Peter King’s NFL Week 12 award-winners include Alvin Kamara, Brett Hundley, Julio Jones and Sean McDermott
OFFENSIVE PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Alvin Kamara, running back, New Orleans. You’re telling me there were 66 players in the college draft this year better than Kamara? This man is a phenom. In the loss to the Rams, Kamara had 11 touches for 188 yards, with a touchdown run of 74 yards and a touchdown reception of 33 yards. I know the Saints lost this game. But they will be a load to stop on offense by anyone the rest of this year, and assuming they get their secondary healthy and Marshon Lattimore back, they’re going to be dangerous in January.
Brett Hundley, quarterback, Green Bay. Well now. Hundley had been a disappointment, mostly, since replacing the injured Aaron Rodgers, with two touchdown passes in five outings. On Sunday night, against one of the best defenses in football, Hundley had three touchdown throws in three quarters. In a game he had no business being competitive, Hundley was 17 of 26 for 245 yards with no interceptions and a 134.3 passer rating. A brilliant game for a player keeping the seat warm, though it was very hard to tell that Rodgers wasn’t the Packers QB Sunday night.
Julio Jones, wide receiver, Atlanta. For the third time in his extraordinary young career, Jones had a 250-yard receiving game (12 catches, 253 yards, two TDs), in Atlanta's victory over Tampa Bay. It reinforced the fact that if the All-Pro receivers on the 2017 team are not Jones and Antonio Brown something is very wrong with the voters.
Philip Rivers, quarterback, Los Angeles Chargers. I argue elsewhere that Thursday’s performance in the 28-6 must-win over Dallas was the greatest game of Rivers’ NFL career, with his eighth-sharpest game for accuracy, his third-most passing yards, and his fourth-best yards-per-attempt. He was feeling it afterward. “It’s moments and games like this where I go, ‘This is what I dreamed of as a kid,’” Rivers told Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times.
DEFENSIVE PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Ryan Kerrigan, outside linebacker, Washington. Two sacks and, per Pro Football Focus, four hurries of Eli Manning in a game that exposed the Giants’ protection issues and depth. Kerrigan is such a dangerous force in nearly every game he plays.
Bobby Wagner, middle linebacker, Seattle. His acrobatic interception early in the second quarter at San Francisco set up the first points of the day, a two-yard Russell Wilson run over the left side of the line, and the Seahawks never trailed. With a depleted secondary, the Seahawks need the front seven to be dominant. Wagner keyed it Sunday with eight tackles (two for losses), two quarterback hits and a pass broken up as Seattle advanced to 7-4.
SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Phil Dawson, kicker, Arizona. His 57-yard field goal with 11 seconds left beat Jacksonville 27-24, and from the look of the kick, it could have been a 65-yarder. Great day all around for Dawson, who hit 34-, 42- and 48-yard field goals as well in the upset win.
Stephen Hauschka, kicker, Buffalo. In cacophonous Arrowhead, Hauschka kicked a 34-yard field goal to put Buffalo up 10-0, a 56-yarder (also could have been good from 65) to put Buffalo up 13-3, and a 49-yarder to make the final score 16-10. After missing six extra points and four field goals last year and losing the job in Seattle, Hauschka is 23-of-23 in PATs and 21-of-24 in field goals. He’s been huge in a year when 6-5 Buffalo’s margin for error is quite small. Hauschka, by the way, has made 14 of his last 15 field-goal tries of 50 yards or longer.
Chris Boswell, kicker, Pittsburgh. Very nearly the goat because of a missed early PAT, Boswell hit a 53-yard field goal at wind-swept Heinz Field, tying for the longest kick in the 17-year history of the stadium, to give the Steelers a 31-28 win as the clock hit :00 on the last game of a compelling Sunday.
Tress Way, punter, Washington. Seven punts for just a 44.0-yard average against the Giants, but this eyesore of a football game was won by field position. Way was the biggest factor in that. His seven punts made the Giants start drives at their 20, 30, 28, 3, 15, 6 and 15. Those seven drives netted three New York points.
