PITTSBURGH - NOVEMBER 21: James Harrison #92 of the Pittsburgh Steelers pumps up the crowd during the game against the Oakland Raiders on November 21 2010 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Who to award our fictitious Week 11 gameball to? I imagine there might be some variation in who BTSC would select. Ben Roethlisberger played his best game of the season, throwing for 275 yards on just 29 passing attempts. Any time you nearly reach 10.0 yards per pass attempt, you're doing something right. Throw in the fact that Big Ben didn't turn the ball over and he's more than a worthy candidate. Troy Poamalu also played his best game in quite some time. No. 43 had 6 tackels, one interception, and at least one other pass defended. James Farrior was lights out from his middle linebacker position. The 35-year old veteran was everywhere - stopping the run, defending in space, and blitzing effectively.
My choice though is James Harrison. The 2008 Defensive Player of the Year continued to stuff his 2010 stat sheet. Against the Raiders, Deebo finished with five tackles, two sacks, one interception, and one forced fumble.
For the year, Harrison now has 69 tackles, 9 sacks, 2 int, 5 or 6 forced fumbles (depending on which site you believe), 1 fumble recovery, and 4 passes defended.
If you ask me, Harrison should be right there in the conversation for Defensive Player of the Year. The front-runner is likely Green Bay's Clay Matthews (36 tackles, 12 sacks, 1 INT, 1 FF, and 1 TD), but if you compare their numbers, I'm not at all convinced that Matthews has been that much better, if any. We'll see what happens over the course of the next six weeks, but something tells me Harrison ain't winning it this year, even if he's deserving. Could you see the NFL awarding the one player that's been the poster boy for the league's inconsistent stance on illegal hits? Me neither.
For Week 11 though, I'm giving Harrison the nod as the best player on the field.