RB Priest Holmes made a game week prediction by Rynos(4-1) owner Dan Wever come true and they took sole possession of first place in the Halas division with a 70-30 victory over the winless Dirty Dozen(0-5). During the pregame hype, Wever had come out with as bold a prediction as can be possible. "I think Priest will probably outscore the Dirty Dozen all by himself." And it happened. Priest Holmes led the offense with 32 points to take a commanding lead in the UFFA scoring race as he now has 112. "I didn't want Mr. Wever to look like an ass. He does a good enough job of that when he wakes up in the morning," said Holmes. "I can't say enough about my o-line. They keep opening the holes and I just have to run through them." And run through them he did, to the tune of 152 yards and 9 catches. Included was a 12 yard TD run and a 19 yard reception that saw him hurdle a defender as he entered the end zone. "That was a nice move," said QB Mark Brunell, who had a quiet 4-point day but did have a short TD pass. "We've seen him do quite a few things so far this year. So we really aren't that surprised anymore when he pulls something like that out." The other two teams in the Halas division that had come into the week tied for the lead lost. That left the Rynos all alone at the top. While they have to be pleased, a couple of things that they are concerned about is the decline in production of rookie TE Jeremy Shockey(1 catch, 11 yds.), and the fact that WR Terrell Owens still has not caught a TD pass. But for now they will relish the 4-1 start. They get a chance to match the UFFA's best start next week as they meet up in the game of the week with another 4-1 team, the Jorsemen. The Dirty Dozen continued their sloppy play as they dropped their unbelievable 17th game in a row, including the first 5 of 2002. K Ryan Longwell and rookie RB Clinton Portis were bright spots(13, 12 respectively), but they still can't get the monkey off their back. They try yet again next week against the Warriors.
Week in and week out, RB Charlie Garner gets the job done. In the games he has played, he has averaged over 20 points and set a season high in week 5 with 30 points which helped the Jorsemen(4-1) overpower the other expansion team, the Wolfpack(0-5), by a score of 84-34. It was the second straight week of over 80 points for the Jorsemen while the Wolfpack have yet to break the 50-point barrier. "Hey, this is fun. I know when I was drafted highly by the Jorsemen, nobody could believe I could produce. But I'm having a good time winning ballgames. It's not about proving to people I can play. I know I can," said Garner. "We have a lot of old men in this locker room. But what we do is just get the job done. We don't care who leads us every week. As long as they lead us to a win. Those people who didn't foresee a good season for us, it's ok. There's plenty of room on the bandwagon." Garner was a horse once again. But he had help as the Wolfpack never had a chance. WR Jerry Rice(11 pts.) scored on a 20 yard pass and WR Curtis Conway(9) contributed as well to lead them to their 3rd straight win and into a tie with T.N.T. for the Lombardi division lead. "This is where we want to be. Now we just have to keep going and can't let down. This league is too good for that." said Rice. They can't celebrate much this week as they prepare to host the Rynos in a strong interdivision matchup. The Wolfpack have to go back to the drawing board once again. At 0-5, they can not be too pleased. They are already 3 games out of the wild card race. Starting QB Brett Favre continued to get the job done with 23 points, but when the rest of the team scores just 11 combined, it does not matter. They go against the other Lombardi division leaders T.N.T. in week 6.
The Night Hawks rebounded nicely from a week 4 loss to the Jorsemen as they beat the Warriors in a high scoring game, 95-78. The Warriors inexplicably benched WR Marvin Harrison and RB Garrison Hearst. Both of whom could have made the difference in the game. But the Night Hawks will take it. "I don't care if we were playing the little sisters of the poor out there, a win is a win. We played well enough to beat any other team this week. So no, I don't think this win is tainted in the least," said QB Drew Bledsoe when asked about the game. Bledsoe didn't have a typical day as he threw 3 interceptions, but he did throw for 417 yards and two scoring passes. The story of the game for the Night Hawks was RB Corey Dillon. He had just 6 points and was nearly benched by coach Tom Landry mid-week. But a strong week of practice got him into the starting lineup over Jerome Bettis. And he responded. "I'm glad coach still has faith in me. I've struggled so far. But I'm so happy that he gave me a shot and I could contribute in the win," he said. Dillon ran for 164 yards including a 2 yard plunge and a 67-yard scamper to finish the day with a team high 26 points. But Dillon wasn't the only weapon this week. The Hawks'(3-2) receiving corps combined for 27 points and were led by Amani Toomer who had 14 points on the day. And to top it all off the Hawks' defense scored 19 points as they continued their solid play. Next week is week 3 of their 4-week juggernaut of a schedule as they head home to host the Roscoes. The Warriors(3-2) saw their 10-0 run at home come to an end and must go on the road to face the hapless Dirty Dozen in week 6.
