Prime Time Players: Week 17

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The best performances in the NFL from Week 17.

The best performances in the NFL from Week 17.

Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers
In Week 9, Mr. Discount Doublecheck suffered a collarbone injury in a 27–20 loss to the rival Bears. Title Town was 5–2 when Rodgers went down before staggering to a 2–5–1 record without their Super Bowl MVP signal-caller. So it was only fitting that Rodgers made his comeback at Chicago in Week 17 during a winner-take-all heavyweight fight for the NFC North crown and a trip to the playoffs. Rodgers completed 25-of-39 passes for 318 yards, two TDs and two INTs in a 33–28 victory. Even his mistakes worked out in Green Bay’s favor, as a second-quarter forward fumble was recovered by Jarrett Boykin for a surreal 15-yard TD.

LeGarrette Blount, RB, Patriots
New England’s newfound workhorse runner had 24 carries for 189 yards (7.9 ypc) and two trips to the end zone during a 34–20 victory over the Bills. Prior to the Week 17 outburst, Blount had recorded just three games with 60-plus rushing yards and only one contest with at least 15 carries. The 6'0", 250-pounder has been consistent for the Pats, with 11 games of 40 or more yards on the ground, along with 772 yards (5.0 ypc) and seven TDs this year.

Greg Hardy, DE, Panthers
One week after recording a hat-trick in a win over the Saints, Hardy set a new team record with four sacks during a 21–20 victory on the road against the Falcons. But Hardy wasn’t the only Panther getting in on the action. Charles Johnson, Star Lotulelei, Frank Alexander and Mike Mitchell joined Hardy to notch a Carolina team-record nine sacks. Hardy ends the year with 15 sacks, which couldn’t have come at a better time for the soon-to-be free agent.

Chris Johnson, RB, Titans
CJ1K joined LaDainian Tomlinson, Corey Dillon, Curtis Martin, Barry Sanders and Eric Dickerson as only the sixth running back in NFL history to top the 1,000-yard mark in each of his first six seasons. Johnson had 27 carries for 127 yards and one TD in a 16–10 win over the Texans. Due $8 million next season, Johnson may have played his last game in Tennessee following his second-worst rushing season (1,077 yards).
 

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