Reading through some of the post game threads a day later, and while I agree with the general thrusts of the comments I think a couple of performances have been overlooked or just underappreciated. My two cents, for what its worth.
Max Starks. I am agreeing with Mecham here. An absolutely exceptional performance against one of the best, most disruptive defensive ends in the NFL. Nor is this a deviation from what he has been providing day in and day out for the entire season, and extending back thru last year. What makes this acknowledgement so significant all the conversation that we have had here at BTSC concerning Starks; why did the FO invest the Franchise tag on the guy, why would they pay him so much money? And Starks is just the tip of the iceberg as it relates to offensive performance. The O-line seemed comfortably competitive against what is generally agreed to be one of the best defensive fronts out there. They deserve more credit.
James Farrior. Datruth noted this in Blitz's thread. Farrior deliberately decided to carry a bit more weight this season and is playing like a beast. At the moment he is the most impressive and consistent player of the linebacker corps. And he certainly has to be in the discussion for the Pro Bowl again. He may very well be both our best run stopper and pass rusher. And like Starks his play has been consistent all season. Props also to Fox who has proved to be more than a special teams asset and is growing into a very reliable back up as inside linebacker.
William Gay. I guess someone has to be a weak link. I'm not so sure that the supposed weaknesses are schematic or not. I do know one thing, Gay and Ike are for the most part not giving up the kind of plays that will earn them the nickname 'Toast'. If given a choice of picking on Ike, Ryan, Troy or Gay, I pick on BPWG every time. Personally, I think he's handled himself well and he's young. Maybe we can eventually find someone who is more precocious. But I believe he can grow into a more solid performer.
Jeff Reed. Let's just say that this has not been his best week. His kicking hasn't been half bad, but his leadership (remember he's a team captain) sucks. It sucks big time when you compare him to the other captains (Ward, Ben, Farrior, Harrison, Fox (?) ). Seriously damaged his negoiation leverage for a contract.