-104), Jimmy Graham (7-88), Pierre Thomas (7-61-1) and Lance Moore (4-30-1).

What a breakout for Bryant -- with 224 yards and two touchdowns on nine catches Sunday, Bryant has 808 yards, 48 receptions and 10 touchdowns over his last seven games, two of them with a broken index finger.

Bryant has helped Romo become one of the most reliable fantasy quarterbacks down the stretch. In his last eight games -- including 416 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions Sunday -- Romo has thrown for 2,612 yards, 17 touchdowns and three interceptions.

Tennessee at Green Bay -

The Rodgers first-round investment paid off big time in the fantasy championship game, as the reigning NFL MVP threw for 342 yards and three scores and ran for another touchdown in a 55-7 blowout win.

All three of Green Bay's relevant receivers (sorry, Jermichael Finley) caught touchdowns. James Jones finished with seven receptions for 100 yards, Randall Cobb had 62 yards on three catches and Greg Jennings caught seven for 45.

Ryan Grant joined the Knowshon Moreno zombie movement by totaling 114 yards from scrimmage and scoring two times in the fourth quarter.

In a scene that should be familiar to fantasy owners, the Titans fell behind early and had to go away from the run. Unfortunately, this time there was no 80-yard touchdown run to salvage Chris Johnson's day. He ended up with a measly 28 yards on 11 carries.

Kenny Britt scored the Titans' only touchdown on a two-yard pass with 1:39 remaining in the game.

Minnesota at Houston -

Adrian Peterson was held in check, rushing for 86 yards on 25 carries (3.4 ypc), his first game with less than 100 rushing yards since Week 6. Peterson needs 102 rushing yards in Week 17 against Green Bay to become the seventh running back in NFL history to reach 2,000 yards and 208 to break Eric Dickerson's single-season record.

Minnesota neared the goal line several times but had Rudolph score from three yards out on a play-action pass and Toby Gerhart punch one in from the same distance with 4:44 left in the fourth.

Many fantasy owners likely reached the championship game thanks to Arian Foster but they'll have to win it in spite of him. The running back ran for 15 yards on 10 carries, lost a fumble and left the game for good with an illness in the third quarter.

Matt Schaub didn't show up, throwing for 178 yards and zero touchdowns, but he did get the ball to Andre Johnson seven times for 97 yards.

New England at Jacksonville -

Another stellar game for Wes Welker (10 catches, 88 yards). That's the 18th time Welker has caught at least 10 passes in one game, which is an NFL record.

Tom Brady got picked off twice in the first half after also throwing two interceptions last week against the 49ers. The last time Brady had two games in a row with two or more interceptions? You'd have to go all the way back to Weeks 12 and 13 of the 2009 regular season. Brady had never thrown an interception against Jacksonville before today.

It wasn't all bad for Brady, though. By throwing a 14-yard touchdown to Danny Woodhead late in the second quarter, Brady was able to extend his streak of consecutive games with a touchdown pass to 47. That ties Johnny Unitas for the second-most all-time. Drew Brees had his record-breaking touchdown streak snapped earlier this month (54 games).

Jacksonville scored a touchdown on its opening drive for the first time in their last 25 games. The touchdown came on a three-yard pass to rookie Justin Blackmon.

Patrick Chung's interception of Chad Henne at the one-yard line was New England's seventh red zone takeaway of the season. That leads the NFL

Indianapolis at Kansas City -

Andrew Luck finished the game with 205 passing yards. That gives him 4,183 yards for the season, the most ever by an NFL rookie.

Sunday was the seventh time this season Luck has led a game-winning drive in the fourth quarter or overtime. That ties an NFL record.

Reggie Wayne snagged five catches in the victory. That's the 62nd game in a row Wayne has recorded at least three receptions, which is the longest streak in league history.

Jamaal Charles (226 yards) and Peyton Hillis (101) combined for 327 yards on the ground ... and the Chiefs still managed to lose. Sunday was Charles' second 200-yard game of the season and the third of his career.

With the win, Indianapolis was able to lock up its 10th postseason berth in the last 11 seasons. The last time the Colts made it to the playoffs with a starting quarterback other than Peyton Manning was back in 1996. Jim Harbaugh (currently the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers) was the Colts' QB that season.

Buffalo at Miami -

Reggie Bush turned in one of his more fantasy-worthy performances of the year on Sunday. He ended the afternoon with 107 total yards (65 rushing, 42 receiving) and three touchdowns (two receiving and one rushing). He's 40 rushing yards away from his second straight 1,000-yard season.

C.J. Spiller's career season continued on Sunday with 138 more rushing yards on 22 carries. His 1,185 rushing yards this season are more than twice the amount he totaled in 2011 (561 yards on 107 rushing attempts).

