NFL Nation: 2010 Week 6 High Energy

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 6.

Second-year cornerback Jerraud Powers was all over the field for the Colts Sunday night in Washington, playing a huge role in a tough road win and earning AFC South High Energy Player of the Week honors.

[+] EnlargeJerraud Powers
AP Photo/Nick WassColts cornerback Jerraud Powers was a playmaking machine Sunday night, recording 11 tackles.
Powers was credited with 11 tackles, matching Pat Angerer for the team high, with two for loss, two passes defensed and an interception.

That pick came on a well-read play in which he got in front of Santana Moss and caught Donovan McNabb's pass with his left hand. On a night when Pierre Garcon and Aaron Francisco made leaping one-hand catches, Powers’ play was overshadowed by those more athletic plays. But the interception came early in the game while things were scoreless, and on the very next play Peyton Manning hit Garcon for a 57-yard touchdown.

While Powers played tight coverage -- often pressing more pre-snap than Kelvin Hayden, the other starting corner -- he also played a significant role in run support as the Colts worked to contain Redskins running back Ryan Torain.

Powers looked to be at the top of his game, leaving little space for completions or ball carriers. It was an encouraging performance from a guy who’s become a key player for the Colts.
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 6:

[+] EnlargeTim Tebow
AP Photo/Kevin TerrellDenver's Tim Tebow came off the bench to score against the Jets.
It’s kind of difficult to find high energy in a division that was shut out in the victory column Sunday.

Yet, after some digging, we have to go with the rookie. What’s more high energy than a player coming off the bench and scoring a touchdown?

That’s what Tim Tebow did. For the first time this season, Tebow helped his team the way Broncos coach Josh McDaniels envisioned he could when he drafted him. While Tebow was learning to become an NFL quarterback, McDaniels hoped the electric former Florida star would produce occasional offense as a role player.

After not playing since Week 1, the No. 25 overall pick scored on a five-yard run against the visiting Jets in a 24-20 Broncos loss. It was vintage Tebow from his dominant college days. The Broncos’ new red zone threat had six carries for 23 yards, giving Denver the offensive wrinkle it was hoping to get from him.

There’s no doubting Tebow’s energy level, and it is significant that Sunday it helped his NFL team for the first time.
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 6.

On a team stocked with defensive stars, one Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker is emerging before our eyes in 2010.

[+] EnlargeLawrence Timmons
AP Photo/Keith SrakocicLawrence Timmons had 11 tackles, two sacks and an interception in Pittsburgh's win over Cleveland.
Lawrence Timmons, a former first-round pick, is developing the consistency the Steelers have been waiting for. He had his best game of the season Sunday in Pittsburgh's 28-10 victory over the Cleveland Browns. Timmons tied for the team lead with 11 tackles and added two sacks and an interception of Browns rookie quarterback Colt McCoy.

Timmons was drafted in 2007 as a converted outside linebacker. But because of the development of Pro Bowler LaMarr Woodley, Timmons had to learn a new position -- inside linebacker -- to get playing time in Pittsburgh.

The fourth-year pro went through plenty of growing pains as a full-time starter, but now things are starting to fall into place. Timmons leads the Steelers with 42 tackles and looks much more comfortable with his assignments in pass coverage and against the run.

There was never a question that Timmons was one of Pittsburgh's best pure athletes. But good coaching and the mental side of the game are catching up to Timmons' physical skills and it's paying dividends for the Steelers.

NFC West High Energy Player of the Week

October, 19, 2010
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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 6.

The St. Louis Rams knew they needed to pressure San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers in Week 6.

[+] EnlargeJames Hall
G. Newman Lowrance/Getty ImagesJames Hall had two of the Rams' seven sacks of Chargers QB Philip Rivers.
They probably never banked on sacking Rivers seven times.

Veteran defensive end James Hall made two of those sacks, giving him a team-leading six this season. Those sacks weren't what gave Hall the edge over other candidates for NFC West High Energy Player of the Week. It was the fourth-quarter field goal he blocked during the Rams' 20-17 victory that set him apart.

The Rams had lost close games to Arizona and Oakland this season. They had beaten Washington and Seattle by double-digit margins. The Rams hadn't proved they could win a close game until Sunday.

Blocking Nate Kaeding's 49-yard try with 8:18 remaining proved critical. The Rams, leading 17-10 at the time, took over at their 39. That meant they needed only about 30 yards of offense for a field goal try that would force San Diego to score on two possessions. Josh Brown's 48-yarder made it 20-10.

Hall wasn't even drafted out of Michigan in 2000. Little has been handed to him. He's largely a self-made player and it shows in how he approaches the game at age 33.

The Detroit Lions signed Hall as a rookie free agent, developed him into a starter, rewarded him with a new contract and watched him collect 11.5 sacks in 2004. Hall had 10 total sacks over the next two seasons, so the Lions had to figure the defensive end's best years were behind him.

