Darren McFadden, RB, Raiders
Run DMC ran wild against the visiting Jets, with 19 carries for 171 yards and two trips to the end zone — a 2-yard power dive and a 70-yarder that showed off McFadden’s burst to the edge, open-field moves and long-stride long-distance speed (as well as the downfield blocking of a few Raider receivers). Oakland’s 34–24 upset victory served as sweet revenge for New York’s 38–0 win in the Black Hole two seasons ago. Meanwhile, McFadden continues to establish himself as one of the best backs in the game — with 477 total yards and four TDs in ’11.
Eli Manning, QB, Giants
Peyton may be sidelined, but Eli is making sure the Manning family continues to set the standard for quarterback play. The Super Bowl XLII MVP picked apart the Eagles’ secondary during a 29–16 victory in Philly. The NFL’s new active Iron Man started his 113th consecutive game (106 regular season, 7 postseason), completing 16-of-23 passes for 254 yards, four scores — two to second-year wideout Victor Cruz — and zero INTs in a winning effort.
Matt Hasselbeck, QB, Titans
Hasselbeck celebrated his 36th birthday in style, completing 27-of-36 passes for 311 yards, two TDs and zero INTs during a thrilling 17–14 win over Denver. The 13-year veteran lost wideout Kenny Britt (knee) in the first half and received little help from Chris Johnson (21 rush yards). As a result, Hasselbeck took the Titans on his shoulders — completing passes to 11 different receivers, the last connection being a 4-yard score to tight end Daniel Graham, a former Bronco whose first catch of the season proved to be a game-winner.
Jermichael Finley, TE, Packers
After playing in only five games last year, Finley is making up for lost time early on this season. The 6'5", 247-pounder — who Aaron Rodgers calls the “best tight end” in football — had seven catches for 85 yards and three acrobatic TD grabs during a 27–17 victory at Chicago in the 183rd meeting of the NFL’s oldest rivals. The Packers have won three straight against the Bears dating back to Week 17 of last season.
Troy Polamalu, S, Steelers
The shampoo pitchman cleaned up several of the Steelers’ offensive mistakes with one play that would be called “unbelievable” if made by any safety other than the routinely high-flying Polamalu. After Colts’ third-string quarterback Curtis Painter entered the game, the reigning Defensive Player of the Year got off to a running start on a perfectly-timed blitz, then seemingly jumped over an Indy O-lineman to recover a fumble forced by James Harrison and return the ball 16 yards for a crucial fourth-quarter TD in a 23–20 victory on Sunday night.