Cassel To Moss … Finally

Coming into Monday night opposing passers had completed 72.7 percent of their throws for an average of 255.5 yards per game against the Broncos this season, which was good for an absolutely stunning 105.6 quarterback rating. Matt Cassel joined the party with three scores as the Patriots bounced back from an ugly loss to the Chargers by blowing out the Broncos in prime time.

Randy Moss hauled in a pair of scores and then spent much of the fourth quarter pumping up the home crowd from the sidelines, forgetting all about Tom Brady's injury for at least a little while. Cassel's performance was encouraging and Moss owners had to like seeing him do something other than pout late in a game, but not torching the Broncos probably would have been the bigger story.

Similarly, it's difficult to say whether the Patriots' much-maligned defense looked great or Jay Cutler injuring his finger on the game's first play ruined his chances of doing any damage. Cutler will have a Week 8 bye to rest and hopefully avoid a Tony Romo-type situation, because all the toughness in the world couldn't stop him from floating passes all over the field Monday night.

While the Broncos head into their bye at 4-3 despite allowing a league-worst 195 points, here are some other notes from around football .

* Cassel and Moss shredding Denver's defense while Cutler struggled through a finger injury were the big stories Monday night, but New England's backfield also provided some fantasy headlines. Before the game the Patriots placed Laurence Maroney on injured reserve, shutting down the one-promising disappointment for the season because of lingering shoulder problems.

Sammy Morris made everyone forget all about Maroney by heading into halftime with 138 yards and a score on 16 carries, but didn't come out for the second half after suffering a knee injury. Not so long ago the Patriots had incredible backfield depth with Maroney, Morris, LaMont Jordan, and Kevin Faulk, but injuries forced them to turn to undrafted rookie Benjarvus Green-Ellis in the second half.

He joined everyone else in looking good against the Broncos, gaining 65 yards on 13 carries, but if Morris is sidelined it seems likely that Jordan will be asked to play through his calf injury in Week 8. If Morris' knee injury proves minor, then he has a good chance to emerge as an actual week-to-week fantasy asset, which has been impossible to find in the Patriots' backfield dating back to last season.

* With 660 yards from scrimmage, 42 grabs, five offensive touchdowns, and two more scores on punt returns Reggie Bush has arguably been this year's fantasy MVP through seven weeks, but a knee injury suffered Sunday has his season on hold. Bush underwent surgery Monday to repair the medial meniscus in his left knee and is expected to miss at least 2-4 weeks.

Bush will skip the Saints' trip to London for a Week 8 matchup with the Chargers, but the good news is that the team getting Week 9 off makes it possible that he'll miss just a couple games. Replacing Bush in the running game won't be all that difficult, because he's toted the ball just a dozen times per game while averaging a measly 3.4 yards per carry.

Deuce McAllister has just 48 carries in four games since bumping Pierre Thomas as Bush's backfield partner, but now should be in line for 15-18 runs each week. However, replacing Bush's all-around versatility and work in the passing game is far tougher. Thomas is a capable receiver and will be asked to shoulder much of the third-down load, so he's back on the fantasy radar and worth a pickup.

* Jake Delhomme revealed recently that he's spoken to Carson Palmer about the Tommy John elbow surgery he underwent last offseason, leading to speculation that Palmer is thinking about going under the knife himself. Delhomme said that he advised Palmer "not to be afraid" of having the ligament in his elbow replaced because "the surgery works" and "was a very easy rehab."

For now Palmer is said to be weighing his options while multiple doctors look at his MRI results, but he's already been ruled out for Week 8 and nothing suggests that he's capable of returning any time soon. Ryan Fitzpatrick will once again get the nod in Palmer's place after starting three of the past four games, but his total inability to stretch the field severely hampers the Bengals' offense.

Fitzpatrick has averaged a pathetic 4.7 yards on 103 passes to rank dead last in the NFL among quarterbacks with at least 100 throws, trailing the next-worst guy (Derek Anderson) by nearly a yard per attempt. He's also taken 15 sacks in three starts, predictably going down seven times versus the blitzing Steelers. In other words, Palmer's elbow hurts Chad Ocho Cinco and T.J. Houshmandzadeh too.

Two-Minute Drill: Matt Jones has topped his total from last year with 338 yards in six games, but reportedly has been suspended three games stemming from his July arrest for cocaine possession . Larry Johnson allegedly spent the Chiefs' bye spitting in a woman's face and threatening to "kill her boyfriend" at a Kansas City nightclub, which would be his fourth assault charge in five years and almost surely lead to a suspension . Marques Colston (thumb) played Sunday for the first time since Week 1, but admitted afterward that he was benched early due to ineffectiveness . Baltimore held Miami's vaunted Wildcat formation to 24 yards on seven snaps Sunday and Ronnie Brown turned in his first true clunker game since Week 1 . His suit wearing on the sidelines will be missed, but the 49ers let coach Mike Nolan go Monday because he made more enemies than strides defensively while compiling an 18-37 record . Coach Jon Gruden said Monday that even if he's healthy Joey Galloway (foot) won't reclaim the starting split end job from Antonio Bryant . Cowboys owner Jerry Jones confirmed Monday that Pacman Jones is in an alcohol treatment center "in another part of the country."

Red Zone: According to coach Wade Phillips, Tony Romo "had trouble handling the football" on the sidelines Sunday and the status of his broken pinkie remains "similar to last week" . Kevin Curtis (hernia) practiced Monday after the Eagles' bye and looks likely to make his season debut this week . Coach Jim Haslett said Monday that Steven Jackson (quadriceps) "should be fine" for Week 8 after an MRI exam revealed a "slight strain" . Prior to being fired, Nolan announced that J.T. O'Sullivan will stay the 49ers' starter and Josh Morgan has moved past Bryant Johnson on the depth chart . Coach Tony Dungy indicated Monday that Joseph Addai (hamstring) has a chance to return this week after missing just one game . During his Monday press conference coach Mike Holmgren called Matt Hasselbeck's (back) Week 8 status uncertain, hinting at another Seneca Wallace start despite his brutal performance Sunday night . Carnell Williams (knee) will come off the PUP list Wednesday, with Gruden predicting that he "has a chance to be ready to go quickly" . Hines Ward's vicious crackback block Sunday broke Keith Rivers' jaw and landed the first-round rookie on injured reserve Monday.

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