Each week in the NFL, there are players that impress and players that distress. One week a certain quarterback might toss four touchdowns and run around with his finger in the air while the next he's laying on his back, holding his facemask as the other team returns one of his three interceptions for the game-winning score. With that in mind, here's Studs and Duds .
The top sports headlines of the day
Tim Hightower, RB Arizona (22 rushes, 109 yards, 1 TD) -- Edgerrin James is a name that will be quickly forgotten in West Phoenix if Hightower continues these games. The rookie running back, in his first game as starter, averaged five yards per carry and made one of the worst rushing teams in the league relevant again on the ground. While James has pouted about his role in the offense, Hightower has quietly snagged carries, and Ken Whisenhunt took notice. Good news for Tim -- you have the 49ers and Seahawks the next two weeks. If Hightower is available in your fantasy league, you need to grab him and also get smarter friends.
Rob Bironas, K Tennessee (4-for-5, 41-yarder in overtime) -- The Titans kicker has quietly been brilliant this season, not missing a kick the first six games and only missing two in as many weeks. His overtime game winner from 41 yards took the Titans to 8-0 and was a perfect example of just how this team can win scrappy games. The road doesn't get any easier for Bironas and company, with consecutive road games at Chicago and Jacksonville.Gus Frerotte , QB Minnesota this Brett Favre Tony Romo Adrian Peterson
Matt Ryan, QB Atlanta (17-for-22, 220 yards, 2 TDs) -- The formula for this Falcons team is simple -- Ryan completes simple passes, which opens up the ground game for Michael Turner and takes a little pressure off the defense, which has been fantastic this season. Ryan, a rookie only because it's his first season, has had a passer rating of 94.1 or higher five times this season and a rating of 68.1 or lower in three games. Wanna take a stab at which games the team won?Duds
Jay Cutler, QB Denver (2 TDs, 3 INTs) -- The Broncos have dropped three straight games, including the Sunday loss to Miami, and a lot can be attributed to the stinkers by Cutler. The third-year quarterback started the season atomic, but has since returned back to Earth, becoming a liability for a Denver team he was starring for just a month ago. Completing just 52 percent of your passes just won't do it against these sneaky good teams like Miami and Atlanta, who the Broncos have in two weeks. Maybe comparing yourself to John Elway was a bit premature.
Brad Johnson and Brooks Bollinger, QBs Dallas (1 TD, 3 INTs) -- This little paragraph is for general managers and general managers only. When you are building a championship team, I'll give you one piece of advice -- DRAFT A BACK-UP QUARTERBACK!!! $@#$@!!! WHAT WERE YOU GUYS THINKING?! BRAD JOHNSON? HE'S OLDER THAN JOHN MCCAIN! BROOKS BOLLINGER?!?! WHAT, WAS KORDELL STEWART BUSY SHOOTING A CAMPBELL SOUP COMMERCIAL?!!? AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!! YOU'RE KILLING ME GUYS! Whew. (tucks shirt back in...combs hair back.) Sorry guys, just got a little heated there. Hey, at least Cowboy fans have the Longhorns to fall back on.
JaMarcus Russell, QB Oakland (6-for-19, 31 yards, 1 INT, 19.0 QB Rating) -- Hey, lets play a fun game called "Did any non-quarterbacks pass for more yards than the No. 1 pick/starting quarterback on the Raiders?" Well, would you lookie there, Mark Bradley of Kansas City had 37 yards. Winner!! Honestly, with this performance by the Raiders, is a post-game speech even necessary? You can't tell them to keep their heads up because they shouldn't. You can't say that if a couple of breaks went there way the game would have been different because that is a lie. You definitely can't tell them you were the better team out there on the field. I'd say one of the best signs to a bad game is if your yards and passer rating can be added up and the number is 50. That ain't good.
Braylon Edwards, WR Cleveland and Jabar Gaffney, WR NE -- Both these guys had passes placed perfectly in their hands, for a certain six, and both dropped them like someone had tossed them a grand piano. The Edwards pass was stuck between Baltimore defenders and it just hit his hands, obviously a bad spot to throw the ball to Braylon. Gaffney's was even worse, with the ball placed absolutely in his kitchen by Matt Cassel (who looks a lot better). If you're a professional athlete who can afford those expensive suits and nice sunglasses, you better be able to close your hands fast enough when the ball gets there. Dropping these passes is unacceptable.
BONUS DUD -- The "Saved By Zero" Commercial -- Did you know these commercials end today? The always alert and fantastic Matt Snyder noticed in the bottom right that 11-3-08 is the last day for this deal. I have my own theory. I think the terrorists made these commercials, to drive us as Americans even more crazy. Nothing defines insanity like watching four political ads in a row only to have that song crawl inside your eardrums. If the commercial is really finished today, I might buy all the readers of this here column a much needed drink.
Studs and Duds Week 9: The New Running Back in Arizona Goes By Tim originally appeared on NFL FanHouse on Mon, 03 Nov 2008 12:00:00 EST . Please see our terms for use of feeds.