Matt Schaub, QB, Houston Texans: In his last three games before Sunday's matchup with the Jacksonville Jaguars -- games against the Baltimore Ravens, Buffalo Bills and Chicago Bears -- Schaub had thrown for a total of five touchdowns. His one-score, two-pick game against Chicago's transcendent defense may have been cause for concern ... until you saw what he did against Jacksonville's leaky defense. Chicago's Charles Tillman turned receiver Andre Johnson into an afterthought, but nobody was able to do that this Sunday.
Schaub completed 43 of 55 passes for 527 yards -- tied with Warren Moon for the second-most passing yards in a single game -- for five touchdowns and two picks in Houston's thrilling 43-37 overtime win. Johnson also had a major comeback with 14 catches for 273 yards and the game-winning touchdowns, but Schaub is our Week 11 MVP. The numbers tell the story.
Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers: The Packers have been affected by injuries on offense and defense, but one thing's for sure: In a receiver corps that has seen the Big Three of Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson and Donald Driver in and out through the season, Randall Cobb has become a major player. Not only is he a great return man and a threat in the backfield, but Cobb has become the kind of receiver who can come up with the key play in a game, as he did in Green Bay's 24-20 win over the Detroit Lions. With 1:55 left in the game, Cobb brought in the deciding 22-yard touchdown from Aaron Rodgers.
"Randall's a big-time player for us," Rodgers said after the game. "I mean, he's going to be a guy for us for a long time and is going to be a big part of our offense. We wanted to get him in space and get the ball to him as much as we can. We give him the ball in the backfield, we try and throw screens to him, try and get him in space. That play we made a little check. They came on down and kind of double-teamed and played in and out. Didn't really throw the best ball there, but it gave him a chance. He made an incredible catch."
And when Aaron Rodgers trusts you, that's a very good thing.
Jacoby Jones, WR, Baltimore Ravens: When you're in a groove, this football thing seems surprisingly easy. For the second straight week, Jones hit a big return for touchdown. It was a 105-yard kick return against the Raiders in a 55-20 win last Sunday, and a 63-yard punt return that proved to be the difference in Baltimore's 13-10 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. For a team that has been explosive but inconsistent on offense, and highly questionable on defense at the best of times, Jones' blast-offs have provided a much-needed spark.
"Well, all week in practice, we knew we had two kick returns already for touchdowns and the whole special teams unit, we kept complaining that we hadn't had a punt return yet," Jones told NBC's Michele Tafoya after the Sunday night win. "So that's one thing we emphasized and worked on all week and everybody did a great job on blocking."
Yep -- when you're good, it's just that easy. We don't have a punt return touchdown? Let's go get one! Now, the 8-2 Ravens are in the AFC's catbird seat, and Jones is the man to thank following the Steelers game.
Von Miller, OLB, Denver Broncos: Miller's starting to remind us of another pass-rusher who wore the number 58 -- the late, great Derrick Thomas. Few since Thomas can boast Miller's speed around the edge, and nobody's using their talents better than Miller right now. The second-year star grabbed the NFL's sack lead at 13.0 over Houston's J.J. Watt with a three-takedown performance that also included two forced fumbles. Miller has seven sacks in his last three games, and he's been unblockable at times -- especially against San Diego's horrid offensive line in Sunday's 30-23 Denver win. We talk all the time about Peyton Manning, but the other reason the Broncos look so good right now is a resurgent defense led by Miller. This is the team in the AFC nobody wants to face right now.
John Abraham, DE, Atlanta Falcons: The veteran picked up two sacks in Atlanta's surprisingly tough win over the Arizona Cardinals, but that's not why he's on our MVP list. When Abraham broke through the iffy protection provided by reserve rookie Nate Potter and forced reserve rookie quarterback Ryan Lindley (yeah, the Cards are in a lot of trouble right now) to fumble with 8:37 left in the first half, it was Abraham who seemed to be the only one on the field who understood that Lindley had fumbled, as opposed to throwing an incomplete pass. Fellow defensive lineman Jonathan Babineaux picked up the ball on Abraham's alert, and scooted in for a 15-yard touchdown. This also made Abraham a bit savvier than Mike Smith, Atlanta's head coach, who was unusually confused when confronted with the review process for fumbles later in the game.