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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Winners: Chris Borland, San Francisco 49ers




Chris Borland had a key overtime fumble recovery for the 49ers.

From Nate Davis's "NFL Week 10 winners and losers"

November 10, 2014

Week 10 winners

Aaron Rodgers: He could have easily set the league's single-game record for TD passes (which would be eight) if the Packers had decided to truly embarrass the Bears. Instead, coach Mike McCarthy showed mercy to Chicago and pulled Rodgers and his six TD strikes, which all came before halftime, midway through the third quarter.

Marshawn Lynch: If the Seahawks are going to release him into the free agent market during the offseason — Lynch is under contract through 2015 but has already expressed displeasure with his deal and is reportedly at odds with team management — the star running back continues to show he remains an attractive commodity after churning out 140 rushing yards and a career-high four TDs in Sunday's win over the Giants.

Cardinals cornerbacks: With Arizona clinging to a 17-14 fourth-quarter lead and injured QB Carson Palmer in the locker room, star corners Patrick Peterson and Antonio Cromartie took over. On three consecutive Rams possessions, Peterson picked off two passes — he took the second 30 yards for a TD — before Cromartie scooped up an Austin Davis fumble and returned it 14 yards for another score. Arizona's 8-1 record remains the NFL's best.

Gambling Cowboys: QB Tony Romo rewarded Dallas' risk to take him across the Atlantic, restoring balance to the offense with three TD passes despite his balky back, in a 31-17 victory over the Jaguars in London. Romo also managed to avoid further injury despite remaining on the field and taking some punishment late in the game even though the Cowboys were up 31-7 in the fourth quarter.

Chris Borland: San Francisco's rookie inside linebacker had a huge game for a unit missing injured all-pros Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman. Borland piled up a game-best 17 tackles against the Saints and, most importantly, recovered QB Drew Brees' overtime fumble to set up the game-winning (and perhaps season-saving) field goal for the 49ers.

Browns: From the comfort of their couches — Cleveland beat the Bengals on Thursday — they moved into sole possession of first place in the AFC North after the Steelers lost. The Browns, who are 6-3 for the first time in 20 years, could be primed to solidify their standing, too, as they host the Texans and newly named starting QB Ryan Mallett in Week 11 followed by a date with the struggling Falcons.

Second-half Falcons: They broke a five-game losing streak, thanks largely to a strong finish, when they outscored the Buccaneers 14-7 after intermission. In the previous five games, Atlanta had been blitzed 85-38 after halftime.

Matthew Stafford: On a day when Lions WR Calvin Johnson played for the first time in a month, the Detroit quarterback did a nice job spreading the ball around rather than maintaining radar lock on Megatron. Johnson and Golden Tate each exceeded 100 receiving yards and were both targeted at least 13 times by Stafford, whose best throw — a sidearmed, 11-yard, game-winning TD — was reserved for RB Theo Riddick in the corner of the end zone with 29 seconds to go.

Michael Vick: He became the first quarterback to rush for more than 6,000 yards in a career. More importantly, his efficient, turnover-free play helped New York snap an eight-game losing streak, the worst of coach Rex Ryan's career.

Carson Palmer's timing: The Cardinals quarterback secured his future in the desert after signing a three-year, $50 million contract extension Friday.

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