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Week 14: Gronkowski makes history

STUDS

Gronkowski

Gronkowski

Rob Gronkowski

Tight end, New England Patriots

Gronkowski set the season record for touchdown catches by tight ends. That's not all he did in a 34-27 victory at Washington. Gronkowski also had a 37-yard TD catch and run, raising his record total to 15, and finished with six catches for a career-high 160 yards.


Ryan

Ryan

Matt Ryan

Quarterback, Atlanta Falcons

The man they call "Matty Ice" delivered another comeback victory Sunday, one that kept the Falcons alive in the NFC playoff race. Ryan threw four fourth-quarter TD passes -- two to rookie WR Julio Jones -- to help Atlanta erase a 16-point deficit and beat Carolina 31-23. Ryan finished with 320 yards passing and did not throw an interception.


Manning

Manning

Eli Manning

Quarterback, N.Y. Giants

With the Giants' season on the line, Manning delivered another fourth-quarter comeback. Manning engineered a pair of late touchdown drives, erasing a 12-point deficit and giving New York a 37-34 victory over Dallas. Manning threw for 400 yards and two TD passes.


Yates

Yates

T.J. Yates

Quarterback, Houston Texans

Is the heat of a playoff race too much for a rookie QB? Not for Yates, who engineered an 80-yard touchdown drive in the closing minutes that allowed Houston to clinch its first AFC South title. Yates' 6-yard touchdown pass to Kevin Walter with 2 seconds left lifted the Texans to a 20-19 victory at Cincinnati. Yates, in only his second start, was 26-of-44 for 300 yards and a pair of TDs.


Suggs

Suggs

Terrell Suggs

Linebacker, Baltimore Ravens

Suggs led an overwhelming defensive effort against the winless Colts, registering three sacks and three forced fumbles in the Ravens' 24-10 victory. Baltimore limited Indianapolis (see below) to 167 yards -- just 53 through three quarters.


Jones-Drew

Jones-Drew

Maurice Jones-Drew

Running back, Jacksonville Jaguars

Jones-Drew scored four times, setting the franchise record for career touchdowns, to power the Jaguars to a 41-14 victory over mistake-prone Tampa Bay (see below).
Jones-Drew finished with 136 total yards, including 85 on the ground. Jacksonville scored 41 unanswered points.


Eagles

The Eagles' defense

Criticized for much of this season, the Eagles' D made a statement on Sunday. Philadelphia forced three turnovers -- all in the second quarter -- and tallied nine sacks in a 26-10 victory at Miami. Jason Babin led the Eagles' pass rush with three sacks to increase his season total to 15, and he forced a fumble.


Prater

Prater

Matt Prater

Place-kicker, Denver Broncos

Kickers don't usually make this list, but Prater is well-deserving of a spot. Prater nailed a 59-yard field goal with 2 seconds left in regulation to send the Broncos into overtime against the Bears. Then, with 8:34 left in the extra session, Prater hit a 51-yarder to give Denver a 13-10 victory.


Rivers

Rivers

Philip Rivers

Quarterback, San Diego Chargers

Rivers' crisp passing helped the Chargers keep their playoff hopes alive. Rivers completed 24 of 33 passes for 240 yards and three TDs, leading San Diego to a 37-10 rout of Buffalo.


Jets

The Jets' defense

The Jets put the clamps on the listless Chiefs and tormented QB Tyler Palko. New York held Kansas City to 221 total yards (most of which came in garbage time) and sacked Palko five times in a 37-10 rout. Palko had just 11 yards passing in the first half.


DUDS

Ponder

Ponder

Christian Ponder

Quarterback, Minnesota Vikings

Whether he was hindered by a hip injury or simply had an off game, Ponder had a performance to forget in the Vikings' 38-24 loss in Detroit. Ponder committed four turnovers -- three interceptions and a fumble -- in 2½ quarters before being replaced by Joe Webb. Two of the turnovers led to Lions defensive touchdowns, and the Vikings trailed 31-14 when Ponder departed.


Barber

Barber

Marion Barber

Running back, Chicago Bears

Two huge blunders by Barber cost the Bears dearly in Denver. First, Barber inexplicably ran out of bounds with the Bears trying to run out the clock late in regulation. Then, with Chicago driving inside Denver territory in overtime, Barber lost a fumble. The Broncos kicked a winning field goal on the ensuing possession.


Palmer

Palmer

Carson Palmer

Quarterback, Oakland Raiders

The Packers have a porous pass defense, but Palmer was unable to take advantage. Playing from behind the entire game, Palmer wasn't able to pile up much yardage until the game was well out of reach. He completed 24 of 42 passes and was picked off four times in a 46-16 loss.


Johnson

Johnson

Chris Johnson

Running back, Tennessee Titans

A stud in recent weeks, Johnson couldn't get it going against the Saints. Johnson, who was coming off consecutive games with more than 150 yards rushing, had just 23 yards on 11 carries in the Titans' 22-17 loss.


Colts

The Colts' offense

After putting up impressive numbers against New England in Week 13, QB Dan Orlovsky and the Colts' offense had a rough time against the Ravens' fierce D. Orlovsky, who was held to 136 passing yards, threw an interception and was sacked four times. Indianapolis didn't reach the end zone until the game's final play.


Buccaneers

The Buccaneers

The Bucs were dreadful across the board in Jacksonville. Tampa Bay committed an eye-popping seven turnovers, helping set up each of Jacksonville's four touchdowns in the second quarter. Quarterback Josh Freeman, back after missing last week's game against Carolina because of an injured throwing shoulder, threw two interceptions and fumbled near the goal line. Preston Parker's day was nearly as bad. He fumbled two punts and had a costly penalty.