As we get into the final quarter of the season, the playoff race starts to heat up as teams begin to get eliminated from postseason contention. As a result we sometimes miss impressive performances from players on teams who won’t make the playoffs. But here at RealSport we notice those achievements in our alternative Players of the Week! There are some contenders and non-contenders on this list, so who made the cut?
Offensive Player of the Week:
AFC: Isaiah Crowell, RB, Cleveland Browns
Cleveland’s rushing attack finally awakened after a dormant season with Crowell rushing for 145 yards on 20 carries against San Francisco. Crowell also had two touchdown runs and averaged 7.2 yards per carry against a poor 49ers defense. Crowell’s breakout game took pressure off of Johnny Manziel, allowing the young quarterback to play well.
NFC: Odell Beckham, WR, New York Giants
While his quarterback Eli Manning won the NFL’s official version of this award, Beckham deserves credit for helping Manning’s numbers this season. Beckham is virtually the only playmaker on the Giants’ offense, and proved that with seven catches for 166 yards against Miami on Monday night. Beckham’s two touchdowns were incredible. The first was an 84 yard bomb, while the second was a toe-dragging endzone grab that could be an entry for the catch of the year.
Defensive Player of the Week:
AFC: Dee Ford, LB, Kansas City Chiefs
With Justin Houston out, someone had to step up as a pass rusher for the Chiefs. That someone was Dee Ford, Kansas City’s first round pick last season. After a disappointing rookie season, Ford bounced back against the Chargers last weekend with a nice breakout game. He led the Chiefs with seven tackles and had three sacks and a pass defensed.
NFC: Kawann Short, DT, Carolina Panthers
On a Panthers defense that is full of blue-chip talent, Short has gone relatively unnoticed this season, despite leading Carolina with nine sacks. Short was Carolina’s most disruptive force against Atlanta, notching two sacks and two forced fumbles on three combined tackles. Short gives the Panthers a dominant presence on the interior and is a dangerous inside pass rusher.
Special Teams Player of the Week:
AFC: Marquette King, P, Oakland Raiders
The fact that King was passed over for the NFL’s official version of this award is surprising considering that he had perhaps the best game by a punter all season. King averaged 44.3 yards on his 10 punts, with five landing inside Denver’s 20 yard line. King forced five fair catches and landed two kicks out of bounds.
NFC: Johnny Hekker, P, St. Louis Rams
Hekker kept Detroit pinned with bad field position in St. Louis’ win. Four of Hekker’s six punts landed inside the 20. Hekker averaged 45.5 yards per punt and his longest sailed 61 yards.