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FIVE & FIVE: THE BIGGEST SURPRISES/DISAPPOINTMENTS FROM SUNDAY

We wrap up the 12th Sunday of the NFL season by looking at a handful of players who exceeded expectations and a handful who failed to deliver.

Surprises

Knowshon Moreno, Broncos: Everyone figured the injury to Willis McGahee would pave the way for Lance Ball or rookie Ronnie Hillman to pick up tons of yards in Denver, but Moreno made a surprise start Sunday, picking up 85 yards on 20 carries. 

BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Bengals: I realize the Raiders don't present a huge challenge, but it was still nice to see Green-Ellis have his best performance of the season with Andy Dalton not really on top of his game against Oakland. The Law Firm had 129 yards on 19 carries. 

Charles Clay, Dolphins: Six catches (on six targets), 84 yards and a touchdown in a breakout performance from the versatile second-year tight end. Without him, the Dolphins don't save their season with a victory over Seattle.

Steven Jackson, Rams: Jackson's been coming around lately, but he's on the decline overall. Didn't expect him to put up 139 yards on a solid Arizona defensive front on the road. It was only his second 100-yard game of the year and his highest output since Oct. 30 of last season.

Janoris Jenkins, Rams: The rookie was benched for disciplinary reasons only a couple weeks ago and he entered Sunday's game against Arizona as the league's lowest-rated cornerback in coverage, according to Pro Football Focus. Yet he had a game-changing pick six against the Cardinals.

Disappointments

Aaron Rodgers, Packers: The pass protection wasn't good and he didn't get a lot of help on the ground, but that was a complete dud of a performance from Rodgers in a big prime-time "vengeance" game against the Giants.

Pittsburgh's running backs: All four of them count here, because they all fumbled in the Steelers' embarrassing loss to the Browns. Jonathan Dwyer, Isaac Redman, Chris Rainey and Rashard Mendenhall have all had their moments this year, but none of them were able to step up with the rest of the offense depleted Sunday. 

Marshawn Lynch, Seahawks: Seattle needs more than that from Lynch if it's going to succeed with a rookie quarterback. I know the Dolphins are tough, but 2.4 yards per carry on 19 attempts isn't cool.

Matt Forte, Bears: Even before suffering an ankle injury, he had just 42 yards on 14 carries. Bears fans might be fine with it so long as he's OK, but fantasy owners are probably pissed.

Doug Martin, Buccaneers: Yeah, another back. The Bucs put up a great effort against the Falcons but fell short. That might not have happened had the previously red-hot Martin been on his game. He finished with just 50 yards on 20 carries.

Brad Gagnon

About Brad Gagnon

Brad Gagnon has been passionate about both sports and mass media since he was in diapers -- a passion that won't die until he's in them again. Based in Toronto, he's worked as a national NFL blog editor at theScore.com (covering Super Bowls XLIV, XLV and XLVI), a producer and writer at theScore Television Network and a host, reporter and play-by-play voice at Rogers TV. His work has also appeared at Deadspin, FoxSports.com, The Guardian, The Hockey News and elsewhere at Bloguin, but his day gig has him covering all things NFC East for Bleacher Report.

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