Halftime Sports

The NFL Thermostat: Week 11

November 18, 2014


1. JJ Watt

Enough is enough, this guy needs an MVP award ASAP. If you haven’t been keeping track at home, the Texans’ defensive end has been having another monster year, and only added to his growing legacy this past Sunday. Despite a relatively quiet defensive showing with just one sack and three tackles for losses, Watt made up for it on the offensive end of the ball. Yes, for the second time this season Watt lined up for the Texans’ offense near the goalline and made a beautiful catch for his second touchdown reception of the season. Combined with an interception and fumble return for touchdowns, Watt now has scored four total touchdowns this season. That might not sound like much, until you compare it to some of the NFL’s biggest offensive threats. Watt’s four scores are more than Calvin Johnson, LeSean McCoy, and Larry Fitzgerald among many others. That’s right, a defensive lineman has scored more touchdowns than Megatron has this season.

2. Mike Evans

Maybe I do know what I’m talking about? Before the season started I thought Evans would have the best year of any rookie wide receiver, mainly due to his quarterback and fellow wide receivers, and early on Sammy Watkins was proving me wrong. However, on Sunday Evans punctuated what has been an absolutely torrid three week span which has seemingly put him ahead of his fellow rookies. Evans has tallied over 120 receiving yards and at least one touchdown in his past three games, with 209 yards and two touchdowns this past Sunday, to give him 458 yards and five touchdowns in those three games. These totals now give him more total yards, receptions, and touchdowns than Watkins. While I have little doubt that Watkins, and also others like Odell Beckham or Kelvin Benjamin, will have great NFL careers, Mike Evans has been putting up stats that suggest that he might be the best of an impressive rookie wide receiver class.

3. Jonas Gray

If you’re a seasoned fantasy football veteran you probably know not to trust Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick with running backs; one week one back might get 30 carries and the next he is a healthy scratch for no apparent reason. This week, Belichick surprised us all once again by handing the ball off an astounding 38 times to supposed backup Jonas Gray, while starter Shane Vereen only had 1 carry. Gray rewarded Belichick’s seemingly insane decision by turning those 38 carries into 199 yards and four touchdown runs. Gray’s performance helped the Patriots dominate time of possession and therefore keep the dangerous Andrew Luck from getting too many opportunities to lead a comeback in Indianapolis. Knowing Belichick, Gray might not even touch the ball next week, but for one game at least Jonas Gray was a superstar.


1. Robert Griffin III

RG3 has had a tough season, plagued by injuries and constant criticism. This Sunday things may have taken a further worse turn. RG3 threw two interceptions in the Redskins’  ugly loss to the lowly Buccaneers, but it was his postgame comments that I’m more concerned with. After the game he appeared to call out all of his teammates for their lack of help, seemingly blaming his own poor play on the play of his peers. I can’t tell exactly if RG3’s statement holds any weight, but even if it did that is still not something that should be shared with the press in a postgame interview. I really can’t see his comments bringing anything but more unrest to the Redskins in the near future.

2. The Manning Brothers

We have come to expect poor performances from Eli Manning, but Sunday was especially bad. Eli completely less than 50% of his 45 pass attempts and threw an incredible 5 interceptions en route to a home loss to the 49ers. The loss dropped the Giants to a disappointing 3-7, well behind the Cowboys and Eagles who sit tied atop the division at 7-3. Meanwhile, much more surprising, was Peyton’s performance on Sunday. Despite a strong yardage total, Peyton threw two interceptions compared to only one touchdown. Peyton’s struggles were a huge part of why the Broncos only managed 7 points as they were upset by the St. Louis Rams.

3. New Orleans Saints

At some point I’m going to be forced to stop hating on the inept NFC South, but each week it seems like at least one of the four teams (generally more than one) stoops to a new low. This week it was the Saints turn to flop around like a fish out of water. The excuse for the Saints has always been that they just can’t play on the road, but at home they are a great team still. However, on Sunday they showed they can’t even win at home. They allowed a struggling Andy Dalton to throw three touchdown passes without a single turnover, while the Bengals rushed for nearly 200 yards as a team. Despite the loss, the Saints actually are still tied for the lead of their division at 4-6, but at this rate you can’t trust the Saints to win games moving forward no matter where they are played.

Photo: USA Today Sports Images

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