This should come as no surprise to fans of the NFL, but Week 10 was chock-full of surprises. The Seahawks pushing around the Falcons on the road? Not surprising. The Rams man-handling the Colts on the road? Very surprising. Let's not forget that the Jaguars secured their first win of the season, Scott Tolzien saw his first NFL action, and Andy Dalton and Joe Flacco one-upped each other all afternoon in AFC North's overtime version of "Who will lose this game for their team?" This is where strange lives on NFL.com. Welcome to the Fifth Down.
If you followed the 2013 NFL Draft at all, you'll likely remember Tavon Austin sporting a fancy suit and tie while getting selected eighth overall by the St. Louis Rams. Well, despite his high draft status, throughout the first half of the season Austin was all but invisible in St. Louis, seeing his playtime diminsh week after week. My how things change. Austin exploded against the Colts, racking up 310 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns on just six touches. Now, it's up to him to avoid joining the likes of Quiet Riot and becoming a one-hit wonder. Although I foresee more of a Def Leoppard during the 80s career trajectory, where he's consistently good and produces a number of memorable tracks and maybe even a platinum record (read: Pro Bowl). Only time will tell, though.
Don't listen to Chuck D and Flava Flav. Believe the hype in Carolina.
Clearly, all is well aboard the Carolina Panthers river boat. Cam Newton and the Panthers just strolled into Candlestick Park and out-muscled the 49ers, stealing a 10-9 victory and proving to the NFL that they will be in the postseason mix by winning their fifth game in a row. Carolina's defense is top-notch, and they have a handful of playmakers on offense. Do not sleep on this team come January. The Patriots head to Carolina next Monday night, in what just became must-watch television for all NFL fans. Mark your calendars.
Clear eyes, strip Fitz, can't lose
They did it. The Jaguars finally won an NFL game in 2013, when they beat the Tennessee Titans thanks to an impressive scoop 'n score -- right out of the arms of Ryan Fitzpatrick. The Jaguars almost out-Jaguared themselves by squandering a 22-13 fourth quarter lead. Thankfully for them, they were able to literally pull a victory from the highly-educated hands of Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Welcome to how the rest of the NFL feels, Green Bay. After enduring roughly 20 years of uninterrupted quarterbacking excellence, the Packers had to start their third quarterback this season after Seneca Wallace was sidelined with an injury after just one series. That quarterback was none other than former Wisconin Badgers signal-caller Scott Tolzein, who played admirably, and actually threw for more yards on Sunday than he ever did in his collegiate career with the Badgers. Green Bay ultimately fell at the hands of Nick Foles and the Eagles, and now faces a tough road to the postseason with Rodgers still sidelined for another month or so. Who would have guessed Carolina and Green Bay would be in these situations to start the year? If you answered, no one, you'd be correct. But that's why we love the NFL -- anything can happen. Like a Scott Tolzien to Brandon Bosticktouchdown.
While Andy Dalton and Joe Flacco were locked in a heated duel of inadequate quarterbacking, the Bengals hopes of overtime depended on one last play -- a Hail Mary. The odds of these plays working are slim, but for the mother of all that is holy in football, the Benals completed the pass! Dalton's toss had the distance and after bopping between a few Bengals and Ravens found it's way into the soft hands of A.J. Green. Unfortunately for the Bengals, the magic ran out there, as they squandered the opening kickoff of overtime by turning the ball over to Flacco and the Ravens on a shortfield.
After going two straight games without an interception, Eli Manning decided it had been too long and pulled a Matt Schaub when he threw this gem. Despite that brain-fart, Manning and the Giants rallied to win their third straight game, even after giving the Raiders 17 points off of first half turnovers. Depending on the result of the Cowboys-Saints game, the Giants could be just a game and a half out of first place in the NFC East. This, coming after they started the season 0-6. News in New York is that much like Will Smith in "Independce Day," they "ain't heard no fat lady!" Don't count out the G-Men just yet. They get the injury ravaged Packers at home next week.
Alright, so maybe Ray Rice wasn't really sacrificed for the sake of the Ravens win. Realistically, he and the entire Ravens running game have been sacrificed this season for the sake of Joe Flacco trying to justify his $120 million contract. Flacco is currently on pace for 615 pass attempts, or 73 more than his career high that came during the 2011 season following the lockout, when everyone was slinging the rock like it was going out of style. So what has this meant for Ray Rice, fantasy owners, and most importantly the Ravens? Ray Rice, a first-round draft pick in every league has been outscored by Trent Richardson, Bilal Powell and Roy Helu in fantasy football (to name a few), and the defending champion Ravens are 4-5. No kudos here. Apologies to Ray Rice and all his fantasy owners on having to fall on the fantasy sword this season.
- Follow Alex on Twitter @AlexGelhar. He's still waiting for the right time to unleash his world-changing arena rock-inspired guitar solo. You won't want to miss out on that historic day. Oh, and he'll occassionally drop some football/fantasy insight as well. So there's that.