Robert Quinn and 4 Breakout Studs of NFL Week 8
In each week of NFL action, established stars such as running back Ray Rice of the Baltimore Ravens and linebacker London Fletcher of the Washington Redskins show why they receive the praise, accolades and fat paychecks they do by putting on a show that dazzles their fans and infuriates their opponents.
However, in each week, a few young or heretofore unsung players also step up with big performances, giving us a glimpse as to who some of the future stars of the National Football League may be.
It's those players we'll examine here by taking a look at a quartet of players who are far from household names but who played like it in Week 8.
Robert Quinn: DE, St. Louis Rams
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Week 8 Stats: two tackles, one sack
The rookie from North Carolina was a highly-lauded prospect entering the league but had been relatively quiet to this point in the season in a part-time role.
Quinn made a case for more playing time Sunday, pressuring Drew Brees all day, notching his second sack of the season and helping the winless Rams pull off the upset of the week by downing the New Orleans Saints.
2. Christian Ponder: QB, Minnesota Vikings
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Week 8 Stats: 18-of-28, 236 yards, one touchdown
Rookie quarterback Christian Ponder was able to lead the Minnesota Vikings to a win over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, and the former Florida State standout's strong performance once again showed that he just might be the franchise quarterback the Vikings have been searching for for some time.
3. Javon Ringer: RB, Tennessee Titans
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Week 8 Stats: 14 carries, 60 yards, five receptions, 42 yards
The third-year pro came on in relief of the once-again ineffective Chris Johnson. He played most of the fourth quarter Sunday, and given that Ringer eclipsed 100 total yards in the Titans' victory over the Indianapolis Colts and that Johnson has just looked awful this season, it's a very real possibility that we're looking at a full-blown running-back controversy in Nashville.
4. Husain Abdullah: S, Minnesota Vikings
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Week 8 Stats: seven total tackles, one sack
Husain Abdullah has settled in very nicely in his second season as a starter in the Minnesota secondary and had yet another solid game on Sunday. And although it took the Washington State product a couple of years to get his day in the sun, he certainly appears to me making the most of the opportunity.