In the end, I decided to walk out with a bit of everything. A rookie center here. An All-Pro safety there. Heck, I even bagged myself a couple of pass rushing Colts defensive ends.
Even some of the most talented players in the league, guys I’ve given praise to week in and week out had the kind of day where things just didn’t go right for them. So while a player is on this team now, Week 8 is a whole new ball game.
With those motivational words, let’s dive into this thing.
Quarterback: Joe Flacco, Ravens (-4.9)
It took a special kind of bad from Flacco to make this team given how poor Josh Freeman, Charlie Whitehurst and Kyle Boller played this week. With that being said, Flacco only managed to average 3.6 yards per pass, while leading his team to a demoralizing defeat in Jacksonville.
Running Back: Ray Rice, Ravens (-5.1)
It wasn’t a Monday Night Football for running backs, with Rice edging out Maurice Jones-Drew for this ‘honor’. Rice only had eight carries, but managed to fumble the ball away, and was even worse in protection, giving up two sacks.
Fullback: John Conner, Jets (-1.9)
You’d like to see your fullback contribute more than Conner did in the Jets win over San Diego.
Tight End: Anthony McCoy, Seahawks (-3.7)
10 yards on four balls thrown his way, with two dropped passes. Oh, and he gave up a sack and a hit. He’s having the kind of season that makes you wonder why he’s on the field as much as he is.
Wide Receivers: Damian Williams, Titans (-3.5) and Nate Burleson, Lions (-2.5)
Williams only played 24 snaps but managed to match Burleson with two drops. Unless you make amends with plenty of catches (and the two combined for 6 yards), dropping passes is always going to hurt you.
Tackles: Marshall Newhouse, Packers (-5.0) and Orlando Franklin, Broncos (-5.3)
Newhouse didn’t actually play all that badly in pass protection, giving up a sack and a pressure. It was him getting killed in the running game that earned him a spot here. It was exactly the opposite for Franklin, who wasn’t up to the task of guarding Cameron Wake. Two sacks, two hits and three pressures represent a less than stellar day at the office.
Guards: Chris Keomeatu, Steelers (-4.6) and Garrett Reynolds, Falcons (- 7.1)
There was a point at the end of the first half where Kemoeatu was getting beaten on every single play, as he struggled when he was matched up with Calais Campbell one on one. Similarly, Reynolds looked overmatched when going up against Ndamukong Suh. Maybe he knew it himself and that’s why he picked up three penalties.
Center: Mike Pouncey, Dolphins (-3.9)
It will be a long time before Pouncey forgets who Brodrick Bunkley is. The Broncos’ defensive tackle dominated the rookie center in every aspect of the game.
4-3 Defensive Front
Defensive Ends: Dwight Freeney, Colts (-3.8) and Robert Mathis, Colts (-3.8)
Wow, both of these Colts played 42 snaps and combined they managed just one pressure. It’s almost as if they’ve given up on a team they believe has no hope.
Defensive Tackles: Danier Muir, Colts (-4.6) and Tyson Alualu, Jaguars (-2.6)
There was a reason the Colts went into the season without Muir. He was terrible last year, and in 38 snaps against New Orleans he was terrible once again. The Jags won, but the nearly invisible Alualu must be close to losing significant playing time. He’s just not played well all year.
Linebackers: Kavell Conner, Colts (-4.5), Barrett Ruud, Titans (-4.2) and Will Witherspoon, Titans (-3.8)
Conner gave up catches on all five of the balls thrown his way, including a touchdown. This wasn’t quite as bad as Witherspoon who had 135 yards and a touchdown logged to him (along with two missed tackles). To keep him company, Witherspoon is joined by teammate Barrett Ruud, who was just atrocious in every way possible. Have Titans fans accepted that he’s a huge downgrade on Stephen Tulloch yet?
3-4 Defensive Front
Defensive Line: Vaughn Martin, Chargers (-3.8), B.J. Raji, Packers (-4.8) and Jacques Cesaire, Chargers (-2.3)
What does it tell you that our lowest three rated 3-4 ends this week were all Chargers? It almost, but not quite, makes you miss the criminally overrated Luis Castillo. San Diego is saved from fielding our entire defensive line by Raji being that bit worse than Antonio Garay. Sure the Packers picked up a sack, but really, what else did he do? That hot start to the season finished quickly enough.
Outside Linebackers: Calvin Pace, Jets (-3.3) and Ryan Kerrigan, Redskins (-1.7)
Our two outside linebackers managed a pressure each, to go along with two tackles. What else did they do? Not much.
Inside Linebackers: Paris Lenon, Cardinals (-4.7) and Kevin Burnett, Dolphins (-3.2)
Whether it be taking on blockers, rushing the passer or dropping into coverage, Lenon was terrible as he made life very easy for the Steelers. Burnett just isn’t playing well, and looks lost as a Dolphin. Hard to think he’s the same guy who was so good for the Chargers last year.
Cornerbacks: Ike Taylor, Steelers (-5.6) and Ronde Barber, Buccaneers (-5.6)
Taylor only allowed three-of-nine balls thrown his way to be complete, though he can thank the accuracy of Kevin Kolb for that. He didn’t help himself with an astonishing three penalties and two missed tackles either. Barber matched that missed tackle count and gave up 89 yards on the seven balls thrown his way.
Safeties: Troy Polamalu, Steelers (-3.9) and Quintin Mikell, Rams (-3.2)
There hasn’t been a more disappointing player than Quintin Mikell this year. He added another three missed tackles to his figures for 2011 and took some horrible angles as a contributor to DeMarco Murray’s big day. Polamalu missed a tackle, dropped an easy pick and was fortunate to walk out of Sunday not penalized. Looked well off his game a week after his concussion.