The 2011 AFC Championship game is set, and the New York Jets and Pittsburgh Steelers will face off in the Steel City next weekend.

During an AFC divisional playoff weekend that saw the Jets upend the Patriots and the Steelers comeback against the Ravens, the performances of these seven players stood out the most:

Sexy Seven: Top Impact Players from AFC Divisional Playoff Weekendsexy7

7. Shaun Ellis – New York Jets

After its 45-3 loss in New England earlier in the season, many didn’t give the Jets much of a chance against the Patriots.  Shaun Ellis and the New York defense pressured Brady all day, accumulating five total sacks, two by Ellis himself.

6. Terrell Suggs – Baltimore Ravens

Baltimore’s defense had its moments, from Cory Redding to Terrell Suggs, who by far had the biggest impact in the game.  Suggs gave Roethlisberger headaches all day, tallying five total tackles, three sacks and a forced fumble.

5. Antonio Brown – Pittsburgh Steelers

The Pittsburgh wide receiver doesn’t carry a name that many people know, but the rookie from Central Michigan made a name for himself against the Ravens.  Brown handled punt and kick returns, led the team in receiving yards, and had the game’s biggest catch, hauling in a deep ball from Ben Roethlisberger that led to the go ahead touchdown.

4. Ben Roethlisberger – Pittsburgh Steelers


Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers came through in the clutch against the Ravens

Down 21-7 at halftime, Roethlisberger got the offense going in the second half, posting steady numbers throughout, and continuing to be productive in the playoffs.  Big Ben’s deep ball to Antonio Brown was the biggest play of the game, and Roethlisberger’s numbers on the day ended as such: 19-32, 226 yards and 2 touchdowns.

3. Jerome Harrison – Pittsburgh Steelers

The highlight of Harrison’s day wasn’t any fines or issues on the field, but just another dominant defensive performance, one that included three sacks against Flacco and the Ravens offense, which had all sorts of problems moving the ball in the second half.

2. Mark Sanchez – New York Jets

Mark Sanchez received the most criticism heading into the game against the Patriots, and many thought that he would be the player that kept New York from competing against New England.  Sanchez didn’t just push the Jets to a victory, but he also outperformed Brady, throwing 3 TD passes, while having no interceptions.

1. Santonio Holmes – New York Jets

Many may argue that Holmes doesn’t belong in this spot, since he had just 20 yards receiving over three catches.  Still, Holmes – who has been known for making clutch playoff catches in the past – arguably made the biggest catch of the game.  After New England closed the gap to 14-11, New York moved down the field, and Holmes made an incredible catch in the corner of the end zone, which pushed the Jets lead back to two scores, and completely changed the momentum of the game.

Which WINNING Quarterback's Performance Was the Most UNEXPECTED During the NFL Divisional Round?

  • Mark Sanchez (at Patriots) (60%, 6 Votes)
  • Aaron Rodgers (at Falcons) (30%, 3 Votes)
  • Jay Cutler (vs. Seahawks) (10%, 1 Votes)
  • Ben Roethlisberger (vs. Ravens) (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 10

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