Ndamakung Suh has had a falloff in 2011 for Lions
It's a fact of life that players don't always perform at the same level.
They have surges where they are great, and they have slides where they aren't.
And when they aren't up to expectations, it's only natural to wonder what's going on.
Here are six NFL players who aren't anywhere close to expectations so far in 2011.
Sam Bradford, Rams
The rookie with the most impact among NFL offensive players last year, Sam Bradford has a game is all over the place this time around.
His completion percentage is down from 60 percent to 55 percent, he has little chance that his current yardage, 1,587, will grow to match last year’s 3,512.
Most significantly, he’s only thrown four touchdowns after heaving 18 a year ago.
It’s true that Bradford has cut down his interceptions significantly, but the drop-off in the rest of his game has meant St. Louis isn’t a factor in the NFC West.
Devin McCourtey (32), Patriots
A year ago, McCourtey was a one-man gang in the New England defensive backfield.
This year he’s just another guy.
After seven interceptions and 68 solo tackles in 2010, he has gone 10 games without an interception, and he has just 38 solo stops.
More than that, opposing quarterbacks seem to be willing to throw at McCourtey and test him, and so far the results haven’t been good from the Patriots’ perspective.
Carlos Dunlap, Bengals
Cincinnati’s leading pass rusher a year ago, he’s been more of an afterthought this time around.
He had 9.5 sacks in 2010, but he comes into this week with just three. Things are possibly looking up, because he went the first five games of the season with no sacks.
He’s getting more group treatment from opposing offense, but even so the drop-off is dramatic.
Philip Rivers, Chargers
Make no mistake about it—Rivers will finish the season with some nice numbers.
But he probably will come up short of last year of 4,710 yards for the Chargers, and he’d have to have a major surge to get his completion percentage (61.9) up to last year’s 66 percent.
That would be forgotten were it not for the interceptions. Rivers, who threw 13 picks last year, has made far more bad decisions this year, and he came into this week with 17 interceptions, one reason San Diego continues to scuffle in the AFC West.
Chris Johnson, Titans
Tennessee seemed to have uncovered a gem in Johnson, who ran for 1,364 yards last year with 11 touchdowns.
And he could be counted on to move the sticks, averaging 4.3 yards per carry.
But after an offseason holdout, things aren’t so rosy.
This year, however, despite a recent surge, his yards-per-carry average is down at 3.2, he has just 509 yards and, most dramatic of all, his touchdown total is down to two.
Ndamakung Suh, Lions
Suh was the toast of the NFL last year, winning top rookie honors after a 10-sack season as a freshman out of Nebraska.
But the 2011 has been all downhill for the Detroit defensive tackle, including Thursday’s exhibition of unsportsmanlike conduct for repeatedly hitting Green Back lineman Evan Dietrich-Smith, then stomping on his arm.
A suspension is expected.
Even back to last year there were issues; he has nine personal fouls in 1.5 seasons, a total that seems over the top.
Beyond that, he’s had a huge statistical falloff. Suh has only three sacks and 31 tackles (22 solo) after last year’s 10 sacks and 66 tackles (49 solo).