T.N.T.(4-1) suffered it's first defeat this week and in doing so fell into a first place tie in the Lombardi division with the expansion Jorsemen. Tattoo Crew(3-2) RB Deuce McAllister broke through the line for a 52-yard TD run and ended the day with 123 yards rushing and 21 points, a career high. "We knew we had to bring our 'A' game. Against a team like that, you always want to play your best," said McAllister. "With our division, there is no resting up. We have to play each and every game as if it is a postseason game." They've been doing a good job of that. After dropping two tough games they have rallied for a team record 3 wins in a row and are now just a game out of the first place spot in the Halas division. This game was hardly an easy one. T.N.T., even in defeat, showed why it was the first team to start a season 4-0. Heading into the Monday night game, they trailed the Crew by just 7 points. Their D/ST went crazy scoring 17 points, but that was only after WR Donald Driver scored on a bomb for the Crew as that accounted for their 65-60 final margin of victory. WR Jerome Pathon proved once again a good move as he scored 11 for T.N.T. but it was still not enough. WR Rod Gardner scored for the first time since week 1 as he added 11 as well for the Crew. Next week T.N.T. wants to get back on track against the Wolfpack and the Crew heads to Spartan Stadium for the first time to face the Stallions.
After being left for dead with an 0-3 start, the Outlaws have rebounded in a big way. They won their second straight game last week and pulled out a 69-48 victory over the struggling Roscoes(3-2). Both of these teams have been on different paths all season. The Outlaws lost 3 straight and now have won 2 straight. While the Roscoes started strong in the Halas division with 3 straight wins but have followed that up with back to back losses. The Outlaws were led by a two prong attack as RB Stephen Davis and WR Keyshawn Johnson both broke out in the same game and led the team with 20 points. Davis had just 16 points heading into the game while Keyshawn had only managed 2 points thus far. Davis caught and ran for a TD while Keyshawn caught 6 for 131 and broke a 76 yarder. "Finally! I've been waiting for a game like that. I know I'm good. I just haven't been producing yet. But this will be a start and we're coming back. Back to back division titles. Nobody in this division is as good as us," he said. While cause for optimism is understood, the Outlaws must go out and back up that statement this week as they have to face the Landry division co-leading Fightin' Antz as they look for their first win at home this season. The Randy Moss-less Roscoes couldn't find a way to score and now have cause for concern as they have scored just 79 points in the last two weeks combined. QB Peyton Manning did what he could by leading the team with 16 points and WR Marty Booker proved why he's their number 2 WR with 15, but the rest of the team mustered up just 18 points. "We have to address that," said Manning, about the offensive woes. "I think we're better than we have been the past couple of weeks. Just because a guy isn't out there, that gives us no excuse to just lay down. Next week we'll be without 2 guys. Does that mean we won't score? I don't know what's gone on the last two weeks." Roscoes owner Sam Grana was quoted this week as saying "I like men a lot." The Roscoes head over to the Fox Dome this week with an important game against the Night Hawks. Another loss could be devastating the way the Halas division is shaping up so far.
Unwanted and discarded, QB Rich Gannon was sent packing from the Dirty Dozen and found a home in Fightin' Antz(3-2) camp. Well for the second straight week, Gannon outscored his former team by himself as he earned 34 points and became the oldest player of the week in UFFA history and also became the Antz' 4th P.O.W. ever.(Commish's note: There are SO many records I want to keep track of!! Just for articles like these!) The Antz used that 34 point outburst and a great game from their defense to beat up on the Stallions, 88-65. The Antz defense had 2 picks, a safety and an int. return for a TD to end the game with 17 points. "A good all around effort," said team owner Joe Santana, who has been determined to be too cheap to hire a head coach =). "I'm liking what we are getting out each and every one of the guys. That is what we need. The next couple of weeks will be a chance to test our mettle and see how good a team we have. Next week's Outlaws game is an obvious test. While the week after against T.N.T. won't be a cakewalk either. But we'll be ready for T-bag." That unexpected revelation aside, the owner has a point about the upcoming schedule. The Outlaws game could be a chance to put some distance in the Landry division while T.N.T. always gets up for these games and at 4-1, they may have the talent to pull it off. Stallions' owner Chris Porsch is still looking for his first victory. After looking horrendous the week before in a 40-21 loss, the Stallions(1-4) looked better in this loss. QB Trent Green(15), RB Curtis Martin(16), and WR David Patten(21) combined for 52 points. The rest of the team however scored just 13 more as they dropped their 2nd straight contest since Porsch took over the team. And this week will be just as tough with the hottest team in the league right now, the Tattoo Crew, coming to town.