Week 8: Jackson, Rams rise up

Originally Published: October 30, 2011
ESPN.com

STUDS

Jackson
Jackson

Steven Jackson

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.


Rams

The Rams' defense

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.


Bills

The Bills' defense

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.


Manning
Manning

Eli Manning

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.


Rice
Rice

Ray Rice

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.


McCoy
McCoy

LeSean McCoy

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.


Avril
Avril

Cliff Avril

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.


Gore
Gore

Frank Gore

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.


Roethlisberger
Roethlisberger

Ben Roethlisberger

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.




DUDS

Tebow
Tebow

Tim Tebow

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.


Gabbert
Gabbert

Blaine Gabbert

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.


Johnson
Johnson

Chris Johnson

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.


Redskins

The Redskins' running game

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.