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The Trans-Atlantic Sports Romantic! - by TheMach

The "Nobody Saw That Coming" Awards for NFL Week 11

November 19th 2012 00:38
So the National Football League is at it again . . .

In the ever unpredictable world of American Football week 11 was not to be out done. With all teams past the half way stage in the season you think that predictions and fantasy matchups would become much more straightforward. Of course the NFL personnel have other ideas and the weeks early games have tossed up plenty more "nobody saw that coming" moments.

Many of which occurred at Reliant Stadium in Houston as the Texans were taken to overtime after a whopping 74 points were shared between the 8-1 home team Texans and . . . . . . the Jacksonville Jaguars? Apparently so.

Let the anomalies begin!

- The Texans were second in total defense and 3rd against the pass over their 9 games prior to week 11. They suited up AT HOME against their 1-8 miserably poor divisional rivals Jacksonville Jaguars who were the longest odds of the day with bookmakers, this was literally as much of a banker as you are likely to say. So cue the ritualistic tearing up of the script. The stats made ugly reading for the road team: The Jags had not posted more than 23 points in a game this season, they were the lowest ranked offense in the league in terms of yards per game which is in direct correlation with their rank 32nd in total points and points per game average. The chances of any of that changing on the road in week 11 against a mighty Texans defense that had most recently gone into Soldier Field and flexed their muscles against Chicago were about as likely as the Burress family having Stevie Johnson over for thanksgiving...

- So of course contrary to popular belief the Jags blew up their own unwanted statistics in a big way. Highly rated and highest selected wide receiver in the draft Justin Blackmon had made little impact on the Jaguars struggling aerial attack and was on his way to becoming the biggest rookie flop of 2012. The former Oklahoma State prospect had just one touchdown on the season so far and his biggest game in terms of yardage was a mediocre 67 yards outing against Green Bay by which point he had already been cut from a large chunk of his fantasy teams and but on the back burner. So kudos to anyone who got lucky this week; I defy anyone to tell me they had the hindsight to start Blackmon against the 3rd ranked pass defense in the entire league on the day when he received for A MONSTER 236 yards and a touchdown in just 7 receptions. . . . We should have seen it coming

- Sticking with the Jags and their unbelievable yet ultimately fruitless day, who would have thought that the answer to all of their woes throwing the football had been sat on their bench the whole time. Without sounding malicious, the Jags fans will be forgiven for thinking the 1st quarter injury to struggling 2nd year QB Blaine Gabbert was a blessing in disguise. After all it prompted the emergence of former Dolphin trigger man Chad Henne who as an early replacement tore up the previously impressive Texans secondary totaling 354 yards and 4 touchdowns. . . selection dilemma anyone? It's a no-brainer for Mike Mularkey

- . . . and all of this WITHOUT Maurice Jones-Drew!

- There was yet more to come from this AFC South tie in terms of fantasy frustrations. Owners would have been overjoyed to see top 5 tight end Owen Daniels make it through his game-time injury decision to start the game with such a favourable matchup. So just to enforce the pulling out of hair nationwide, Daniels managed just 57 yards on the day without his trademark score whilst his second-in-comand Garrett Graham who NOBODY would have started ahead of Daniels went to waste with 82 yards and 2 touchdowns. As if this wasn't enough for his trust owners to endure, James Casey the third choice tight end also hauled in from record-setter Schaub for a score and he too outscored his superior. Whatever next...

- Andre Johnson. Remember him? This former wide receiving juggernaut topped fantasy charts and led the league in his specialism for years but was notably fading in recent seasons. This weeks matchup was very kind and those who had kept faith with Johnson would have started him despite the fact he has only 2 touchdowns and the same number of 100 yard games this season that he previously used to post in his sleep. In spite of his obvious talent and the fact that form is temporary, class is permanent I don't think anybody envisaged a CAREER day for Johnson. Yes a career day, well into his 10th season and he posts a personal best - 273 yards and the winning touchdown in overtime, the first time he has toppled 30 fantasy points in recent memory.

- In stark contrast comes Arian Foster who was widely touted for an absolute field day against the Jags and subsequently selected in over 50% of peoples perfect lineups. 3rd in total rushing yards, 2nd overall for points scored by a running back and capable of both rushing and receiving 100 yards sometimes in the same games. After tearing up much more vaunted defenses like Chicago and Baltimore to name but a few, Foster somehow managed his lowest contribution of the season against an overly generous Jaguars defense. It was his first week without a touchdown of some description and to add insult to injury he lost a fumble in the process. Uncharacteristic nondescript showing from a man whose reliability and consistency made him a number one draft pick in many fantasy leagues nationwide.

- With that one game defying the realms of comprehension you'd have been forgiven for letting other eyebrow raising results from around the league go unnoticed. The St Louis Rams found themselves in the rare position as firm favourites for a game in week 11. The tale of the tape painted a clear picture, the Rams ticked every box with home advantage over the calamitous 3-6 New York Jets and if recent form counted for anything this one was over before it started. The Jets were a team divided, a media circus in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons playing excruciating football; they matched up against a Rams side buoyed by their incredible tie last week on the road in San Francisco no less, surely this would count for much this week? In essence it counted for very little as the Jets dare to dream once more after a comfortable 27-13 victory to tip the scales.

- Continuing in the same mantra of teams failing to capitalise on an outstanding effort on the road from week 10, the Kansas City Chiefs continue to disappoint. I'd given them half a chance this week as the home side against a Bengals team that have been far from convincing on the road, especially given the Chiefs surprise efforts on Monday night that saw them take the Steelers to overtime in their own back yard in a one-off stout defensive showing. Momentum is certainly not in their vocabulary as they flopped aimlessly to a 28-6 home defeat failing to register a touchdown for the second time this season.

So with a large percentage of pick 'ems, perfect challenges and fantasy games ruined once more by the Jekyll and Hyde National Football League it is with sincerity that we give thanks to the Denver Broncos, New England Patriots and New Orleans Saints for completing the afternoon with considerably more sanity and each doing what was expected of them and winning comfortably against inferior opposition. There's hope yet!


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