Studs and Duds, Week 8: The Ginn Mill
Ted Ginn Jr., WR Miami (6 KRs, 299 yards, 2 TDs) -- Miami fans didn't want him, and how could you blame them for what Ginn Jr. had done so far this season? One touchdown and just 30 yards receiving per game for the former Ohio State star forced a benching by head coach Tony Sparano, only to have Ginn do something on Sunday that had never been done before.
Ginn returned two kicks of 100 yards or more in the same quarter, becoming the only man to ever take two kicks back of more than 100 yards and the first man since 1967 to return two in the same quarter. Sure, Ginn still didn't snag a pass in the game, but in a wacky special teams season (his two kick returns made it 10 this season in the NFL, three shy of the entire 2008 regular season with nine weeks to play), having someone as quick as Ginn always makes kicking the ball scary.
Chris Johnson, RB Tennessee (24 rushes, 228 yards, 2 TDs) -- Through the first seven weeks of the season, Johnson, the rookie standout of last season that had nine touchdowns, was suffering some serious sophomore hangover. Johnson had found the end zone twice, in the same game, and was just another part of a Titans offense that looked decades away form what it was able to accomplish a season ago.
That changed Sunday, when Johnson ripped the Jaguars for 228 yards on just 24 carries, nearly 10 yards a touch, and was invited in the excessively painted area twice, with his second touchdown coming on a 89-yard scamper. Tennessee isn't going to the playoffs this year, but if something could happen with Johnson and, gulp, Vince Young for offensive chemistry, at least they'd have a chance to build up for next year.
Ryan Moats, RB Houston (23 rushes, 126 yards, 3 TDs) -- You are Ryan Moats. You've scored four touchdowns in your career in the NFL, and before this season had accumulated 441 total yards ever. The starting running back for your team, Steve Slaton, has decided to hold the football like it was a burnt Thanksgiving ham, handing it over to whoever and whatever defense would like to borrow it. Coach calls you in. What do you do? Not much, except rush for three touchdowns in the fourth quarter to give your team its third straight win and become the first player in franchise history to find the end zone three times in a game. I have a feeling Moats will become a name the Texans call on a lot the rest of the season, and all those Slaton fantasy owners will probably be looking at the nearest place to dump his body, along with that ham he's still carrying.
Kurt Warner, QB Arizona (27-46, 242 yards, 2 TDs, 5 INTs, 1 Fumble) -- Jake Delhomme got a rare opportunity on Sunday at the University of Phoenix Stadium. He got to see someone do the exact same thing he did in the playoffs last year, at home, in what was considered one of the worst performances in the history of quarterbacking. Delhomme tossed five picks and fumbled when the Panthers lost to, who else, the Cardinals, in that divisional loss of last season. This time, it was Warner who couldn't tell which players were on his team.
Five picks, one fumble, and now an 11 touchdown-11 interception season for the aging quarterback of a team that can't seem to figure out if it's good or not. A loss to Carolina has Arizona 4-3 on the season, and still leading the NFC West, but not by much. With the receiving core Warner has with the Cardinals, it seems any plus interception game should fall directly on his Ed Hardy'd shoulders.
Mike McCarthy, Coach Green Bay -- You've got a few choices when you're down five in a close game against evenly matched teams. Vikings 31, Packers 26, 4th-and-8 with 5:38 left. You can A.) Punt the ball and hope to pin the Vikings back in their territory since you have the momentum, at home, after you just scored a touchdown to get back in the ballgame. B.) Go for it, in hopes you pick it up and keep driving since a field goal doesn't really help you in that situation and you'd still need a defensive stop just like that if you punt it. C.) Attempt a 51-yard field goal, with the failed outcome meaning Brett Favre and the Minnesota offense gets the ball on a short field, leading the game, with the best running back in the game ready to burn clock and pound yards.
McCarthy went for option C, which ended up backfiring after Mason Crosby missed the field goal (understandable) and the Vikings drove and scored, putting the game away. Either pin him or go for it. Your two options. Option C shouldn't even be on the board. Terrible play calling by McCarthy.
The Bills -- Did you know the Bills were beating the Texans through the first three quarters, at home? You probably didn't, since the final score was 31-10 Houston. 21 points. That's what was scored in the fourth quarter against Buffalo, at home, by a backup running back!
There are a lot of dudly performances to talk about each week, but when you're winning a game in the fourth quarter and give up 21 unanswered points, you are making the list. Hey, but Terrell Owens had a touchdown! At least one person is happy in Buffalo.