Peyton Manning. Manning looked sharp in his game against the Houston Texans, passing for 243 yards and two touchdowns. Newly acquired receiver Emmanuel Sanders was Manning’s favorite target as the pair connected on two long touchdowns in the final minutes of the first half.
Manning fired up his teammates when he got in safety D.J. Swearinger’s face, drawing the first disciplinary penalty of his career. Earlier, Swearinger put a questionable hit on receiver Wes Welker which, apparently, wasn’t to Manning’s liking.
Chandler Jones. The third-year linebacker picked up right where he left off after his 11-1/2 sack season last year. Jones finished the game against the Panthers with six tackles, two QB sacks and three tackles for a loss in just one half of play.
Jones looks to benefit from more coverage sacks with the addition of Darrelle Revis to the revamped Patriots defense.
Russell Wilson. Wilson makes the list for a second week in a row with an impressive game against the Bears. Seattle scored touchdowns on its first four possessions with Wilson under center. He completed 15 of 20 passes for 202 yards, including two touchdown passes and a TD run.
In the last two games, Wilson has led the Hawks on nine straight scoring drives for a total of 55 points.
Reggie Bush. Bush only carried the ball twice for the Lions, but one of them resulted in an 86-yard touchdown romp.
Bush flashed his speed of old as he broke free and outlasted the Jacksonville defenders all the way to the end zone. He finished the otherwise offensive-less game with 95 rushing yards.
Drew Brees. In his first pre-season game this year, Brees did not disappoint. Just six days after returning to practice, Brees looked true to form, completing 9 of 15 passes for 128 yards and two touchdowns.
Brees did a little bit of everything Saturday night against the Colts. He gained ten yards by running on a third-and-8 play. He avoided a sack with an improvised shovel pass. He found open receivers for scores. Basically, he was just Drew Brees being Drew Brees.
Ndamukong Suh. Suh was flagged for a roughing the passer personal foul against Chad Henne Friday night. No stranger to these types of questionable plays, Suh appeared to lower his helmet into Henne’s chest after the ball was released.
If history is any indication, Suh’s wallet might get a bit lighter as he faces a possible fine from the NFL.
Matt Schaub. It’s tough to keep putting Schaub on this list, but his level of play on the field dictates otherwise. Schaub, who played into the third quarter, finished 13 of 27 for 110 yards and a fumble.
The Oakland offense once again struggled under Schaub with four straight three-and-outs during the first half. Time will soon tell if the acquisition of Schaub was a good move for the silver and black.
Le’Veon Bell & LaGarrette Blount. Both Steelers running backs suited up for the game one day after they were cited for marijuana possession.
Bell, who missed the team’s charter flight to Philadelphia because he was having blood drawn due to the incident, actually paid his own way to get to the game. Regardless of the distraction, neither player was overly effective as they combined for only 55 yards rushing.
Robert Griffin III. The pre-season woes continue for RGIII with another lackluster performance. Griffin was 5 of 7 for 20 yards and was sacked three times in the first half.
He returned in the third quarter and attempted just one pass, an interception. First-year coach Jay Gruden might have a tough decision to make come week one with backup QB Kirk Cousins playing well in the off-season.
Matt Prater. Yep, Peyton Manning has a new “idiot kicker” to deal with. This time, it’s Matt Prater. Prater will be suspended by the NFL for the first four games of the season for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.
The violation was an alcohol-related offense. Prater’s been in the league’s alcohol program since he was charged with driving under the influence back in 2011. Replacing Prater and his 96.2 field goal percentage from last year won’t be easy.
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