Week 13: CJ's surge continues

Originally Published: December 4, 2011
ESPN.com

STUDS

Johnson
Johnson

Chris Johnson

Running back, Tennessee Titans

Johnson appears to be peaking at the perfect time for the Titans. A week after rushing for a season-high 190 yards, Johnson gained 153 yards on 23 carries and scored a pair of touchdowns in Tennessee's 23-17 victory at Buffalo. It was his third 100-yard rushing game in four outings.


Rice
Rice

Ray Rice

Running back, Baltimore Ravens

Struggling ground game? Not anymore. The Ravens, who entered Week 13 with the No. 27-ranked running offense, got a big boost from Rice in rainy Cleveland. Rice rushed for a career-high 204 yards and a TD to power Baltimore to a 24-10 victory.


Newton
Newton

Cam Newton

Quarterback, Carolina Panthers

Is Newton a lock for Rookie of the Year? Not quite, but he's getting close. Newton ran for three more touchdowns to set the NFL single-season record for rushing TDs by a quarterback, leading the Panthers to a 38-19 rout of the Buccaneers. The 2010 Heisman Trophy winner scored the 11th, 12th and 13th TDs of his career on a trio of 1-yard runs. He also had a 27-yard reception to set up Jonathan Stewart's first-quarter TD and threw a 19-yard TD pass to Legedu Naanee.


Rodgers
Rodgers

Aaron Rodgers

Quarterback, Green Bay Packers

Rodgers passed for 369 yards and engineered a last-minute drive to keep the Packers unbeaten. Rodgers hit three passes of more than 18 yards in the final 58 seconds as the Super Bowl champions got a 30-yard field goal by Mason Crosby and beat the Giants 38-35. Rodgers completed 28 of 46 passes, including four TDs.


Gronkowski
Gronkowski

Rob Gronkowski

Tight end, New England Patriots

Gronkowski continues to be a touchdown machine for the Patriots. The second-year tight end caught his 12th and 13th touchdown passes of the season, tying the NFL single-season record by a tight end (Antonio Gates in 2004 and Vernon Davis in 2009), in New England's 31-24 victory over the winless Colts. Gronkowski also had a rushing TD on a lateral, which was originally ruled a catch.


Brees
Brees

Drew Brees

Quarterback, New Orleans Saints

Brees passed for 342 yards and three touchdowns, leading the Saints to a 31-17 victory over Detroit. Brees' performance gave him 4,031 yards on the season, making him the first quarterback in NFL history to eclipse the 4,000-yard mark in the first 12 games of a season.


Harrison
Harrison

James Harrison

Linebacker, Pittsburgh Steelers

Banged up for most of the season, Harrison had a stellar performance in the Steelers' 35-7 drubbing of Cincinnati. Harrison had three sacks, three quarterback hits and six tackles.


Harvin
Harvin

Percy Harvin

Wide receiver, Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings lost a shootout to Tim Tebow and the Broncos, but Harvin was spectacular in defeat. Harvin, who missed practice Friday because of an illness, turned two short passes into long touchdown plays (52 yards and 48 yards) in the second half. He finished with 156 receiving yards and eight catches in Minnesota's 35-32 loss.


Chiefs

The Chiefs' defense

The Chiefs recorded seven sacks, including three by Justin Houston, and intercepted Bears QB Caleb Hanie three times (see below) in a 10-3 victory. On a day when the Bears lost RB Matt Forte early to a sprained knee, Kansas City held Chicago to 181 total yards.


Steelers

The Steelers' special teams

Outstanding play on special teams helped the Steelers blow out Cincinnati. Pittsburgh rookie Cameron Heyward blocked a field goal on the Bengals' opening drive. In the second quarter, Stevenson Sylvester stripped Brandon Tate on a kickoff, which led to a Steelers touchdown. Later in the quarter, Antonio Brown's 60-yard punt return for a touchdown gave Pittsburgh a 21-0 lead.




DUDS

Hanie
Hanie

Caleb Hanie

Quarterback, Chicago Bears

If his first two starts are any indication, Hanie is ill-equipped to handle the Bears' quarterbacking duties in Jay Cutler's absence. Hanie struggled mightily against the Chiefs, completing 11 of 24 passes for 133 yards and three interceptions. He was also sacked seven times.


Raiders

The Raiders' running game

The Raiders recently said they would not rush star RB Darren McFadden back from injury. They might be feeling more urgency after Sunday's 34-14 loss in Miami. Oakland was outgained on the ground 209 yards to 46 against Miami. The Raiders' leading rusher, Michael Bush, averaged 1.8 yards per carry.


Seymour
Seymour

Richard Seymour

Defensive tackle, Oakland Raiders

Seymour has been a great player, but his temper once again got the best of him Sunday. Seymour was ejected for throwing a punch at a Miami offensive lineman. It was the third time in three years with Oakland that Seymour has been ejected from a game. He will likely face a stiff fine, if not a short suspension.


Rams

The Rams' offense

Playing without QB Sam Bradford and both starting offensive tackles, the Rams seemed doomed from the start in San Francisco. Steven Jackson was held to 19 yards on 10 carries as St. Louis mustered only 157 total yards in a 26-0 loss.


Falcons

The Falcons' offense

Matt Ryan put Atlanta in an early hole with two interceptions and the Falcons struggled to get their running game on track in a 17-10 loss at Houston. Ryan completed only 20 of 46 passes and Atlanta had two 12-play drives in the second half that didn't result in any points.