October 03, 2011
See Sunday's five least valuable players here.
Alex Smith, Quarterback, San Francisco 49ers. This could be Frank Gore(notes), too, as some ridiculous tackling helped him to a 127-yard rushing performance, but how many chances am I going to have to put Alex Smith on this list? He went 21 of 33 for 291 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions? Against the best secondary and pass rush that money can buy? Sure, the Eagles killed themselves, but the 49ers still had to jump on the opportunity and make things happen. I didn't think they had it in them.
[Related: Week 4 winners and losers]
Matt Hasselbeck(notes), Quarterback, Tennessee Titans. Maybe it's crazy to have Hasselbeck here when guys like Aaron Rodgers(notes), Philip Rivers(notes) and Eli Manning(notes) aren't, but hear me out. With Kenny Britt(notes) done for the year, I thought it might be strugglesville for Hasselbeck, but he came out and went 8 of 12 for 193 yards and three touchdowns in the first half. Hasselbeck and the Titans are one of the real surprise stories in the first quarter of the season. His second half wasn't outstanding, but an early second-half pick-six put the Titans up 31-13, and they went into cruise control.
Aaron Rodgers, Quarterback, Green Bay Packers. Fine, you're right. It would've been crazy to leave Rodgers out. He was a men among boys against the Broncos on Sunday, throwing for over 400 yards and a quarterback rating of 134.5. Oh, and six touchdowns. Did I mention the six touchdowns? He threw for four and ran for two more.
Arian Foster(notes), Running Back, Houston Texans. With Ben Tate(notes) and the Texans running the ball well in Foster's absence, it was easy to assume that Foster was expendable in Houston. The Pittsburgh Steelers would probably tell you otherwise. Foster, getting his first major duty of the season, turned in a sparkling, 155-yard performance. He looked quick, his cuts were sharp, he stayed up after contact and his vision was terrific.
Jimmy Graham(notes), Tight End, New Orleans Saints. He's not a big name (yet), but Jimmy Graham is as dangerous an offensive weapon as exists in the NFL right now. He's got a combination of size, speed and athleticism that opponents just can't deal with from the tight end position. He caught 10 balls for 132 yards on Sunday. As Graham gets better and better, it becomes almost unfair for a quarterback as good as Drew Brees(notes) to have a weapon like that.
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