ICONChris Johnson ran for a season-high 190-yards in the Titans' win.
6. Chris Johnson shows up to play: Titans’ QB Matt Hasselbeck made a veteran throw to Damian Williams to beat the Bucs (buying time so the WR could work the back line of the end zone). But you know the story here is the 190-yards Johnson posted on Sunday. It’s no secret that Tampa struggles to tackle on defense, however these are the numbers you expect from the Pro Bowl RB. Johnson was seeing the field, showed the burst to the second level and displayed the lateral quickness that allows him to be one of the most explosive players in the NFL.
7. Steelers’ defense: Ben Roethlisberger and this Pittsburgh offense ran into a well scripted game plan from the Chiefs’ defense. But did anyone expect QB Tyler Palko to move the ball consistently and avoid turnovers vs. Dick Lebeau’s unit? The Steelers’ defense shut down the K.C. running game, forced three interceptions and held the Chiefs to 252-total yards. It was an ugly game, but when you are fighting with the Ravens and Bengals in the division, going on the road and getting a win at this time of the year is big. Jump on the plane, head home and start preparing for Cincy.
8. Oakland’s special teams: If Hue Jackson is going to hand out game balls today at the team meeting, then two of them should go to Sebastian Janikowski and Shane Lechler. The Raiders’ offense wasn’t productive in plus territory (until late in the game), but with Janikowski we are talking about an automatic three points (6 for 6) every time. With Lechler, the Raiders’ punter took Devin Hester out of the game and flipped the field consistently. Want to beat Lovie’s Bears? Win the special teams (and field position) battle.
9. Dalton and the Bengals: Cincinnati went through two tough weeks with losses to Baltimore and Pittsburgh, and Sunday wasn’t going to be easy with another divisional matchup vs. Cleveland. But when you can run the ball with Benson (21-106-1 TD), get production from Dalton (21-31-270-1 TD) and play defense, you will compete in the AFC North. The play from A.J. Green to set up the winning FG? That’s a rookie climbing he ladder to get the ball and then turning into an athlete after the catch. Don’t forget about this team in the AFC playoff discussion.
10. More Patrick Peterson: We can’t discuss the Cards’ 23-20 win over the Rams without mentioning Beanie Wells and 228-yard rushing, but I want to focus on the rookie in the return game. He runs strong, doesn’t hesitate with the ball and has pure top end speed when he gets vertical up the field. His development as a CB is the reason he was drafted as a top five player in April, however his impact on special teams is why we keep talking about him this season. Four TD returns as a rookie. Impressive.
Check back to the NFP on Monday afternoon for my game balls from the entire Week 12 NFL schedule.
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