BRONCOS RB: While rookie Knowshon Moreno has been the lead back in Denver the last few weeks, it wasn’t until Sunday that he officially got the first start of his career. Correll Buckhalter sat out the game with an ankle injury and he watched Moreno rack up 88 yards rushing and 36 yards receiving. Buckhalter should be back soon, but his role will get smaller and smaller as Moreno gets more experience.
BROWNS RB: Jamal Lewis came back with a vengeance Sunday, rushing for 117 yards on 31 carries, numbers remarkably similar to what backup Jerome Harrison put up in Week 4. On a day in which the Browns completed just two passes, Harrison got a healthy eight carries off the bench, but he gained just 21 yards. Looks like the death of Lewis’ career was a bit exaggerated. He’s back on top of the depth chart for now.
BROWNS WR: With Braylon Edwards gone, Mohamed Massaquoi , who caught eight passes for 148 yards in Week 4, has assumed the role of go-to receiver in the Cleveland offense. Of course, if your starting quarterback goes 2-for-17, being the top wide receiver on the roster is kind of meaningless. Still, everyone moves up with Edwards gone; behind Massaquoi is Josh Cribbs, new acquisition Chansi Stuckey, and Mike Furrey.
COWBOYS WR: Miles Austin played Lou Gehrig to Roy Williams’ Wally Pipp Sunday. Austin’s 59-yarder gave the Cowboys the lead with just over two minutes to go, and his 60-yarder won the game in overtime, but it wasn’t like he hadn’t done anything up to that time – he finished the game with 10 catches for 250 yards. Williams missed the game with an injury to his ribs, but if Austin keeps this up, either Williams or Patrick Crayton could soon be out of a job.
EAGLES QB: Donovan McNabb threw for 264 yards and three scores in his first action since Opening Day, leading Philadelphia to a 33-14 win over the Buccaneers. Kevin Kolb, thank you for your service; here’s your clipboard.
EAGLES RB: The Eagles also welcomed back Brian Westbrook, who missed one game with an ankle injury. Westbrook didn’t do much Sunday, though he did score a touchdown. His backup and eventual successor, LeSean McCoy was quiet as well. Combined, the two backs had just 32 yards on 12 carries.
EAGLES WR: Kevin Curtis hasn’t been lighting it up this year, but a knee injury sidelined him Sunday, giving rookie Jeremy Maclin a chance to shine. Maclin caught two long touchdowns on his way to 142 yards receiving. Now that the Eagles know what they have in Maclin, he might be starting opposite DeSean Jackson before long.
49ERS RB: Glen Coffee started his second game in a row Sunday, finding the end zone for the first time in his career. That’s the good news. The bad news is that he left Sunday’s blowout with a left leg contusion. The 49ers have a bye this week, and Frank Gore is expected to return in the following week, but if both Coffee and Gore are out, Michael Robinson will likely get the call on October 25 against Houston.
JAGUARS WR: Just when you started getting used to penciling Mike Sims-Walker into your lineup every week, along comes a last-minute team suspension. Mike Thomas started in his place, catching one pass for 28 yards in a 41-0 loss to Seattle. Torry Holt, meanwhile, returned to his glory days as a No. 1 receiver, catching seven passes for 95 yards. Assuming Sims-Walker’s violation of team rules wasn’t too egregious, he should be back in the starting lineup this weekend against the Rams.
JETS WR: The Jets rolled the dice and traded for Braylon Edwards last week, and the move paid dividends immediately when Edwards caught a touchdown pass in his debut with his new team. Edwards comes with a little baggage and a propensity to drop easy passes, but there’s no doubting his talent. Jerricho Cotchery, who had a nice four-game run to start the season, will get bumped down to “running mate” once Edwards gets up to speed with the offense.
LIONS QB: Daunte Culpepper found his way back into the starting lineup due to a knee injury to Matthew Stafford. It wasn’t a bad day for Culpepper (though he fumbled three times), as he threw for 282 yards and a touchdown. The Lions will protect their talented rookie, so Culpepper could be in line for a few more starts while Stafford recuperates.
LIONS WR: It was bad enough that Calvin Johnson caught just one pass for two yards Sunday, but when Megatron went down with a knee injury, one could hear the collective gasps of fantasy owners all over the world. Johnson is slated for tests early in the week, but he could miss time. Bryant Johnson, Dennis Northcutt, and Derrick Williams all figure to be a larger part of the offense in the coming weeks. Northcutt caught five passes for 70 yards and a score on Sunday.
PATRIOTS RB: Although this situation continues to be a mess, Fred Taylor’s ankle surgery at least removes one variable from the picture for the next few months. Sammy Morris had 17 carries for 68 yards Sunday, so right now he looks like he’s the top back on the active roster, but you never know with the Patriots. Laurence Maroney had five carries and Kevin Faulk had four.
RAIDERS RB: In the wake of Darren McFadden’s knee surgery, Michael Bush got the start Sunday against the stout Giants defense. Bush carried the ball 12 times for 37 yards and actually found paydirt in the second quarter. With backup Justin Fargas getting just 18 yards on 11 carries, Bush should be in line for another start against the Eagles in Week 6.
RAMS QB: Though Kyle Boller started again Sunday, he was shaken up late in the game and replaced by Marc Bulger. Bulger was questionable coming into Sunday’s tilt, but as the listed backup quarterback, the Rams had to bring him in when Boller went down. Bulger completed all seven of his attempts (including a touchdown) for 88 yards, so it looks like he’ll be ready to return to the starting lineup against Jacksonville on Sunday.
SEAHAWKS QB: The return of Matt Hasselbeck after a two-game absence did wonders for the Seattle offense. Hasselbeck threw for 241 yards and four touchdowns as the Seahawks easily handled the Jaguars. Seneca Wallace, who started the last two games for Seattle, came into the game in the fourth quarter for a 16-play drive to finish off Jacksonville, but he didn’t throw a single pass.
Article first appeared 10/13/09