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Five & Five: The biggest surprises/disappointments from Sunday

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

Surprises

Blaine Gabbert, Jaguars: The final numbers weren't astounding, but Gabbert put up a really impressive, gutty effort in Green Bay, nearly leading the Jaguars to what would have been a huge upset with Maurice Jones-Drew sidelined. 

Matt Cassel, Chiefs: Another quarterback who set the bar so low that an average performance was surprising. Coming back from injury, Cassel was a solid 20-for-30 for 218 yards with only one interception against the Raiders. Too bad his team was still beaten easily.

Jonathan Dwyer, Steelers: Dwyer proved his solid Week 7 performance against Cincinnati wasn't a fluke. Few expected him to put up 120 yards against the Bengals, but Washington's run defense is much stronger than Cincy's, so even fewer figured he'd average 6.3 yards per carry against the Redskins.

Jacquizz Rodgers, Falcons: Eighty yards on only 13 touches for the rookie second-year back out of Oregon State. Might be only a matter of time before he starts cutting more deeply into Michael Turner's work load.

Stevie Brown, Giants: Kenny who? Brown continues to play well in place of the injured Kenny Phillips. Sunday, he had more of an impact than any defensive player in the league with two interceptions and a forced fumble against Dallas.

Disappointments

Philip Rivers, Chargers: Can I put the entire San Diego roster on this list? Wait a disastrous way to follow up a collapse. This team is about to implode after Rivers was completely ineffective in a six-point offensive effort against the Browns. 

Robert Griffin III, Redskins: He completed only 47 percent of his passes and had only eight yards rushing, finally hitting a wall against the Steelers. Was it just an off game or is some shine coming off?

Eli Manning, Giants: Sure, they won, but that was a real flat effort against the Cowboys. In fact, Manning has been pretty mediocre in back-to-back weeks. 

Steven Jackson, Rams: He was badly outplayed by rookie Daryl Richardson. We could be seeing the beginning of the end for the 29-year-old Jackson.

Jamaal Charles, Chiefs: Kansas City didn't appear to be making an effort to involve its most dangerous offensive player in a loss to the Raiders. But on the eight touches Charles did get, he had just 10 total yards.

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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