Every Sunday we’re featuring the Sunday Six Pack that covers the day’s biggest storylines. We’ll be following this up each and every Monday with the Monday Hangover, which will look back on those stories and cover what we learned. These back-to-back articles are sure to get you primed, pumped and informed throughout the entire season. In addition, reading these articles will ensure you understand the dangers of not paying attention or drinking too much on Sundays.
Let’s get to it!
Can #1) Will The Real Chris Johnson Please Stand Up?
OK, it’s officially time to panic.
The Titans offensive line has been awful in giving Johnson holes, and he’s been hesitant and lacked his trademark explosion even when the holes are there for him. At this point, Johnson has just 45 yards on 33 carries this season, good for an anemic average of 1.4 yards per carry. He’s on pace to finish the year with 240 rushing yards, or just a mere 1,766 yards off his 2009 total of 2,006. His yards per carry average since that season has dropped in every year from 5.6 (2009) to 4.3 (2010) to 4.0 (2011) to that disturbing low of 1.4 so far this year. It’s not going to get any easier for Johnson as he faces teams in the upper half of the league in run defense in Houston, Minnesota and Pittsburgh over the next three weeks. It’s not going to be surprising to see Javon Ringer start carving out a role when he returns and Johnson simply needs to be benched until further notice.
We asked for the real Chris Johnson to stand up and after three weeks, it sadly looks like he has.
Can #2) Paging Elite Quarterbacks, Please Claim Your Elite Play
We focused on Drew Brees, Matt Stafford, Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady each not living up to their elite status so far in leagues. Things could have gone worse for most of these players on Sunday (we’ll see Rodgers tonight), but it could have gone better, too. None of them finished in the top ten again this week as Brees threw three touchdowns, but also only had 240 yards passing and an interception. Stafford left with a leg injury after throwing for just one touchdown and 278 yards. Brady threw for 335 yards, but had only one touchdown as well. All in all, we expect more from this group.
While it’s way too early to get down on yourself if you drafted one of these players highly or traded for them in the off-season, it’s looking like Matt Ryan and Robert Griffin III may well be the best two options in the game at the moment. Ben Roethlisberger isn’t far behind as he quietly has eight touchdowns and just one interception so far this year.
Can #3) Continued Development from Rookie Quarterbacks Not Named Luck and Griffin
We’ll see Russell Wilson tonight, but we really wanted to focus on Ryan Tannehill and Brandon Weeden on Sunday – unfortunately, they gave us a couple of disappointing performances. Weeden took a step back after a nice week two by completing 27-of-43 passes for just 237 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions in a loss against Buffalo. He now has a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 3:6 on the young season and that’s just not very good. Tannehill completed just 16-of-36 passes for 196 yards and an interception in Miami’s loss to the Jets. You can see he’s very talented, but the completion percentage was pretty poor this week as he floated numerous passes. He just needs to become much more steady and consistent. Again, this was a disappointing day for these two, but patience needs to be applied here.
Can #4) On Golden Ponder
We were very curious to see the maturation of Christian Ponder today to see if he could really deliver another solid performance against a team as good as San Francisco. Our newest writer (Andy Miley) suggested buying low on him Saturday, but it’s probably too late now as he posted 198 passing yards and one touchdown to go with 33 rushing yards and another score in an inexplicable win against the 49ers on Sunday.
I’ve personally never been high on Ponder, but he’s really making a run at being a solid option in leagues this year. He’s still yet to throw an interception this season and plays a Detroit defense that’s now given up 94 points in three games. He’s going to be tough to sit next week unless you have a truly elite option on your roster.
Can #5) Vicktimized
The Eagles were blown out by the surprising Cardinals 27-6 this week and Michael Vick was only able to complete 17-of-37 passes for just 217 yards with no touchdowns. He didn’t throw an interception this week for the first time all season, but he did lose two fumbles. On the year, Vick now has four total touchdowns (one rushing) and nine turnovers. With the Eagles facing the Giants next week, look for Vick to be on the run again. He was sacked five times this week, hurried ten more and now has to face the vaunted defensive line of New York next week. Have fun with that!
Let’s hope you have Vick as your QB2 right now and not your QB1. If he’s your lead option, you’re in likely in a bit of trouble already this season. The Eagles can’t block anyone and Vick isn’t making great decisions – that’s just not a great combination.
Can #6) The Return of Ryan
The much anticipated return of Ryan Mathews happened this week as he ran for 44 yards on ten carries and caught five passes for 32 more yards. The Chargers fell behind early and relied on an ineffective Philip Rivers in their 27-3 loss to the Falcons. On the good side, Mathews came out of the game feeling good and has proclaimed himself ready for a big workload going forward. The Chargers certainly need him because their passing game is just not clicking without Vincent Jackson and Vincent Brown in the lineup.
Have a great Monday and we’ll see you tomorrow for the weekly aftermath!
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