EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - JANUARY 11: Brian Westbrook #36 of the Philadelphia Eagles runs with the ball during the NFC Divisional Playoff Game against the New York Giants on January 11, 2009 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Eagles defeated the Giants 23-11. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Remember Brian Westbrook? He was that All Pro, all-purpose yardage machine that thrived in Philadelphia's West Coast offense for so long and was forced to find a new home in the off-season due to his old age (31).
Entering Sunday night's game against the Arizona Cardinals, the San Francisco backup running back that doesn't get goal line carries or third down time (so essentially a third- or fourth-string guy) had just five carries through the first 10 games of the year. But then the 49ers' workhorse Frank Gore went down with a broken hip and Westbrook was thrust into action. Boy, did he respond.
Westbrook went on to rush for 136 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries — a Herculean workload for someone who has done absolutely nothing so far. Now, with one week left before most leagues begin their postseason, Westbrook is the man in San Francisco and has extremely fresh legs. He could be a huge pickup for fantasy owners on the brink of the postseason.
In other backup running back news, Minnesota's Adrian Peterson went down with a sprained ankle (nearly costing me my game this week) and gave way to rookie Toby Gerhart, who rushed for 76 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries. It appears Peterson will be good to go Sunday against Buffalo, but if he's not, Gerhart is a more than viable replacement.
As for horrible disappointments from the weekend, look no further than Tennessee running back Chris Johnson, who is now on pace to fall, oh about 1,200 yards short of his preseason guarantee of 2,500 rushing yards. Johnson had a career-low 5 rushing yards on just seven carries in Sunday's embarrassing loss to Houston. The Titans are an absolute mess right now whether its third-string quarterback Rusty Smith (who?!!) starting or Courtland Finnegan getting his face smashed by a beastly Andre Johnson. Chris Johnson is obviously a top-tier talent, but with the way the rest of his team is playing right now, I wouldn't expect too much from the guy who eclipsed 2,000 yards on the ground last season.