November 22, 2010
Aaron Rodgers(notes), QB, Green Bay Packers. Rodgers tops the list in a week littered with fantastic performances. He worked the Vikings defense like a speedbag, finishing the day with 301 yards on 22-of-31 passing, with four touchdowns against zero interceptions. He did it without the benefit of a running game, too. Dimitri Nance(notes) and Brandon Jackson(notes) combined for a paltry 65 yards on 24 carries. It was a spotless, MVP-caliber performance that left another team looking inept and helpless.
Maurice Jones-Drew(notes), RB, Jacksonville Jaguars. It's gotten overshadowed by a bunch of things this week, but Jones-Drew's 75-yard screen play is one of the plays of the year. It's not like the guy caught the pass, and then had loads of daylight in front of him -- it looked like a moderate gain, at best. Vision, strength and speed all played a part, though, and Jones-Drew willed it down to the goal line and punched it in one play later. A game-winning individual effort, and part of a huge day for Jones-Drew.
Michael Vick(notes), QB, Philadelphia Eagles. It wasn't like last week, when Vick used the Redskins defense as his personal playground. In some ways, though, his performance against the Giants was just as impressive. It was a tougher night against a better defense in a bigger game, and Vick couldn't just go out there and overwhelm. He had to take what was there, and that's what he did -- he stood tall and delivered the football, and when there was a play to be made, he made it. Other Eagles were brilliant last night, too, like LeSean McCoy(notes), Jeremy Maclin(notes), Jason Peters(notes), Winston Justice(notes) and a defense that forced five turnovers. But Vick was efficient, poised and a leader. Sometimes, pure physical ability won't get the job done all by itself. Now Vick can win on those nights, too.
James Harrison(notes), LB, Pittsburgh Steelers. Harrison led a dominant Steelers defense that was able to do what few others could do this year: lock down the Raiders running game. And this week, no one can even accuse him of being the dirtiest player on the field. Bonus! Darren McFadden(notes) came into the game averaging 5.2 yards a carry, but was greeted all day yesterday by closed holes and angry Steelers. Fourteen yards on 10 carries was McFadden's haul for the day. Harrison's stat line was a little nicer: five tackles, two sacks, an interception and a forced fumble.
Santonio Holmes(notes), WR, New York Jets. No one can ever accuse Santonio Holmes of not making plays. Two weeks in a row, he's had the football on the good side of the goal line at the end of the game, and the Jets might not be where they are without him. Heaps of credit go to Mark Sanchez(notes), too, who is slowly turning me into a believer. His passer rating is 20 points better than it was a year ago as he morphs from caretaker to legitimate passing threat.
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