Each week during the NFL season I’ll take a look at the three best performances on Sunday, and the three worst.
3. Leon Washington, Seahawks– Seattle continues to surprise teams at home, a trend that will continue all season. Washington took it upon himself to beat the Chargers, returning two kickoffs for touchdowns. The first, a 101 yard return, gave the Seahawks a 17-0 lead 13 seconds into the third quarter. The second, a 99 yard run, came right after the Chargers had tied the game at 20. Washington used to dazzle Jets’ fans with these kinds of returns, before an injury last season led to his eventual release. Sure seems like he’s back to being one of the top return threats in the game.
2. Anquan Boldin, Ravens– Boldin was brought over from Arizona to be the Ravens number one wide receiver, and so far, so good. The Ravens defense didn’t put forth their best effort, and Boldin helped bail them out. Eight catches, 142 yards, and three touchdowns, the last of which gave the Ravens a 21-17 lead. So far, he’s been the number one off-season NFL acquisition, at least in my book.
1. Adrian Peterson, Vikings– I wanted to give the nod to Michael Vick, but the context of Peterson’s performance is impossible to ignore. The Vikings season would have been over had they lost yesterday, and Peterson literally carried them to their first win of the season. 23 rushes, 160 yards, and two touchdowns, including a beautiful 80 yard touchdown run in the third quarter, which gave the Vikings a two touchdown lead. A monster, clutch performance from one of the league’s top players.
Honorable mention: Chris Johnson, Titans; Michael Turner, Falcons; Michael Vick, Eagles
3. Josh Freeman, Buccaneers– I feel a little bad putting Freeman here, because he did face the best defense in football, but he also didn’t play well at all. 20-31, 184 yards, and an interception, followed by becoming the 100th starter benched this season. Freeman is obviously still learning on the job, and games like this are going to happen, but it was a little disappointing after he had looked so solid the first two weeks.
2. The 49ers– A team honor, and well earned one at that. The pre-season favorites to win the NFC West looked terrible against the Chiefs, who still aren’t much better than a .500 team themselves. Alex Smith had his typical stink bomb game, Frank Gore couldn’t get going on the ground (though he had 103 receiving yards), and a cornerback (Nate Clements) led the team in tackles. Mike Singletary’s time as head coach is rapidly approaching the end.
1. Tie: Eli Manning, Giants; New York Giants discipline– I’m a bit biased here, because this was the game I paid the most attention to, but Manning was terrible. His first interception was a fluke (and the wide receivers fault), but the second one was perhaps the dumbest play of the NFL season. Left handed passes in the red zone, while being tackled, into triple coverage, rarely work. To add to the misery, the Giants completely broke down mentally, two turnovers inside their own six yard line, two missed field goals, and five personal fouls. The Titans wanted to bait them into playing stupid, and the Giants took the bait. A truly pathetic performance.
(Dis) Honorable Mention: Brett Favre, Vikings; Jacksonville Jaguars; Kickers: Saints and Raiders