Trevor Siemian, QB (Broncos)

NYG 23 at DEN 10

At first, it was surprising to see this second year QB out of Northwestern as the passing leader for Week 6 given the troubles the Denver offense has endured recently (1-2 in last 3 games).  But then I realized that none of the top 10 passing leaders for the week had clean performances except Philip Rivers who had 0 interceptions.  As for the Broncos, when you dig into the offensive numbers, they tell the story of the potential that lies within but also reveal the work that still needs to be done.  For instance, during Week 6, Siemian threw for a career-best 376 yards, but only scored 1 TD, had 2 costly interceptions (incl a pick 6) and was 29-50 with a 71.8 passer rating. Overall, Siemian is on pace for a 4,000-yard passing season, however the Broncos are 12th in the league in yards per game, 16th in scoring and have only recorded an average 14 points in their last 3 games.  Turnovers, pass protection, & red zone scoring have been big hindrances, as the team sits near the league bottom in turnover ratio (-5), Siemian has endured 17 sacks thus far along with 30 official hits, & Denver has an abysmal 45% red zone success rate (27th ranked).   Good thing the Broncos have the top ranked total defense in the league to help balance things out…

Le’Veon Bell, RB (Steelers)

PIT 19 at KC 13

While QB Ben Roethlisberger has struggled to find his downfield passing form this season and put up 5 interceptions against the Jags in Week 5, the Steelers turned to the talents of their 25-year old star back to defeat KC on Sunday.  Bell rushed for a season high 179 yards in 32 rushing attempts and had 1 TD.  His efforts also helped Pittsburgh control the ball and time of possession which seemed to give Roethlisberger more confidence.  As a result of his performance, Bell was named AFC Offensive Player of the Week, his 3rd, tying him with Jerome Bettis for most of any Steelers RB.  It remains to be seen if Big Ben will climb out of his funk & improve past his worst career start ever.  If not, Bell will have to continue to carry the load along with the team’s defense, currently ranked 3rd in the league and only allowing 17 points per game through the first 6 weeks.  But if either falter, Pittsburgh will be in big trouble as we head towards the post season.

Antonio Brown, WR (Steelers)

PIT 19 at KC 13

Another weapon for Roethlisberger who also helped Pittsburgh secure the win last week at Arrowhead was this 8-year genius receiver who caught for 155 yards on 8 receptions and a TD.  His real heroics occurred in the 4Q, when he caught a deflected pass on a 3rd and 2 and ran 51 yards for a TD.  This play ultimately sealed the deal for the Steelers to become the first team this season to beat KC.  Combined, Bell and Brown each had 100+ rushing/receiving yards in the same game, the first time since Week 7 of 2015 (also against the Chiefs), as reported by ESPN’s Jeremy FowlerDespite smashing records and attaining personal achievements, Brown is still keeping his eyes on the ultimate prize: the Championship.  He said this week, “At this point in my career, it’s all about finding a way to do great things to get that Super Bowl hardware.  It’s not about individual statistics. I think I’ve proven that I can do those things. The goal is to win the Super Bowl.”

Jason Pierre-Paul, DE (Giants)

NYG 23 at DEN 10

Three of the four sacks against Denver QB Trevor Siemian during Week 6 were levied by this player, the 28-year old career Giant out of South Florida. The 2-time Pro Bowler also had 8 tackles (7 solo), 2 QB hits and 1 forced fumble to help NY get its first victory of the season.  Perhaps Pierre-Paul had extra incentive to excel – he formed a new friend whom he met last week, a 7-year old Giants fan & cancer survivor, Hayden.  Pierre-Paul promised to do a dance Hayden showed him when he got a sack in Week 6’s game, which of course he did.  He also gave him a pair of his special training gloves used to help secure his scarred right hand (he lost his right index finger & parts of thumb & middle finger in a 2016 fireworks accident). The two seemed to bond when Hayden revealed he too is missing a digit (a toe) due to his cancer fight.  Pierre-Paul told him, “Guess what? You’re a survivor… No fear, right? No fear.

Marquette King, P (Raiders)

LAC 17 at OAK 16

Marquette King referred to himself earlier this year as being “like a free-range chicken – I just do whatever”.   That may be true of his off-field eccentricities and quirky social media habits (like dressing up as various super heroes and walking his pet iguana on a leash), but the only black punter in the league is one of the best at what he does and known for his incredible leg strength.  During Week 6, he stood out with punts totaling 226 yards, 56.5 gross average yards, 4 inside the 20-yard line and his longest, a 59-yard punt.  And, so far this season, the 28-year old Georgia native has the most average punt yards (52.7) in the league.   It’s also worth noting that King likes to do some amusing dances when he nails the perfect punt. At this point, the NFL is allowing it & I hope they continue to do so. “The most interesting punter in the NFL” is fun to watch.

Atlanta Falcons

MIA 20 at ATL 17

During Week 6’s matchup when the Falcons took on the Dolphins at home, all seemed to go in Atlanta’s favor during the first half of the game.  They were leading a comfortable 17-0 at halftime, but never scored again the rest of the game.  Instead, Miami worked their way back into the contest by taking advantage of silly mistakes and penalties by Atlanta and wound up outscoring the birds by 3 points.  Blowing a lead like this on the heels of Super Bowl 51 and with a Patriots rematch lingering on Sunday – it gives the Falcons my dubious distinction of the week.  In my eyes, I don’t think the Falcons dealt with the meltdown at Super Bowl 51 well.  When they came back to start the season after their embarrassing Championship defeat, they seemed to indicate that they were over it, that they didn’t want to dwell in it, that it was in the past.  But, what I think they should have done is gotten really angry and used it as motivation to kick butt this year.  It’s what I thought a talented, well-coached team like this would do.  Now this same offense that was historically good in 2016 seems lackluster and rudderless at times this season.  Should we blame it on the loss of OC Kyle Shanahan?  No, I think the Falcons are approaching this season the wrong way.  They should not be trying to forget what happened in the past, but be on a mission to prove it wasn’t a fluke. Unfortunately, by burying their loss, it could be hurting their future.


CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at