« What To Watch: Monday | RCS Blog Home Page | Baseball's Most Controversial MVP Winners »

NFL Rookie Watch: Week 11

by Robbie Gillies

Matt Ryan (Falcons) – Ryan has been so solid all season but made a big rookie mistake against the Broncos. Late in the 3rd quarter with the Falcons driving, Ryan threw a pass cross field with pressure in his face while on his back foot. The ball was picked off and led to a field goal for the Broncos. Ryan has made very few of these mistakes and the fact that it’s surprising to see him make such a bad decision shows hot mature he has been all season long.
Jerod Mayo (Patriots) – Jerod Mayo was everywhere Thursday. With Adalius Thomas out for the regular season, Mayo is the leader in among the Linebackers and he played like it against the Jets. He had 20 tackles in a losing effort to the Jets.
Jonathan Stewart (Panthers) – Stewart had 15 carries for 130 yards. But it was against the Lions, so does it really count?

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (Cardinals) – Cromartie had been pushing Eric Green for a starting job and when Green’s knee injury kept him limited on Sunday, Dominique got the call and answered. He got his first two interceptions and is looking like he could live up to his draft status.

Joe Flacco (Ravens) – Flacco had been playing well but he came up against a stiff Giants defense that is second best in the league against the pass. Flacco finished 20 for 33 with 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions. One of those picks though was not his fault. Derrick Mason couldn’t handle a pass from Flacco and the ball popped up and into the hands of Aaron Ross who took it 50 yards for the score. Flacco also led the Ravens in rushing yards with 57.

Chris Johnson (Titans) – Johnson rebounded a bit from his 14 carries for 8 yards last week. This week he had 88 total yards, 64 rushing and 24 receiving. He not only led the Titans in rushing but he also tied Justin Gage with four receptions.

Dustin Keller (Jets) – Keller is turning into Favre’s favorite target. The tight end had 8 catches for 87 yards including 32 of their 64 yards on the final drive that set up the winning field goal in OT. Expect more of the same from Keller as the season progresses.

Donnie Avery (Rams) – Avery really is the only bright spot for the Rams this season. He had another big game with 9 catches for 93 yards but the Rams fell to the 49ers 35-16.

Matt Forte (Bears) – The Bears were blown out by the Packers but Forte got his yards. It was his third straight game with over 100 total yards and his seventh time in the first 10 games achieving that feat.

DeSean Jackson (Eagles) – With Jackson’s 66 receiving yards he is now just 7 yards away from being tied with Eddie Royal for rookie receiving yards. Wait, is it possible for them to be tied? Let’s ask McNabb.

Kevin Smith (Lions) – What Smith is doing is extremely impressive. Smith gaining 112 rushing yards for the Lions is much more impressive than Jonathan Stewart’s 130 against the Lions. Smith is fourth among rookie RB’s in rushing yards and I have to repeat he’s on the Lions.

Steve Slaton (Texans) – The Texans monitored Slaton’s carries last week against the Ravens fearing the season was wearing on Slaton. Well, the rest seemed to do him good. Slaton ran for 156 yards on just 14 carries for an average of over 11 yards per carry.

Xavier Adibi (Texans) – Adibi had 15 tackles against the Colts. While Adibi played well, he got so many tackles because he had to wrap up Joseph Addai and Dominic Rhodes who broke through the line of scrimmage time after time.

Tim Hightower (Cardinals) – There was such buzz around Hightower, especially following a 109 yard performance in his first game as the featured back. But last week he had just 13 carries for 22 yards and this week he had 11 carries for 35 yards. It was also his second straight week without a touchdown.

Peyton Hillis (Broncos) – Hillis had a great fantasy line against the Falcons but I doubt how effective he will be down the line for the Broncos. Hillis had just 10 carries and 44 yards but got into the endzone twice. But the Broncos schedule is favorable to the running game with games against the Raiders next week and the Chiefs two weeks after that.

Davone Bess (Dolphins) – Bess had his best game of the season against the Raiders. He contributed with 3 catches for 50 yards as the Dolphins won 17-15