Sports

PFT’s Week 10 NFL Awards

PFT’s Week 10 NFL Awards

USA TODAY Sports

Season half over, one more week. And it’s getting interesting on the field.

Off the field, the appreciation of our exploits is reflected in the rewards of each group game.

It’s the week 10 award. Same category as always.

All award winners, plus finalists, appear below.

Offensive Player of the Week: Vikings receiver Justin Jefferson.

Generally, I try not to double rewards. The Vikings’ win on Sunday arguably justified a clean sweep, but the fact that the Vikings don’t have a rookie contributed to the dramatic, inexplicable, rollercoaster win in Buffalo.

While Week 10 featured plenty of great offensive performances, it’s impossible not to give Jefferson Player of the Week. While his 10 catches for 193 yards and a touchdown would arguably be enough, the fact that he made one of the best catches anyone has ever seen with the game on the line cements it.

In that same game, a 33-30 overtime win at Buffalo, Jefferson set the records for most 100-yard receiving games (20) and most 150-yard receiving games (seven) in the first three years of a player’s career — and he still has eight games remaining.

If he plays like he did on Sunday, he’ll add both. And he could end up in the running for MVP, an award no recipient has ever won.

Other finalists: Giants running back Saquon Barkley (35 carries, 152 rushing yards, touchdown), Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (285 passing yards, three touchdowns), Dolphins running back Jeff WilsonJr. (143 yards from scrimmage, one touchdown), Colts running back Jonathan Taylor (147 rushing yards, touchdown), Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (331 passing yards, four touchdowns), Packers receiver Christian Watson (107 receiving yards, three touchdowns), Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (119 yards, one touchdown), Bears quarterback Justin Fields (147 rushing yards, 167 passing yards, four touchdowns),

Defensive Player of the Week: Vikings cornerback Patrick Peterson.

The 12-year veteran had one of the best games of his career, with two interceptions. Both were critical.

With the Vikings trailing by 10 points with 10:42 to play and going fourth-and-two from the Minnesota seven, the Bills tried to rebuild a 17-point lead, taking Peterson’s instincts and preparation.

Peterson explained to PFT over the phone after the final victory that, once Bills quarterback Josh Allen broke the pocket to the right, Peterson pushed his man, the receiver. Isaiah McKenzie, out of bounds. Which takes Mackenzie out of the play. (You can Look at Mackenzie standing there(watching what happened after he was pushed out of bounds.) Peterson then essentially became a rover.

“I looked to my right and I saw a tight end,” Peterson said. “I saw him come back to me and I noticed that Josh noticed him and the next thing you know I just stepped in front of the play.”

Fast forward through a lot of crazy plays and developments, and Peterson made the game-clinching interception in the same end zone, not far from where he made the first one.

Thanks to film study, he knew those receivers’ routes Gabe Davis Run when lined up on the far right of the formation. Peterson expected Davis to eventually break inside. Davis did. At that point, Peterson stopped covering the receiver and started guarding the quarterback, waiting for the throw that Peterson sensed.

It came. Peterson caught it. Game over.

Other finalists: Buccaneers linebackers Devin White (two sacks, forced fumble), Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones (1.5 sacks), Lions cornerback Jeff Okudah (pick six), the Packers defensive back Rudy Ford (two obstacles).

Rookie of the Week: Packers receiver Christian Watson.

Watson’s rookie season began by dropping a wide-open touchdown on a long pass on his first play from scrimmage. That doesn’t do much to earn the quarterback’s trust Aaron Rodgers.

On Sunday, Watson accomplished it all with three touchdowns. Each was critical of the Cowboys’ efforts to snap a five-game losing streak with the upset.

The first, a 58-yard catch and run, tied the game at seven. The next, a 39-yarder on fourth-and-seven, cut a 14-point deficit in half. The last one, a seven-yarder, helped force overtime.

Other finalists: Buccaneers running backs Rachel White (105 rushing yards), the Texans running back Damon Pierce (94 rushing yards), Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett (199 passing yards, 51 rushing yards, rushing touchdown), Commanders running back Brian Robinson (86 rushing yards, touchdown).

Coach of the Week: Commander coach Ron Rivera.

The Eagles haven’t lost a game. They had 11 days to prepare. The Commanders, distracted by repeated off-field plays, kept from blowing a 10-point, fourth-quarterback lead against the Vikings.

Rivera inspired his double-digit underdog squad to be prepared and focused and beat the league’s last undefeated team and, in doing so, put the Commanders in the mix for a possible clean sweep of the three NFC wild-card berths—the third, and fourth-place teams in the NFC East.

Rivera recently lost his mother. He became emotional in the locker room. And he is inexplicably putting his team through a lot despite unprecedented organizational turmoil.

Other finalists: Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell, Colts coach Jeff Saturday, Packers coach Matt LaFleur.

Play of the week: Justin Jefferson’s 32-yarder, One hand catch Fourth-and-18 with two minutes left.

What more can be said about one of the most confusing receptions anyone has ever seen? It was a cross between the OBJ one-hander in 2014 and the David Tyree helmet catch in early 2008.

That it didn’t happen in a Super Bowl is less jarring than the Tyree effort. Still, it had the feel of a big game, as the Vikings hoped to show everyone (including themselves) that they could beat an elite team on the road, something they hadn’t done in years.

Bills cornerback Cam Lewis Inadvertently helped Jefferson make an improbable catch. Instead of trying to break it up, Lewis wanted the barrier. He kept trying to snatch the ball from Jefferson until the moment it arrived, Jefferson immediately put it off the ground.

Other finalists: Josh Allen Goal line upset Minnesota, resulting in a defensive touchdown for a Bills receiver Stefon Diggsof One hand catchPackers receiver Christian Watson 39-yard touchdown catch Fourth and seven, to Lions cornerback Jeff Okudah Pick sixFailed halfback pass from Bucs running back Leonard Fournette At quarterback Tom BradyColts quarterback Matt Ryanof 39-yard runColts running back Jonathan Taylor’ 66-yard touchdown runVikings running back Dalvin Cook 81-yard touchdown runTitans receiver Nick Westbrook-Ikhineof 63-yard touchdown catch Flea Flickr, Bears quarterback Justin Fields 67-yard touchdown run.




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