Time to highlight some guys who got it done in Week 12. These are the players who caught my eye, and I now see a new frontrunner for league MVP.
- Vince Young, Tennessee Titans — Deion Sanders said it best when he said, “I love second-chance stories.” Young is making the best of his second chance at the most difficult position to play in all of professional sports.
I have stated many times over the last few weeks that I liked what I seeing in VY’s reincarnation, but I wanted to see what he would do if he had to put the team on his back and throw 40 times. Well, he did that in Sunday’s 20-17 win over the Cardinals, completing 27-of-43 passes for 387 yards with a touchdown. This in no way means he has arrived on the level of Peyton Manning or Tom Brady, but I am convinced this kid can win in this league.
- Chris Redman, Atlanta Falcons — It’s not easy to come off the bench and perform at a winning level after not taking a snap since the preseason. Ask Chris Simms. That’s exactly what Redman did filling in for the injured Matt Ryan.
The 5-5 Falcons had no room for error coming into the game against the Bucs. It was a game they were expected to win, but all bets were off when Ryan went down. Tampa Bay rookie QB Josh Freeman continued to show promise and put the Bucs in position to win, but it was the resolve of Redman that won the day. A brief history lesson: Redman made such an impression after being out of football for a couple seasons that the Falcons parted ways with Joey Harrington and Byron Leftwich.
- Ryan Fitzpatrick, Buffalo Bills — While I’m convinced that Fitzpatrick is a backup in this league, he showed great poise and resolve as he led the Bills to a 31-14 victory over the enigmatic Dolphins. It didn’t take an Ivy Leaguer to figure out that Terrell Owens was a good receiver, but the Harvard alum has gotten more meaningful production out of T.O. in two weeks than the Bills had done all season.
Fitzpatrick’s performance has all but sealed the fate of Trent Edwards. That said, when the new coach arrives, it is also likely Fitzpatrick will lose his starting gig. Still, he has earned the right to remain on the roster as a capable backup.
- Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts — WOW is all I have to say… although he has given way to Lord Favre as the frontrunner for MVP.
- Brett Favre, Minnesota Vikings — See comment above.