BILLS QB: Brian Brohm
couldn’t even win the backup job in Green Bay, so when the Bills signed him off the Packers’ practice squad last month, they probably didn’t expect that he’d be starting by the end of the year. In the first regular-season action of his career, Brohm, facing one of the worst pass defenses in the league, threw two interceptions in a 31-3 loss to Atlanta. Ryan Fitzpatrick
sat out the game with an ankle injury, but he could return for the finale this week.
BROWNS QB: Brady Quinn
is done for the year with a sprained foot, so the Browns went back to old friend Derek Anderson
to lead them to victory over the Raiders Sunday. Anderson’s numbers weren’t even pedestrian – 8-for-17 for 121 yards and a TD – but he didn’t turn the ball over and did an excellent job handing the ball off to Jerome Harrison
COLTS QB: Peyton Manning
is fine of course. However, with nothing left to play for, the Colts benched Manning in the third quarter and turned the game – and the perfect season – over to Curtis Painter
. Painter, who likely will play nearly all of the finale, did not do so well. Again, Manning is fine, but if you’re thinking about playing him in Week 17, think again. Unfortunately, the same likely goes for Joseph Addai
, Reggie Wayne
, and Dallas Clark
DOLPHINS RB: A third quarter shoulder injury may have ended Ricky Williams
’ storybook season. Williams has 1,090 rushing yards and 13 total touchdowns this year, which is all the more amazing when you consider that Ronnie Brown
was the starter for the first half of the year. Now Lex Hilliard
appears to have the top job. Hilliard ran just three times for 12 yards Sunday, but he also caught nine passes for 74 yards. He also scored twice, perhaps indicating that the Dolphins will use him in the same way they’ve used Williams.
EAGLES RB: After missing five games with a concussion, Brian Westbrook
finally returned Sunday. He didn’t touch the ball much – nine carries and two receptions – but that was by design. LeSean McCoy
had six carries for 27 yards and will probably take more of a back seat the rest of the way.
FALCONS TE: Tony Gonzalez
left Sunday’s game with a calf injury, but backup Justin Peelle
wasn’t targeted the entire game. Gonzalez is sitting on 996 career receptions. Unless the injury is really serious, expect him to get to quadruple digits in the last game of the season.
GIANTS RB: Brandon Jacobs
has been one of the most frustrating running backs in the league this year. Too good to bench, but too inconsistent to count on week-in and week-out, the best thing his owners could hope for was a clear injury (either to him or to backup Ahmad Bradshaw
) so that at least they’d know how to roll that week. Jacobs had six carries for one yard Sunday before a knee injury forced him out of the game. The Giants will be playing for their playoff lives in Week 17, but it looks like Bradshaw will get the start.
LIONS QB: Drew Stanton
started for the first time in his career, but if Sunday were any indication, he may not get another chance for awhile. Stanton threw for 130 yards and three interceptions before getting pulled for Daunte Culpepper
. The Lions haven’t announced a starter for the finale, but with Matthew Stafford
out for the year and Stanton apparently not ready for prime time, it’s probably going to be Culpepper again.
PANTHERS WR: Steve Smith
’s season ended with a broken arm on a touchdown reception Sunday. It’s been an up-and-down year for Smith, who, among other things, may have lost his role as the top Steve Smith
in the league, but he had been playing very well lately and finished the year with seven touchdowns and 982 receiving yards. Dwayne Jarrett
may get a crack at starting with Smith out, but veteran Muhsin Muhammad
becomes the top target for the Panthers.
PATRIOTS RB: An early fumble knocked Laurence Maroney
out of the mix, and Fred Taylor
(who hadn’t played since Week 4) and Sammy Morris
picked up the slack. Morris, in particular, looked good, running for 95 yards and a score. As usual, no one knows what New England will do with their running backs, so it’s best to stay away from the situation if possible.
RAMS RB: Early reports had Samkon Gado
replacing Steven Jackson
(sore back) in the starting lineup, but instead the Rams went with a steady diet of Kenneth Darby
and Chris Ogbonnaya
. While Darby had been getting a carry or two every week all season, Ogbonnaya was seeing the first action of his career. Ogbonnaya had nine carries for a team-high 45 yards, while Darby carried 11 times for 40 yards. If Jackson can’t go in the finale, expect Ogbonnaya to carry a bit more of the load than Darby.
REDSKINS WR: A few weeks ago, Devin Thomas
caught seven passes (including two scores) for 100 yards and it looked like the 2008 draft pick was finally living up to his promise. He’s caught just two passes since then and he was inactive Sunday due to an ankle injury. Malcolm Kelly
, also a 2008 draft pick, took his place in the lineup and caught four passes for 25 yards. The two young receivers will probably compete for a starting job in camp next summer.
SAINTS RB: Although he scored an early touchdown, Pierre Thomas
didn’t finish Sunday’s game, leaving in the second quarter with bruised ribs. As usual, Reggie Bush
and Mike Bell
were around to get the carries that rightfully belonged to Thomas. Lynell Hamilton
had seven carries as well, and will be part of the three-headed monster at running back if Thomas doesn’t return for the regular-season finale.
TEXANS RB: Arian Foster
…sigh. After scoring negative fantasy points in Week 15 with thousands of new Foster owners counting on him, he somehow got 19 carries on Sunday and rushed for 97 yards and a touchdown. Until he fumbles again, he’ll stay the starter and Ryan Moats
and Chris Brown
will back him up. Sigh.