Editor's Note: Beyond the box score
is available every Monday morning to our Season Pass
subscribers, along with countless other stat tools, columns, and premium information, but here's a peek at the Top 5 games of the week.#5. Jets 29 Colts 15Beyond the Box Score
* The Colts threw in the towel despite a 15-10 lead ten minutes into the third quarter. They pulled Peyton Manning
, Reggie Wayne
, Joseph Addai
, and Dallas Clark
, and allowed 19 unanswered points the rest of the way. It's what GM Bill Polian wanted, but the game was hard to watch from that point on.
* The Jets used Mark Sanchez
as strictly a game manager, leaning heavily on the run. Powerful rookie Shonn Greene
had some series to his own and impressed, but Thomas Jones
was the focal point of the offense. His 29-yard run down the sideline in the fourth quarter, following by a one-yard touchdown r, sealed the game for New York.
* Manning's replacement, rookie Curtis Painter
, was utterly ineffective in the third and fourth quarters. With Hank Baskett
and Austin Collie
as his wideouts, Painter didn't make many throws outside the numbers and showed no aggressive going downfield. He also lost a fumble that was recovered by the Jets for a decisive touchdown.Going Forward
* Donald Brown
is The Guy in terms of carries behind Joseph Addai
, and has a favorable matchup in Week 17 against Buffalo. Brown wasn't very impressive Sunday in his first game back after a month-long layoff due to a chest injury, but could flirt with 20 touches in the regular season finale.
* The Jets are still alive in the playoff chase, and face a Bengals team that is still competing in Week 17. Cincinnati is locked into the No. 4 seed in the AFC, but could move into the No. 3 spot.
* All Colts starters are likely to only play a few possessions, if that, next week against the Bills. They definitely won't get in two quarters-plus like they did on Sunday, especially now that the pursuit of perfection is over.#4. Bengals 17 Chiefs 10Beyond the Box Score
* The Bengals came out with a low level of intensity and barely made it out of the contest with a victory. Carson Palmer
was just 2-of-4 for six yards at the end of the first quarter and had just 19 total yards in the first half.
* It was the lowest first-half passing yardage for the Bengals since Jeff Blake
struggled against the Oilers in 1996.
* Chad Ochocinco
was granted one touchdown but nearly grabbed another in the first half. He stepped out of bounds before making a nice catch in the back of the end zone, however, and the score was overruled by a replay challenge.
* Matt Cassel
targeted Chris Chambers
in the end zone but Chambers couldn't get his head around in time and the pass sailed incomplete. Cassel was disappointing Sunday as was the Chiefs' entire passing game.
* That said, Cassel has 10 fourth quarter touchdowns this season, the most in the NFL. If only he could find a rhythm in the early-going.
* Cedric Benson
topped 100 yards for the sixth time this season, a new Bengals franchise record.Going Forward
* Jamaal Charles
gained 16 yards on the game's first three plays and kept right on rolling as time ticked away. He finished with a solid 102 yards on 24 carries and another 22 receiving yards on three catches. Charles is shooting up 2010 fantasy draft boards.
* The Bengals clinched the AFC North with the victory and now have the luxury of resting their starters. Stay tuned this week as we try to get an idea of Cincinnati's Week 17 game plan.#3. Steelers 23 Ravens 20Beyond the Box Score
* Derrick Mason
had an easy touchdown pass bounce directly off his facemask. He was wide open and it essentially cost his team the game.
* Ray Rice
was forced to chip at the line on passing plays with LT Jared Gaither
inactive and Oniel Cousins
in and out of the game. That's why Rice only had one catch.
* Santonio Holmes
is getting stronger as the season goes on. He was targeted 12 times in this game and he's re-establishing himself as the Steelers' best receiver.
* Rashard Mendenhall
is the third-down back, but he struggled in that role today. He dropped a touchdown pass and Mewelde Moore
was in on some late passing downs. Going Forward
* Ray Rice
showed why he's matchup proof. He ran between the tackles against one of the best run defenses in the league and dominated. He really can do it all and will be a first-round pick next season even though he's not a goal-line back.
