NFL Nation: 2010 Week 12 High Energy AFC

A look at a player who gave his team a significant boost in Week 13.

If the San Diego Chargers had any illusion of getting back into Sunday’s eventual 28-13 loss to the visiting Oakland Raiders, Michael Bush gave them a reality check.

[+] EnlargeMichael Bush
AP Photo/Lenny IgnelziRunning back Michael Bush and the Raiders overpowered the Chargers on Sunday.
The Raiders’ underrated backup running back imposed his will on the San Diego defense on a 7-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, giving the Raiders a 21-3 lead going into halftime. Bush rumbled into the end zone, breaking several tackles.

The Raiders outmuscled the Chargers all game and this play was a pure example of it. Bush and the Raiders had their way with San Diego on the ground all day. Oakland had 251 yards on 52 carries. Bush and starter Darren McFadden wore down the Chargers. McFadden had 97 yards on 19 carries and Bush bulldozed his way to 95 yards on 23 carries.

It was Bush’s touchdown that showed San Diego that it wouldn’t be able to stop Oakland on the ground for the rest of the day. It was a high-energy display of a player refusing to be stopped.

AFC East High Energy Player of the Week

November, 30, 2010
NFC High Energy: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

A player who gave his team a significant boost in Week 12.

For the second straight week, readers responded decisively to my request to select the AFC East High Energy performer.

In a landslide, New York Jets all-purpose device Brad Smith beat out the other candidates I proposed: New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, Miami Dolphins quarterback Chad Henne and the Dolphins' run defense.

[+] EnlargeBrad Smith
AP Photo/Bill KostrounBrad Smith was able to complete this 89-yard kickoff return for a touchdown despite losing his shoe.
Smith was a game-changer in a Thanksgiving night triumph over the Cincinnati Bengals.

The Jets were down in the third quarter when he took an end-around run 53 yards for a touchdown to give the Jets a lead they wouldn't surrender. He also delivered an 89-yard kickoff return for a touchdown right after the Bengals pulled within seven points in the fourth quarter.

"The whole atmosphere in the building just flipped once Brad made that run," Jets safety Jim Leonhard said. "That’s what he does. He's so explosive, and you know that you've got to get him touches because whenever he gets his hands on the ball that's what can happen.

"Sometimes offensively it's going to be a struggle for a while, trying to figure things out and how the defense is attacking you. But Brad was that spark."

On the kickoff, Smith slithered his way up the left side and then broke across the field. He lost his left shoe before making the TD-clinching cut at about the Bengals' 45-yard line.

Smith also had a reception for 23 yards and took a couple direct snaps. He played quarterback at Missouri and was the first player in Division I history to pass for 8,000 yards and run for 4,000 yards.

"He is an amazing guy and an amazing talent," Jets coach Rex Ryan said in his postgame news conference. "I'm definitely glad he was on our side. He's a phenomenal athlete. Everything we asked Brad to do, he does.

"Quite honestly, when our DBs were down, I was like, 'We'll put [running back] Joe McKnight in there, and we've always got Brad Smith.' He’s just a great football player."
NFC High Energy: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

A look at a player who gave his team a significant boost in Week 12.

[+] EnlargeBrian Cushing
AP Photo/Dave EinselBrian Cushing played arguably his best game of the season Sunday against Tennessee.
On an afternoon when the Houston Texans' defense finally got a complete effort, Brian Cushing was in the middle of it.

The Titans' offense struggled on third down because it was in third-and-long a lot. And it was in third-and-long a lot because of plays like Cushing’s four tackles for a loss.

Houston made the Titans one-dimensional by completely taking away Chris Johnson. The Tennessee running back had five touches in the first half, and Cushing was in on a tackle for a loss on three of them, including a drop of Johnson for a 1-yard loss on a third-and-2 pass.

Cushing missed the first four games of the season while serving a suspension for a violation of the league’s policy against performance enhancers. He’s not been nearly as effective since his return as he was when he won defensive rookie of the year in 2009, and a brief move to full-time middle linebacker after DeMeco Ryans was lost for the season didn’t really work.

This was his best game of the season.

“It’s kind of getting back in the groove,” Cushing said. “I just wanted to go out and play relentless. If you play hard, good things will come.”
NFC High Energy: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

It's debatable whether Cleveland Browns running back Peyton Hillis will make it to his first Pro Bowl this season. But what isn't debatable is that Hillis is running away with the High Energy Player of the Week honors in the AFC North.

[+] EnlargeCleveland's Peyton Hillis
AP Photo/Paul SpinelliPeyton Hillis rushed for 131 yards and three touchdowns against Carolina.
Hillis is in a class by himself as the division's only multi-time winner. The bruising running back was chosen for the third time after rushing for 131 yards and three touchdowns in a win over the Carolina Panthers. His 11 rushing touchdowns this season makes him just the third player in Browns history to accomplish that feat.

Cleveland's acquisition of Hillis from the Denver Broncos for backup quarterback Brady Quinn is the most lopsided trade of the 2010 season. The Browns only have four wins but would be nowhere without Hillis, who leads the team in rushing (905 yards) and receptions (46).

If Hillis can keep up this pace in December, he might be Hawaii bound.

Previous AFC North High Energy Players

Week 1: Ray Lewis, LB, Baltimore Ravens

Week 2: Troy Polamalu, S, Pittsburgh Steelers

Week 3: Brett Keisel, DE, Steelers

Week 4: Hillis, RB, Browns

Week 5: Ray Rice, RB, Ravens

Week 6: Lawrence Timmons, LB, Steelers

Week 7: Ed Reed, S, Ravens

Week 8: Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Steelers

Week 9: Hillis, RB, Browns

Week 10: Mike Wallace, WR, Steelers

Week 11: James Harrison, LB, Steelers
NFC High Energy: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

A look at a player who gave his team a significant boost in Week 12.

[+] EnlargeJamaal Charles
AP Photo/Elaine ThompsonThe Chiefs' Jamaal Charles rushed for 173 yards on 22 carries in Seattle.
With all due respect to Dwayne Bowe, who is playing as well as anyone in the NFL, we’re picking one of his teammates this week.

Yes, Bowe had three touchdown catches and 13 receptions in the Chiefs’ 42-24 win at Seattle on Sunday. But we gave the high-energy nod to Bowe last week. It’s time to share the love with his teammates.

Plus, Jamaal Charles was no slouch against the Seahawks.

Charles had a whopping 173 yards on 22 carries. His big day moved him into the 1,000-yard rushing club for the second straight season. He has 1,021 yards rushing this season, which is the second highest amount in the NFL, and his 6.3-yard average per carry leads the NFL.

This guy is a major reason the Chiefs are the NFL's No. 1-ranked run offense. Charles is a threat to break a long run every time he touches the ball. Bowe might be displaying a high level of energy, so is the Chiefs’ talented running back.


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Sunday, 12/28