They traded Hall to Rams following the 2006 season. Hall has 17 sacks in his last 36 games for the Rams.

AFC East High Energy Player of the Week

October, 19, 2010
10/19/10
3:03
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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 6.

Through three quarters, Deion Branch was just a player on the field. When Branch jogged out for the first fourth-quarter possession, he had two catches for 23 yards and the New England Patriots trailed the Baltimore Ravens by 10 points.

[+] EnlargeDeion Branch
AP Photo/Stephan SavoiaDeion Branch acknowledges the crowd after scoring a fourth-quarter touchdown on Sunday.
For the rest of the game, Branch was a star. He caught seven Tom Brady passes for 75 yards and a touchdown to boost the Patriots to a 23-20 overtime victory.

Branch, in his first game back with the Patriots since being traded from the Seattle Seahawks, matched Randy Moss' output for receptions through the first four games.

When Branch scored his touchdown, a toss in the back of the end zone from 5 yards out, he bowed to the Gillette Stadium crowd.

Welcome home, indeed.

"I truly just haven't had this feeling in a long time," Branch said. "And then my man Tom just told me that I haven't caught nine balls in a game since my rookie season. How crazy? And it was on this team. So I'm glad it happened again for this team."
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 6.

During the course of Sunday's 24-21 victory over the Dallas Cowboys, the Minnesota Vikings lined up Percy Harvin as an outside receiver, in the slot, as a tailback and as their kickoff returner.

[+] EnlargePercy Harvin
Jeff Gross/Getty ImagesWill more playing time help keep star WR Percy Harvin happy in Minnesota?
In a preview of how the Vikings might utilize him moving forward, Harvin caught three passes for 21 yards, rushed twice for 18 yards and returned a kickoff 95 yards for a game-changing touchdown to open the second half.

Harvin said that coaches approached him last week about their plan to diversify his contributions, motivated in part by a lack of production behind tailback Adrian Peterson. He gained 11 yards to convert a second-and-10 on one rush, and on the other, he went 7 yards on second-and-8.

"I was able to take the push off AP and give him some breaks," Harvin said. "It worked out pretty good, so hopefully we'll see more of it."

The Vikings haven't had much luck replacing backup tailback Chester Taylor. Toby Gerhart and Albert Young have combined for 35 yards on 13 carries this season. There has been some discussion about adding punt return duties to Harvin's task list, but you wonder if he'll emerge as their primary change-of-pace behind Peterson in the backfield as well.
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 6.

[+] EnlargeChris Ivory
Scott A. Miller/US PresswireChris Ivory had a breakout game against the Bucs, gaining 158 yards on just 15 carries.
A year ago, Chris Ivory went through an injury-shortened season at Division II Tiffin. On Sunday, he was the feature back for the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints.

With Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush sidelined, the Saints decided to go with Ivory ahead of veterans Ladell Betts and Julius Jones on Sunday at Tampa Bay. The undrafted rookie responded with the best game of his young career.

The Saints played their best game of the season, defeating the Buccaneers 31-6, and Ivory was a major reason why. Despite dealing with cramps due to the heat and extended playing time, Ivory provided a huge boost for a running game that had struggled early in the season.

He carried 15 times for 158 yards, highlighted by a 33-yard run. Ivory also caught one pass for 17 yards. Ivory’s performance helped the Saints get to 4-2 and put them in a tie with the Atlanta Falcons at the top of the NFC South standings.

NFC East High Energy Player of the Week

October, 19, 2010
10/19/10
3:02
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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 6.

Even after he watched King Dunlap allow three sacks Oct. 10 against the 49ers, Philadelphia Eagles coach Andy Reid defended the player. He thought a full week of practice as the starter at left tackle would give him a much better chance to succeed, and he was right.

[+] EnlargeDunlap
AP Photo/Paul SpinelliKing Dunlap kept the Falcons' John Abraham away from Kevin Kolb Sunday.
Dunlap's our High Energy Player of the Week because he did a tremendous job on Falcons defensive end John Abraham, considering the circumstances. Abraham came into the game with four sacks in five games, but he didn't add to his total against Dunlap. The former Auburn player used excellent technique and put those freakishly long arms to good use.

"I thought big King did a pretty good job," Reid told reporters after Sunday's game. "I thought he bent well. I thought he delivered his hands well. I thought he kept his hands in tight. When he extends those, I don't think there's anybody in the league who can get into his chest. He battled all the way through."

Right tackle Winston Justice, a man who knows about getting thrown into a tough situation, reminded Dunlap to use his hands immediately after the snap. The two of them talked all week, and then Dunlap went out and had an excellent game. He certainly had help from running back LeSean McCoy and the tight ends at times, but he was handling Abraham on his own a lot in the second half.

He had the one penalty for grabbing a player's face mask, but he didn't have all the holding penalties that regular starter Jason Peters is known for. I'd have a tough time pulling Dunlap from the starting lineup, although Peters will eventually get his spot back.

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