Week 4 game balls: Chris Ivory, Josh Norman, Pierre Garcon, Jay Cutler among Sunday's stars

Each week NFL Nation team reporters award a game ball to a player, coach or unit. Here are the game balls for Week 4:


Chris Ivory. After missing a week, Ivory returned with a monster game, rushing for a career-high 166 yards on 29 carries and a touchdown. The Jets wanted to be physical, and Ivory’s punishing running style allowed them to do that. He scored a touchdown on the first possession and wore down the Miami defense. -- Rich Cimini

Zach Bowman. A backup cornerback, Bowman unexpectedly saw a lot of playing time after Pro Bowl cornerback Brent Grimes went down with a knee injury in the first quarter. Bowman responded with a third-quarter interception that was returned for 38 yards and had mostly solid coverage. -- James Walker


T.J. Yeldon. The rookie running back had his best day as a pro, rushing for 105 yards on 22 carries. He had a 36-yard run in overtime to put the Jaguars in position to kick a game-winning field goal. -- Michael DiRocco

Matt Hasselbeck. He was making his first start since 2012, in place of the injured Andrew Luck. Hasselbeck finished 30-of-47 for 282 yards and a touchdown. -- Mike Wells


Kerry Wynn. One of the main reasons the Giants won this game was their ability to choke off the Bills’ running game early and throughout. Wynn, the second-year undrafted defensive end from Richmond, was the star performer in the running game with eight tackles, including two for loss. -- Dan Graziano

Charles Clay. The Bills’ offense barely had a pulse in the first half but showed signs of life in the second half. The biggest factor in the passing game getting back on track was Clay, who led both teams with nine catches for 111 yards. It wasn’t enough, but don’t fault Clay for the Bills’ loss. -- Mike Rodak


Josh Norman. The fourth-year cornerback returned an interception for a touchdown in the first quarter, giving him two pick-sixes in four games. That is the first time this has happened in the NFL in five seasons. He added another interception in the second half. A pretty good start to October for the NFC’s defensive player of the month in September. -- David Newton

Doug Martin. The fourth-year running back had one of his better games in some time against the NFL’s fourth-best run defense. He finished with a season-high 106 yards and one touchdown on 20 carries against the Carolina Panthers, making his output Sunday just his third game of 100 yards rushing or more since the start of the 2013 season. -- Andrew Astleford


Sam Bradford. On an ugly day for the Eagles, there was one slight glimmer of hope. Bradford, who hadn’t been able to throw deep through the first three games, got that part of his game going. His touchdown passes of 62 and 39 yards gave the Eagles a 20-16 lead. They weren’t able to hold onto it, but at least future opponents will have to account for the deep pass. -- Phil Sheridan

Pierre Garcon. He returned from a knee injury to catch two passes on the 90-yard game-winning drive, including the touchdown pass. On both catches, he was leveled as soon as he caught the ball. He finished with seven catches for 55 yards. -- John Keim


Aldon Smith. The defensive end had his best game as a Raider. He was a monster against the run. His edge was off-limits. He also had his first sack as a Raider. Smith has been getting in better game shape for Oakland in the past two weeks, and it’s starting to pay off on the field. -- Bill Williamson

Martellus Bennett. The Raiders still can’t cover the other team’s tight end, and Chicago exploited it. Jay Cutler found Bennett open throughout the game, including on a 5-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter. Bennett finished with 10 catches for 76 yards. -- Jeff Dickerson


Brian Hoyer. He replaced Ryan Mallett in the third quarter with the Texans trailing 42-0. Hoyer finally got the Texans' offense moving on two scoring drives, albeit against mostly reserve defensive players. The Falcons thoroughly dominated the Texans, but Hoyer did enter the game with the energy of someone with something to play for. It’s unclear if Texans coach Bill O’Brien will re-open the quarterback competition. -- Tania Ganguli

