[caption id="attachment_18504" align="aligncenter" width="496"] Charles Rex Arbogast / Associated Press[/caption] Digging Deeper unlocks some of the more underrated performances by lesser-known players in the NFL each week. This article won't be decided solely on sacks, interceptions, touchdowns or any other general hyped-up statistics -- we do, after all, want to "dig deeper". Please note: regular elite players will not feature. This week had plenty of high achievers that flew under the radar. Which underrated starts shone brightest? Keep reading to find out!
- Thomas DeCoud - S (Atlanta Falcons) - This was perhaps the most dominant performance by a defensive back in the entire NFL this week. DeCoud was thrown at only four times, yet scored two interceptions (both when Chargers QB Rivers threw to Antonio Gates) and one pass deflection. DeCoud also recorded four tackles to assist the run game.
- Michael D. Johnson - RE (Cincinnati Bengals) - Johnson not only recorded four sacks on RGIII, he also recorded four more quarterback hits. So it is safe to say RGIII now knows Johnson rather well. When you add in seven stops Johnson was an unstoppable force on the defensive line. While this may have been agains a relatively weak Redskins O-line, Johnson took full advantage.
- Tim Jennings - CB (Chicago Bears) - Sam Bradford had an almighty struggle in his week 3 game, one which he can mostly thank Tim Jennings for. Jennings was thrown at nine times, which is a high number in an average game. Of those nine, Jennings only got beat once for eight yards. When you add two pass deflections and an interception in the mix, Jennings is backing up his previous efforts this season. Pro Bowl bound?
- Bruce Irvin - LE (Seattle Seahawks) - Not to be outshone by Chris Clemmons (who had 4 sacks), Irvin went about his business more quietly and efficiently. Irvin only played 35 (29 pass rushing) snaps during the game and recorded two sacks, one QB hit and three QB hurries. So basically one in every three plays saw Irvin in Aaron Rodgers' face. About time for this rookie.
- Prince Amukumara - CB - (New York Giants) - "Mr Cold Tub" performed exactly the way the New York Giants were hoping after selecting him in the first round last year. Amukamara shut down one side of the field dropping back into coverage 31 times and was thrown at four times (which included only one short completion). The Giants wanted help at cornerback after last season, and it looks like it is here.
- Will Beatty - LT (New York Giants) - Sticking with the Giants theme Will Beatty was the MVP of the game for me. It was his first game at LT after a year on the sidelines and Beatty re-invigorated the NYG run game and gave Eli Manning all day to throw the ball. Eli was only hurried two times on Beatty's watch.
- Shaun Hill - QB (Detroit Lions) - There is one factor that would have gone ignored if the Lions did in fact complete the miracle in Tennessee - the efforts of Shaun hill stepping in the the injured Matt Stafford late in last quarter. Hill completed 10-12 which included three passes of 20+ yards, two touchdowns and one dropped pass. Hill had a perfect passer rating for the game when you take out spiking the ball.
- Brandon Stokley - WR (Denver Broncos) - The old veteran workhorse that is Brandon Stokley had his best game in a few years after catching 6/6 passes from the slot for 73 yards and a touchdown. Stokley helped move the chains most of the day for Peyton Manning and should be a reliable target for him moving forward.
- Heath Miller - TE (Pittsburgh Steelers) - 10 balls were thrown Miller's way for eight catches during the loss to the Raiders. Miller helped the Steelers move down the field all day with all but one of his catches being caught between 0-10 yards. Miller also had a terrific day of blocking which capped off an all round great day.
- Torrey Smith - WE (Baltimore Ravens) - Following the emotional loss of his brother, Smith willed the Ravens to victory over the Patriots. Smith averaged 21.2 yards per catch with only 24 yards after the catch, a big credit to Joe Flacco and his deep accuracy. Smith beat the patriots No.1 CB Devin McCourty quite convincingly by putting 83 yards and one of his two touchdowns on him.
Dud of the Week
- Bryan Bulaga - RT (Green Bay Packers) - What a pathetic effort from the third year lineman who was pick No.23 in 2010. Bulaga allowed two sacks, one QB hit and eight QB hurries. For a starting lineman in the NFL this is terrible. Add a penalty on top and Packers fans would be hoping for a better effort next week from their starting RT.
Some surprising statistics heading into week 4 -
- The Atlanta Falcons are on pace for a turnover differential of +43 on the year while the Kansas City Chiefs are on track for -35.
- What are some things Blaine Gabbert, Mark Sanchez, Russell Wilson, Jake Locker, RGIII and Carson Palmer have in common? They all have a better quarterback rating then Drew Brees, Michael Vick and Jay Cutler.
- Andre Brown, running back for the Giants, is on track for a 16-touchdown season. He is also averaging a touchdown every 11 attempts.
- Lance Moore, Vincent Jackson and Malcolm Floyd all have over 10 catches. All of them have been first downs.
- Brent Celek has 118 yards after the catch. Yes, he is a tight end. Brandon Myers, also a tight end, has caught 100% of his 15 targets.
- Who are the bottom three teams for points scored? Of course it's Dallas, Philadelphia and Carolina.
What are your thoughts? Was there someone you thought helped your team win who didn’t get the credit they deserve?.