1. Qadry Comes Through
He has played for four teams. He was a minimum-salary signee by the Ravens last April, a wideout without an NFL reception since 1996. But on Sunday in Pittsburgh, Qadry Ismail had one of the most spectacular quarters an NFL receiver has ever had: four catches, 210 yards, three touchdowns—despite taking a vicious hit that bruised his ribs on the first score. He finished with six catches for 258 yards in a 31-24 Baltimore win.
2. Underrated Player of the Year
Steve Beuerlein is second in the league in passing yards (3,483), has completed 60% of his passes for a 6-7 team and has thrown 10 more touchdown passes (25) than interceptions. On Sunday against the Packers at Lambeau Field he passed for 373 yards and three touchdowns, then ran five yards on a quarterback draw for the winning points as time expired. So why do the Panthers keep thinking they need a quarterback?
3. He Smells a Super Bowl
Motivated by reports that the defense was the team's weak link, Colts linebacker Cornelius Bennett had 15 tackles in a 20-15 victory over the Patriots. The win, Indianapolis's ninth straight, clinched a playoff berth and gave the Colts (11-2) a three-game lead in the AFC East. The franchise is within reach of its first division title since 1987 and a first-round bye, as Bennett, the former Bills and Falcons standout, sets his sights on his sixth Super Bowl appearance in the '90s.