Sunday’s five most valuable players, Week 1

Shutdown Corner

5. Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers. I'll admit it. I don't get it. I don't understand how a guy completes 42 percent of his passes in the preseason, and then goes 24 of 37 for 422 yards in the regular season. I mean, how bad can the Cardinals be? I know the preseason doesn't matter, but that kind of just means that it doesn't matter when you're good, right? I don't know where this came from, and not to be a parade-dampener, but I'm guessing it's not going to happen regularly.

4. Ted Ginn, WR, San Francisco 49ers. More unlikely than Newton's inclusion on this list today is Ted Ginn's. Honestly, I wasn't even sure that Ted Ginn was still on a roster. With just a few of minutes left in San Francisco's game, a beautiful Ted Ginn 102-yard kickoff return turned a two-point lead into a nine-point lead. And then about a minute later, he took a punt 55 yards to the house, sealing the deal for the 49ers. Jim Harbaugh should probably petition the league to let the 49ers end their season right now.

3. Haloti Ngata, DT, Baltimore Ravens. Ngata was just dominant all day against the Steelers. In fact, I'm not sure it's possible for one player to be more dominant in one play than Ngata is on this one. Best defensive player I saw Sunday.

2. Mike Tolbert, RB, San Diego Chargers. The Chargers won Sunday, but it took some heroics from Philip Rivers and Mike Tolbert. The Kool-Aid Man busted into the end zone three times, once on the ground, and twice on receptions. It was necessary, too, because the same thing that plagued the Chargers last year, plagued them Sunday: special teams, turnovers and overall subpar early season performances.

1. Matthew Stafford, QB, Detroit Lions. Having Calvin Johnson significantly reduces the degree of difficulty for any quarterback, but you still had to feel good for Matthew Stafford on Sunday. Unless you happen to be a Bucs fan, of course. And best of all, Stafford left the game at the end of it, upright, uninjured. Tremendous road win for the Lions. Be excited, Lions fans.

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