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The five most valuable players of Wild Card Weekend

MJD
Shutdown Corner

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Matt Hasselbeck(notes), QB, Seattle Seahawks.

I did not see that coming. It wasn't until Wednesday that Pete Carroll had even decided that Hasselbeck was a better option than Charlie flippin' Whitehurst. Hasselbeck hit us with the old stuff on Saturday, though: 272 yards, four touchdowns, and a 113.0 passer rating.

My favorite throw was this one. Hasselbeck wanted a hitch-and-go to Cameron Morrah(notes), saw that it was going to be open (courtesy of Roman Harper), but also had pressure in his grill and had to throw it before he wanted to. Since he couldn't wait, he had to make the ball do the waiting for him, and he hung it up in the air like a beach ball.

It took an extra beat to get where it was headed, landed perfectly in Morrah's arms and got the Seahawks into scoring range. Tremendous throw.

Chris Carr(notes), CB, Baltimore Ravens.

I really thought the Ravens would struggle to cover Dwayne Bowe(notes). Struggle, they did not. Bowe's numbers, in fact, made Reggie Wayne's look Herculean by comparison. Chris Carr, along with Josh Wilson(notes), had Bowe on lockdown all day.

While we're here, I offer my applause to Ravens defensive coordinator Greg Mattison, too. The difference between the defensive effort in the first half and second half was remarkable. They went from good to impenetrable. Jamaal Charles(notes) carried seven times for 87 yards in the first half; two times for minus-5 yards in the second. The Chiefs had 136 total yards in the first half; 25 in the second half.

Marshawn Lynch(notes), RB, Seattle Seahawks.

That happened. That was real.

James Starks(notes), RB, Green Bay Packers.

If the Packers can put a legitimate running game next to Aaron Rodgers(notes), their offense becomes very difficult to contain. I don't know if this is something that James Starks can do consistently, but if he can, I believe it makes the Packers the best team in the NFC.

Darrelle Revis(notes), CB, New York Jets.

I know Reggie Wayne(notes) thinks he should have gotten the ball more, but when you're covered, you're covered. Don't think it was insignificant, either. On the big third-and-6 right before Adam Vinatieri(notes) kicked the field goal with too much time left, Manning found himself going to Blair White(notes). The throw ended up incomplete, with Manning expressing some displeasure with White on the sidelines afterwards.

Honorable mention:

• Mike Mayock, color analyst, NBC.

Mayock's commentary during the Seattle/New Orleans game was some of the best I've heard all year. He's straightforward, honest, insightful, unafraid to criticize, and entertaining on top of it all. That the NFL Network has Mayock under its noses, and instead chooses to let Matt Millen call Thursday night games is infuriating.

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