Former Florida cornerback Joe Haden had one of the best performances of his career in Cleveland’s big win over Cincinnati. The corner shut down former Georgia star A.J. Green, limiting one of the games top receivers to seven catches on 15 targets, and 51 yards receiving. Haden also broke up two passes and had four tackles in the Browns 17-6 win.
Barkevious Mingo, another important defensive player for a surprisingly hot Cleveland team, had a huge game in his first career start. The rookie out of LSU recorded a sack on Cincinnati’s first offensive play of the game. He became the first rookie player since 2004 to record sacks in each of his first three career games. Mingo also recorded four tackles in Cleveland’s win.
Though he struggled early, Atlanta’s Julio Jones was impressive late in the game against New England. The former Alabama wideout finished with six receptions for 108 yards in the 30-23 loss to the Patriots. Many of his yards came during a furious fourth-quarter comeback attempt and in Julio’s typically spectacular, athletic fashion.
Second-year kicker Blair Walsh out of Georgia has cemented himself as one of the best in the game. He made two out of three field goals in Minnesota’s 34-27 win over Pittsburgh in London. It was the Vikings first victory of the season. The missed field goal was the first of the season for Walsh, who has started 2013 going eight of nine and 13-for-13 on extra point attempts.
Playing in a Thursday night match-up against St. Louis, former University of Miami running back Frank Gore wound up setting the week’s top rushing mark. San Francisco’s head tailback lead all NFL rushers with 153 yards on 20 carries, for an eye-popping 7.6 yards per carry. Yardage aside, Gore also added a touchdown in the 48ers’ 35-11 win.
It was far from his best performance, but former Florida State quarterback E.J. Manuel made enough plays to gut out a win. Despite going only 10-out-of-22 for 167 yards, with one touchdown and two interceptions, Manuel’s play, combined with a phenomenal performance by Buffalo’s defense, was just enough for the Bills to upset Baltimore 23-20.
Former Texas Longhorns star Brian Orakpo had one of his best games on the season. He recorded two sacks, three tackles and two quarterback hits in Washington’s 24-14 win. Orakpo spearheaded a Redskins defense that carried Washington to its first win of the season.
Matt Flynn started for Oakland because former Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor suffered a concussion in last week’s loss to Denver. The injury doesn’t seem serious, and the Raiders poor performance on offense reaffirms Pryor’s place as Oakland’s likely starter going forward.