Shining in the Shadows

Stellar seasons that, for one reason or another, haven't gotten their due
November 19, 2007


AFTER HIS FIRSTtwo seasons one thing could be said about Ben Roethlisberger: He was never thereason the Steelers lost. That changed in 2006, after a summer motorcycleaccident led to a skid out of a season: 23 interceptions (compared with 20total in his first two years) and 18 touchdowns. Fans in Pittsburgh wondered ifRoethlisberger and his keen decision-making would ever be the same.

This year hehasn't been the same; he's been better. But like the other players on thispage, Roethlisberger has had his career year overshadowed—in his case, by TomBrady's season for all time. In morphing from a game-management QB to agunslinger, below-the-radar Ben is second in the AFC with 22 touchdown passes(Peyton Manning has 16), and perhaps more impressive, he has only seveninterceptions. Against the Browns on Sunday he directed a fourth-quartercomeback with a 30-yard touchdown run and a TD pass. When will everyone notice?How about Week 14, when the Steelers play the Patriots?


CHAD JOHNSON getsthe TV spots and does the big celebrations, but teammate T.J. has gotten theTDs this year—10 already.


ADRIAN PETERSONended the Rookie of the Year debate early, but Lynch is fifth in the league inrushing, and, unlike Peterson, he has yet to cough up the ball.


IN ADISAPPOINTING Eagles season he has turned bailout passes into highlight-reelmaterial. He has been the most well-rounded back in the league, includingLT.


RANDY MOSS'SREVIVAL has been a major story, but this other tall, rangy, often-malignedreceiver has eight TDs and has become a bona fide go-to guy.

Pickups for the homestretch PAGE F8


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Big Ben has already thrown more TDs this year (22) than in 2006 (18).