The Horror – Week 2
By: Connor Lenahan
Just sitting and writing this article now I am concerned that I will tear my ACL. No, I’m not even moving, but after this past weekend in the NFL how could you ever feel safe again? I wrote on Sunday about how insane it was.
For our league this weekend it was a massacre. Left and right people had players falling. Depth does not exist in a 16 team league. The injuries sustained by just about every major player in the league had ripple effects for the entirety of the NFL. Add in the sudden change to the NFL drug policy which brings back Wes Welker early and makes Josh Gordon a late season factor, and let’s not forget the newfound potential for Adrian Peterson to miss extended time and kill the Hitmen’s season as it began and you have a crazy week of football. Let’s take a look back at the carnage that was week 2 in the XFL.
Houston Extreme (2-0) def. Waverly Chargers (1-1) 935-710
Cheater. Eric’s a cheater. He cheats. Why must he cheat? No I’m not bitter that he beat me, why do you ask?
Wow, this game went poorly for both of us. The Chargers were only projected to have around 900 something points for the day to begin with, so having an underperformance would be catastrophic. 710. I put up a 710. That’s the worst game I’ve had in my 8 years in the XFL. It wasn’t quite the 500-something that Las Vegas put up when Dan Griffith was on vacation in 2007, but still.
Weirdly, this bad week may have actually been a good thing for me. Stafford played poorly against a good Panthers defense – that’s okay. Cordarrelle Patterson had his day ruined by the sudden loss of Adrian Peterson and Matt Cassel being Matt Cassel. But here’s the good news, if you consider injuries good. Mark Ingram broke his hand, meaning my lottery ticket of Khiry Robinson is about to win. Also, shortly after my Ryan Mathews got carted off (big surprise), I traded the third string running back from Atlanta, Antoine Smith, for the new RB1 in San Diego, Donald Brown. Somehow my running backs got stronger. I’ll take a loss. I can always just go 12-1.
Houston shouldn’t be too concerned going forward. After all, they’re tied for first at (2-0) and have some real playmakers in Colin Kaepernick, Julius Thomas, and Calvin Johnson. This team could really be a fun one this year, as injuries really didn’t do too much damage – yet.
Pittsburgh Spikes (1-1) def. Chicago Hitmen (0-2) 975-830
I would like to take a moment to directly quote Spikes coach Matt Gronsky after Ben Roethlisberger’s subpar game against the Ravens on Thursday. “Fuck the Ravens, fuck Big Ben, fuck Romo, and fuck fantasy football.”
I only quote such a vulgar outburst directly because Matt then went on to win this game. The next day it was announced that a warrant for Adrian Peterson’s arrest was out and that he would not be playing Sunday against the Patriots. This left the Chicago Hitmen, how to put it delicately, utterly screwed. Jason had to start Anthony Dixon, a running back from the Bills that I have never heard of yet know for a fact that I have his autograph in my room at home. Jason also started Mark Ingram, who as previously mentioned has a broken hand. A Hitmen team without Peterson – who’s future is more than unclear after secondary allegations of child abuse – is shaky to put it lightly. Fitzgerald and Cruz are not high enough of performers to carry the team without AD present. Russell Wilson also had a fairly normal day – 285 – against the Chargers, but those numbers have to go up to make up for the lack of Peterson.
Matt on the other hand may have something going for him now. After dropping his first game to a red-hot Houston team, he came back to dig out of a rut. Sure, he had QB struggles again, but those shouldn’t be the norm. Romo and Roethlisberger are better than they have been recently. Also, the three person combo of Marshawn Lynch-Percy Harvin-Frank Gore, at the moment, looks great. Sure, I’m patiently waiting for Gore to get hurt, but for now let’s just enjoy how powerful the Spikes run game is.
Green Bay Blizzard (1-1) def. Miami Typhoons (1-1) 990-985
No, that isn’t a typo. Green Bay won this game by the smallest margin our scoring system will allow. This was because Trent Richardson had a game where he didn’t do terribly, only to come up short, in true Trent Richardson fashion. In reality, Green Bay wins this by a lot more if not for AJ Green leaving almost immediately into the Bengals game with turf toe. I would have paid to see Matt’s reaction to the news that AJ Green, his one true love, was injured. Many a thing were broken in his Pittsburgh dorm room, mainly his heart. The positive news is that Green’s injury appears to just be turf toe and not a Lisfranc injury, which would have severely derailed his season. Regardless, Green Bay had a good day with Jake Locker at the helm. Philip Rivers was benched as he was against the Seattle Seahawks, only to then knock off the defending champs with a great game. The trio of Emmanuel Sanders, AJ Green (if/when healthy), and Julio Jones, is potentially the best in the league by a wide margin. Green Bay will be set.
Miami continued to look solid, but couldn’t replicate the gigantic game Matt Ryan had in week 1. There’s a great deal of variability to this team. It’s not clear what will happen if the injury bug bites the Typhoons, as it does not look like Cole has made a singe move with his team yet this year.
Oklahoma City Lions (2-0) def. Washington Senators (1-1) 1450-850
Wow. Andrew must really hate Cary. Let’s take a look at a fun stat. Giovani Bernard and DeMarco Murray, the OKC running backs, combined for 655. That’s right, Cary would have only defeated Andrew’s running backs by 195 points. Andrew even had a player, Rod Streater, score 0. He still put up 1450. I’m still furious he snagged Julian Edelman before I did. Andrew’s team suddenly looks vicious. Watch out, he’s learning from Urban Meyer while living in Columbus. Thankfully this means I will soon be able to kick him out for paying his players under the table UP TOP!
