Shutdown Corner - NFL

Mon Nov 29 06:52am EST

Week 12's five most valuable players

Glover Quin(notes), CB, Houston Texans.

I don't know if the oft-referenced "football gods" actually exist, but if they do, bless their hearts for giving Glover Quin a shot at redemption Monday, and congratulations to Quin for pouncing on it. Two weeks running, Quin's been on the list of least valuable players, and both times, we've wished for the man to bounce back. Did he have it in him? You bet your sweet bippy he did.

Three interceptions for Glover Quin on Sunday. That might be Shutdown Corner's favorite individual performance of all-time. I couldn't be happier for the man. No one has ever needed to see Rusty Smith(notes) more than Quin did Sunday.

Andre Johnson(notes), WR, Houston Texans.

We'll put the best fistfight in NFL history aside for a moment (just a moment, I promise) to recognize that Andre Johnson also had a pretty good day playing football. Big yardage numbers weren't there, but he did catch nine balls and score a touchdown on Cortland Finnegan(notes), one of the NFL's better corners.

Also, Johnson laid a Norton/Bobick beating on Finnegan.

I'm not proud of this and I'm not saying that it's a good thing, but I really enjoyed the fisticuffs. You'll see an NFL fight from time to time, sure, but one where guys bother to pull each others' helmets off first? Where clean punches are landed? And two star players are involved? This sort of thing doesn't happen everyday. It was like Andre Rison vs. Deion Sanders, except with actual violence. It was delightful.

Now, I'm not saying I want that to happen more often. I don't. Any fines or suspensions are well-deserved, and I'll support the stern hammer of justice coming down from the league. As it was happening, though, I couldn't help but think, "This is awesome." I'm sorry. Don't judge me.

Dwayne Bowe(notes), WR, Kansas City Chiefs.

Ready for some numbers that will make your eyeballs tingle? Over the last seven weeks, Dwayne Bowe is averaging seven catches, 104.7 yards and 1.9 touchdowns per game. Those numbers, especially that last one, are positively filthy. That's a 30-touchdowns-in-a-season pace.

Bowe tuned up the Seahawks secondary Sunday, going bananas for 13 catches, 170 yards and three TDs. Sure, the Seahawks secondary isn't exactly a lockdown unit, but Bowe's doing this with Matt Cassel(notes) as his quarterback, too. I'll call that a wash.

Unfortunately for Bowe, this first five weeks of the season count, too. If they didn't, we might be talking about the guy as an MVP candidate.

Julius Peppers(notes), DE, Chicago Bears.

Peppers will have to accept his award on behalf of the entire Bears defensive line, perhaps most notably Tommie Harris(notes) (for this play) and Matt Toeaina(notes). The Bears were in Michael Vick's(notes) face all day long, often without the help of a blitz. That, combined with Chicago's execution of the "sit back and refuse to give up the big play" strategy helped the Bears to an eye-opening win over the Eagles.

It's worth noting that Vick still had over 330 yards passing and 44 yards rushing. The guy is, after all, still Michael Vick. But he was pressured into four fumbles, lost two of them, was sacked four times, was intercepted and -- this is the big one -- never had a play that went for more than 30 yards. Few teams have the personnel to do it, but there's your blueprint on how to keep Michael Vick from killing you.

Peyton Hillis(notes), RB, Cleveland Browns.

This beauty is one of my favorite clips of the year. It's textbook hat-on-hat blocking by the Browns, leaving Peyton Hillis one-on-one with a safety. The ensuing encounter did not go particularly well for the safety. Not only did Hillis pile up 131 rushing yards and three ground TDs, but he caught six balls for 63 yards, too.

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