Tuesday, October 4, 2011

NFL Week 4 Awards: Mark Sanchez is MVP...For the Other Team

According to ESPN's "Numbers Never Lie" there was a combined 7,886 passing yards in Week 4, the most ever in a single week in league history.

So that means a lot of big plays from quarterbacks and wide receivers. Which also means an entertaining race for Week MVP. But while some quarterbacks were doing everything possible to win their game there were a few who seemed to do everything possible to blow it.

Who stood out in victory? Who was embarrassed? Here are the awards for Week 4.

MVP of the Week

Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers

His performance against the Broncos was just sheer brilliance. He had a 76-percent completion rate, 408 yards passing (career-high) and four passing touchdowns (tying a career-best) to go along with 36 yards rushing and two rushing touchdowns. He became the first player ever to record 400 passing yards, four passing touchdowns and two rushing touchdowns. He was responsible for six of the team’s seven scores (the other coming on defense from a pick-six). And his Packers remain undefeated.

There’s really not much more to say. Rodgers has really made his case for best quarterback in the NFL and on a day like Sunday you wonder what else is there for him to do?

Honorable Mentions: Calvin Johnson, WR, Detroit Lions; Matt Forte, RB, Chicago Bears; Hakeem Nicks, WR, New York Giants

Bust of the Week

Mark Sanchez, QB, New York Jets

If you didn’t know better an innocent bystander would have thought that “The Sanchise” was in cohoots with the Ravens to help them win the game. He completed only 11 of 35 passes. He registered a 30.5 quarterback rating. But his turnovers were unforgivable.

Sanchez threw one interception on the day and it was returned by the Baltimore defense for a touchdown. He fumbled the ball four times. Three of those fumbles were recovered by the Ravens. Two of them were returned for touchdowns.

So that means Sanchez gifted Baltimore 21 points (the Jets lost by 17) while managing to lead the Jets to zero points (New York scored on a kickoff return, an interception return and a field goal).

Sanchez not only didn’t help his team, he actually performed better for his opposition.

(Dis)Honorable Mentions: Tony Romo, QB, Dallas Cowboys; Ronnie Brown, RB, Philadelphia Eagles

Surprise of the Week

Detroit Lions

The Dallas Cowboys were grooving throughout the first half. And when Jason Witten scored on a one-yard pass at the start of the third quarter to make the score 27-3, surely the Lions perfect season would be coming to an end.

Detroit had made a 20-point comeback the week before, surely they didn’t have another one in them, right?

But thanks to two huge mistakes from Tony Romo and tremendous play from wide receiver Calvin Johnson, the Lions roared all the way back to win the game.

After the Witten touchdown, Romo threw two interceptions that the Lions returned for touchdowns and brought the deficit down to 10 points. And in the fourth quarter Johnson caught two touchdown passes, including the game winner on a leaping grab with only 1:39 left to play.

That makes two consecutive 20-plus point comebacks for the Lions, making them the first team to do so in NFL history.

Honorable Mentions: Cincinnati Bengals; Curtis Painter, QB, Indianapolis Colts; Vince Wilfork’s second interception of the season

Disappointment of the Week

Philadelphia Eagles

The team that got all the hype in the (brief, yet fast-moving) offseason. The team that some called the best football team ever assembled (a bit of hyperbole). After blowing a 20-point halftime lead at home against the San Francisco 49ers the Eagles are 1-3 and dead last in the NFC East.

“It's unacceptable to give up a lead that size in the second half,” defensive tackle and one of those high-priced acquisitions Cullen Jenkins told reporters after the game. “If we don't win, we're just a bunch of talented people who haven't done anything, and there’s a lot of teams like that.”

Along with the big lead, the Eagles wasted a standout performance from QB Michael Vick (career-best 416 yards passing, two passing touchdowns and a team-best 75 yards rushing). Reasons for the downfall: a fumble (throwaway) on the 49ers’ one-yard-line by Ronnie Brown, a blocked field goal, a missed field goal and a Jeremy Maclin fumble with 2:06 remaining in the game to ruin any chance of a late comeback.

Maybe expectations were too high to start the season but this is a poor effort from the Eagles.

(Dis)Honorable Mentions: Tony Romo, QB, Dallas Cowboys; Joe Flacco, QB, Baltimore Ravens; Buffalo Bills

Rookie of the Week

Stevan Ridley, RB, New England Patriots

The LSU-alumnus gave Pats fans a glimpse of why he was selected in the third round, even with fan favorites BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Danny Woodhead ahead of him on the depth chart.

Ridley showed a nice blend of power and finesse, carrying the ball ten times for 97 yards (a whopping 9.7 yards per carry). His touchdown run was for 33 yards and showed a nice burst through the hole, shed three would-be-tacklers and had a nice sprint down the sidelines to the end zone.

It wouldn’t be a surprise to see him eat into more of BJGE’s carries as the season goes on.

Honorable Mentions: Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers; Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons; A.J. Green, WR, Cincinnati Bengals

Tough Luck

Beanie Wells, RB, Arizona Cardinals

After missing Week 3 with a hamstring injury Wells returned to have a career day. Unfortunately for him though his team still lost.

Wells had 138 yards (a career-high) on 27 carries and scored three touchdowns. It seemed like his third score would be the nail in the coffin, giving the Cardinals a 27-17 lead with just over five minutes remaining in the game.

The Cardinals lackluster defense allowed Eli Manning and Co. to march down the field and score in four plays. Then Arizona got unlucky on the Giants’ next drive with the most controversial officiating call of the week: Manning completed a pass to Victor Cruz, who was not touched but went down to the ground. Since he was not touched the play seemingly wasn’t dead, yet Cruz put the ball on the turf and went to go to the huddle. The Cardinals picked it up, insisting Cruz’s gaffe was a fumble, but the referees ruled that he had given himself up. The Giants would then score the game-winning touchdown later on in that drive.

Wells did everything he could to propel the Cardinals to victory, but it was not in the cards for the Arizona running back.

Honorable Mentions: Andre Johnson, WR, Houston Texans; Michael Vick, QB, Philadelphia Eagles

Photo Credits.
Mark Sanchez: AP Photo/Nick Wass

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