Dez Bryant’s Instant Fantasy Reaction After Week 5 Performance vs. Broncos

During Week 5 of the 2013 NFL regular season, the Denver Broncos and the Dallas Cowboys met in one of the most explosive offensive performances in recent history. Denver ended up winning 51-48, but both sides thrilled fantasy football owners.

In the end, few players helped their superstar status as much as Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant.

Bryant caught six passes for 141 yards and two touchdowns during the Cowboys’ home game against the heavily favored Broncos. Not only did he work his way into openings, but Bryant made a series of awe-inspiring catches and dizzying runs after the catch.

All in all, it was a confirmation of what the NFL community already knew.

Dez Bryant is good at catching the football and also running with the football.

— ESPN (@espn) October 6, 2013

Well said.

Is Dez Bryant a top-five receiver in the NFL?

Is Dez Bryant a top-five receiver in the NFL?

  • Yes. Bryant has proved that he’s one of the truly elite.

  • No. Bryant is good but not a top-five receiver.

Bryant is only 24, but he already has 3,294 career receiving yards and 33 receiving touchdowns. If he wasn’t before, and it’s hard to imagine that scenario, Bryant confirmed that he’s a weekly start in fantasy football leagues.

It’s easier to count the number of players who can slow him down than those who cannot.

Through the first five weeks of the 2013 NFL regular season, Bryant now has 29 receptions for 423 yards and six touchdowns. That’s good for averages of 5.8 catches, 84.6 yards and 1.5 touchdowns per appearance.

If you haven’t already, put Bryant in your starting lineup and only take him out on a bye week. This young performance does nothing but solidify his status as a genuine superstar at wide receiver.

Tony Romo Instant Fantasy Reaction After Week 5 Performance vs. Broncos

Who is this man, and what has he done with the real Tony Romo?

The star quarterback is in the midst of a historic performance against the Denver Broncos, via SportsCenter.

Tony Romo now has 502 passing yards, a career high and @dallascowboys record.

— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 6, 2013

Romo for 506 yards and five touchdowns. It was an incredible performance, with Romo thoroughly outplaying Peyton Manning on the day.

This game continues what has been one of the best seasons of his career. He’s been too good for too many weeks to chalk it up to coincidence. Romo is throwing the ball better and making much better decisions.

It’s great for the Cowboys, and it’s great for your fantasy team. Before, you would put Romo in your fantasy lineup with that worry that he was going to quite literally throw away points.

However, that fear seems to be unsubstantiated now. He looks to have turned a corner and gotten rid of the dumb plays that have plagued his career.

Even with that interception at the end of the game, this is a different Tony Romo you’re seeing.

Jason Witten’s Instant Fantasy Reaction After Week 5 Performance vs. Broncos

Jason Witten had a huge game against the Denver Broncos in Week 5, and fantasy football owners were thrilled with the performance.

The Dallas Cowboys lost 51-48 to the Broncos, but the numbers were impressive for Witten.  He had seven receptions for 121 yards and a touchdown, making it one of two great outings this season for the veteran tight end.

Heading into Sunday, Witten had caught 21 passes for 192 yards and two touchdowns.  His biggest performance came in Week 1, catching eight passes for 70 yards and two touchdowns.

While there are stud tight ends like Jimmy Graham and Tony Gonzalez, Witten has put up big games over the past few seasons and has continued to be a consistent option capable of putting up games like this.  He was the fifth-leading scorer among tight ends in the 2012 season, putting up 115 points in ESPN standard scoring leagues.

It was a great day for Witten, and owners are hoping for more of the same this season.

Terrance Williams’ Instant Fantasy Reaction After Week 5 Performance vs. Broncos

One of the first players you should grab on the waiver wire next week is Terrance Williams. The Dallas Cowboys may have found another No. 2 receiver in Williams to partner with Dez Bryant.

In the Cowboys’ battle with the Denver Broncos, the rookie wideout had four receptions for 151 yards and a touchdown.

Tony Romo was looking deep for the former Baylor Bear, and each time, he was there to make the catch. Williams needed only four targets to get those four receptions.

