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Shutdown Corner

Week 7′s five most valuable players

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5. Jonathan Dwyer, Pittsburgh Steelers. He's a round-ish running back in a Steelers uniform, so it's easy to compare him to Jerome Bettis, but I don't know that it can be avoided. It wasn't just that he looked like Bettis, either. The Steelers got to hand the ball to a mauler with nifty feet and let him salt away a game, while the opposition stood there helpless. If that doesn't evoke Bettis, nothing will.

4. Victor Cruz, WR, New York Giants. The opposing secondary was awfully accommodating on the play, but someone still had to run the route, catch the ball and take it to the painted grass. It seems like Victor Cruz comes up with at least one game-changer a week, and this one gave the Giants a 27-23 win over the Washington Redskins.

Not only that, it put the Giants in first place in the NFC East and had to wound the Redskins emotionally. The underdogs played well, and Robert Griffin III was brilliant, and just before the buzzer, Eli Manning and Victor Cruz did what they do and snatched a crucial win out of the Redskins' hungry mouths.

3. Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers. The two best weeks of Aaron Rodgers' season have been the last two. He followed up his six-touchdown slash-and-burn job against the Texans with a 30-of-37, 342-yard, three-touchdown performance against the St. Louis Rams, leading the Pack to a 30-20 win. None of that sticks out like six touchdowns, but Rodgers actually had a better yards-per-attempt average in this one, and nearly equaled the quarterback rating.

2. Malcolm Jenkins, S, New Orleans Saints. Jenkins gave a brilliant example of the value of hustle in the Saints' 35-28 win over the Bucs. Vincent Jackson caught a pass at about his own 25-yard line and had nothing but green grass in front of him. Behind him, on the other side of the field, was Malcolm Jenkins. Whoever had the controller hit the turbo button and Jenkins was able to run Jackson down and stop him at the 1-yard line, and guess what? The Bucs couldn't score on the next series of downs. Seven points was turned into zero points by one man's hustle. Then the Saints won by a touchdown.

1. Chris Johnson, RB, Tennessee Titans. Had Malcolm Jenkins been chasing Chris Johnson, though, he might as well have just curled himself up at the 30-yard line and taken a little nap. No one was catching Chris Johnson on this one.

Look at the speed as soon as Johnson gets through the initial wave. There are a lot of theories as to why Chris Johnson has struggled, but after this one, I think we can rule out "straight line speed." That's still there.

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