1. Aqib Talib, cornerback, Buccaneers. He was called for a costly personal foul in the final minutes. Talib’s had problems controlling his emotions throughout his career and that doesn’t seem to be improving. The Bucs have gone out of their way with Talib because he is a rare physical talent. But their efforts have rarely been rewarded this season. In the past, Talib’s physical talent often outweighed his mistakes. This season, that hasn’t been the case.
2. Raheem Morris, coach, Buccaneers. His team has been wildly inconsistent all season. One week, the Bucs go out and play great against the Saints. The next, they’re flat as can be against the Bears. Tampa Bay is a very young team and inconsistency should be expected. But it’s ultimately up to the head coach to get his team to play with consistency. The Bucs haven’t shown any progress in this area.
3. Sam Baker, left tackle, Falcons. He sat out with a back injury. Will Svitek filled in and did not allow a sack to Kyle Vanden Bosch. Baker’s been shaky most of the season. It will be interesting to see what the Falcons do at left tackle coming out of their bye week.
Offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael had a very successful debut as the Saints' playcaller.
1. Pete Carmichael, offensive coordinator, Saints. With Sean Payton nursing his injured leg up in the press box, Carmichael got to call the plays for the entire game for the first time in his career. He obviously did pretty well as the Saints scored on their first nine possessions. Carmichael has kept a low profile and he’s a quiet guy. But he’s known and respected throughout the league. It looks like he’ll continue calling the plays for some time. That should only raise his profile and his name could start coming up in some conversations about head-coaching jobs.
2. Antwan Applewhite, defensive lineman, Panthers. This guy was a late pickup for the Panthers after they suffered a number of injuries on the defense. Coach Ron Rivera had history with Applewhite in San Diego. But this guy is contributing much more than you’d expect from a guy who was signed off the street just a few weeks ago. Against the Redskins, Applewhite had a sack, forced a fumble and made five tackles.
3. Corey Peters, defensive tackle, Falcons. The second-year pro has quietly been Atlanta’s best defensive lineman. He was stout against the run last season, but his skills as a pass-rusher have improved this year. That showed through Sunday when he came up with a third-quarter sack that stalled a Detroit drive and forced the Lions to kick a field goal.