This could be the start of big things for Williams—both in reality and in fantasy. Rowan Kavner of DallasCowboys.com hit the nail right on the head.

How about the confidence Terrance Williams has to be gaining right now… probably earning Romo’s as well

— Rowan Kavner (@KavnerDC) October 6, 2013

The rookie isn’t going to unseat Bryant as the Cowboys’ top receiver, but he could easily fit into the offense and become a steady fantasy producer. You’d be smart to pick him up now, and watch in the next few weeks to see how he follows up on this performance.

Broncos survive scare in shootout win over Cowboys

The Denver Broncos survived their first scare of the 2013 season. It was a big one.

Matt Prater‘s 28-yard field goal as time expired Sunday lifted the Broncos to a 51-48 win over the Dallas Cowboys in a memorable game. The shootout represented the second-highest scoring contest since the NFL-AFL merger in 1970.

Peyton Manning was brilliant as usual, throwing for 414 yards and four touchdowns (he also had one rushing TD). Manning threw his first interception, however, and actually was outplayed by his counterpart for the first time this season. Tony Romo absolutely was unconscious for the better part of four quarters before throwing a late interception that buried Dallas’ hopes.

Denver coach John Fox said after the game it was his team’s “best character victory.” The Broncos dug out of an early 14-0 hole (with ease), then came back again when Romo and the Cowboys rallied to take a lead in the fourth quarter.

It wasn’t a perfect performance for the Broncos, who truly missed Von Miller for the first time this season. Romo carved up a Denver secondary that allowed six consecutive scoring drives at one point. A difficult day for the unit was salvaged by linebacker Danny Trevathan, whose diving interception was the biggest play of the afternoon.

The Broncos move to 5-0 with a layup next week at home against the hopeless Jacksonville Jaguars. It’s still too early to think 16-0, but remember Sunday’s game if Denver still is undefeated a couple months from now. The Broncos faced true adversity in Dallas and lived to tell the tale.

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Tony Romo’s pick sinks Dallas Cowboys vs. Broncos

The narrative that Tony Romo is a “choke artist” is not fair or accurate. But it will get a lot of run in the coming days.

The game of the NFL season turned on a Romo interception, with the Denver Broncos outlasting the Cowboys 51-48 on Sunday night in Dallas.

Romo set a Cowboys record with 506 yards and threw five touchdown passes on just 36 attempts, but his interception with just under two minutes left is all anyone will remember. Instead of Romo’s bad moment, we’ll remember Broncos linebacker Danny Trevathan making one of the plays of the season on the interception.

“The kid made a good play,” Romo said after the game. “I didn’t get as much on it just with the people around me as I wanted to. I wanted to put it another foot or two out in front. I didn’t put it exactly where I need to to complete the pass. And it’s frustrating and disappointing.”

The throw was not a great decision by Romo. He was pressured, and tight end Gavin Escobar was surrounded, but the play by Trevathan truly was sensational. So was Romo’s performance throughout the day.

“Tony played as good a football game as I’ve ever seen him play,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said.

That’s not hyperbole. Romo quietly has been one of the steadiest quarterbacks in the NFL this season. The numbers say Romo has played well overall in the fourth quarter throughout his career, but there’s no denying he’s made critical mistakes — like in last season’s finale against Washington. Romo diminished excellent outings this season with his fourth-quarter performances against Kansas City and now Denver.

The Romo narrative already has been written by many, but it’s not entirely fair. Dallas’ defense gave up 51 points Sunday. The running game was a non-factor. Romo was the reason the Cowboys were in the game, and he’s the reason they have a chance to win every week. 

The entire organization, however, has a nasty habit of wasting great efforts with rough endings. The entire organization, Romo included, doesn’t know how to close. There’s only one way to change that. 

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Ravens fight off Dolphins’ comeback attempt

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Ravens fight off Dolphins’ comeback attempt

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MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Frantically trying to protect a slim lead late in the fourth quarter, the Baltimore Ravens‘ pass rushers let Ryan Tannehill slip away to throw for a big gain.

