Just another quiet week in the NFL, right?
It started off with Martavis Bryant making statements on social media that apparently thinks he’s better than teammate Juju Smith-Schuster and that the Steelers should be throwing him even more balls to drop this season or trade him to some other team that will. Rumors also started to fly that Bryant was perhaps responsible for stealing the bicycle that Smith-Schuster uses for his primary transportation. That whole episode promptly got Bryant sent to the bench for the week. The Thursday game gave us a scoring explosion from the previously hapless Ravens that had Dolphins coach Adam Gase criticizing “top players” who weren’t studying the playbook (more on that later). We had 6 teams on a bye and the first big weekend of bad weather games across the eastern seaboard, that was keeping scoring down across the league. Then Seattle and Houston had perhaps the game of the year in a high-flying back-and-forth shootout that accounted for nearly 25% of all the TDs during the standard afternoon (1:00-7:00) slate of games on the Red Zone channel. Then JuJu Smith-Schuster made his own statement by going for 193 yards and a touchdown on Sunday Night Football
Then things got real crazy. Houston flew back home after their big game, and then promptly sent their left tackle back to the Pacific Northwest in the first of some crazy trade-deadline action. Patriots backup Jimmy Garappolo got traded to San Francisco. Oh, hey look! Ezekiel Elliot’s suspension got reinstated. Then the Dolphins traded Jay Ajayi (one of their “top players,” no doubt) to Philly. Rumors were surfacing that teams were trying to trade for retired WRs Calvin Johnson and Anquan Boldin. Jarvis Landry, Matt Forte, TY Hilton and Frank Gore were the subject of trade speculation, the Jets traded a 5th round pick for a corner who couldn’t start for one of the worst pass defenses in the league (Jets gonna Jets). Then the Panthers traded their one semi-proven wide receiver, Kelvin Benjamin, to the Bills three minutes before the trade deadline.
But the best was that 5 minutes before the deadline, the Browns had to make sure they staked their claim as the laughingstock of the league, as they agreed to trade for Cincinatti
backup QB AJ McCarron, but never bothered to call it in to league offices before the deadline, reportedly because they were celebrating the trade (Browns gonna Browns). And somewhere in there, the Giants suspended their best
cornerback defender healthy player Janoris Jenkins for unspecified reasons (but probably because their coach is in over his head)
Buoyed by the Seattle-Houston game, average scoring stayed about the same in the league this week but with a much wider range. Three teams scored more than last week’s high score, but the other 6 teams failed to top 117 points
We finally got a new team at the top of the total points standings as the Llamas rode the second highest score in the league this year to to top spot with McCaffeinated and Fly Eagles Fly not too far behind. But that lead will probably not be long-lived with Elliot’s suspension kicking in (again, for now, but probably for good)
Llamageddon 195.88, McCownasty 90.64
Once the afternoon games kicked in, this game turned into a laugher. After the 1:00 games were done, the score was extremely close and both teams had a few players left. The Llamas’ four players (Russell Wilson-43.08, JuJu Smith-Schuster 32.3, Ezekiel Elliot-26.4, and Tyler Lockett 17.9) scored nearly 120 points. The three remaining Nasty players (Tyreek Hill-3.8, Jesse James-6.2 and the Denver Defense-5.0) scored only 15 points allowing Llamageddon to more than double McCownasty’s total score.
Fly Eagles Fly 166.66, Fournettecation 80.70
This is the second game where the winner more than doubled the score of their opponent. Every once in a while I glance at the auto-generated game recaps on the league site and the one for this game had an interesting title: “Fly Eagles Fly Throat-Punches Fournettecation to Move into 3rd Place.” Throat-punches? I didn’t even know throat-punch was a thing, but apparently there’s memes about it and it seems like “Throat-punch Thursday” is a thing of its own. Who knew?! For the Eagles, Deandre Hopkins caught a big piece of that Seattle Houston action with over 36 points, Jerick McKinnon punished the winless Browns, and the Eagles Defense abused the winless 49ers. After a fast start to the season, Fournettecation has been reeling of late, failing to top 90 points since week 5.
pUSHing Chains 116.52, Plan XVII 109.46
In the first of three very tight games, Adam Thielen got Plan XVII’s Sunday off to a good start with a decent performance from Merry Old England. However, nobody else really took off and the Chain gang quickly made up that ground in the early afternoon session. After that the two teams went back and forth all day. Each team had one player left going into the Sunday night game where pUSHing Chains’ Golden Tate was able to hold off Plan 17’s LeVeon Bell.
Breaking Wind 157.66, Magic Mike Evans 154.98
Magic Mike got off to a fast start with a monster 2-TD performance from the Baltimore defense. With a big game from Will Fuller and Jimmy Graham (there’s that Seattle-Houston game again) they managed to extend that lead a little by the end of the afternoon games on Sunday, but at that point they were out of players, while Breaking Wind still had the Kansas City Defense and kicker. In a shocking Monday night rally Breaking wind got 21 points from each of those remaining bit-players to claim the narrow victory.
Game of the Week
McCaffeinated 113.92, Make the Redskins Great Again 112.18
MTRGA jumped out to a lead before the 1:00 game started and started to build on that lead early Sunday afternoon, but then went into a funk as several key players underperformed. at that time McCaffeinate made their big move as Mohammed Sanu and Rob Gronkowski had decent outings, but by 4:00 they had stalled too. McCaffeinated built a decent lead by the end of the Sunday night game and things looked good with Kareem Hunt and Demaryius Thomas still to play. But the Redskins had Alex Smith and Travis Kelce still to play and when they hooked up for an early TD on Monday night it was suddenly a dogfight. Both teams went at it all night but neither could pull away. The Redskins finally pulled ahead late in the 4th quarter, but some clock-killing runs by Hunt were just enough to claim the win, by the closest margin of victory since week 1.