[caption id="attachment_22166" align="aligncenter" width="585"] The Star-Ledger / USA TODAY Sports[/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 be featured.
- Greg Hardy - (DE - Carolina Panthers) - The Panthers surprisingly beat up on the one loss Falcons on Sunday. Mostly thanks to a great all around team game. One man who stood out above most on defense was Greg Hardy. Hardy got in Matt Ryan's face six times over the course of the match which included one sack, three QB hits and two hurries.Against a good QB like Matt Ryan pass rush is essential, Greg Hardy brought the rain.
- Christian Ballard (DT - Minnesota Vikings) - The Viking defense made a stand against the Bears and Ballard was very much apart of this dominance. Ballard only had 26 snaps but he made the most recording five QB hurries, one QB hit and a stop in the run game for loss. Right now Ballard has been getting around 0/50 of the snaps with Letroy Guion but a performance like this will help his snap count rise.
- Donta Hightower (LB - New England Patriots) - Hightower had perhaps his best game of his rookie season and most of all it came against the stout Texan team. Get ready for this stat attack coming at you right now. Hightower had two QB hits, one QB hurry, six tackles in the run game for a negative play and to cap it off Hightower held Arian Foster to only 13 yards in the passing game when matched up against Foster.
- Demorrio Williams (ILB - San Diego Chargers) - Here is a name I can bet you haven't heard of before (just the way we like it here in Hidden Heroes). Williams played 22 out of 66 possible snaps and was a force. One QB hit and one QB hurry was nice (off four QB rushes!!) but three stops for a negative play in the run game helped the Chargers greater on Sunday. The Chargers have an all around linebacker with Williams.
- Gerald McCoy - (DT - Tampa Bay Buccaneers) - The fat man plugging the middle made a tremendous effort against the Eagles by pass rushing up the middle effectively. Tampa Bay might have lost but not because of McCoy and his two QB sacks, one QB hit, 5 QB hurries and four stops in the run game. This man is the real Mccoy.
- David Wilson (RB - New York Giants) - The Giants 1st round draft pick burst onto the NFL scene in the greatest way on Sunday. Wilson returned a kickoff for a touchdown and averaged 56.8 per return for the day. David Wilson on 22 snaps also had 100 yards on the ground and two touchdowns to add. To see his tremendous celebration click here.
- Robert Turbin (RB - Seattle Seahawks) - Another rookie running back pops up with a tremendous game, this in a year where rookie running backs are dominating consistantly. Turbin showed he could hold his own in garbage time and helped Seattle demolish the lowly Cardinals to the tune of 108 yards on the ground.
- Amani Silatolu (LG - Carolina Panthers) - Boy did Cam Newton have some great protection from this rookie. Not only was Cam protected perfectlly all game from the decent Atlanta pass rush he also provided an unforgettable play in the rushing game. Silatolu made this Cam 72 yard touchdown run happen, he creates a massive two blocks to set the huge hole for Cam to run through.
- Nick Foles (QB - Philidelphia Eagles) - A big step was taken by Nick Foles this past Sunday towards starting next year for the Eagles. Foles threw for 2 touchdowns and 381 yards against the Bucs. Four of Eight passes over 20 yards were completed by Foles who had 200 yards through the air before the catch. Remarkable game by this rookie.
- Anthony Castonzo (LT - Indionapolis Colts) - A solid game by the young Colt who gave Andrew Luck confidence on his left side against the poor Titans. No pressures were recorded on Luck from Castonzo's left side all game which is a very impressive feat. The tandem of Andrew Luck and Castonzo could prove to be a vital keg in the Colts future, Boy it looks bright.
Dud of the WeekDISCLAIMER: Arizona Cardinal QB's are disqualified from this as they are worse then your own grandmother playing QB in the NFL.
- Ed Reed (Safety - Baltimore Ravens) - Sorry Raven's fans but the greatest safety ever might have had one of his worst games yet. Ed Reed missed 3 tackles and was beaten a few times in the passing game whilst also costing his teama touchdown. Time to step it up Ed