- Paul Kuharsky, ESPN Staff Writer
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A look at a player who gave his team a significant boost in Week 16.
The supporting cast around Indianapolis' defensive stars has been playing better, and it’s spurred the team’s surge.
But in a 31-26 victory at Oakland, one of those stars provided a major spark as the Raiders struggled to find any points on offense.
Robert Mathis forced two incomplete passes by hitting Jason Campbell's arm as he threw. He had 1.5 sacks. He tracked fullback Marcel Reece down on a screen pass and tackled him for no gain at the sideline. He chased Campbell down from behind on a third down to stop a scramble short of a first down. He made a tackle for no gain.
In a division where several high-quality pass-rushers haven’t been able to make it to the end -- Mario Williams (sports hernia), Aaron Kampman (knee) and Dave Ball (concussion) are all on injured reserve -- Mathis looked like he was as fresh as he was on opening day.
His energy was excellent and his ability to not only get to the quarterback, but to disrupt his passes when he gets there is uncanny.
Dominic Rhodes was a solid candidate on a weekend in which the Colts were the AFC South’s lone winner, but Mathis is our High Energy Player of the Week.
Mathis and Indianapolis are now in a win-and-in game against the Titans Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium.