Tuesday, October 11, 2011

MVPs and LVPs: Week 5


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Adrian Peterson (RB, Minnesota Vikings):

For the first time all season, the Vikings made a good choice - when your passing game isn't working, take a chance and lean on your star running back to get you through the game. Peterson had 29 carries for 122 yards, and had 3 TDs that all came in the first quarter. Donovan McNabb still looks lost in the quarterback role, going 10 for 21 for 169 yards with 0 passing TDs and 1 rushing TD, but Adrian Peterson proved that he can still keep this team in games all by himself, as he carried this team to it's first win of the season. Minnesota is now 1-4 in the extraordinarily tough NFC North, and it doesn't look like they'll be heading to the playoffs this year (or anytime soon, with the way they're playing), but Peterson once again showed us the talent he has that means you can almost never count the Vikings out of a game.

Matt Cassel (QB, Kansas City Chiefs):

After the first four weeks of the season, I didn't think that a member of the Chiefs would make it on to my MVP list for the rest of the year. But surprisingly, Cassel played a great game on Sunday, and the Chiefs are now 2-3. Cassel went 21 of 29 for 257 yards, 4 TDs, and 0 INTs. The Chiefs were down by a significant margin against the Colts, who looked like they were finally going to get their first victory of the season behind the arm of Curtis Painter (who also had a great game). But Cassel helped the Chiefs to score 21 unanswered points and mount an impressive comeback. Dwayne Bowe and Steve Breaston made some great catches, and the Chiefs' two wins may have more to do with the fact that they were against the Vikings and Colts than anything else, but the Chiefs are at least no longer last in the AFC West, and if Cassel keeps playing this way, Kansas City might finally have something going for them.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis (RB, New England Patriots):

Against a tough Jets run defense, most people (myself included) expected the Patriots to throw the ball often and press the Jets' secondary (which, with Revis, is also particularly nasty). Green-Ellis hasn't looked great so far this season, but he worked the Jets front seven, carrying the ball 27 times for a career-high 136 yards and 2 TDs. The final drive in which Green-Ellis helped the Pats control the clock and work down the field for the game clinching field goal was particularly impressive. It almost seemed as though every time the commentators said that the Jets defense was built to stop the run, Green-Ellis would break off a big one. The Patriots O-Line helped a lot, but this game showed that, when necessary, the Patriots can run the ball and their offense can avoid being one-dimensional with their pass attack.

Buffalo Bills (special distinctions go to Fred Jackson and the defense, especially Nick Barnett):

What a game against the Eagles. The main story of this game was the Eagles meltdown under pressure and their sub-par 1-4 start. But give credit where credit is due: Vick may have thrown four interceptions (a career high) and lost a fumble, but it takes a special defense to pick off both Vick AND Tom Brady four times each - Nick Barnett picked off two Vick passes himself, and ran one back in for a touchdown. Offensively, Jackson was a beast once again, running the ball 26 times for 111 yards and 1 TD, and catching the ball for 85 yards. He was the best player in that game, hands down. It was an all-around impressive performance by the Bills, who improved to 4-1 and are still ahead of the Patriots (also 4-1) and Jets (2-3) in the AFC East.


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Josh Freeman (QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers):

The Bucs game against Tampa was just a massacre. Completely awful on the Bucs' part. Honestly, against a weak 49ers secondary, I expected a lot more out of Freeman (especially because he's on my fantasy team - thankfully I didn't start him). But instead of picking them apart like most people thought he would, Freeman went 17 of 33 for 187 yards, 0 TDs, and 2 INTs. So far this year, Freeman has 3 passing TDs, 2 rushing TDs, and 6 INTs. That's a pretty poor start for a team that people thought would be a playoff-caliber team. Somehow the Bucs are still 3-2 despite Freeman's poor play, but if Freeman keeps this up, I'd be concerned for the Bucs continuing success.

Michael Vick (QB, Philadelphia Eagles):

I know that Vick did something impressive on Sunday when he became the NFL's all-time leading QB rusher and also threw for 315 yards, but there's no way you're going to win a game if you throw 4 INTs, even against a Bills defense that was playing superbly. The Eagles needed to win this game desperately, and Vick made way too many mistakes for them to even consider winning. That loss to the Bills put Philly at 1-4 - last in the NFC East, and trailing the Redskins, Cowboys, and Giants. They're gonna have to do something special to even get to 10-6 at this point, but to even have a chance, Vick and the Eagles need to right this ship and figure out how to fix their numerous issues.

Kyle Orton (QB, Denver Broncos):

The fans of Denver finally got exactly what they wanted, when Orton played so poorly that Coach John Fox had no choice but to bench him in favor of Tim Tebow in the second half. Today, Tebow was named the starter for their next game against Miami. In the first half, Orton was 6 of 13 for 34 yards and 1 INT - that makes only 2.6 yards per passing attempt. Whether the benching was because of Orton's poor play, or the pressure from the fans, doesn't seem to matter it this point. Orton played himself right out of a starting job over the past few weeks as he led Denver to 1-4 (their only win was a close one against the Bengals), and even if Fox didn't want to bench him, Orton gave him no other choice.

Chicago Bears Offensive Line:

The Bears had a hard enough time against the Lions without the O-Line making things worse. Not only could they not stop the Lions front seven if their life depended on it - even though Cutler was sacked only 3 times, he was hit all over the place and never seemed to get a break - they committed 9 false-start penalties. That's inexcusable, and only making it even harder for your team to win against a tough defense. I know it was thunderously loud at Ford Field last night, but c'mon guys. Have more discipline than that.

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