Earth’s No. 1 wide receiver (apologies to Antonio Brown and Julio Jones) was at it again Monday in a festive night in Miami. With members of the ’72 Dolphins on hand for a special halftime presentation, Beckham stole the show with seven catches for 166 yards and two touchdowns in the Giants’ 31-24 win.
Both touchdowns came after halftime as Beckham lit up the Dolphins’ secondary for 103 second-half yards. Beckham has already surpassed his yardage total from last season and is tied with Tyler Eifert and Allen Robinson for the league-lead with 12 touchdowns.
A large number of DFS players were unwilling to pay Beckham’s exorbitant $9300 salary on FanDuel this week. The winnings probably could have paid for most of this year’s Christmas shopping, but instead, the Beckham doubters will have to settle for a tall glass of regret with their morning toast.
Beckham embarrassed many Dolphins defenders on Monday night but no one was roasted as often or as thoroughly as Brent Grimes. ODB smoked Grimes on a 45-yard catch before halftime and tortured him again on a six-yard touchdown late in the third quarter. How Beckham was able to keep both his feet inbounds may never be fully understood.
Adding to the mystique, that play came just minutes after Beckham left the field to get an IV for cramping. It was a balmy 74 degrees at kickoff and many players struggled with fatigue throughout the game. At one point, Ndamukong Suh was so exhausted he had to call a timeout.
Of course, Beckham saved the best for last, taking advantage of blown coverage for an epic 84-yard touchdown gallop early in the fourth quarter. That was the one that broke the camel’s back, or in this case, the aquatic mammal’s back.
“The corner was supposed to follow up and go over the top, which he didn’t," said Dolphins safety Reshad Jones after the game. The corner he’s referring to is Jamar Taylor, who was caught napping on Beckham’s second touchdown. The blame game won’t help the Dolphins now. With the loss, Miami is now officially eliminated from the postseason. The defeat gave New England its seventh straight division title.
Beckham wasn’t the only LSU alum to go nuts on Monday night. Beckham’s college roommate, Jarvis Landry, led the Dolphins with 99 yards on 11 catches. He was targeted a game-high 18 times. Rueben Randle had a productive game as well with 58 yards and a touchdown.
Lamar Miller might be the best running back in the NFL that nobody uses. The second half of Monday night’s game continued that theme, as Miller was limited to five carries after halftime. Fortunately for fantasy owners, he did plenty of damage before the break with 69 yards and two touchdowns.
This was a surprisingly successful week for the NFC East as three of the division’s four combatants were able to capture victories (sorry, Cowboys). The Giants, Redskins and Eagles are all tied at 6-7 with three games to go. None of these teams have any hope of earning a wild card berth, which makes the task simple: win the NFC East or go home.
The Giants will try to keep their season afloat next week against the undefeated Panthers. It won’t be easy but the Giants have knocked off an undefeated team before. Remember that?
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The Bengals got a bit of good news on Monday. Well, kind of. We haven’t invented time machines yet, so Andy Dalton’s thumb is still just as broken as it was on Sunday. But at least there’s some mild optimism about his status. Coach Marvin Lewis confirmed Dalton won’t need surgery and for now the team is calling him week-to-week.
That doesn’t help fantasy owners much. It’s pretty hard to envision Dalton suiting up for your league’s title game in Week 16. But getting Dalton back for the playoffs, or even Week 17, is a distinct possibility. That has to please Bengals fans, who couldn’t have been too thrilled at the possibility of playing out the season with A.J. McCarron at quarterback.
The next three games are very important for Cincinnati as the Bengals hope to lock up one of the top seeds in the AFC. Week 16’s battle in Denver could determine who gets a first-round bye. If the Patriots win out (their last three games are against the Titans, Jets and Dolphins), they’ll have home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
While the Bengals are a lock for the postseason, the Colts are hanging on for dear life. The plan was for Andrew Luck (lacerated kidney) to come back and rescue them late in the season but that’s no longer a sure thing. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, “uncertainty exists” about Luck’s ability to return before the end of the season. Naturally, local outlets are disputing that report. Mike Chappell of Indy Sports Central attended Chuck Pagano’s press conference on Monday and left feeling convinced that Luck will return to practice on Wednesday.
