Reggie Bush(notes), Running Back, New Orleans Saints. This was the game people pictured Reggie Bush having when he was drafted out of USC. This was the game where Reggie Bush put on the big boy pants. He used his sick physical gifts not just to be shifty, but to finish runs and be physical, too. His cuts had purpose (the cut he makes at the :04 mark here, which starts at about the 44 and finishes at the 40, is particularly filthy) and he ran like a beast. If he could only find some consistency in that ...
Peyton Manning(notes), Quarterback, Indianapolis Colts. Statistically, Manning's performance against the Ravens wasn't a Picasso, but it was a very good color-by-numbers job: The color selections were appropriate, he didn't press too hard with the crayons, and he stayed perfectly within the lines. Manning just made the right throws when he needed to, didn't turn the ball over (or at least, Pierre Garcon(notes) saved him when he did), and was efficient and effective. Consider: The Colts finished the game with just 42 yards rushing, but still won the time of possession battle, 34 minutes to 26.
Rex Ryan, Head Coach, New York Jets. The Jets defense was equal to the hype Sunday, delivering on everything their reputation said they would. Yes, Philip Rivers(notes) did throw for 298 yards against them, but they weren't a typical Rivers kind of 298 yards. The Jets kept the big plays away, forcing Rivers to get most of his yards by throwing underneath. It may not sound like a ton, but the Chargers thrive on the big play, and the Jets took it away from them. They didn't do it because their players were better, either. This was a conquest of scheme.
Brett Favre(notes), Quarterback, Minnesota Vikings. How many throws did Favre make Sunday that could not have hit the receiver any more accurately if they were handoffs? It was uncanny. In fairness, though, it may have been a little different if someone had told Gerald Sensabaugh that it was his job to prevent the receiver from catching the ball, and not just to run beside him.
Larry Coyer, Defensive Coordinator, Indianapolis Colts. Ray Rice(notes): 13 carries, 67 yards. That was not supposed to happen. The Colts came into the game with the league's 24th-ranked rushing defense, and you know the Ravens wanted to jam it down their throats. The Colts came up big, though. They put the shackles on Rice in the first half, and in the second, the Ravens were forced to throw. They put the game on Joe Flacco's(notes) shoulders, and his shoulders were not as strong as his eyebrow.
- Reggie Bush
- Indianapolis Colts