Fourteen weeks in the books. Five more prizes are to be awarded.
Here are the five awards for the NFL’s final week of action, with several finalists who did enough to deserve at least a mention.
If you disagree with any of our decisions, hit it off in the comments. It won’t change anything, but it might make you feel a little better.
Offensive Player of the Week: Rams Quarterback Baker Mayfield.
Monday was the tiger. Ram on Tuesday. Play on Thursday. After passing the eyeball test, he finally woke up (and feeling menacing) a team that scored just three points in over 56 minutes before scoring twice, the second coming on a 98-yard start with 90 seconds remaining, and no timeouts.
It provided one of the most authentic and authentic moments of true joy during the 2022 season, especially since the Rams have no realistic chance of exploiting this win for a play-off berth.
And that immediately gives Mayfield a chance to become a regular starter in 2023. Perhaps with the same team that beat him.
If you think that sounds crazy, remember these facts: (1) Raiders can rip Derek Carra contract immediately after the Super Bowl and walk away from any other financial commitment; and (2) just before the 2018 draft, Raiders coach Josh McDaniels (then with the Patriots) secretly worked on Mayfield.
McDaniels certainly does not forget that. And he will certainly never forget what happened before him last Thursday night. Few of those who witnessed it will either.
Other Finalists: Narrow-finish Jaguar Evan IngramChargers quarterback Justin HerbertLions quarterback Jared GoffEagles running back Miles Sanders49ers running back Christian McCaffreyEagles quarterback Jalen Hurts.
Defensive Player of the Week: Bill Defensive End Greg Russo.
Days after the bills learned that Von Miller Not coming back at all this year, other defensive players had to step up. And they did so, leading a sophomore, first-round pick.
Russo had two sacks and a forced fumble during a game that saw Buffalo’s normally strong offense score just 20 points. It was part of a broader all-out effort that relentlessly harassed both New York quarterbacks, Mike White And the Joe FlacoDuring the day.
After the 20-12 win, Russo explained on the phone to PFT the mentality that drove the defense, once they knew they would have to do the rest of the day without Miller.
And while it won’t return in 2022, expect it to return in 2023.
“I was actually talking to him that day,” Russo said. “He’s in good spirits, man. He’s really working on his rehabilitation.”
And the Bills are still working on their first Super Bowl win. With Christmas approaching, they are in a very good position to get it.
Rookies of the week: Jaguars edge rusher Travon Walker.
The first overall pick in the 2022 draft came with a big performance at the perfect time, helping the Jaguars up and down the surprising heart of the AFC South titans.
Walker had a sack that forced a fumble in a key early moment in the game. He was otherwise effective all day as a fast passer. And John Shipley of SI.com points out what could be Walker’s big difference – The play begins at three points, opposite standing.
Bear Shipley, Walker played just 14 snaps in a three-point situation over his first 12 games. On Sunday, he put his hand on the ground eight times.
Coach of the Week: Panthers Coach Steve Wilkes.
Panthers owner David Tepper said on Oct. 10 that Wilkes could win the perennial game if he does an amazing job. On Sunday in Seattle, he sure did.
In picking up Carolina’s first road win in over a year, Wilkes called for a grueling running approach that racked up 223 yards and upset Seattle in one of the toughest places to play.
Now 5-8, the Panthers can win the NFC South by winning their last four games. Even if they don’t, Wilkes should get a chance to keep the job for 2023 and beyond. Even if it is unfair (and it is) to ask Him to meet such a high and subjective limit of His earning, it is.
Other Finalists: 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan, Ravens coach John Harbaugh, Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson.
When another quarterback makes a silly throw, many now say the internet will break if Mahomes does it. Mahomes pulled off a silly look on Sunday, and the internet certainly chimed in.
For good reason. Rolling to his right and in all appearances poised to start one of those guys among the boys, slashing and slashing with a dull knife through and around the Denver defense, Mahomes did look to turn the ball toward the running back. Jerrick McKinnonwho finds himself alone after his man decides to join him in what could have been an inevitably futile hunt for Mahomes.
McKinnon caught the ball and exploded into the end zone, kicking a 56-yard touchdown.
The more I watch this play, the more I think that if McKinnon had been a little farther on the inside, Mahomes would have turned the ball over behind the back. One of these days, he will.
Other Finalists: The Future of the Panthers Terrace Marshall He catches a pass between his legs; Dolphin receiver Terek Hillfumbles rebounding and returning for a touchdown; Game-winning touchdown pass From Rams quarterback Baker Mayfield to receiver Van Jefferson; Heads back Willie Jay‘s Pick six; Lions enter Penny Sewell‘s Catch the third and seventh With two minutes left in the game; Eagles quarterback Galance Hurts Touchdown pass to receiver DeVonta Smith on the fourth and seventh day; Lions quarterback Jared Goff 48-yard touchdown pass to the recipient DJ Shark; Narrow end billing Dawson Knox‘s Somersault landing.
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