Jake Delhomme, Panthers quarterback. It pains me to say because he’s truly one of the classiest guys in the NFL, but it’s over for Delhomme. His performance has been shaky all season and now he has a broken finger on his throwing hand. That, and the fact that Carolina’s playoff chances are virtually gone, mean it’s time to hand it off to backup Matt Moore.
I wouldn’t expect him to be the savior, but throw him out there and see if he’s got anything. That’s really the only thing that makes sense for the Panthers right now.
Jim Bates, Buccaneers former defensive coordinator. First, he was demoted from that role by head coach Raheem Morris. Then, even though the Bucs supposedly wanted Bates to remain in some sort of consulting role, he decided not to travel with the team to Atlanta. Finally, the Bucs went out and played pretty good defense for the first time all season.
Then again, keep it in perspective. The Atlanta offense was beyond banged up.
Charles Godfrey, Panthers safety. He finally returned from an injury, but he didn’t return to the starting lineup. That honor stayed with rookie Sherrod Martin, who has made Godfrey into a backup.
Mike McKenzie and the Saints secondary did a great job on New England's passing game.
Mike McKenzie, Saints cornerback. This guy’s almost older than Archie Manning and he’d been out of the NFL since the Saints let him go after last season. They re-signed McKenzie last week only because they had a whole bunch of injuries at cornerback.
Then, they had another when Randall Gay went down early in the game. All McKenzie did was cover Randy Moss -- pretty much flawlessly.
Chris Redman, Falcons quarterback. He had his struggles after taking over for an injured Matt Ryan against Tampa Bay. But he rallied the Falcons to a touchdown when it mattered most.
Redman’s going to start against Philadelphia on Sunday and that’s going to be a big challenge. He’ll need teammates to step up on both sides of the ball. But Redman probably won some confidence with his teammates in the last minutes of the Tampa Bay game. By the way, I’ll give Atlanta receiver Roddy White an honorable mention here. I know it’s somewhat fashionable to say White has been inconsistent after getting a big contract in the preseason. But that game-winning catch he made against Tampa Bay was big time.
Josh Freeman, Buccaneers quarterback. Yeah, I know Tampa Bay lost to Atlanta, but it wasn’t the rookie quarterback’s fault. The kid is playing well and that’s giving a struggling franchise hope for the future.