Each Tuesday during the 2005 NFL season, Scout.com will name the Outstanding Offensive and Defensive Players of the Week. Players are nominated by the publishers and writers of Scout.com's NFL network, and are selected by the network's NFL Experts.
Tomlinson vs. the Giants. An outstanding runner against one of the league's best defenses so far this season. It looked to be a climatic struggle and one of the most intriguing match-ups of the NFL's third week.
As it turned out, it wasn't even close. Tomlinson shredded the Giants tough defense without mercy and, for that reason, edges Seattle RB Shaun Alexander for Scout.com's Outstanding Offensive Player of the Week honors.
Tom Coughlin's resurgent Giants, who had allowed only 29 total points through the first ten quarters of football in 2005, allowed nearly that many (24) to the Chargers and Tomlinson during the second half of the Chargers' 45-23 win.
Tomlinson led the way for the Chargers in making Michael Strahan and the Giants defense look beatable, tearing through the Giants for 246 total yards and four touchdowns. Tomlinson ran the ball 21 times for 192 yards (a stunning 9.14 average) and caught six passes for 28 yards. To complete a weekend that will make at least one owner in every fantasy league happy, the running back also threw a 26-yard touchdown pass.
Tomlinson showed exactly how critical he is to the Chargers' attack and their 2005 fortunes. His huge day led to the Chargers first win of the year, and the Giants' first loss. Not even Tom Coughlin's frantic changes in the Giants defense (three starters were removed at one point) could turn the tide. When Tomlinson is at the top of his game, it appears that no one can stop him.
A key element in the Cleveland Browns' surprising competitiveness during the early part of the 2005 season has been a dramatic improvement in their offensive line. Cleveland's Phil Savage bolstered the line with veterans L.J. Shelton, Joe Andruzzi, and Cosey Coleman. Prior to last Sunday's game against the Colts, the revitalized unit had not allowed a single sack of new quarterback Trent Dilfer.
None of that mattered to Dwight Freeney during the Colts' 13-6 win in the RCA Dome last week. The standout defensive end created chaos throughout the game and blew up Cleveland's well-considered offensive strategy.
After two weeks of drawing so much attention that his teammates on the defensive line had landed nine sacks, Freeney broke through against the Browns for three sacks, five tackles, and a forced fumble in Week 3.
After seeing what he was able to do against outstanding LT Jon Ogden the week before, the Browns game-planned their offense to avoid Freeney. The Browns ran away from the Colts defensive end. They rolled Trent Dilfer out to the right. They met him with double and triple teams.
It didn't matter. Freeney got to the quarterback starting in the second quarter and disrupted the Browns' offense throughout.
For meeting and beating everything the Browns could do to stop him, Dwight Freeney is the Scout.com Outstanding Defensive Player of the Week.