Shutdown Corner - NFL

Sunday’s five most valuable players, Week 13

See Sunday's five least valuable players here.

Isaac Redman(notes) and Rashard Mendenhall(notes), Running Backs, Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers' game plan seemed to be to jam the football into the ears of the Bengals via a physical running game, much like they've done for the last, I don't know, two decades or so. Combined, Mendenhall and Redman had 24 carries, 111 yards, two touchdowns, and 2,392 broken tackles. The Steelers were brutal and efficient against a very good defense on Sunday. It was the kind of performance that should probably scare other AFC playoff teams.

Karlos Dansby(notes), Linebacker, Miami Dolphins. The Raiders' offense was thoroughly shut down on Sunday. Carson Palmer(notes) completed only 20 of 41 passes, and Michael Bush(notes) gained just 18 yards on 10 carries. The Raiders didn't get on the board until the fourth quarter, when it was already 34-0 Fish. It was a crucial game to the Raiders -- they lost the division lead on Sunday -- and they couldn't do anything against that defense. The Dolphins have won four of their last five, and in those games, have a scoring differential of +85.

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Rob Gronkowski(notes), Tight End, New England Patriots. Is there any reason Rob Gronkowski wouldn't be a first-round fantasy pick next year? The guy is a monster. If he's not catching eight balls for 100 yards, he's setting up camp in the end zone, like he did on Sunday. He was in the paint three times against the Colts. As far as fantasy stats go, Gronkowski would be the third-best wide receiver in the league this year. There seems to be no answer for him.

Ray Rice(notes), Running Back, Baltimore Ravens. Rice owned the Browns all day, but for some reason, couldn't put them away -- until Rice did that, too. Already over 100 yards on the day, Rice broke off this 67-yarder to set up a Ricky Williams(notes) vulture score and put the game out of reach. All told, he ran for a total of 204 yards. Ricky Williams added 76. Thanks for being here, Browns.

Aaron Rodgers(notes), Quarterback, Green Bay Packers. You could make an argument that the last minute of the Packers/Giants game is the most impressive thing the Packers have done in a year of overwhelmingly impressive things. It wasn't their best day, but when it was time to put the Giants to bed with about a minute left, the Packers flipped a switch and went from "blah" to operating with the surgical precision of Dr. Robert Chase. Look at the execution on this throw and catch. They moved down the field like there wasn't a defense. When they're that dialed-in, there's just no defense for it.

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