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Monday, January 3, 2011
High Energy: Once more, with feeling


Go ahead and pour yourself a tall drink, dial up "Time of Your Life" or "It's so Hard to say Goodbye to Yesterday" -- whatever you're into -- on your iPod and fight through the melancholy.

I'm calling upon you to give one more strong effort in choosing the final High Energy performer for the 2010 season.

I know, I know ... this is an emotional time. So grab a fistful of tissues and consider these top nominees. You're always free, of course, to nominate anyone you'd like in this difficult time.

The decision looks straightforward to me. Only two teams deserve to have anybody nominated because of blowout victories.

New York Jets rookie running back Joe McKnight ran 32 times for 158 yards against the Buffalo Bills' first-string defense. McKnight, in the Jets' doghouse since the summer for his lackluster approach to the game, went into the game with 31 yards total. The Jets scratched LaDainian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene, and McKnight took advantage of his opportunity.

Also for the Jets, rookie fullback John Conner received his first carries of the season. He ran eight times for 44 yards, including a 16-yard touchdown.

Jets cornerback Marquice Cole made his first NFL start and recorded two interceptions. Cole ran back one of them for a 35-yard touchdown.

Another impressive defensive performance came from Jets outside linebacker Calvin Pace. He made one tackle -- a sack. He also had three quarterback hits, an interception and three passes defensed.

The New England Patriots were much more balanced in terms of individual performances. They played almost all of their players, which limited the chance for gaudy stat lines.

But receiver and return man Julian Edelman had his best game of the year. He returned a punt 94 yards for a touchdown and caught three passes for 72 yards against the Miami Dolphins.

Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski caught six passes for 102 yards and a touchdown.

Outside linebacker Rob Ninkovich had another big game against his former team. He notched a pair of sacks, three quarterback hits, three tackles for loss and a fumble recovery. Ninkovich also added a pair of special-teams tackles.