See Sunday's five most valuable players here.
Terence Newman and Orlando Scandrick, CBs, Dallas Cowboys. I couldn't pick just one, so they'll have to share, which I don't think they'll mind, since they both appeared to be so generous to Giants wide receivers on Sunday night. Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz took turns beating them, in any way they wanted to get beat ‒ getting position on them, outrunning them, outjumping them. Even fullback Henry Hynoski used Newman as his personal jump rope. Obviously, there are some personnel deficiencies there, but it also makes me wonder about Rob Ryan. If you're one of the best defensive coordinators in the league, should your team be having problems like that in week 17?
Mark Sanchez, QB, New York Jets. Two pretty good defenses went at each other in Miami on Sunday, which left this as a battle of which quarterback could be less bad; Mark Sanchez or Matt Moore. Moore threw two run-of-the-mill interceptions, and Sanchez threw three pretty remarkable ones. Two of them ‒ that's right, two ‒ were to defensive lineman Randy Starks. The other one came late in the fourth quarter, down six, in the red zone, and shoved the final dagger into the Jets' playoff chances.
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Stevie Johnson, WR, Buffalo Bills. Oh, Stevie. You seem like such a pleasant and fun-loving man, and I'm sure you are. I personally appreciate the New Years wishes expressed on your t-shirt, but maybe putting a smile on my face should take a backseat to, you know, not getting 15-yard penalties and getting benched. To me, there's nothing there that warrants a penalty, but my opinion doesn't matter. Here's what does: Chan Gailey warned every Buffalo Bill that the next guy to get an excessive celebration penalty would have his cheeks glued to the bench. And Johnson, having done this exact same thing last year and having been fined $5k for it, had to know there was some risk involved. But he went ahead and did it anyway. I appreciate the sentiment, Stevie. Maybe just take out an ad in the newspaper next time.
Tim Tebow, QB, Denver Broncos. I can't wait for the Broncos to lose in the playoffs, because then we get to start a whole offseason of Tebow conversation. That's going to be awesome. The good news? With the way Tim Tebow's playing, it's not going to take long to get there. In fact, it's not even about how Tim Tebow's playing, it's about how Tim Tebow's being defended. As happens with every young quarterback, eventually, defenses figure out how to make them do exactly what they don't want to do. Unfortunately for Tim Tebow, that means reading defenses and throwing the football. Can he learn that by next week?
Thomas Austin, C, Houston Texans. It was the most meaningless error that's ever landed someone in the week's five LVPs, but I still feel like it had to happen, if for no other reason than to mention this: The Texans lost, and it was not Jake Delhomme's fault. Delhomme came in for an injured T.J. Yates, they trusted him to throw the ball 28 times, and he did so without throwing a single interception. So, of course, someone snaps a ball over his head and they lose. I don't know about Yates' status for the playoffs, but maybe this way, Jake Delhomme's career ends in a way other than him being the Chuck Knoblauch of quarterbacks.
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