COACH OF THE WEEK
Sean McDermott, head coach, Buffalo. He got grilled, with justification, for starting Nathan Peterman in his five-pick meltdown at the Chargers last week. But McDermott realized he had to go back to Tyrod Taylor as his starter instead of being bull-headed and sticking with the unprepared Peterman. Against his coaching mentor, Andy Reid, on the road in a game the Bills needed to win to have any semblance of playoff hopes, McDermott and the Bills played a mostly mistake-free game in one of the toughest places in the league to win. Time will tell if McDermott’s “trust the process” slogan will end up meaning the players actually trust what this new administration is selling. But after the jarring benching of Tyrod Taylor and then Taylor’s reanimation, it says something that the players came out and played nobly on Sunday.
GOATS OF THE WEEK
Alex Smith, quarterback, Kansas City. Chiefs down 16-10, 1:25 to play. Third-and-eight, Buffalo 36. Play of the game. Smith throws for what could have been a first down near the right sideline for Tyreek Hill … and Bills rookie cornerback Tre’Davious White steps in front of Hill for the easy pick. Game over. Smith’s fall from early-season grace is nearly complete. Kansas City has one touchdown in its past 28 drives (thanks for the stat, CBS), he was showered with boos leaving the field, and there will be immense pressure on Andy Reid to play rookie Patrick Mahomes on Sunday at the Jets. Reid said he would not change quarterbacks, but if Smith keeps playing like this, Reid will reconsider. Reid is a nice but ruthless man.
Mike Pennel, defensive tackle, New York Jets. To say the Jets beat themselves Sunday does not do the cliché justice. They annihilated themselves with dumb penalties, two dropped TD passes and, well, I’m sure if I sat here long enough I could think of a few other things. But Cam Newton, who had a very bad day, misfired for Devin Fuchess on third-and-11 with 2:17 to play at the Jets’ 48. Pennel, for some reason, played the tough guy and came in and shoved Newton to the ground—a clear roughing-the-passer call. Instead of having the ball after the punt and at their 15-yard line, say, with 2:03 to play, down five, with no timeouts left, the Jets let Carolina wind the clock down to 21 seconds and kick an insurance field goal. Ballgame.
Quotes of the Week
“Don’t bury us yet.”
—Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians, after Arizona knocked off Jacksonville on Sunday. The Cards are 5-6 and have back-to-back home games against the Rams and Titans, before finishing at Washington, vs. Giants, at Seahawks.
“Both teams lost their best players. It’s nonsense. It’s silly. I don’t like it. It’s unacceptable.”
—Denver coach Vance Joseph, on the early first-quarter brawl that cost the Broncos Aqib Talib and the Raiders Michael Crabtree in Oakland’s 21-14 victory—Denver’s seventh loss in a row.
“The happiest I’ve ever been in my life is when I’m at MIT. Ever in my life. EVER in my life! Happiest ever.”
—Retired Baltimore guard John Urschel, in Tim Rohan’s superb profile of Urschel that covers why he retired, why he chose math over football and whether he misses the game.
“One of the most frustrating things about my job is knowing that there’s information to be had—for the right price. In our industry, male reporters swap information left and right: Give a nugget to this agent, he’ll tell you a tidbit about this GM; share a rumor with this head coach over here, and he might give you a scoop about his team. But that bartering system can often be a slippery slope for us, as women. ‘What’s in it for me?’ That’s the response I’ve gotten from certain players, coaches, agents, execs, etc., when I’m simply trying to do my job. The implication is always clear, always just beneath the surface. One of the most challenging things for me has been negotiating boundaries as a female sportswriter and accepting that there are some scoops I just won’t get and some professional relationships I just won’t have because I don’t want to deal with certain people in the industry. As competitive and as driven as I am, there have actually been moments in my career where I had to be OK with taking an ‘L’ on a story because it wasn’t worth dealing with the nonsense.”
—A female reporter covering the NFL, to Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated, for his weekly media column.
Stat of the Week
There were 10 quarterbacks picked in the first five rounds of the 2016 draft.
Nine have played. The one who hasn’t, Christian Hackenberg, was the fourth passer chosen in ’16. The nine others have combined to play 113 games.
The quarterback drafted 40 spots after Hackenberg, Jacoby Brissett, started his 12th NFL game Sunday. Brissett will be either a future starter or one of the league’s best backups when Andrew Luck returns for Indianapolis in 2018.
The quarterback drafted 42 spots after Hackenberg, Cody Kessler, started eight games for the Browns last year.
The quarterback drafted 49 spots after Hackenberg, Connor Cook, started a playoff game for Oakland last season.
The quarterback drafted 84 spots after Hackenberg, Dak Prescott, has started all 28 games since being drafted by Dallas and is the Cowboys’ long-term quarterback.
