Handing out a Defensive MVP from yesterday's game is probably even harder than naming one of the offense. Casey Hampton did his usual excellent job clogging up both of the A-Gaps. Brett Keisel and Aaron Smith did a good job just chugging away, even though they had little to show for it by the end of the day. Ike Taylor rarely had nis name called, meaning nothing materialized for the 49ers on his side of the field. Woodley continued to impress. The obvious choice I suppose would be to give it to Bryant McFadden, who returned an Alex Smith INT for a TD, provided support in the rushing game, and had a big hit on his lone tackle. Most definitely a huge game for B-Mac.
I'm going with Troy Polamalu though, and I suppose I expect some to disagree. Once again Polamalu's stats didn't stick out (although he did lead the team yesterday). 5 tackles 3 Assisted tackles, 0 INTs, forced fumbles or fumble recoveries. But then again, nobody racked up big tackle numbers yesterday for the Steelers. Still, Troy was around just about every single play. When he didn't bring down Gore, he forced him back inside for a LB to clean up. He kept coming and coming after Alex Smith, hurrying him into rushed throws despite not recording a sack. And despite playing at such an incredibly high pace for the entire game, Troy not once found himself out of position like he so often did last year.
Polamalu anchors the NFL's leading scoring defense
A controlled, disciplined and cohesive agression seems to be the theme of this year's defense, and nobody on the Steelers, and perhaps the NFL, can fly around the field as intelligently and dangerously as Mr. Polamalu. Although I'm sure he and the rest of the defensive staff would say no single player deserves such an award this week, I'll crown him this week's Defensive MVP anyway.