Chris Wesseling

The Morning After

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Cleveland Rocks!

Monday, November 08, 2010


So Peyton Hillis was a programmic non-fit in Denver? The entire Broncos team has 538 rushing yards on 185 attempts this season (2.9 YPC). After rampaging for Sunday's career-high 184 yards, Hillis boasts 644 rushing yards on 133 carries (4.8 YPC) on the season. He became the first back this year to clear the century mark against the Patriots. Those 184 rushing yards were the most the Pats have surrendered since 2002 when a young Ricky Williams went for 185 yards.

Hillis was a physical mismatch for the young New England defense, bouncing off tacklers like a pinball and getting stronger throughout the afternoon. After shutting the door with a 35-yard stampede late in the fourth quarter, Hillis became the first Browns back to record eight touchdowns in the first eight games since Hall of Famer Leroy Kelly in 1968. The latter-day John Riggins is on pace for 266 carries, 1,288 yards (4.8 YPC), 60 receptions, 458 receiving yards (7.6 YPR), and 16 TDs.

Are the Browns for real? Colt McCoy, the NCAA's all-time winningest quarterback, has led Cleveland to back-to-back games of 30+ points for the first time since 2004. Poised, efficient, and athletic, McCoy may be showing Browns fans a glimpse of their future in knocking off Drew Brees and Tom Brady in successive games. The third-rounder became the first quarterback in NFL history to square off against Super-Bowl winning QBs in each of his first three starts. The rook more than held his own in all three.

"Give Cleveland a lot of credit," Bill Belichick said after the game. "They obviously did everything better than we did – every single thing you could measure. They were clearly a better team." McCoy is playing error-free football. In three games against the Steelers, Saints, and Patriots, he's only thrown 22 incompletions and two interceptions. Cleveland is getting ready to rock for the first time in more than decade.

Game Balls

  • Jacoby Ford - You couldn't write a better script for a breakout game. Ford was essentially shut out of the first half. By the end of the game, the rookie became the first NFL player since 1963 to have 140 receiving yards and 150 return yards in a game. The Steelers' Gary Ballman last performed the feat in 1963 with 161 yards receiving and 159 yards on returns. Ford's 306 all-purpose yards also ties Tim Brown's Raiders rookie record for a single game.

    Go beyond the box score, and you'll find the most clutch performance in the NFL's Week 9. Coming out of halftime with the Raiders down 10-0 and unable to generate offense, Ford turned on the 4.28-forty jets for a 94-yard kickoff return to start the Raiders' scoring. Gaining the trust of play-caller Hue Jackson throughout the second half, Ford came through with a pair of circus catches to set up key fourth quarter field goals. The first came on a bomb when he fell to his knees to make an adjustment. On the second, Ford climbed over shutdown corner Brandon Flowers to steal the ball with less than 20 seconds left and his team down three points. He wasn't finished yet. On Oakland's first play of overtime, Ford dusted Flowers again for a 47-yard bomb to set up Sebastian Janikowski's game winner. The Raiders walked away 5-4, sitting atop .500 for the first time in eight years.

  • Philip Rivers - The Texans' secondary is a fantasy rock. After allowing 24, 27, 27, 24, 31, 31 and 30 in their first seven games, they gave up 29 Sunday to a Chargers team missing its All-Pro tight end as well as its top four wideouts. Rivers, No. 2 all time in passer rating, has to be considered an MVP candidate along with the Manning Brothers. On pace for 5,234 yards (Dan Marino's record is 5,084), Rivers also notched his 22nd straight game with a passing touchdowns -- extending the longest active streak in NFL. The Bolts are ready for their annual second-half drive with Antonio Gates, Malcom Floyd, and Vincent Jackson all due back by Week 12. They get a week off and then four of five games at home.

  • Brett Favre - For once this year, it wasn't Favre who put the Vikes in the hole they had to dig out of late in the game. A Cardinals team that has now scored eight touchdowns on returns to just 11 via the run or pass did the majority of its damage on returns by LaRod Stephens-Howling and Michael Adams. Favre passed Minnesota to the final 17 points of the game, including two touchdowns in the final 3:34 of regulation. Favre's 446 yards are a career-high. His last 400-yard game was on December 5, 1993 -- a span of 16 years, 337 days between games. It's the longest span in NFL history.

  • Michael Vick - As a Vick owner in multiple leagues, this was the missing ingredient to my fantasy teams. More accurate than ever, showing better touch, and reading defenses with more clarity, Vick picked up where he left off with playmaker DeSean Jackson, neither player showing hesitation in returning from injuries. After piling up 74 yards and a touchdown on the ground, Vick joins Randall Cunningham and Steve Young as the only quarterbacks to rush for more than 4,200 career yards.

  • Seyi Ajirotutu - Put another one on the board for Rotoworld. Given a "matchup alert" in my Waiver Wired column early in the week and prime billing by Evan Silva in his excellent weekly Matchups column, the Seyi Hey Kid didn't let us down. Activated from the practice squad two weeks ago, the undrafted rookie had his way with first-round CB Kareem Jackson. Ajirotutu got deep for touchdowns of 55 and 28 yards, the latter set up by a key third-down reception in traffic. "Tutu" may be a one-week wonder, but he's worth keeping around through the bye week if you have the roster space. Malcom Floyd (hamstring) is no lock to return in Week 11.

  • Jacob Tamme - Dallas Clark's replacement is the No. 1 tight end in the NFL over the past two weeks. Tamme doesn't quite have Clark's after-the-catch ability, but he runs all of Clark's routes and shows excellent hands. His 11 receptions and 108 yards Sunday came on a whopping 17 targets, most in the league in Week 9. With all of the carnage at the position this year, Tamme is a top-six tight end option the rest of the way.


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    Chris Wesseling is a senior football editor and Dynasty league analyst for Rotoworld.com. The 2011 NFL season marks his fifth year with Rotoworld and his third year contributing to NBCSports.com. He can be found on Twitter @ChrisWesseling.
    Email :Chris Wesseling



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