For those unfamiliar with the Helmet Sticker tradition, many believe that players who perform exceptionally well in a game deserve recognition. I'm among them...the first group of those two groups, that is. The top 3 players are rewarded with Gold, Silver, and Bronze stars to recognize their brilliant performances. The process is extremely complicated. Master film analysts review the tapes play by play with an intense, bordering on insane, degree of focus. They carefully dissect what they observe, paying attention to the tiniest of minute details, and create detailed evaluations of every player and coach. I then ignore them and make these lists.
After years of watching the Helmet Stickers fall flat in losses, I've decided that you need to win to earn that sticker. A loss in week 1 meant that no stickers were awarded, but this Thursday's win was fully worthy of some recognition. A lot of players had excellent games, but failed to make my list. The offensive and defensive lines both came to play and I was particularly impressed with the entire offense. Matt Forte's 100 yard, 3 touchdown game certainly deserves some respect, but I wasn't as impressed by his actual level of play as some others. Here are some:
Bronze Star - Quincy Enunwa (6 receptions, 92 yards)
While some might point to Marshall's 101 yards as more impressive than Enunwa's 92, those people are not me. They're also wrong. Enunwa made the tough catches and made defenders miss in the open field. He was a real dual threat as a ranging H-back, converting multiple 3rd downs early in the game. He was so impressive that the Bills actually started giving corner help against Enunwa in a game against Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker. Enunwa also drew a key penalty to extend the first drive on a failed 3rd down attempt and served as a punishing blocker in the run game. In most games, he would likely have earned a top star. Unfortunately for him, two players outshined him under the Thursday night lights.
Silver Star - Eric Decker (6 receptions, 126 yards, 1TD)
Decker had a simply outstanding game. Though the statline is telling, Decker actually had even more production than the numbers dictate. A 50 yard bomb was erased by a holding penalty and he often won 1 on 1 matchups and simply didn't receive the ball because everyone else was open all game. In many situations, I would argue that Decker was worthy of a gold star. But there was one player that I just couldn't move down the list...
Gold Star - Ryan Fitzpatrick (24 for 34, 374 yards, 1TD and 0INTs)
Fitzpatrick had received a lot of scrutiny lately for his performances against Rex Ryan led defenses. After a shaky start in which he seemed as though his hands were coated in KY gel as he repeatedly let the ball slip out of his hands, he was darn near perfect. Fitz has never been afraid to let loose on the deep ball, but for the first time in recent memory, the balls were all completely on target. In the past, players have had to come back to slightly underthrown balls. Fitz was constantly on the money Thursday night. Breaking 70% completion percentage for almost 400 total yards and no turnovers is extremely impressive alone. The fact that the Jets had only 2 punts despite 0 4th down attempts and only 1 turnover paints the picture of an explosive offense. Fitzpatrick spread the ball around well and his receivers rewarded him. He earned it.
For those having trouble keeping score at home after this week, the table currently stands as follows:
|Name||Gold Stars||Silver Stars||Bronze Stars|