* Mark Clayton
was active, but had zero targets and barely played. Kelley Washington
and Demetrius Williams
had some chances but are nowhere near fantasy options.
* Willis McGahee
remains the goal-line back. In fact, he comes in the game when the Ravens get inside the 10-yard line.
* Mike Wallace
is more than just a deep threat. He works well with Big Ben because he knows how to get open on broken plays. Once Hines Ward
retires, Wallace will be an interesting prospect.#2. Eagles 30 Broncos 27Beyond the Box Score
* Brandon Stokley
was ejected in the first quarter when he argued a call and ended up barely touching an official. That opened up more targets for Jabar Gaffney
. Brandon Lloyd
was also active for the first time in his Broncos career with Eddie Royal
* Correll Buckhalter
injured his leg returning a kickoff in the second quarter. He was really limping badly as he came off the field but returned. Still, the injury bothered him as he was grimacing and limping around after carries.
* Knowshon Moreno
is not very explosive in the running game. He couldn't crack three yards a carry for the third straight contest. We're not saying he's a bust, but he's had plenty of chances to impress this season and hasn't done so.
* Jeremy Maclin
put a stamp on his return to the field with a game-winning play in the final minute. He made a beautiful catch on the sideline and ended up with 10 targets. That foot injury was obviously no big deal. Going Forward
* Brian Westbrook
's role was much bigger than anyone predicted in this one. He started and was on the field for five plays on the first drive alone. Look for this committee to become his as we move forward into the playoffs.
* You can drop Leonard Weaver
. With Westbrook back, there's just no enough carries to go around.
* DeSean Jackson
was shadowed by Champ Bailey
, so don't be alarmed. It's a good sign that D-Jax finally got a short TD to go along with all his long bombs this season. Jackson can do it all.
* Brandon Marshall
is going to have poor yardage games like this. Kyle Orton
just doesn't look comfortable throwing deep and Marshall is such a monster target underneath. The Eagles did a great job of wrapping Marshall up after catches.
* The Eagles will not rest players next week. They will have a chance at a first-round bye.#1. Buccaneers 20 Saints 17Beyond the Box Score
* With Tampa willing to give up underneath passes but locking down the deep middle, Drew Brees
engineered a dink-and-dunk offense. He started hot by getting the Saints out in front early, but Bucs coach Raheem Morris made effective halftime adjustments. New Orleans was rarely in Bucs territory in the final two quarters.
* The Bucs stuck with the running game even after falling behind 17-0 early, and it paid off. Carnell Williams
racked up 99 yards in the second half alone as Tampa Bay dominated time of possession in the final two quarters and took the game to overtime. Connor Barth
, recently signed off the street, nailed a 47-yard field goal to win it.
* Pierre Thomas
had a big first half with 60 yards and a touchdown, but exited at halftime with bruised ribs and didn't return. Mike Bell
, Lynell Hamilton
, and Reggie Bush
shared the backfield from that point on and were almost completely ineffective.
* Saints K Garrett Hartley
missed a 37-yard field goal towards the end of regulation that would have sealed the win for New Orleans.Going Forward
* Don't look for Thomas to play at Carolina in Week 17. Coach Sean Payton is obsessed with keeping Thomas fresh for the postseason and will make sure he's not put in harm's way. Bell has struggled badly with a 2.8 yards-per-carry average over the last month, so Hamilton may see a sizable workload.
* The Bucs' backfield distribution is still very hard to predict week to week. While Williams was the featured runner on Sunday, Derrick Ward
led the way with 20 touches the game before. It's impossible to say with any certainty who the Bucs' lead runner will be in Week 17 against the Falcons.
* Robert Meachem
is the Saints' clear-cut No. 2 receiver, especially when Lance Moore
and Jeremy Shockey
are inactive. Moore aggravated his high ankle sprain last week and is out indefinitely. Shockey can't seem to get over the hump in his recovery from turf toe.