The next time they made sure he didn’t escape.Elvis Dumervil sacked Tannehill for a 5-yard loss in the final minute to push the Miami Dolphins to the edge of field-goal range, and two plays later Caleb Sturgis missed a 57-yard try, giving Baltimore a 26-23 victory Sunday.Baltimore finished with six sacks, three by Terrell Suggs.”We weren’t perfect, but we made plays we needed to,” Suggs said.Justin Tucker kicked a 44-yard field goal to put the Ravens ahead with 1:42 left.Then Tannehill, under pressure all day, scrambled to his left before completing a 46-yard pass to Brandon Gibson on fourth down to keep the Dolphins’ hopes alive and give them a first down at the 34.Dumervil pushed them back to the 39.”We had good coverage, and I was able to make the play,” he said.That might have been enough to make Sturgis miss. He was wide left with 33 seconds to go.”Bad time to miss,” said the rookie, who had been 10 for 10. “I wanted to make sure I got it there. Unfortunately I hooked it pretty good.”The Ravens (3-2) rediscovered their ground game, bounced back from a loss last week at Buffalo and won on the road for the first time this season.The Dolphins (3-2) lost their second game in a row, with their pass protection again a culprit. Tannehill came into the game with 18 sacks, the most of any NFL quarterback.”It’s hard to function offensively when you’re going backward,” coach Joe Philbin said. “We’re going to fix the problems we have. We’re not going to sweep them under the rug.”Baltimore’s Joe Flacco passed for 269 yards and had one interception after throwing a career-high five interceptions last week. He had three completions of at least 40 yards, and each set up a score.The Ravens ran for a season-high 133 yards. Ray Rice rushed for a season-best 74 and caught six passes for 28. Torrey Smith made six catches for 121 yards.Despite being outgained and outplayed, the Dolphins mounted a furious rally. Trailing 23-13 with 10 minutes left, they scored twice in 95 seconds.Reshad Jones tied the game at 23 by returning an interception 25 yards for a touchdown. Flacco was throwing from the goal line on third down when his right arm and the ball were hit by Dion Jordan, and the pass fluttered to Jones, who ran untouched for the score.”Stuff happens,” Flacco said. “You get mad at yourself for a couple of seconds, then you go to the sideline to regroup.””Joe never gets fazed,” coach John Harbaugh said. “He’s not going to get rattled.”Flacco moved Baltimore 34 yards to set up Tucker’s tiebreaking field goal, his fourth of the day. The score triggered a roar, with perhaps 10,000 Ravens rooters in the crowd of 68,342.”How many fans did we have here?” Harbaugh said. “It seemed like half the stadium. They were loud the whole game.”Flacco led drives of 80, 73 and 94 yards on the Ravens’ first three possessions of the second half, each resulting in a score to transform a 13-6 deficit into a 23-13 lead.Tannehill couldn’t quite keep up. He finished 21 for 40 for 307 yards with one touchdown and no turnovers, but the Ravens’ sacks cost Miami 35 yards.”We knew coming in they had a good pass rush,” Tannehill said. “Especially when you get behind 10, we knew they were going to be teeing off. As a unit we just all need to step up and do everything we can to handle the pass rush.”The pressure was fiercest in the fourth quarter, when Suggs had all of his sacks.”My wife told me, `Bring mama home three sacks,” he said. “It came down the stretch and it was time to get going.”

Game notes

Dolphins DE Cameron Wake, nursing a left knee injury, started but played only briefly. Miami LB Dannell Ellerbe hurt his shoulder in the second quarter. CB Nolan Carroll left the game in the third quarter with a rib injury. … Ravens G Kelechi Osemele was sidelined by back spasms. … An interception by Baltimore’s James Ihedigbo was overturned, with the replay judge determining he was out of bounds. … Bernard Pierce had a 28-yard run, the Ravens’ longest this season. … Miami’s Mike Wallace had seven catches for 105 yards, but also dropped at least two passes.—AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL—Follow Steven Wine on Twitter: http://twitter.com/Steve-Wine

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

Lions’ Johnson: ‘Working hard to get back’


GREEN BAY, Wis. — Calvin Johnson‘s absence was evident on the field for the Detroit Lions during their 22-9 loss to Green Bay on Sunday.

