Things we learned in Week 8
Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - If you were playing against Detroit wide receiver Calvin Johnson this week, you can thank Cowboys wideout Dez Bryant for your loss.
Earlier this week, Bryant said of Johnson, "I believe I can do whatever he can do."
Uh-oh, I think someone woke up the sleeping giant. Megatron went off against Bryant's Cowboys.
To quote the great Edward G. Robinson playing the role of poker legend Lancey Howard in the classic film The Cincinnati Kid, "You're good, kid, but as long as I'm around, you're only second best."
Below are a few more things we observed on Sunday afternoon.
Dallas at Detroit
Dez versus Calvin did not disappoint. The two receivers combined for an astonishing 401 receiving yards and three touchdowns on Sunday.
Most of those yards came from Megatron, who finished the day with a whopping 329 yards, on 14 catches. The yardage total was the second-highest in NFL history. He was seven yards away from tying Flipper Anderson for the all-time single-game record.
Johnson produced 36 fantasy points in standard leagues on Sunday. The crazy thing is, it could have been a lot more. He was stopped at the one-yard line ... twice.
Props to Matthew Stafford (33-of-48, 488 yards, TD, 1 INT) for a little trickery on the game-winning touchdown. Dallas was expecting him to spike it, but instead, he ran it in from a yard out.
Sunday was Stafford's sixth-career 400-yard passing game. His last one before Sunday came in a Week 16 loss to Atlanta in 2012 (37-for-56, 443 yards, 3 TD, INT).
Rookie Terrance Williams scored on a 60-yard touchdown for the Cowboys. He set a team record for first-year receivers by scoring for the fourth week in a row.
San Francisco at Jacksonville
This was the second game played in London this season. The Steelers and Vikings played there back in Week 4. Pittsburgh won that game, 34-27.
Let's all welcome Colin Kaepernick back to fantasy relevance. He went off for three touchdowns and 208 total yards (164 passing, 54 rushing) in the Niners' 42-10 victory.
Vernon Davis continues to pile on the fantasy points for San Francisco. His touchdown reception Sunday gives him seven for the season. That's tied for fourth in the NFL behind Wes Welker, Julius Thomas and Dez Bryant.
One of the Fox broadcasters made this hilarious observation about Frank Gore during Sunday's game, "I think he's part feline. If his head can fit, so can his body." Whatever he's doing, it's working. Gore has now reached double-digit fantasy points in each of his last six contests.
San Francisco's 28 first-half points were a season-high. Sunday also marked the 49ers' fifth game in a row of 30 or more points. They haven't had a streak like that since Steve Young was the quarterback (1997).
The Jaguars are on pace to score 172 points this season. The lowest point total for a 16-game season in NFL history came in 1992 when the Seahawks put up 140 en route to a 2-14 record.
Miami and New England
Ryan Tannehill reached 5,000 yards passing for his career on Sunday. Something tells me he won't be in the mood to celebrate after this one.
An Aaron Dobson sighting! The Patriots rookie finished with a game-high 60 receiving yards. He also corralled his second career touchdown catch.
If Bill Belichick's mission in life is to frustrate Stevan Ridley owners, it's working. Ridley didn't even see the FIELD until the second quarter. After that he became much more involved, finishing with 79 yards on 14 carries.
New England trailed 17-3 at the half but outscored Miami 24-0 after the break. Tom Brady's 25 yards passing in the first half were his fewest since 2003.
Believe it or not, the Patriots entered today's action without a third quarter touchdown. They scored two Sunday against Miami.
Injuries were the story on Sunday. Dolphins receiver Brandon Gibson left in the first half with what is believed to be a torn patellar tendon. Patriots tackle Sebastian Vollmer hurt his leg a few minutes later and was carted off. Both injuries could be season-ending.
It's pretty obvious that Brady (13-for-22, 116 yards, TD, INT) isn't 100 percent. He seemed to be nursing a right hand injury throughout the game, even wrapping it while on the sidelines. It appears the "greatest living American" is human after all.
The Dolphins' four-game losing streak is their longest since ... well not that long ago. Miami had a seven-game losing streak to open the season in 2011. They won six games that year.
Cleveland at Kansas City
The Browns tried Jason Campbell at quarterback, benching Brandon Weeden, and their third different starter this season, also struggled to produce points though he did move the ball throwing for 293 yards.
The reason the Browns keep refusing to trade Josh Gordon was on display Sunday as he caught five balls for 132 yards and a score. That type of talent is hard to find and you don't easily trade it away.
There was no ground game to assist Campbell. Willis McGahee and Chris Ogbonnaya produced minus one yard in the first half and finished the game with an unacceptable 45 yards combined.
It's amazing that the Chiefs continued to win despite having a quarterback who went three weeks without a touchdown pass. He remedied that situation for his fantasy owners with a short throw to fullback Anthony Sherman and then a nice hookup with Dexter McCluster.
Buffalo at New Orleans
Buffalo wideout Stevie Johnson caught his first touchdown pass since Week 2 and finally made his fantasy owners happy, reaching double-digits for the first time in six games.