Hackenberg has been active and dressed for two games.
Hackenberg has been inactive for 25 games.
Factoids That May Interest Only Me
Detroit since opening day 2015 (including playoffs): 22-22.
Next Sunday, Darrelle Revis is likely to line up as a starting cornerback for the Kansas City Chiefs at his old home, the Meadowlands, to face his old team, the New York Jets.
The Chiefs will be paying Revis $352,941 to play for them in the last third of this season. The Jets, who fired Revis before the season but still owed him a mountain of guaranteed money, will be paying Revis $5,647,059 to not play for them this season.
Sacks allowed by Giants left tackle Ereck Flowers in the first 47 Eli Manning pass-drops this year: four.
Sacks allowed by Flowers in next 347 Manning pass-drops this year: zero.
Flowers, who used to have the modifier “embattled” as a permanent adjective before his last name, allowed his first sack since Week 2 late in the fourth quarter Thursday night against Washington.
Tweets of the Week
What transpired with Greg Schiano in Tennessee today is a frightening statement about where we are in society right now regarding what is real, what is speculative and that the our reality is that if you yell loud enough there is no difference between the two.— Art Stapleton (@art_stapleton) November 27, 2017
Mike McQueary said Tom Bradley told him Greg Schiano said X. Tom Bradley UNDER OATH said no, Greg Schiano didn't tell him that. Greg Schiano publicly swore what Mike McQueary said happened didn't. So I guess... the UT job was rescinded over hearsay?— Aditi Kinkhabwala (@AKinkhabwala) November 27, 2017
I’m not cut out for this “being a fan”. I liked being the Player a lot better— Justin Tuck (@JustinTuck) November 26, 2017
Tweeted while presumably watching his alma mater, Notre Dame, lose Saturday to Stanford.
Chip Kelly has signed 20 yrs & $100,500,000 dollars worth of contracts...IN THE PAST 7 years!!— Chris Law (@ChrisLaw) November 25, 2017
2010 Oregon Ducks 6 Years 20.5 Million
2013 Philadelphia Eagles 5 Year 32.5 Million
2016 San Francisco 49ers 4 years 24 Million
2017 UCLA Bruins 5 Years 23.5 Million#ChipKelly #UCLA
I feel for the Michigan quarterback.
From “The MMQB Podcast With Peter King,” available where you download podcasts.
This week’s conversations: A slew of NFL people on why they’re thankful this Thanksgiving season, led by Chargers coach Anthony Lynn and Rams tackle Andrew Whitworth, and ESPN.com investigative reporter Seth Wickersham on the Roger Goodell-Jerry Jones tension.
• Wickersham on the increasing unlikelihood of Jones road-blocking the Goodell contract extension: “Everyone is always wondering, how many owners does Jerry have? I think that the idea of slowing it down and having a more detailed process is gaining traction. Even if owners don't like the messenger, they are kind of coming around to his message, which is, Look, this is a fascinating moment in the NFL, and there are significant headwinds coming to light. Has Roger performed great at his job? Is he solving problems? Is he the right person to navigate the league through an uncertain time going forward? Has Roger hired the right people? I would contend that Jerry thinks no in a lot of cases, and the people [Goodell] has hired don't solve problems and create more of them. Jerry has four or five owners with him hard, and I think there are 10 to 12 of them who are disengaged, the types that fall asleep at league meetings, just want this thing done and want it out of the headlines … There are owners who are embarrassed by the situation in L.A. and are really upset that a great market like Oakland won't have an NFL team in the next couple of years. Those owners don't know what to do, because they wouldn't mind replacing Roger, but there is no successor, which is both a failure on Roger’s part and one of his greatest sources of leverage.”
Also of note on this subject: CBS’ Jason LaCanfora reported Sunday that the contract with Goodell could be finalized by midweek; a group of NFL owners has committee meetings in New York on Tuesday and Wednesday. I asked one ownership source about the report, and this source said, “I would be shocked if the contract gets done this week, without all the owners there.” We’ll see; LaCanfora could have it nailed. Regardless, without significant organized opposition—by that I mean more than Jerry Jones and four or five owners sympathetic with Jones—the contract is likely to get done at some point soon. Likely, but not certainly. I reported last week that it would likely be done by Christmas, and it may be done by the NFL meetings in Dallas in two weeks.