Originally created 12/16/04

Recent Monday nighters haven't been 'meaningless'



You've no doubt heard the early-season rumblings about moving regularly scheduled Monday Night Football games to Sundays in order to put a more competitive game in their place.

One with playoff implications ... one that would be more exciting ... one that would bring more ratings to the networks.

Well, in case you missed it, and the networks probably were guessing you did, two of the most exciting games of the season have played out the past two Mondays. And guess what? Only one of them involved a possible playoff team.

The Cowboys-Seahawks and Chiefs-Titans have put on a show. If you watched the games, you have either had to be a fan of the teams, not be a wrestling fan or had fantasy players on those teams. And what fantasy performances there have been.

Two weeks ago, Dallas' Julius Jones went for three scores and 198 yards. Matt Hasselbeck threw for 414 yards and three touchdowns. There were also three 100-yard receivers - Dallas' Keyshawn Johnson and Seattle's Jerry Rice and Darrell Jackson - who each had a touchdown.

This was a week before most fantasy season playoffs began and could've vaulted a team into the playoffs or cast one out depending on who you had.

Now, with either the first round complete or the regular season just ending, another "meaningless" Monday nighter decided a lot of teams' fates.

There was a second-consecutive 400-yard passer in Tennessee's Billy Volek. He also tossed four touchdowns, which made any Steve McNair owner lucky enough to pick up Volek happy. Drew Bennett picked up 233 yards of Volek's 426 and three touchdowns.

Kansas City got in on the action also. Trent Green threw three touchdowns, Larry Johnson - for all of you who missed out on Derrick Blaylock after Priest Holmes got hurt - ran for 107 yards and two scores, and even Eddie Kennison had two touchdowns.

Monday Night Football certainly has been a wild ride the past two weeks. Not just for NFL fans, but for fantasy owners as well.

As for this week's fare: The 2-11 Dolphins welcome the 12-1 Patriots. Have fun watching, because you never know what's going to happen.

START 'EM UP

RB Emmitt Smith, Arizona: The Rams are horrible against the run and Smith wants a 1,000-yard season.

RB Clinton Portis, Washington: He hasn't been the back the Redskins were hoping for, but look for a good dose of him against the 49ers on Saturday.

SIT DOWN

QB Vinny Testaverde, Dallas: Here's hoping Vinny survives to enjoy his retirement.

QB Eli Manning, N.Y. Giants: It's going to be another rough one for the rookie.

WAKE-UP CALL

WR Eric Parker, San Diego: Injuries have slowed their top two wideouts and he's been having some really good games lately.

ROOKIE WATCH

QB Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh: He's been struggling lately, but the thing to watch is whether or when, he finally loses.

Reach Raymond Beasock at (706) 823-3221 or raymond.beasock@augustachronicle.com