Studs and Duds Week Five: Brandon Jacobs Wants Your Lunch Money
Each week in the NFL, there are players that impress and players that distress. One week a certain quarterback might toss four touchdowns and run around with his finger in the air while the next he's laying on his back, holding his face-mask as the other team returns one of his three interceptions for the game-winning score. With that in mind, here's our new feature, Studs and Duds:
Here's Week 5 at a glance, where we point out the horses destined for the Kentucky Derby and jeer those headed to the glue factory.
Brandon Jacobs, RB NYG (15 rushes, 136 yards, 2 TDs) -- Remember back when you were in fifth and sixth grade and there was that kid who was bigger, stronger and more athletic than you and all your friends? Yeah, well that's Brandon Jacobs, except he's the best running back on the best football team in the world. A dominating performance against Seattle that was highlighted by a 9.1 yards per carry average has the Giants ... umm .... giant?
Ben Roethlisberger, QB Pitt (26-41, 309 yards, 3 TDs) -- Wow, did anyone see this coming? Big Ben decided that it was time for the Steelers offense to stop struggling, improving on an early game interception to carry Pittsburgh past their copycat squad. An early season favorite, the Steelers had slacked off a bit but this win was absolutely as big as they come in the fifth week. Also, during this whole Sunday night football fiasco I was being dealt blackjack by a lady in a Roethlisberger jersey and won, so that has to be added bonus points, right?
Carolina Defense (3 sacks, 2 interceptions, 1 fumble, 0 points allowed) -- It might have been against Kansas City, but man did these guys show up in a big way. The Panthers are now 4-1 and most of this can be attributed to a nasty defense that not only kept the Chiefs out of the buffet, but wouldn't even let them smell the food. Kansas City had 128 yards of total offense the entire game, or 70 yards less than Larry Johnson had total last week.
Kyle Orton, QB Chicago (24-34, 334 yards, 2 TDs) -- I had a rule when starting this here column. I'd never tout a player just because I liked them (like Darren Sproles or Tweeter), I wouldn't give props to a person that has an "average" night by their standards (like LDT rushing for 140 yards and a TD) and I wouldn't ever include Orton unless he decided to braid his neck beard. Well, here you go, the first of my rule infringements. The Bears have become a fairly complete football team, scoring under 20 points in just one game this season, and the 34 points fueled by Orton's arm were the catalyst in the win over a lost and confused Lions "team." Matt Millen, no worries, their winning percentage is about the same as when you were around.
LaDainian Tomlinson, RB SD (12 rushes, 35 yards) -- When did LDT become captain of the Feast or Famine squad? He's rushed for 97, 26, 67, 106 and now just 35 yards this season, a hit for everyone in the San Diego area. Tomlinson struggled mightily on Sunday, not just with a scrappy Miami defense but also with a toe that has been bothering him more than the Chargers' record. In desperate need of a win, LaDainian and company fell directly on their face, losing on the road to Miami, who now boasts a better record than San Diego. If the Chargers are going to turn this thing around, Tomlinson will need to be a little more "charge" and a little less "er."
Sage Rosenfels, QB Hou (2 fumbles, 1 interception in last 2:10) -- Just looking at Rosenfels' face after the terrible Houston choke job was all you needed to know about a roller coaster ride on the way down. Like one would be at the top of the Texas Monster, Sage was high and hopeful for the Texans' first win of the season before he helicoptered, scrambled and lame-ducked his way into a truly dud-ful performance. Well on his way to a win and possibly the starting position, Rosenfels paired two bad decisions with an incredible defense play by the Colts to lose the game and possibly any chance of being a regular name in Houston.
Jon Kitna, QB Det (8-16, 74 yards) -- If you will, step into my time-traveling blog post and go back to last year when Kitna predicted a 10-win season. At first the 2007 Lions looked on pace, but a late-season collapse has continued all the way to '08, where Kitna has finally found himself on the bench. An early game deuce-dropping had Nostradamus riding pine in lieu of, wait for it, Dan Orlovsky. Things aren't getting any better in Detroit and the quarterback situation looks to be as problematic as anything.
The Winless Teams (Houston, Cincinnati, St. Louis and Detroit) -- If someone was looking to toss that monkey off their back, Week 5 was the wrong place to be searching. The Rams did have a bye week (even though someone suggested Marc Bulger for the dud list just because he's Marc Bulger), but the Bengals, Texans and Lions all left the field without that first win. Two of the four teams actually looked like they might make it happen, but mediocrity caught up with Cincy and Houston, forcing some to just hang their head. Memo to Chad Johnson -- when you are behind names like Miles Austin, Domenik Hixon, and Kevin Walter on the list of receiving yards, maybe keep the trash-talking to a minimum until you actually win something. Hey, it's just a thought.
Who just missed out?
Near Studly: Ravens and Titans defenses, DeAngelo Williams, Ronnie Brown, Steve Slaton (again), Chris Cooley, and Charles Tillman.
Near Dudly: The NFL refs, Antonio Gates, Damon Huard and Larry Johnson, Jeff Garcia, and Marshawn Lynch.