It’s time for awards. It’s time for awards.
This is where I fill in a few paragraphs explaining what rewards are. After the previous 10 weeks, I really don’t need to do this.
So we can get there right away. Five awarded. Many other finalists for each one.
Offensive Player of the Week: Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce.
Kelce, a first-ballot Hall of Famer and, according to quarterback Patrick Mahomes, arguably the greatest tight end of all time, earned at least finalist status by wearing a cool “Football, Family, and Fonzie” T-shirt during the pre-game warm-ups.
Kelce then put on a show for a crowd that included Henry Winkler, who played the iconic character, once the most popular figure in all of American television. Six catches, 115 yards and three touchdowns, including the game winner.
Even without Tyreek Hill, the Chiefs’ offense continues to roll. He keeps on touring largely because he still has Travis Kelce.
Other finalists: Titans running back Derrick Henry (87 rushing yards, one touchdown, 45 receiving yards, two completions, one passing touchdown), Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (307 passing yards, two touchdowns), Falcons running back Cordarrelle Patterson (52 rushing yards, 103-yard kickoff return for touchdown), Lions running back Jamaal Williams (three rushing touchdowns), Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (355 passing yards, four touchdowns, two interceptions), Bengals running back Samaje Perine (three receiving touchdowns), Cowboys running back Tony Pollard (189 yards from scrimmage, two touchdowns), Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (329 passing yards, three touchdowns).
Defensive Player of the Week: Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons.
A week after being neutralized by a heavy rushing attack that prevented the pass rush from going forward, the neo-Doomsday Defense shut down Minnesota’s offense, sacking quarterback Kirk Cousins seven times. Parsons was the undisputed leader of the pack.
It started on the opening drive. Parsons chased down Cousins and forced a fumble. Though the Cowboys only scored three points on short field, he set the tone for what became a blowout: the biggest road win in franchise history.
Other finalists: Patriots linebacker Matthew Judon (1.5 sacks), Lions defensive end Aidan Hutchinson (interception, fumble recovery), Lions defensive lineman Alim McNeill (one sack, three tackles for loss), Raiders defensive end Maxx Crosby (two sacks, forced fumble), Bengals defensive end Trey Hendrickson (two sacks).
Rookies of the Week: Lions defensive end Aidan Hutchinson.
The rookie usually does his best when chasing the quarterback. On Sunday, he made a show of it before coming into cover and threw an impressive interception that sparked an upset victory over the Giants.
It came with less than seven minutes into the first half. The Giants led the game, 6-3. On the second and sixth plays starting at the New York 31, Hutchinson started running and then backed off, snatching it all up on the line to gain and pulling it back to the inside 20.
Hutchinson also recovered a fumble. The interception made him only the second player since 1982 with at least five sacks and two interceptions in his first 10 career games, joining Leslie O’Neal, who did it in 1986.
Other finalists: Titans receiver Treylon Burks (seven catches, 111 yards), Packers receiver Christian Watson (two receiving touchdowns), Bills running back James Cook (86 rushing yards), Chiefs receiver Skyy Moore (five catches, 63 yards), Saints receiver Chris Olave (five catches, 102 yards, one touchdown).
Coach of the Week: Cowboys Coach Mike McCarthy.
A week after returning to Green Bay and presiding over the first game in franchise history that resulted in a 14-point or more lead early in the fourth quarter, McCarthy prepared his team to burst a team’s bubble of Minnesota who kept finding ways to win late games.
The best way to avoid a late-game magic comeback is to build an early lead and keep building it, making fourth-quarter magic impossible. That’s exactly what the Cowboys did.
Of course, that’s easier said than done. The Cowboys, however, made it look easy on Sunday.
Other finalists: 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan, Commanders coach Ron Rivera, Bills coach Sean McDermott, Lions coach Dan Campbell, Titans coach Mike Vrabel.
Game of the Week: 86-yard punt return for touchdown by Patriots defensive back Marcus Jones.
Once Jones got away down the sideline, he came in to evade punter Braden Mann, and Jones walked off.
It’s possible, if not likely, that the touchdown was cemented by an illegal block in the back. But it is not a foul if it is not called, and it has not been called.
The final result? The Patriots secured a win by scoring just three points. Thanks to Jones and the teammates who paved the way for him.
Other finalists: Titans running back Derrick Henrys three-yard touchdown pass to tight end Austin Hooper, Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert 51-yard touchdown pass to Cole Kmet’s Bears tight end Joshua Palmer one-handed catch from 26 yardsCowboys Running Back by Tony Pollard Catch and run from 68 yards for a touchdown, Cowboys receiver CeeDee Lamb’s lateral capture of the footthe come out of the touchdown throw from Raiders quarterback Derek Carr to Commanders defensive back Davante Adams Choice Six by Kendall FullerFalcons running back Cordarrelle Patterson’s Kickoff return 103 yards for a touchdown.