Team of the Week, Week 5
Another round of NFL games, another Team of the Week. Khaled Elsayed breaks down the top players from Week 5.
Team of the Week, Week 5
It’s not about reputation here, just about what you did on the field. So you won’t be surprised to see J.J. Watt making a fifth consecutive appearance, nor a host of 49ers on our offensive side of the ball. It probably won’t even surprise you to hear Reggie Wayne getting some praise.
But keep reading and they’ll be some players whose performances deserved more attention then they got. So welcome to the PFF Team of Week 5.
Quarterback: Alex Smith, SF (+6.0)
Remember when Smith was a bust? Remember when the 49ers tried to upgrade with Peyton Manning? All a distant memory, with this performance against Buffalo one of his career high points. The stats, including a mind boggling 12.6 yards per attempt, really do him justice.
Running Back: Ahmad Bradshaw, NYG (+4.1)
It didn’t start too well for Bradshaw as he fumbled on his first carry, but from there on in he was like a man possessed. A big 200-yard rushing day and some good work in the passing game. This was Bradshaw at his best.
Full Back: Bruce Miller, SF (+4.0)
A fantastic display of lead blocking from Miller who looks intent on bettering his impressive rookie year.
Tight End: Tony Gonzalez, ATL (+3.8)
If Gonzalez continues to play at this high a level for the rest of the season it would almost be rude to retire. He picked up 123 yards in large part because he forced five missed tackles.
Wide Receivers: Reggie Wayne, IND (+7.1) and Marques Colston, NO (+4.1)
Remember when people said Wayne was done? He wasn’t and his incredible 212-yard receiving display should remind people not to write players off so quickly. Colston was not quite at the same level but without his ability to make catches in close coverage the Saints simply don’t win. A special shout out to our would-be slot receiver Wes Welker, who is back doing what he does best in New England.
Tackles: Joe Staley, SF (+4.6) and Tyson Clabo, ATL (+3.6)
Staley didn’t help himself with two penalties, but his run blocking and pass protection was so good outside of that he just earned the nod over both Nate Solder and Andrew Whitworth. On the right side, Clabo gave up one pressure and kept Ryan Kerrigan quiet so convincingly you almost forgot what Charles Johnson was able to do to him last week.
Guards: Logan Mankins, NE (+6.0) and Alex Boone, SF (+3.8)
You can’t keep a good man down, right? Mankins has looked a shell of himself since his ACL injury, but was at the top of his game against an overmatched Broncos interior. While it was redemption for Mankins, it was more of the same from Boone. It’s amazing to think he was riding the bench while Adam Synder was starting last year.
Center: Jonathan Goodwin, SF (+4.5)
Perfect in pass protection and excellent with his run blocking, Goodwin rightly earns his spot as the fifth 49er to make our offensive side of the ball.
Defensive Front 4-3
Defensive Ends: Robert Quinn, SL (+8.0) and Chris Long, SL (+3.6)
Quinn had a career day as he picked up 11 combined sacks, hits and hurries in addition to a pass batted at the line of scrimmage. He’s joined by his Rams teammate who added nine hurries of his own as St Louis made life tricky for Kevin Kolb.
Defensive Tackle: Kendall Langford, SL (+3.6) and Kevin Williams, MIN (+3.3)
Our starting defensive tackles combined for eight sacks, hits and hurries with some top notch work in the run game as well. Williams may not be the player he once was, but his consistent playmaking ability never ceases to impress.
Linebackers: Von Miller, DEN (+12.3), Karlos Dansby, MIA (+1.9) and JoLonn Dunbar, SL (+4.8)
While the Denver defense was pushed about, Miller played like a man possessed and picked up two sacks, three hurries and five defensive stops in the run game in his most rounded game to date. Dunbar himself picked up a sack and three hurries, broke up two passes and added three defensive stops. In the middle of them Dansby wasn’t quite as impressive, but was his usual solid self.
Defensive Front 3-4
Defensive Line: J.J. Watt, HST (+6.7), Aubrayo Franklin, SD (+0.5) and Corey Liuget, SD (+3.3)
Not a great week for nose tackles, with an encouraging start by Franklin muted as the Saints devoted more resources to him. A fifth consecutive selection for Watt who shows no signs of slowing down, but it’s a first nod for his fellow sophomore Corey Liuget who picked up a sack, hurry and two batted passes in a real breakout performance.
Outside Linebackers: Paul Kruger, BLT (+5.7) and Justin Houston, KC (+5.6)
A fine display from Kruger who turned limited opportunities into a hit and four hurries while adding six defensive stops. From the same game, Houston was far more pass-rush orientated with two sacks and six hurries as he put his poor Week 4 behind him.
Inside Linebackers: Daryl Washington, ARZ (+6.9) and A.J. Hawk, GB (+4.4)
With a sack, two hits and three hurries Washington showed just how much of an impact player he can be. He’s joined by Hawk who had a rare excellent game going up against the Colts.
Cornerbacks: Tramon Williams, GB (+4.5) and Richard Sherman, SEA (+3.5)
It will surprise some to see Williams, who gave up 92 yards and a touchdown on Sunday. But he was targeted 16 times, allowed only eight completions and broke up an astonishing five passes. Sherman’s route to the team was more conventional in allowing only 7 yards on three balls thrown into his coverage. In the slot, rookie Casey Hayward allowed only for one completion for 12 yards while walking away with a pick.
Safeties: Jamarca Sanford, MIN (+2.4) and Abram Elam, KC (+2.4)
It wasn’t a classic week for safety play, but there were solid performances from Sanford and Elam who combined for three pass breakups and allowed just 4 receiving yards on three balls into their coverage.
No kicking heroics this week, but Shaun Suisham gets the nod for his game winner … How about that for a punting display from rookie Johnny Hekker … Some penalties negated his return work but Patrick Peterson is still a danger every time he touches the ball … Lorenzo Alexander made three special teams tackles along with seven other players, but also earned a higher grade.
Follow Khaled on Twitter: @PFF_Khaled