Fred Jackson didn't have to share the workload with C.J. Spiller, but didn't blow up as his fantasy owners would have hoped. He finished with a combined 53 yards and a score.
Despite the return of Lance Moore, rookie wideout Kenny Stills made his presence felt with a 69-yard touchdown reception. He later added a 42-yard touchdown reception. With his upside, he should be owned in all keeper leagues, but his fantasy value this season will be inconsistent.
Saints place kicker Garrett Hartley matched his miss total for the season after failing on his first two attempts against Buffalo. Considering he's been successful on 83.1 percent for his career we can probably just rule this one as a bad day.
Despite a rumor that his foot injury is a partially torn plantar fascia, Jimmy Graham produced two touchdowns and finished with 15 fantasy points while playing primarily when the Saints got into the red zone.
Drew Brees was, well, Brees-like going 26-of-34 for 332 yards, five touchdowns without an interception. he was also still throwing the ball with two minutes left and an 18-point lead.
New York Giants at Philadelphia
The Giants made four trips inside the Eagles 30-yard line in the first half and game away with four field goals. So it wasn't the Eagles' defense that was letting their fantasy owners down.
Peyton Hillis wasn't pretty, but did manage to run and catch for a combined 85 yards.
The Eagles first-half offense would have had to improve to be classified as non-existent. They produced just 72 yards and two turnovers. The second half wasn't much better with rookie Matt Barkley replacing the injured Michael Vick. No Eagles offensive player earned double-digit points.
The only Eagles score came from their special teams which couldn't have helped many, if any, fantasy owners.
New York Jets at Cincinnati
The Jets could find nothing open on the ground and a one-dimension attack doesn't work against the tough Bengals' defense. it was so bad that backup quarterback Matt Simms led the team in rushing with 35 yards accumulated during garbage time.
Not so quietly quarterback Andy Dalton putting it all together after a slow start. Heading into Sunday he had posted back-to-back 300-yard passing days and he kept the streak alive by taking apart the Jets' pass defense. At the end of the first half he had already thrown for 257 yards and four scores and finished with 325 yards and five touchdowns.
It was also Bengals wideout Marvin Jones' coming out party. He set career-highs with eight catches, 122 yards and four scores. He'll be a waiver claim priority in Week 9.
The Bengals defense chipped in with two "pick sixes" of their own.
Pittsburgh at Oakland
In the first half the Oakland Raiders defense stymied the Steelers both on the ground and in the air.
Down 21-3 at the half, the Steelers abandoned the running game leaving Le'Veon Bell owners out in the cold until a 2-yard TD run with a minute to play made his numbers respectable. Of course, if he had run for more than 24 yards on the 13 attempts they gave him, maybe they would have been more inclined to hand the ball off a few more times.
Oakland quarterback Terrelle Pryor sprinted 93 yards for a score on the opening drive which in many leagues is the equal to passing for 275 yards and a touchdown (15 fantasy points). Nice start. The bad news is that he threw two first-half interceptions. he finished the game with 87 yards passing and 106 yards rushing.
Despite a badly battered offensive line, Darren McFadden still managed to rush for 73 yards and a pair of touchdowns. With the Eagles and Giants up next for Oakland he could get on a roll.
Atlanta at Arizona
Steven Jackson's return from injury was a complete bust as he rushed for six yards on 11 carries.
Harry Douglas continues to reward those who stashed him or picked him up and started him with a second consecutive 100-yard receiving game.
Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan doesn't look very good without his two superstar receivers lining up on the outside. He was just ok last week against a winless Tampa Bay team and this week the Cardinals defense made him look bad, picking him off four times.
With Rashard Mendenhall sidelined, we saw just how explosive Andre Ellington can be when he gets into open space. With nice blocking from his receivers, Ellington went 80 yards for a score in the second quarter. He's still a free agent in almost half of all leagues, but that number will go way down after Sunday's performance (15-154-1).
Cardinals wideout Larry Fitzgerald (4-48-1) became the youngest player in NFL history to catch 800 balls. He's been a great fantasy asset since arriving in the desert in 2004.
Washington at Denver
The Redskins played ball control in the first half trying to keep it away from Peyton Manning and it worked as they went to the break all tied. Alfred Morris ran nine times for 66 yards. Manning only threw 15 first-half passes, completing 12 for 131 yards and a touchdown to Wes Welker. They just didn't get much else going.
In the third quarter the Redskins defense made Manning look "ordinary" with a fumble that set up one touchdown and a "pick-six" as Washington opened up a two-touchdown lead.
The "real" Manning then got it into gear and drove his Broncos for three quick scores in under eight minutes with touchdown passes to Joel Dreessen and Knowshon Moreno. He finished with his seventh 300-yard day of the season (354 yards) and his 10th consecutive regular season game dating back to last season with at least two touchdowns (4 TDs, 3 INTs).
Moreno didn't get the running game going, but did catch six balls for 89 yards and a score to total 133 yards from scrimmage and satisfy his fantasy owners.
Alfred Morris appeared to be on his way to his second 100-yard bonus of the season, but the game got away from Washington in the second half and he came up seven yards short. He rushed for at least 100 yards seven times last season.
10/27 19:50:08 ET