Ryan Fitzpatrick racked up 240 passing yards but he also threw his 16th interception of the season. The Harvard alum has now been picked off at least once in each of his last five games.

Brian Hartline (two catches for 12 yards) produced another disappointing stat line on Sunday. Take away his absurd 253-yard game against the Cardinals back in Week 4 and Hartline is only averaging 58.5 yards per game this season.

San Diego at New York Jets -

Pop quiz, who was New York's highest rated passer on Sunday? Greg McElroy? Nope. Mark Sanchez? Wrong again. Tim Tebow? Still wrong. The answer is wide receiver Jeremy Kerley. He threw one pass (a 42-yard completion to Clyde Gates in the first quarter) to finish the day with a QB rating of 118.8.

McElroy's first NFL start could have gone better if his offensive line had actually blocked for him. The Jets allowed their second-year quarterback to get sacked 11 times on Sunday. San Diego needed just one more sack to tie the league record for the most sacks in one game.

At least Shonn Greene had a productive fantasy day. Despite averaging just 2.7 yards per carry, the fourth-year running back was able to score two touchdowns. It's Greene's second multi-touchdown game of the year and the fourth time he's done that in his career.

Washington at Philadelphia -

Robert Griffin III returned to the lineup as expected, but also as you might reasonably guess, didn't run with the power and aggressiveness as he did pre- knee injury. The result was a mediocre day for fantasy owners - under 200 yards passing with two touchdown passes and four yards rushing.

Alfred Morris saw plenty of touches and while he couldn't get to the 100-yard mark still gave fantasy owners a solid afternoon.

Nick Foles (32-of-48 for 345 1 TD, 1 INT) is showing to be a viable fantasy quarterback, though everything could change if there is a new coaching regime in Philadelphia next season.

Eagles running back LeSean McCoy returned from a four-game absence to combine for 122 yards from scrimmage, must of that by way of his excellent receiving skills.

Cincinnati at Pittsburgh -

The Steelers completely shut down the Bengals running game in the first half (two yards rushing) and did a pretty good job in the second half giving up just a dozen more yards.

Rashard Mendenhall's return to the lineup hurt Jonathan Dwyer owners as the former starter ran 11 times for 50 yards.

Ben Roethlisberger had been completely shut down until he hit Antonio Brown with a long touchdown pass just before half-time. But that was his only touchdown pass of the day against two interceptions, including a costly one late in the fourth quarter that resulted in Cincinnati's game-winning field goal.

St. Louis at Tampa Bay -

While Danny Amendola and Chris Givens were kept under wraps, Lance Kendricks did major damage to the Bucs. Unfortunately, not many people had him in their fantasy lineups.

Josh Freeman probably can't wait for the end of the season. He threw four interceptions last weekend against New Orleans and two more in the first half versus St. Louis including a "pick-six" to Janoris Jenkins. Freeman did hit Mike Williams for a long one in the second half, but continued to throw to the guys in the wrong colored jerseys and finished with his second four- interception game in a row.

Williams and Vincent Jackson both earned the 100-yard receiving bonus. It is the second time this season they did it in the same game.

Cleveland at Denver -

After Peyton Manning led his Broncos to two early touchdowns, the Browns were left in a situation where they couldn't use their most reliable weapon - Trent Richardson. Brandon Weeden attempting to out-duel Manning is going to be a losing proposition almost every time.

Manning threw for 339 yards and three scores, Weeden 104 yards and no scores before being replaced by Colt McCoy.

Manning is expert in the art of keeping both his starting receivers happy. He threw a touchdown to each in the first half. Thomas ended up earning the 100- yard bonus while Decker caught a second touchdown pass. Perfect balance among his receivers and everybody leaves the field smiling.

Chicago at Arizona -

The Bears' defense scored the first touchdown of the game and their first since Week 9 against Tennessee. They added another one in the third quarter. It's not that they were a juggernaut again - it's just they were playing the Cardinals who featured Ryan Lindley and Brian Hoyer under center.

New York Giants at Baltimore -

Joe Flacco at home is usually a winning play and he was sharp in the first half going 10-of-15 for 134 yards and a score in the first half. He duplicated the effort in the second half to finish with 309 yards and two touchdown passes.

Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce both rushed for more than 100 yards.

Eli Manning wasn't very good, but it didn't help that the Giants' defense couldn't get off the field, yielding more than 500 yards.

If you needed a big game from Giant wide receivers Victor Cruz or Hakeem Nicks you were out of luck. Cruz caught three balls for 21 yards and Nicks was shut out completely.




Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at sschwarz@sportsnetwork.com.

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