The Award Section
OFFENSIVE PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
With apologies to Philip Rivers and his ridiculous 436-yard day ...
Eli Manning, QB, New York Giants
Others had better numbers than Manning's (25-38, 330 yards, two touchdowns), but he put 13 points on the board with three crisp scoring drives in the final 16 minutes Sunday night at Dallas.
In the process, he distributed the ball superbly -- 13 attempts to Mario Manningham, 13 to Steve Smith -- and hit both 10 times, the first time in Giants history the team has had two receivers snare at least 10 throws each.
Kurt Warner, QB, Arizona
His 24-of-26 passing day, 92.3 percent, is the best in the 90-year history of the league. He's getting older, but he might also be getting better.
Cedric Benson, RB, Cincinnati
The one thing the Packers were convinced they could do after an offseason adjusting to the 3-4 and a preseason in which they played it well and an opener in which they snuffed out the Bears is stop the run. And so here came a totally unimpressive running game, Cincinnati's, into Lambeau. Benson rushing 29 times for 141 yards (a 4.8-yard average) was the biggest reason the Bengals pulled the upset of the day.
Chris Johnson, RB, Tennessee
Can't blame him for the Tennessee D collapsing. Johnson had 284 yards from scrimmage on 25 touches (16 carries for 197 yards rushing, nine catches for 87 yards). Every time I looked up Sunday he was running wild-- one a 57-yard touchdown run, a 69-yard pass play from Kerry Collins for another TD, and then a 91-yard touchdown run that should have clinched the game for Tennessee. Wrong.
DEFENSIVE PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Ray Lewis, LB, Baltimore
As I said up top, one of the great plays of Lewis' career capped the Ravens' 31-26 win at San Diego. For the day, he had 12 tackles and a forced fumble. At 34, Lewis continues to play at the high level he's played at since the day he entered the league in the first year in Ravens' history, 1996.
Darrelle Revis, CB, New York Jets
Randy Moss: four catches, 24 yards, no impact. "I just tried to be physical with him at the line,'' said Revis. He was, and though he had help, Revis is the kind of physical corner and excellent cover guy who allows Rex Ryan to leave the best receiver on the other team in Revis' hands -- with minimal help from a safety -- and not be worried that he'll get burned.
Antwan Odom, DE, Cincinnati
Before this season, Odom had played 60 NFL games and totaled 15.5 sacks. Guess who's the 2009 sack leader? Odom, the former bit-part Titan, who had five sacks, two additional tackles for loss, and five tackles in the Bengals' stunning upset at Green Bay. That gives Odom seven for the season, and it gives the Bengals a pass-rushing end they've been lacking for years, even when Justin Smith was a moderately successful rush end before leaving in free agency for the Niners last year.
SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Calais Campbell, DE, Arizona; Antrel Rolle, CB, Arizona
With the Jaguars aiming to cut a seven-point deficit to four on a Josh Scobee field goal, Campbell found a seam in the Jags punt-team line, slithered through it, blocked the field goal, then helped form a convoy for the sixth touchdown of young Rolle's career. Rolle, catching the ball at the Cardinals' 17, weaved down the left sideline, then cut across and scored against the grain on a play I can guarantee you Jack Del Rio will replay in Jacksonville film study this week. He'll ask his team: "Why'd so many people not sprint to the ball, even after Rolle ran past you once?''
COACH OF THE WEEK
Rex Ryan, coach, New York Jets
Ryan said after the upset of the Patriots, in essence, that the Jets talk because they can back it up. Two games prove it -- the Jets haven't allowed an offensive touchdown in a two-game stretch for the first time since 1993. I love the varying defensive looks the Jets gave New England. On the final three snaps of the day for New England, Brady faced seven-, five- and six-man rushes coming at him. I think from the we-won't-kiss-Belichick's-rings comment to challenging his quarterback to be great right away to telling his team they won't back down to anyone no matter what ... Ryan has a formula that's pretty simple: Ryan is putting the chip on the shoulder of every opponent and backing up every word he's saying.
GOAT OF THE WEEK
Jeff Reed, K, Pittsburgh
It came down to a battle of the kickers in the fourth quarter at Chicago. Reed missed wide left from 38 yards with 11:42 to play, then missed again from 43 yards out -- again wide left -- with 3:23 left. Meanwhile, Jay Cutler threw a game-tying touchdown, and then Robbie Gould made a 44-yard game-winner in the last minute. CBS showed a pained Reed on the sidelines about 63 times in the last few minutes.
1. Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans. Nine touchdowns in eight quarters, leading the most potent offense in football. He is to 2009 football what Kurt Warner was to 1999 football.
2. Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota. He followed an intergalactic first game with a 116-yard second one, including another Cantonesque rushing touchdown among his 92 yards on the ground.
3. Joe Flacco, QB, Baltimore. "How well do you know him?'' Cam Cameron asked me Sunday night. Not well, I said; I've just talked to him three or four times. "You better get to know him. He's going to be really good for a long time.''
4. Darrelle Revis, CB, New York Jets. Andre Johnson was all-world in Week 2 -- after getting manhandled by Revis in Week 1. Randy Moss was All-Pro in Week 1, then got silenced by Revis in Week 2.
5. Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta. Quietly, a very solid start for the 2-0 Birds and their young quarterback -- 68-percent passing and a 108.5 rating against two good defenses, Miami and Carolina.
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