September 26, 2011
5. Curtis Painter(notes), Quarterback, Indianapolis Colts. We're breaking a few of the unwritten rules of the MVPs and LVPs here: Painter didn't win, nor was he among the 15 or 20 best Indianapolis Colts on Sunday night. It was so heartwarming, though, to see him settle down and find his confidence after missing horrifically on his first couple of throws. He calmed himself and completed two huge passes on a late fourth-quarter touchdown drive that tied the game for the Colts. It was hard not to root for the guy, even if he does look like a young Paula Dean.
4. Torrey Smith(notes), Wide Receiver, Baltimore Ravens. Before Sunday, the only things we knew about Torrey Smith were that he had Maryland pride and was freaked out by earthquakes. Now we know that he's a playmaker, too. Doug detailed his performance here Sunday: five catches for 152 yards, the first three of which went for touchdowns. That'll announce your presence with authority. The Rams are not strong at the corner position, and Smith's speed was a perfect matchup for the Ravens. They took advantage. They gave Smith the opportunity, and he cashed it in.
3. Calvin Johnson(notes), Wide Receiver, Detroit Lions. A very large portion of that Lions comeback Sunday was Matthew Stafford(notes) saying to himself, "Hey, there's Calvin Johnson. Let's just throw it in his direction and see what happens." And it's a percentage play. If there's anything less than four dudes hanging all over him, Johnson's probably going to make that play. That's how they scored their two touchdowns. That's how they got into position to kick the game-winner in overtime. Having Calvin Johnson pretty much means that you have a potent passing game.
2. Darren McFadden(notes), Running Back, Oakland Raiders. I was excited about having the Jets defense in my fantasy lineup Sunday, with their matchup against the Raiders. And then Darren McFadden sliced them up like a tomato in a Ginsu knife commercial. Now I need 85 points Monday night from Rex Grossman(notes) to win, and that makes me very sad. Darren McFadden is currently the leading rusher in the NFL and is a reasonably good bet to hold on to that title until the end of the season.
1. Ryan Fitzpatrick(notes), Quarterback, Buffalo Bills. Fitzpatrick accepts this award on behalf of every Buffalo Bill, because a lot of guys had to make a lot of big plays to get Buffalo that priceless win over New England on Sunday. Fred Jackson(notes) was a stud. Drayton Florence(notes) made a huge play. Leodis McKelvin(notes), David Nelson(notes), Bryan Scott(notes), Donald Jones(notes), George Wilson(notes), Stevie Johnson(notes) ... and yes, Fitzpatrick, too, with his 369 yards passing and two touchdowns.
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