G-Men Get First Win in MNF DudTuesday, October 22, 2013
The Giants’ 23-7 win over the Vikings on Monday night for their first win of the season was without question the ugliest football game played through seven weeks of the season. There weren’t many – if any – positives to take away from this one. Peyton Hillis was easily the best offensive player on the field. That tells you all you need to know about this dumpster fire of a contest.
Hillis totaled 81 yards and one touchdown on 23 touches. He accumulated the most yards from scrimmage of all the non-quarterbacks. He didn’t even look good in the process. On Hillis’ long gain of 16 yards on a catch-and-run there were no Minnesota defenders around him. His touchdown plunge from one yard out was gift-wrapped by Vikings punt returner Marcus Sherels. Sherels fumbled the ball inside his own ten-yard line. The Giants then gave it to Hillis two times as he pounded it into the end zone. Hillis got the start ahead of Michael Cox just five days after signing with the Giants. He looked like a grandpa in the first half before finally getting his legs under him a bit in the second half. At the end of the day, Hillis averaged 2.0 YPC on 18 totes. Rueben Randle scored the lone other offensive touchdown in this one. The rest of the scoring came via three Josh Brown field goals and a Sherels punt return touchdown.
There really aren’t any other takeaways from this pitiful game. The Giants will look to get Brandon Jacobs back from a hamstring injury ahead of a Week 8 date with the Eagles. If he can’t go, then Hillis will get another chance to carry the load. He’s not a fantasy option.
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Vikings at Giants Notes
Josh Freeman was downright awful in his Vikings debut. We’ve seen Freeman play bad before, but this was maybe the worst game of his career. He continually overthrew open receivers and made numerous poor decisions with the football. Freeman threw the ball 53 times and 33 resulted in an incomplete pass. The Vikings will almost certainly continue to roll with him at quarterback, but they need to make Adrian Peterson the focal point of the offense moving forward. … It’s absolutely inexcusable that Peterson received just eight carries in the first half and 15 touches all game. The guy is the best player on the planet. Who cares if the Giants were stacking the box? Teams did all season long against Peterson in 2012. The Minnesota coaches continue to display just how incompetent they really are. … Eli Manning didn’t have a very good night. He could have easily been intercepted at least two or three times if not for Minnesota defenders dropping them. Manning also could have thrown for two more touchdowns. Victor Cruz dropped a 13-yard score, while Eli overshot Hakeem Nicks on what would have been an opening-drive 16-yard touchdown. … Michael Cox rushed for 22 yards on six carries on the opening drive but was abandoned after that. He dances a bit too much instead of getting upfield, but it’s clear there’s some talent there. He likely won’t be given an opportunity to showcase it again this season. Andre Brown (broken leg) should be back after the Week 9 bye. … Josh Freeman’s play can only get better. But, right now, it’s hard to trust Jerome Simpson as anything more than a WR4 and Greg Jennings as anything more than a low-end WR3. Both were targeted heavily. Simpson dropped a sure 40-yard touchdown.
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News Nugget #1
On Sunday, Jay Cutler exited the Bears’ loss to the Redskins in the second quarter with a groin injury. His legs appeared to stretch awkwardly after taking a sack. Cutler then hobbled very gingerly to the locker room. He was sent for an MRI later that night.
Monday afternoon rolled around and Cutler was diagnosed with a torn groin. He’s going to be sidelined for a minimum of four weeks and will likely miss more time than that. The good news for the Bears is that they’re heading into their bye week. The bad news, however, is that Josh McCown is going to have to start football games for this team. McCown played decently in relief of Cutler on Sunday, but the Washington defense is a complete joke. McCown’s insertion into the lineup makes Alshon Jeffery and Martellus Bennett shaky fantasy plays. Matt Forte and Brandon Marshall remain elite plays. Look for the Bears to lean on Forte, while McCown could certainly force-feed the veteran Marshall.
News Nugget #2
Reggie Wayne was forced from Sunday night’s win over the Broncos with what was initially called a “sprained” knee. A Monday MRI revealed a much more serious injury. Wayne was diagnosed with a torn right ACL and meniscus and is obviously done for the season. Wayne was attempting to lunge for an under-thrown Andrew Luck pass on the play he was injured. It’s a devastating blow for the 5-2 Colts.
