Yesterday's five most valuable players: The Big Gradkowski

MJD
December 7, 2009
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Bruce Gradkowski(notes), Quarterback, Oakland Raiders. I don't know what's the bigger upset: that the Raiders went into Pittsburgh and beat the champs, or that a Raiders quarterback is the week's MVP. Either way, Gradkowski produced a borderline miracle yesterday. The Raiders had to come back, and then they had to come back again, and they had to do it all on the arm of the Pittsburgh native. Gradkowski just made throw after throw. Credit goes to Louis Murphy(notes), too, who is looking like a big as steal in the fourth round as Darrius Heyward-Bey(notes) is a bust in the first.

Robert Meachem(notes), Wide Receiver, New Orleans Saints. 'Twas quite a day for Mr. Meachem. To start with the basics, he caught eight balls for 164 yards and a touchdown. On top of that, his TD reception came at the end of regulation and got the Saints into overtime. And on top of that, he stripped the ball away from Redskins defensive back Kareem Moore(notes), who had intercepted Drew Brees(notes), and took that 44 yards for a touchdown. It'll be a strong contender for highlight of the season.

Kurt Warner(notes), Quarterback, Arizona Cardinals. That was the vintage, top-shelf Kurt Warner that we saw on Sunday night. Quick-thinking, quick-releasing, accurate and deadly. Of course, it helps to have guys like Anquan Boldin(notes) and Larry Fitzgerald(notes), as well as a solid blocking scheme to keep Jared Allen(notes) and the rest of the Minnesota line off his back, but Warner himself was a big reason for the zero-sack game, too. He recognized things quickly and got rid of the ball when he had to. It was the kind of game Aaron Rodgers(notes) should have been taking notes on.

Antonio Gates(notes), Tight End, San Diego Chargers. Gates finds himself on this list for the second straight week after lighting up the Browns for eight receptions and 167 yards. Teams continue to put all their attention on Vincent Jackson(notes), rolling a safety his way on nearly every play, and Gates is enjoying the lack of attention.

Michael Vick(notes), Quarterback, Philadelphia Eagles. I'm happy for the way things went for Michael Vick yesterday, but let's not get carried away thinking that he played some spectacular game. He didn't. He scored on a touchdown run, which was nice, but won't make any highlight reels. He completed a long pass when he underthrew Reggie Brown(notes) by about 10 yards, and Brown made a great play on the ball. And then he had a touchdown pass on a play that's designed to have one passing option, wide open, and that's exactly how it worked. Hooray and all, but let's hold off on building the extra wing at the Hall of Fame. Why it does make me feel good, though, is that Vick got to play in front of people who love him, and everybody deserves to have someone on their side. I'm glad it won't be universal hatred for Vick at every road game this year.