But Johnson apparently was close to playing despite his knee injury. The star wide receiver was declared inactive Sunday after being listed as questionable throughout the week.

“Real close,” Johnson said. “Obviously we weren’t all the way there today, so working hard to get back.”

The Lions hope that the knee injury, which was different than the strain Johnson had last season, will not be long-term.

“Calvin’s a tough guy,” Lions coach Jim Schwartz said. “He’s a hard worker and he’s going to work hard to get back as quick as he can.”

Schwartz declined to speculate when Johnson, who is the Lions’ leading receiver with 21 receptions for 312 yards and four touchdowns, would return. He also is the catalyst for a lot of double teams for opposing defenses.

Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford said he had an idea Johnson might not play on Saturday, but wasn’t completely sure until he was ruled inactive following warmups.

“[I knew Johnson was out] about the same time y’all did,” Lions receiver Kris Durham said. “We were more prepared like there’s a chance he may not play, but we didn’t know for sure until he got out there and tested it in warmups and stuff.”

In other injury news, running back Theo Riddick was taken to a hospital and was diagnosed with a concussion, but returned to the team by the end of the game and went back to Michigan with the Lions.

  • Previously covered University of Michigan for ESPN.com and AnnArbor.com
  • Also covered Notre Dame for Fort Wayne Journal Gazette

Luck, Colts rally to hand Seahawks 1st loss

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Andrew Luck, Colts rally to knock Seahawks from ranks of unbeaten

Colts Hand Seahawks First Loss
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INDIANAPOLIS — Andrew Luck handed Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks their first loss of the season.

On a day, the Colts’ offense struggled at times, Luck threw for 229 yards and two touchdowns and Donald Brown put the Colts ahead with a 3-yard TD run early in the fourth quarter to knock off previously unbeaten Seattle 34-28.

Luck led yet another fourth-quarter comeback, his ninth in 21 career games.

Good To Have Luck On Side


Andrew Luck did it again Sunday, leading the Colts to a comeback win against the Seahawks. It was his ninth game-winning drive in the fourth quarter or overtime, tied for the most for a QB in his first two seasons since 1966. Here’s a look:

Seasons Quarterbacks GW Drives
2012-13 Andrew Luck 9
1997-98 Jake Plummer 9
1998-99 P. Manning 8
— Elias Sports Bureau

He led the Colts on a long, methodical scoring drive to open the fourth quarter, capping it with Brown’s TD run and then throwing to Reggie Wayne for a 2-point conversion.

Indy then used the clock on another long drive that ended with Adam Vinatieri‘s 49-yard field goal.

Wilson finished 15 of 31 for 210 yards with two TDs, one interception and ran 13 times for 102 yards. Marshawn Lynch ran 17 times for 102 yards.

T.Y. Hilton had five catches for a career-high 140 yards.

For the Seahawks (4-1), it was a loss that seemed every bit as inexplicable as last week’s victory in Houston.

Despite playing without three starting offensive linemen for the second straight week, Seattle dominated the first half, rushed for 218 yards and seemed to be in control for most of the game.

Seattle lost its first regular-season game since Nov. 25 at Miami, ending a nine-game winning streak.

The game featured two blocked kicks that wound up going for scores, a 73-yard TD pass from Luck to Hilton and two 2-point conversion tries by the Colts.

But Seattle was just 2 of 12 on third down conversions, played the final nine minutes without a timeout and settled for too many field goals.

It was a costly combination.

But it didn’t look as if it would end this way when Seattle opened the game by driving for a field goal, a touchdown and then got a safety after a blocked punt to make it 12-0 with 4:53 left in the first.

The Colts rallied with the long TD pass to Hilton and took the lead when Delano Howell returned a blocked field goal 61 yards for a TD.

Seattle led 19-17 at the half and appeared to take control in the third quarter after settling for two quick field goals to make it 25-17.

But Luck hooked up with Hilton again, this time on a nifty 29-yard throw down the sideline to cut the deficit to 25-23 with 4:16 left in the third.

Brown gave Indy the lead for good early in the fourth, after coach Chuck Pagano won a challenge on a third-down spot that turned a fourth down into a first down.