After winning his first four starts, Matt Hasselbeck has struggled over his last two outings and doesn’t appear healthy. If neither Luck or Hasselbeck can go for Week 15, “Check-down” Charlie Whitehurst would take the reins at quarterback.
The waters are even murkier in Denver where head coach Gary Kubiak has been tight-lipped about the Broncos’ plans at quarterback. Similar to Hasselbeck, Brock Osweiler enjoyed a brief honeymoon period but is now coming back to Earth. Sunday’s outing against Oakland was his worst yet (35-for-51 passing for 308 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions).
Of course, Peyton Manning was playing just as poorly before he went down with a torn plantar fascia in Week 10. It’s unusual for a 10-3 team to have this much uncertainty at quarterback but the Broncos have gotten by with strong defense and a rejuvenated running game. For what it’s worth, Manning met with Kubiak on Monday to formulate a plan for Week 15. There’s still a chance Manning could return to practice on Wednesday and start Sunday’s game at Pittsburgh.
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Quick Hits: Spencer Ware’s X-rays came back negative but his ribs are still swollen and bruised. Charcandrick West would play an every-down role if Ware sits against the Ravens in Week 15 … Todd Gurley banged his knee in Sunday’s win over Detroit but should be fine for Thursday’s game against the Buccaneers. He was listed as limited on Monday’s injury report … The Seahawks signed Bryce Brown on Monday. Pete Carroll said either Brown or DuJuan Harris will start Sunday against Cleveland. Seattle will be without both Thomas Rawls (ankle) and Marshawn Lynch (hernia) … ESPN’s Brock Huard reports Rawls will not need surgery on his broken ankle. The impressive rookie rolled to 830 yards in 13 games this year. He also scored five touchdowns (four rushing, one receiving) … Cowboys coach Jason Garrett plans to stick with Matt Cassel at quarterback Saturday against the Jets. The Cowboys are 1-5 with Cassel as the starter … The Jets officially placed rookie Devin Smith on injured reserve. He tore his ACL in Sunday’s win over Tennessee … Jeremy Kerley’s status is “up in the air” for Saturday’s game in Dallas. He’s dealing with a bruised calf … The Titans have placed Derrick Morgan on injured reserve. He underwent surgery after suffering a shoulder injury in Week 11 … Dexter McCluster will join Morgan on injured reserve. He broke his wrist Sunday against the Jets. Bishop Sankey is expected to take over his role as the Titans’ passing-down back … The Dolphins claimed Damontre Moore off waivers. The Giants cut Moore on Friday following an altercation with then-teammate Cullen Jenkins … Brian Hoyer suffered another concussion Sunday against the Patriots and is likely out for this week’s game against the Colts. Hoyer is also dealing with a strained neck. T.J. Yates is next up on the Texans’ quarterback depth chart … Vincent Jackson (knee) will miss “several games,” according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. Mike Evans totaled 324 yards on 19 catches when Jackson sat out three games with a knee injury earlier this season … The Browns have placed Joe Haden on season-ending injured reserve. Haden hasn’t played since suffering a concussion in Week 8 … Antonio Gates isn’t ready to hang up his cleats: “I don’t want to go out this kind of way. I don’t want to go out as a loser.” Gates’ contract expires after this season … Brandon Pettigrew tore his ACL in Sunday’s loss to St. Louis. He’ll miss the rest of the season. Eric Ebron and Tim Wright will handle the tight end duties during his absence … X-rays on Devin McCourty’s ankle came back negative. Duron Harmon is expected to fill in at free safety if McCourty has to sit Sunday against Tennessee … Jonathan Stewart (foot) and Greg Olsen (knee) went for precautionary MRIs on Monday. Both are expected to play Sunday against the Giants … Bills coach Rex Ryan said he’ll take a “wait and see” approach with Karlos Williams (shoulder) and Charles Clay (back). Williams has missed two straight games while Clay sat out the final three quarters of Sunday’s loss to Philadelphia … DeSean Jackson suffered a patella bruise in Sunday’s win over the Bears. He’s day-to-day … Marquess Wilson recently had surgery to repair a broken foot. The Bears placed him on injured reserve last week … Ravens coach John Harbaugh confirmed Matt Schaub (chest, shoulder) will be the starting quarterback when he’s back to 100 percent. Jimmy Clausen started in Schaub’s place Sunday against Seattle. The Ravens also added Ryan Mallett as an insurance policy.