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Sunday, September 30, 2012
Week 4: Ryan, White rescue Falcons

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STUDS

White
White

Ryan
Ryan

Matt Ryan/Roddy White

Quarterback/wide receiver, Atlanta Falcons

With the Falcons staring at their first loss of the season, Ryan and White worked their magic. Trailing by one in the final minute, the duo connected on a 59-yard pass from their own 1-yard line. Four plays later, Matt Bryant kicked a 40-yard field goal to give Atlanta a 30-28 victory over the Panthers. Ryan passed for 369 yards and three touchdowns. White had eight catches for 169 yards and a pair of scores.


Patriots

The Patriots' running game

For the first time since Dec. 19, 1982, the New England Patriots had two players rush for more than 100 yards in the same game. A breakout performance by rookie Brandon Bolden (137 yards, one TD) and a 106-yard, two-TD effort by Stevan Ridley powered the Patriots to a 52-28 victory at Buffalo. Even QB Tom Brady got involved in the ground game, rushing for a 4-yard TD in the third quarter. (He also passed for 340 yards and three TDs.)


Manning
Manning

Peyton Manning

Quarterback, Denver Broncos

Vintage Manning? Pretty close. Manning enjoyed his most efficient game as a Bronco, completing 30 of 38 passes for 338 yards and three TDs in Denver's 37-6 rout of the Raiders. Seven different Denver receivers caught at least two passes.


Brees
Brees

Drew Brees

Quarterback, New Orleans Saints

Not even Brees' best game of the season could get the Saints their first victory. Brees was 35-of-54 for 446 yards and three TDs in New Orleans' 28-27 loss at Green Bay.


Rodgers
Rodgers

Aaron Rodgers

Quarterback, Green Bay Packers

Rodgers also put up stellar numbers Sunday, completing 31 of 41 passes for 319 yards and four TDs. His 11-yard scoring strike to Jordy Nelson gave Green Bay the lead for good with seven minutes remaining.


Vikings

The Vikings' special teams

On a day when their offense failed to produce a touchdown, the Vikings' return game provided a huge lift. Percy Harvin's game-opening, 105-yard kickoff return for a TD and Marcus Sherels 77-yard punt return for a score propelled Minnesota to a 20-13 victory over Detroit.


Watt
Watt

J.J. Watt

Defensive end, Houston Texans

Has there been a better defensive player through the first four weeks of this season? Probably not. Watt continued his dominant play Sunday, registering two sacks, a fumble recovery and three tackles for a loss in Houston's 38-14 victory over the Titans.


Chargers

The Chargers' defense

The San Diego Chargers forced six Kansas City turnovers (see below) and scored 24 points off the miscues in a 37-20 victory. Antoine Cason, Donald Butler and Eric Weddle all had interceptions for San Diego. Butler's was a 21-yard pick-six.


Hartline
Hartline

Brian Hartline

Wide receiver, Miami Dolphins

Who says the Dolphins lack legit receivers? Hartline had a career game in Miami's 24-21 overtime loss to Arizona, catching 12 passes for 253 yards and a TD.




DUDS

Sanchez
Sanchez

Mark Sanchez

Quarterback, N.Y. Jets

The heat is already on Sanchez, and Sunday's performance won't help his cause. Against the 49ers' tough D, Sanchez and the Jets' offense were unable to take flight. Sanchez passed for just 103 yards, threw an interception, lost a fumble and was sacked three times in New York's 34-0 loss.


Wilson
Wilson

Russell Wilson

Quarterback, Seattle Seahawks

Wilson completed a solid percentage (17-of-25) but threw three inteceptions in the Seahawks' 19-13 loss at St. Louis. Seattle's final shot at victory ended when Wilson was picked off by Bradley Fletcher at the Rams' 25 with a minute to go.


Bills

The Bills' defense

New-and-improved D in Buffalo? Not on Sunday. The Bills allowed 35 straight second-half points in their loss to New England (see above). Mario Williams, to whom the Bills handed a $100 million contract this past offseason, was held without a sack and has only 1.5 on the season.


Chiefs

The Chiefs' offense

Offensive mistakes continue to plague the Chiefs. Matt Cassel was picked off three times and Jamaal Charles lost two fumbles in Kansas City's loss to the Chargers. All five of those turnovers came in the first half, helping San Diego build a 27-6 halftime lead. The Chiefs added a sixth turnover in the second half.