The Colts were in control the rest of the way.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

Bengals halt Brady’s TD streak, edge Pats

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Bengals halt Tom Brady’s touchdown streak, edge Patriots

Bengals Deal Patriots First Loss
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CINCINNATI — Tom Brady couldn’t get into the end zone against a defense that’s developing a reputation for taking down the league’s top quarterbacks.

Aaron Rodgers found out. And so did Brady, running on empty all game long.The Bengals ended Brady’s streak of 52 consecutive games with a touchdown pass on Sunday, sacking him on his first pass attempt and keeping the pressure going.The defense even helped BenJarvus Green-Ellis get into the end zone for the game’s only touchdown in a 13-6 victory over the previously undefeated Patriots.It was so impressive that defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer was handed a rain-drenched game ball in the locker room.”That’s a great accomplishment,” coach Marvin Lewis said. “I don’t normally give out game balls, but I gave that one to Zimmer. They played well today. They were tight in coverage most of the day. Upfront, they got after it.”Geno Atkins sacked Brady on his first pass attempt, and the Bengals (3-2) dropped him four times overall. And that wasn’t all: New England (4-1) failed to get into the end zone after a first-and-goal from the 1-yard line in the fourth quarter.One yard too much for New England? Stunning.”I’m bummed that we lost,” Brady said of his broken streak. “I think that’s all that really matters.”A driving rain moved in just before New England’s final chance. After a couple of dropped passes, Brady threw one toward the goal line and Adam “Pacman” Jones made a juggling interception inside the Cincinnati 5-yard line.Some finish.”We knew we were going to have our hands full, but we were able to get to Brady on the second play,” defensive tackle Domata Peko said. “After that, you could see he was a little shaky. If you hit somebody enough, they’re going to make mistakes.”Brady had thrown a touchdown pass in 52 straight games, the second-longest streak in NFL history behind Drew Brees‘ 54-game streak.The Patriots were held out of the end zone for the first time since a 16-9 loss to the Jets on Sept. 20, 2009.”All week long, all you guys were talking about was Tom Brady,” safety Chris Crocker said. “We wanted them to be talking about us.”They are now, with good reason.Two weeks earlier at Paul Brown Stadium, the Bengals’ defense stymied Rodgers in a 34-30 win over Green Bay, overcoming four turnovers by Cincinnati’s offense that gave the Packers good field position.Brady never got into a rhythm against Cincinnati’s unrelenting pass rush. He finished 18 of 38 for 197 yards with one interception and a paltry passer rating of 52.2.Cincinnati’s defense even had a hand — well, a shoulder — in the winning touchdown.The Bengals had failed to score a touchdown during a 17-6 loss at Cleveland, one that left them looking to establish an identity on offense by running the ball. They did what they wanted in one grinding drive.Cincinnati went 93 yards in 14 plays for its touchdown, holding the ball for 7 minutes, 48 seconds. Peko came in as a blocking fullback on third-and-goal from inside the 1-yard line but took off too soon, a false start.Andy Dalton scrambled to the 1 on a keeper, and Peko came in and plowed the way for Green-Ellis to score on fourth down.Dalton was 20 of 27 for 212 yards with four sacks and one costly interception. He scrambled away from pressure and threw back across the field in the first quarter, getting intercepted by Brandon Spikes at the 8-yard line.It was the first time during his three-year career that Dalton threw an interception on a play that started inside the opponent’s 20-yard line.Given how the defense was playing, the one touchdown drive was good enough.”It’s definitely fun to watch those guys go out and play,” Dalton said. “They’re doing so many good things, and to see what they do to a guy like Tom Brady and what they’ve done to a lot of these quarterbacks — they’re some of the best in the league.”They’re playing unbelievable.”

Game notes

Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski was inactive for the fifth time. He’s recovering from a forearm injury and back surgery. … Brady had been 4-0 against the Bengals with a 114 passer rating. … WR Austin Collie, signed on Thursday, also was inactive. … DL Tommy Kelly hurt his right knee in the fourth quarter but walked off the field. … New England has a takeaway in 32 straight games, the longest active streak in the league. … Bengals CB Leon Hall missed a second straight game with a hamstring injury.—AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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