AFTER HIS FIRST
two seasons one thing could be said about Ben Roethlisberger: He was never the
reason the Steelers lost. That changed in 2006, after a summer motorcycle
accident led to a skid out of a season: 23 interceptions (compared with 20
total in his first two years) and 18 touchdowns. Fans in Pittsburgh wondered if
Roethlisberger and his keen decision-making would ever be the same.
This year he
hasn't been the same; he's been better. But like the other players on this
page, Roethlisberger has had his career year overshadowed—in his case, by Tom
Brady's season for all time. In morphing from a game-management QB to a
gunslinger, below-the-radar Ben is second in the AFC with 22 touchdown passes
( Peyton Manning has 16), and perhaps more impressive, he has only seven
interceptions. Against the Browns on Sunday he directed a fourth-quarter
comeback with a 30-yard touchdown run and a TD pass. When will everyone notice?
How about Week 14, when the Steelers play the Patriots?
CHAD JOHNSON gets
the TV spots and does the big celebrations, but teammate T.J. has gotten the
TDs this year—10 already.
ended the Rookie of the Year debate early, but Lynch is fifth in the league in
rushing, and, unlike Peterson, he has yet to cough up the ball.
DISAPPOINTING Eagles season he has turned bailout passes into highlight-reel
material. He has been the most well-rounded back in the league, including