Devonta Freeman. The second-year running back scored three rushing touchdowns for the second consecutive game, the first player to accomplish such a feat since LaDainian Tomlinson did it in three straight games with the San Diego Chargers in 2006. Freeman, who had 149 all-purpose yards Sunday, has seven touchdowns in the past three games. -- Vaughn McClure


Cairo Santos. He set a Chiefs record by making all seven of his field goal attempts. Santos made kicks from 22, 40, 51, 34, 40 again, 29 and 51 again. He accounted for all of the Chiefs’ points. -- Adam Teicher

Jeremy Hill. The honors go to Hill, who plowed through the Chiefs’ defense in a variety of goal-line situations to score three rushing touchdowns. Hill had his fantasy owners scratching their heads entering the game. By the end of it, he likely left many of them smiling. -- Coley Harvey


Josh McCown. He showed why the Browns signed him and why they stuck with him after Johnny Manziel's win. He had 356 yards passing and two touchdowns. -- Pat McManamon

Danny Woodhead. He ignited San Diego’s offense with a 61-yard reception in the second half, setting up 19-yard reception by Ladarius Green for a score. Woodhead finished with four receptions for 84 yards, and 138 total yards from scrimmage. -- Eric D. Williams


Packers defense. The Packers defense finally solved the Colin Kaepernick riddle. After losing three straight to the 49ers quarterback, they battered him with six sacks and limited how badly he could hurt them with his feet. It’s a credit to Dom Capers, Clay Matthews and the rest of the Packers defense. -- Rob Demovsky

Quinton Patton. He may be Kaepernick’s best friend, but he also gave the stagnant 49ers offense a glimmer of hope. His 40-yard pick up on a jet-sweep pass from Kaepernick set the 49ers up for their first/only score, a field goal. Patton finished with two catches for 53 yards. -- Paul Gutierrez


Tavon Austin. In desperate need of a play maker, Austin stepped into the spotlight against Arizona's dominant defense. He finished with six catches for 96 yards, had two carries for 20 yards and scored two touchdowns. In his third year, Austin is starting to find his role and showing glimpses of why the Rams used the No. 8 overall pick on him in 2013. -- Nick Wagoner

Chris Johnson. He finished with 83 yards on 16 carries against one of the toughest defensive lines in the NFL. Johnson now has 219 yards rushing on the season and two touchdowns. -- Josh Weinfuss


Teddy Bridgewater. He hit 11 of his first 12 passes in the second half, throwing for 105 yards and helping the Vikings pull even after trailing by 10 points. Bridgewater was sacked five times Sunday, as the Broncos’ repeated blitzes gave the Vikings’ offensive line fits. But as he got better protection for much of the second half, he helped put his team back in the game in the toughest environment he’s faced. -- Ben Goessling

Ronnie Hillman. He carried only 11 times but for a whopping 103 yards, including a 72-yard touchdown run. The Broncos finished with 144 yards rushing. -- Jeff Legwold


Terrance Williams. His diving catch on a fourth-down touchdown pass from 17 yards out tied the game 20-20 in the fourth quarter. Williams finished with three catches for 49 yards on 10 targets. -- Todd Archer

C.J. Spiller. Coach Sean Payton said he needed to find a way to get Spiller more touches. Payton did in overtime. Spiller hauled in an 80-yard touchdown pass from Drew Brees to keep the Saints’ season alive. -- Mike Triplett


Detroit defense. They were phenomenal, sacking Russell Wilson six times. They forced and recovered three fumbles, including one for a touchdown. And for the first time all season, they were dynamic and aggressive, which is exactly what Teryl Austin has wanted them to be. -- Michael Rothstein

Kam Chancellor. The Seahawks were ever so close to staring 1-3 in the face. But with 1:45 left in the game and Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson headed for the end zone, Chancellor punched the ball out of Johnson’s hands. It rolled out of the back of the end zone, and Seattle took over on the touchback. It was only Chancellor’s second game of the season, but he saved the Seahawks from a huge early-season hole. -- Sheil Kapadia