Week 8: Jackson, Rams rise up
Running back, St. Louis Rams
Jackson's first 100-yard rushing game in three seasons helped the previously winless Rams score one of the biggest upsets of 2011. Jackson ran for 159 yards and a pair touchdowns (both 3-yarders) on 25 carries, powering the Rams past New Orleans 31-21.
The Rams' defense, playing without its top three cornerbacks, gave QB Drew Brees and the potent Saints offense problems throughout. The Rams intercepted Brees twice and recorded a season-high six sacks, including three by Chris Long.
Playing against a depleted Washington offense, Buffalo's much-maligned defense had its best game of the season. The Bills had a season-high nine sacks, the second most in franchise history, in a 23-0 victory. Rookie defensive lineman Marcell Dareus led Buffalo, which held the Redskins to 178 total yards, with 2½ sacks.
Quarterback, N.Y. Giants
Manning's steady hand led the Giants back from an early 11-point deficit against Miami. Manning threw for 349 yards and two TDs, completing passes to eight different receivers, in New York's 20-17 victory. Manning was 31-of-45 and did not throw an interception.
Running back, Baltimore Ravens
The Giants' comeback was nothing compared to Baltimore's. With his team trailing 24-6 at halftime, Rice reeled off a career-high three TDs (all rushing) to help the Ravens rally for a 30-27 victory over Arizona. After being held to 28 rushing yards in the Ravens' Monday night loss to Jacksonville, Rice had 99 yards from scrimmage against the Cards.
Running back, Philadelphia Eagles
Who says you can't put up big rushing numbers against Dallas' defense? McCoy gashed Rob Ryan's unit on Sunday night, running for a career-high 185 yards and two TDs as the Eagles cruised to a 34-7 victory. Philadelphia rushed for 239 yards overall.
Defensive end, Detroit Lions
Avril had a career day against the Broncos. The fourth-year defensive end sacked Broncos QB Tim Tebow twice, forcing fumbles on both. He returned the second fumble 24 yards for a TD.
Running back, San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers continue to lean on Gore, and the veteran back keeps producing. Gore rushed for 134 yards and one TD on 31 carries in a 20-10 victory over Cleveland. It was Gore's fourth straight 100-yard game.
Quarterback, Pittsburgh Steelers
Roethlisberger outdueled the Patriots' Tom Brady as the Steelers established themselves as the team to beat in the AFC. Roethlisberger completed 36 of 50 passes for 365 yards -- all season highs -- and two touchdowns in a 25-17 victory.
Quarterback, Denver Broncos
Tebow's second start of 2011 was about as ugly as the first one -- only this time he didn't deliver a dramatic ending. Tebow completed 18 of 39 passes for 172 yards against Detroit, but most of that production came long after the game was out of reach. At halftime, Tebow was 4-of-13 for 37 yards and Denver was 0-for-6 on third down. Tebow threw a pick-six, was sacked seven times and also fumbled three times.
Quarterback, Jacksonville Jaguars
Every rookie QB has growing pains, and Gabbert had plenty on Sunday. Against the improved Texans' D, Gabbert completed only 10 of 30 passes for 97 yards and two interceptions in a 24-14 loss. The Jaguars, which had the league's worst-rated offense heading into Week 8 (252.4 yards per game), were held to 174 total yards.
Running back, Tennessee Titans
The Titans won easily, but Johnson struggled once again in Week 8. Johnson ran 14 times for only 34 yards in Tennessee's 27-10 victory over Indianapolis. Johnson has averaged under 3 yards per carry in five of Tennessee's seven games this season.
In their first game without Tim Hightower (knee), the Redskins got little going on the ground. Washington ran for only 26 yards on 12 carries -- 10 of those yards came from QB John Beck -- in a 23-0 loss to Buffalo.
MORE NFL HEADLINES
- Source: 49ers likely to pass on Smith option
- Broncos' visits to Bama catch NFL's attention
- OTL: He may have shot Tillman
- Saban hosts Peyton in visit of 'mutual benefit'