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NFL players of the week: Peyton does it again

Peyton Manning is giving us a season for the ages.

Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Most of the usual suspects were noticeably absent from the top performers list in Week 3. Aaron Rodgers struggled when he succeeded in the past, while Adrian Peterson was stonewalled by the Cleveland Browns -- instead we saw production from unexpected places, except for the record-setting quarterback blazing through the NFL.

Passer of the week: Peyton Manning, 32/37, 374 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT, 135.8 rating

We are witnessing the best season by a quarterback ever. Manning has definitely been helped by a soft schedule to start the season, but that shouldn't take away from the fact he's already thrown for over 1,100 yards on the season.

Manning has thrown 12 touchdowns without an interception, breaking the previous TD record through three games. It's also important to note that Manning is having the most efficient season of his career, averaging 9.4 yards per pass attempt.

It's time for the rest of the NFL to step up, otherwise Manning will dominate this top spot all season long.

Rusher of the week: DeMarco Murray, 26 attempts, 175 yards, 1 TD

Murray was dominant on the ground this week. When a running back averages over 6.5 yards per carry on 25+ carries, it's indicative of strong play.

You won't hear Murray's name mentioned much on the national stage, but he's on pace for over 1,500 rushing yards on the season, making him a player to watch as the year progresses.

Receiver of the week: Antonio Brown, 9 receptions, 196 yards, 2 TD

The Pittsburgh Steelers are 0-3, but Brown shined on Sunday night. It helped that the Steelers were forced to throw to stay in the game, but Brown's big game shows a critical problem Pittsburgh are dealing with -- a lack of weapons.

A year ago, Smith could comfortably slot behind Mike Wallace and give the team one of the best passing attacks in the league, but losing Wallace has created a vacuum where it's Brown and then not much. It hasn't helped that Pittsburgh has one of the league's worst offensive lines, but this could become a long-term problem unless someone else steps up as a playmaker.

Defensive player of the week: Justin Houston, 7 tackles, 4.5 sacks, 1 forced fumble

Thursday night was a while ago, but Houston's night was that memorable.

Pass rushers should struggle against the fast-paced Chip Kelly offense, but Houston was comfortable working as a stand up rusher and harassing Michael Vick throughout the game. He worked extremely well in small spaces which enabled Houston to find gaps into the backfield.

This was more than a defensive performance as Houston's night set up everything the Chiefs wanted to do. Stopping the offense played into Kansas City's plan of maintaining the clock and letting Alex Smith game-manage the Eagles to death -- which is exactly what happened.

Houston is on pace for a dizzying 40 sacks this season, though that number will obviously fall.

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