First Down, 2 Minutes Left, Down by 6

Photo:  Rick Stewart, Getty Images

Your team is down by six points, it's first down and you've only got two minutes left in the game. What current eleven offensive players would you want out on the field with the game on the line? Here are Chris Steuber's selections from across the NFL.

QB - Tom Brady, New England Patriots

Is there anyone better in a clutch situation than Brady? He's the ultimate team leader and a guy that you feel comfortable with in crunch-time. Brady commands respect in the huddle and can lead a team down the field better than any field general in the game today. With three Super Bowl victories already in hand, Brady is a threat to add another one to his jewelry box every year that he plays. There isn't another quarterback in the league that I'd feel more comfortable with in this situation.

RB - LaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego Chargers

If you have a weapon in the backfield as dominant as LaDainian Tomlinson, you'd better hand him the ball if you want to win. Tomlinson is the ultimate weapon. He can hurt you by running, receiving, or even throwing the ball. The Chargers' offense revolves around the play of L.T. and he excels when times are tough. Usually, with only two minutes on the clock, a team is looking to throw the ball. But when you have a player of Tomlinson's talent, running the ball isn't far-fetched.

FB - Mack Strong, Seattle Seahawks

With only two minutes on the clock, I need a guy who will give up his body and block anything in front of him. Seattle's Mack Strong has been going strong for 14-years and has been one of the most effective fullbacks in the NFL. In a situation like this, you need a fullback who can protect the quarterback, lead the way for a running back, and be productive as a receiver out of the backfield. Strong possesses all those attributes and is a player guys look up to in the huddle.

Torry Holt
Jed Jacobsohn, Getty Images
WR - Torry Holt, St. Louis Rams

When your nickname is "Big Game" you better be clutch in this situation. Torry Holt is, in my mind, the best receiver in the NFL. He does everything right -- runs great routes, has great hands, displays great speed, leads on the field, and is a threat to score at any time. When you have Holt on the field, you know that he's going to find a way to get open and get you the yards you need to be in position to score the winning touchdown.

WR - Terrell Owens, Dallas Cowboys

For all of his antics and flamboyant displays, you can't deny Terrell Owens' talent. He has the tendency to drop a ball or two, but when times get tough, there isn't another receiver you want on the field with the game on the line. T.O. has the ability to turn a five-yard out route into a 50-yard touchdown. Deceptively quick, he can overpower any defensive back in the league. Give him the ball, because he will stand by the words he preaches, "Get your popcorn ready, because it's going to be a show."

TE - Tony Gonzalez, Kansas City Chiefs

Possibly the best tight end to ever play the game, Tony Gonzalez can do it all on the football field. If you need an automatic first down, look for Gonzalez over the middle. If you need someone to stay in tight and provide extra protection to complete a 20-yard slant, he's your man. If you want a tight end to stretch the field and put you in position to win a game, look no further than No. 88. In a crucial situation, there isn't anyone better than Gonzalez.

LT - Walter Jones, Seattle Seahawks

The man that's led the way for Chris Warren, Ricky Watters, and Shaun Alexander, Jones has been a mainstay on the Seahawks offensive line since he's been in the league. Entering his 11th season, the seven-time Pro-Bowler is a player you'd want protecting your quarterback and blocking for your lead back in any situation.

Matt Birk
Doug Pensinger, Getty Images
LG - Steve Hutchinson, Minnesota Vikings

Hutchinson is one of the best interior linemen in the league and is very aggressive against the opposition. He's a player that does all the dirty work and clears the way for a running back, and he does an outstanding job of protecting the quarterback. He's a fierce competitor up front and a player you want on the field when times are tough.

C - Matt Birk, Minnesota Vikings

With two minutes left on the clock, you need an intelligent leader to anchor your offensive line; a guy who understands everyone's assignment and can make crucial calls down the stretch. Former Harvard standout Matt Birk is steady and a reliable center who can make a difference down the stretch.

RG - Shawn Andrews, Philadelphia Eagles

In 2006, Andrews emerged as one of the league's brightest young stars along the offensive line. He was named to his first Pro Bowl (in 2006) and looks to continue his dominant play upfront in 2007. With his ability to control the opposition, Andrews is a vital part of a team's offensive attack.

RT - Jon Runyan, Philadelphia Eagles

A player that never gets any recognition because he's one of the most hated players in the league, rugged tackle Jon Runyan is a true warrior that takes on all comers. One of the nastiest players on the field, Runyan isn't afraid to mix it up with the opposition. Since 1997, going back to his days with the Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans, Runyan hasn't missed a game. When the game's on the line, a team needs a player who is durable, dependable, and puts the team first. That guy is Runyan.


The former publisher of NFLDraftPro.com, Chris Steuber has provided his analysis of the NFL and NFL Draft prospects on the web and on the radio since 1999. He's also covered the NFL Draft for the Eagles' official website, PhiladelphiaEagles.com.


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