Meanwhile Cary now is on the ropes. The running back situation looks frightening in Pierre Thomas and Dexter McCluster. Ben Tate was the big hope, but he’s out with injury for a few more weeks. Randall Cobb and Roddy White is still an A+ wideout pairing, but they need some support. Andrew Luck, however, remains an inspired pick for CareBear. If the backfield finds its way, then Cary will be okay. But for now, tread lightly.
Seattle Rage (2-0) def. Philadelphia Panthers (1-1) 1290-700
Another week, another Panther running back hurt. Week 1 it was Eddie Lacy with a concussion. Week 2 it’s Jamaal Charles with a high ankle sprain. Week 3 it’s Colonel Mustard with the rope in the parlor. In Matt’s defense, when the hell was the last time Marques Colston was held without a catch? Seriously? Drew Brees played a fairly bad game against Cleveland (writing that feels wrong) and Pettinato’s bets on Brandin Cooks and Marques Colston failed. Simply because of depth concerns at running back I am a bit concerned about Philly. Should AJ Green’s toe be, god forbid, a bad injury, then Andy Dalton is going to suffer mightily.
Meanwhile, don’t look now, but the Seattle Rage are 2-0. Arian Foster looks like possibly the steal of the year for Greg right now. After an opening week 225 Foster went on to drop 305. Wow. And I was a card carrying member of the “Don’t Touch Foster” club. Throw in great games from Cam Newton and Darren Sproles and you have an absolute machine. Oh, and Seattle has the beautiful luck of having Knile Davis, the backup to Jamaal Charles on their bench. Great. Just great.
Denver Blaze (1-1) def. Las Vegas High Rollers (0-2) 1270-1025
For the record, that score is especially impressive when you realize this was an 8 on 6 matchup. Two thirds of Dan’s running back corps, Bishop Sankey and Toby Gerhart, combined for 0 points. Nick Foles singlehandedly kept Dan in the game with 460 points last night on ESPN. Foles looks like a terrific pick. Not as much for the running back duo. It’s not all that bad to go 0-2 to start, but anything less and Dan is in trouble.
The Blaze finally got their fire started this week. Peyton was Peyton of course. Alfred Morris and Rashad Jennings were way better than they had any business being (I say as a huge Morris fan and angry owner of Jennings’s backup, Andre Williams). Even the crazy wideout combo of Eric Decker and Brian Quick worked. Which of the two coaches sold his soul for this win? Was it Haggerty? Probably.
Let’s also mention the awesome challenge trade that the Blaze and Titans pulled off today. Knowshon Moreno heads to Denver, dislocated elbow and all (out 6-8 weeks), for Chris Ivory and Nate Washington. Moreno becomes an interesting stash by Denver while New York gets the help it desperately needs now. Watch this trade.
Kansas City Killers (1-1) def. New York Titans (0-2) 1165-1070
I’m as shocked as you are, Dan Schlosser won a game. Let’s all take a moment to pick the pieces of our brain off the floor. Dan however did once again curse his team. Seriously, this guy is a humanoid broken mirror. He’s a black cat with the capability to speak English. How do I know this? Guess who his quarterback was? That’s right, Robert Griffin III. Dan had the only QB in the league to dislocate his ankle last week. Oh, and his backup is Carson Palmer, who missed this Sunday’s game with a shoulder injury. This is frighteningly impressive.
The Titans are the immediate beneficiaries of the Ivory-Moreno trade, but they still have large concerns. This past week the Titans put up 1070 points. 900 of those points were from Aaron Rodgers and Sammy Watkins. 84% of his total was between two people. That is what we in the business call “impossible to sustain.” There’s no chance Rodgers is throwing up 600+ a week – Peyton had the best QB season ever last year and averaged 550 a game – and Watkins would need to massacre defenses to keep this up. If Chase can get back a healthy Doug Martin and have Kirk Cousins remember Pierre Garcon’s existence then he will be set. Otherwise this might already be looking like a lost year for New York. Keep the faith.
Minnesota Buzzsaws (2-0) def. New Orleans Tigers (0-2) 1140-1080
Sean, the villain of everyone, is 2-0. Cue multiple coffee cups and lamps being broken by me in the alley by my house. It’s infuriating that he has a better record than me. Why? Because he’s Sean. It’s also rage inducing that his team looks terrifyingly solid. Brady, Forte, Spiller, Antonio Brown, Mike Wallace, Lamar Miller (Knowshon Moreno’s backup) – this is a good team. It makes me furious.
I’d like to take another moment to remind you all that Matt Cassel is a starting QB in this league. Seriously. What is keeping Paul Bruzzano from flipping the rights to Josh Gordon, who’s out eight more weeks, for Jay Cutler again? Who says no? Eric gets a huge asset on an already good team and New Orleans gets a massive upgrade in quarterbacks. If I offered you the ability to trade in your scooter for a car you do it right? Exactly. Thankfully for the Tigers they get Wes Welker back soon. But, of course, Cassel. This will be a while folks.
Check back next week for more exciting injuries from the XFL.