NFL Nation: 2010 Week 8 High Energy AFC

AFC East High Energy Player of the Week

November, 2, 2010
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 8.

[+] EnlargeGreen-Ellis
Greg M. Cooper/US PresswireBenJarvus Green-Ellis finished with 112 yards and two TDs in New England's win over Minnesota.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis had been all but blotted out from the New England Patriots' offense for 10 quarters.

In Weeks 6 and 7 and for the first half Sunday, he ran for 48 yards and averaged 1.9 yards per carry. He did score on touchdown plunges of 2 and 1 yards, but it's easy to assume another back could've finished those drives, too.

But Green-Ellis was not just any other running back in the second half Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings, who are known for the rugged run defense.

Green-Ellis rushed for 108 yards and the Patriots' last two touchdowns in a 28-18 victory in Gillette Stadium. It was the first time the Vikings had allowed a player to rush for 100 yards in a half since 2002.

"It's one of those things," Green-Ellis said. "Once you get things going, get momentum going and get a rhythm in your offense, it's kind of hard to stop."

Green Ellis never had scored more than one touchdown in a game and had rushed for 100 yards only once before -- in 2008.

AFC West High Energy Player of Week

November, 2, 2010
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 8:

This one was tough. We had all kinds of candidates in what was a good week for the AFC West (outside of Denver).

[+] EnlargeCampbell
Cary Edmondson/US PresswireJason Campbell needed just 15 completions to throw for 310 yards and two touchdowns on Sunday.
There was Jamaal Charles and his 177 rushing yards. There was Darrius Heyward-Bey, who had 105 receiving yards and showed signs he can help the Raiders. There was Philip Rivers, who threw for 305 yards despite playing without his top four wide receivers.

But we have to go with Oakland quarterback Jason Campbell. Campbell gets the nod because of the ramifications of it all. Campbell led the Raiders to 500-plus yards of offense for the second straight week. It was the first time Oakland has ever done that.

That’s pretty good for a backup quarterback. The question is, will Campbell remain the backup? Oakland coach Tom Cable says yes. Cable said Bruce Gradkowski will be the starter once he returns from a shoulder injury that has kept him out of the past three-plus games. Gradkowski is improving, but he may need one more week to rest, especially with a bye coming after the Raiders’ pivotal home game against the Chiefs on Sunday.

I’m wondering if Campbell doesn’t deserve the full-time gig. After all, he was brought into Oakland to be the starter in the first place. Yes, he struggled early. But he clearly has it rolling now.

Now that he is performing well, it might be smart to let him to continue to develop in the offense. The reason Gradkowski was given the starting gig in Week 3 was because he had the hot hand. Now Campbell has the hot hand. Do you want to mess with that?

Look, I love Gradkowski’s energy as much as anyone, but do you fix what’s not broken? This may be an interesting situation to follow, especially if Campbell leads Oakland to a big win over the Chiefs and puts the Raiders on the doorstep of first place in the AFC West.
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 8.

[+] EnlargeMike Hart
AP Photo/AJ MastMike Hart stepped in for injured starter Joseph Addai and averaged 7.0 yards on 12 carries.
Sure, we hit on Mike Hart in this piece off the Colts' 30-17 win over Houston.

But he gets a second moment here for his fine work as Joseph Addai's primary fill-in. While Houston's Arian Foster averaged 6.8 yards a carry, Hart was even better with a 7.0 average on his 12 runs. He might have gotten over 100 yards had an ankle injury not knocked him out of the game and he also had three catches for 19 yards.

Going into the game without Addai, one big concern was how Hart and Donald Brown would handle the running back pass-protection duties.

Hart said they fared reasonably well in that department.

“I think we did pretty well. I know for a fact I made one mistake,” he said. “Peyton [Manning] threw hot, I'm definitely going to get yelled at for that [Tuesday]. Besides that, Javarris [James] did a great job. Donald did a great job. I picked up the other blitzes beside one -- three maybe. The only one that matters is the one I missed.”

While he may take heat for that, he'll also get a pat on the back for a fine fill-in effort. An MRI on the ankle will help determine if he'll need to be filled in for next.
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 8.

[+] EnlargeEmmanuel Sanders
AP Photo/Gerald HerbertEmmanuel Sanders' big returns set the Steelers up with good field position against the Saints.
It was pretty slim pickings this week as half the division was on a bye, and the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals both suffered losses. But Pittsburgh rookie receiver Emmanuel Sanders gets the nod as the AFC North's High Energy Player of the Week after a pair of solid returns against the New Orleans Saints.

With Pittsburgh's offense struggling most of the game, Sanders provided a boost on special teams by returning a kickoff 41 yards and a punt 38 yards to help change field position. His punt return led to a second-quarter field goal, which accounted for Pittsburgh's only points in the first half. Sanders also caught one pass for 21 yards.

Playing behind receivers Hines Ward, Mike Wallace and Antwaan Randle El, Sanders has found his niche as the Steelers' primary kick returner. He was the AFC Special Teams Player of the Week for Week 7 and followed that up with a pair of good returns this past Sunday.

Sanders still needs to work on ball security. The third-round pick fumbled twice in the past two games, losing one. But otherwise he has provided an upgrade on Pittsburgh's special teams.


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