November 28, 2011
See Sunday's five most valuable players here.
Philip Rivers(notes), Quarterback, San Diego Chargers. Rivers didn't even dip into the giant bag of interceptions that he's carried around with him all season, but he just wasn't good enough against the Broncos. In the fourth quarter and overtime, the Chargers had five opportunities to get a touchdown that probably would've given them a win. They never came close. Rivers, with a healthy Antonio Gates(notes) and a healthy Vincent Jackson(notes), just refused to take any of the opportunities he had to beat the Broncos. His deep and intermediate throws aren't as accurate as they have been his whole career, and he goes for way too many checkdowns. If you refuse to beat a team for long enough, eventually, they will get a field goal and beat you.
Stevie Johnson(notes), Wide Receiver, Buffalo Bills. Stevie Johnson is here because he drew a 15-yard celebration penalty by going to the ground and because of his late-game dropsies, but while we're here, let me ask this -- why is Stevie Johnson a bad guy for his Plaxico-mocking celebration? Boomer Esiason was talking about Johnson on Sunday like he burned down the Boomer Esiason Foundation. I know of exactly zero football fans who haven't made or chuckled at a Plaxico Burress(notes) joke. I'm not defending or condemning Johnson's leg-shooting routine, but if Stevie Johnson's going to get raked over the coals for it, there's a lot of hypocrisy going on.
[Related: NFL's Week 12 Winners and Losers]
Blaine Gabbert(notes), Quarterback, Jacksonville Jaguars. I keep waiting for things to get better for Blaine Gabbert, but progress appears to be at a standstill. It's hard to point to anything he's doing well. He's not accurate, he doesn't get the ball out quickly -- he could obviously use a little more help at the receiver position, but with or without good wideouts, I'd at least like to see some progress from Gabbert. He's got plenty of time to grow as a quarterback, obviously, but I can't help but think the Jags organization expected a little more from him by now.
LeSean McCoy(notes), Running Back, Philadelphia Eagles. It's not even McCoy's fault that he's on this list, but the fact remains that he gained just 31 yards and got just 10 carries on Sunday. That's probably what a lot of those "Fire Andy!" chants were all about at The Linc on Sunday. It was only a four-point deficit for the Eagles at halftime -- it's not like there was a reason to completely abandon the run game. Things are such a mess in Philadelphia right now, and I've got a feeling that the real problems there are way more complicated than "Andy Reid is a bad coach." It wouldn't be the first time a complex problem was greeted with a simplistic solution, though.
Ryan Pontbriand(notes), Long Snapper, Cleveland Browns. He wasn't one of the winners, but Ryan Pontbriand was mentioned in the LVPs two weeks ago. I'm sure the Cleveland Browns are aware of this, but when your long snapper's getting that much ink, it's probably a sign that your season isn't going real well. On the drive before the Bengals kicked their game-winning field goal, the Browns lined up for one of their own. Pontbriand rolled the snap. Two weeks ago, it wasn't his fault, but this one was. He knows it.
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