Tom Brady(notes), QB, New England Patriots. Handsome Tom is 6-1 all time against the Steelers, and 4-1 at Heinz Field, and that’s just hard to process. In sports, you see these stats every now and then where one guy has some bizarre mastery over another team, but against the Steelers? With the defenses they’ve had in Brady’s time in the league? Insane. Brady went 30-of-43 for 350 yards, three touchdowns and no mistakes on Sunday night.
Bill Belichick, Head Coach, New England Patriots. So impressive were the Patriots, in fact, that they’re getting two guys on the list. Not only was Brady brilliant, but Ben Roethlisberger(notes) was completely locked down in the first half, Tom Brady’s jersey didn’t require washing at the end of the night, James Harrison(notes) was as quiet and fearsome as a mime, and by the end of the game, BenJarvus Green-Ellis(notes) was running through the kinds of holes that are typical of a team that’s been beaten down for 60 minutes by a power Steelers effort. Pittsburgh just got completely turned inside-out Sunday night.
Roddy White(notes), WR, Atlanta Falcons. Let's take it back to Thursday night for Roddy White, who helped the Falcons topple the formidable Ravens. White can share this with quarterback Matt Ryan(notes), who I sometimes start to think is overrated, until he does something like that picture-perfect game-winning drive against Baltimore. He was the epitome of a franchise quarterback on that night. By the way, in a season where no one’s even close to forcefully grabbing the award, is there any reason why Roddy White can’t be an MVP candidate?
Troy Smith(notes), QB, San Francisco 49ers. At the risk of being punched in the face by Doug Farrar, how about some love for Troy Smith and his 2-0 record as a starter? After Troy’s surprise promotion to the starting lineup, he’s done nothing but make plays, and the plays he made Sunday were the difference in the game against St. Louis. Also, I’m just throwing this out there: The 49ers are two games back of the division-leading Seahawks. Anyone look at the Seahawks and think, “There’s no way that team’s going to blow a two-game lead”? Nor do I.
Brandon Lloyd(notes), WR, Denver Broncos. The best way to silence the Chiefs running game? Take a 35-0 lead, and make Matt Cassel(notes) throw the ball 53 times. It could just as easily be Kyle Orton(notes) on this list, but we’ll give the nod to Brandon Lloyd as sort of a season achievement award. Also, I want to show you this catch, because in a day with some sick grabs, that one might be the sickest.