Indianapolis will move forward with Darrius Heyward-Bey, T.Y. Hilton, and LaVon Brazill as its top three receivers. However, we wouldn’t put it past GM Ryan Grigson to swing a deal for a receiver ahead of the October 29 trade deadline. Kenny Britt, Josh Gordon, and Hakeem Nicks are just a few names that could be in play. The Colts only have a little over $1 million in salary cap space, so that could complicate matters. Hilton will likely become Luck’s favorite target, but Coby Fleener could take over as the safety valve in the middle of the field that Wayne was for the second-year quarterback. Brazill will be a deep threat. We wouldn’t expect a major uptick in production from Heyward-Bey.
News Nugget #3
Doug Martin left Sunday’s loss to the Falcons with a left shoulder injury after he landed hard on it while attempting to make a catch near the end zone. Sunday evening X-rays came back negative and the second-year running back insisted his shoulder wasn’t separated.
On Monday morning, multiple news outlets reported Martin had suffered a torn labrum. That would almost certainly end his disappointing season. However, coach Greg Schiano came out and said the team doesn’t believe Martin’s injury is season-ending. Schiano simply said it would be a “stretch” for Martin to play this upcoming Thursday night against the Panthers. For now, we’ll consider Martin out indefinitely until an update is provided.
In the meantime, rookie Mike James is fully expected to carry the load for the Bucs while Martin is sidelined. James has rumbled for just 57 yards on 17 carries (3.4 YPC) through the first six games on his career. In the preseason, he piled up 130 yards on 32 totes (4.1 YPC). The Panthers have allowed just two touchdowns on the ground to opposing running backs this season. James will be a middling flex option but is definitely worth a pickup in all formats.
Quarterback/Running Back Quick Slants
Free agent JaMarcus Russell is reportedly still battling knee and weight problems. … Sam Bradford (torn ACL) is done for the season, but coach Jeff Fisher committed to Bradford for 2014 in his Monday presser. Of course, things can change, but this is the likely route the Rams take. Kellen Clemens will start for the Rams next Monday night. … The Browns have yet to decide on a Week 8 starting quarterback. It will either be Brandon Weeden or Jason Campbell. … Coach Gary Kubiak called Matt Schaub the Texans’ starting quarterback but said the position will be evaluated during the Week 8 bye. … Nick Foles has been diagnosed with a concussion. Michael Vick will likely start Week 8, though we can’t rule out Matt Barkley just yet. … The Jets released Brady Quinn and shifted David Garrard to the active roster. … Ben Tate revealed that he suffered four broken ribs on Sunday. He plans to play in two weeks following Houston’s Week 8 bye. That’s going to be awfully tough. Coach Gary Kubiak called Arian Foster (hamstring) day-to-day. … The Steelers released Isaac Redman. … Steven Jackson (hamstring) is expected to resume practicing this week. We’ll believe it when we see it. … Jonathan Stewart (ankles) is expected to practice this week for the first time this season.
Wide Receiver/Tight End Quick Slants
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports three teams have contacted the Browns about trading for Josh Gordon. Two teams reportedly have offers on the table. … Percy Harvin (hip) returned to practice Monday. He has a chance to suit up next Monday night against the Rams. … Danny Amendola (concussion) remains without a timetable for return. … The Cowboys may “shut down” Miles Austin (hamstring). Tony Romo says Terrance Williams has improved as much as anyone on the team the past six months. … Coach Mike McCarthy “hopes” to have James Jones (knee) back for Week 8, but said he was given a 2-3 week timetable initially. … Jermichael Finley (neck) was released from the intensive care unit at the hospital Monday evening and has feeling in all of his extremities. Coach Mike McCarthy said it was “premature” to put a timeline on Finley’s recovery. … Greg Olsen (foot) and Brandon LaFell (knee) were limited in Panthers practice Monday. Neither is in danger of missing Thursday night’s game. … The Redskins are reportedly trying to trade Fred Davis. They won’t get much in return if they’re successful. … ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Jimmy Graham’s (foot) status for Week 8 is uncertain. We’ll know more later this week.