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Another Award for Sanders; Could the Biggest One Be Coming?

Miami Dolphins kicker Jason Sanders was named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week for his clutch performance against the Las Vegas Raiders

If there's such a thing as a Pro Bowl snub hangover, Jason Sanders obviously didn't suffer from it.

On the contrary, the Miami Dolphins kicker provided six days after the Pro Bowl rosters were announced more evidence that he should have gotten the nod for the AFC all-star team with his clutch performance in the victory against the Las Vegas Raiders.

That performance, which featured the game-winning 44-yard field goal to cap a 4-for-4 outing, was good enough to earn him AFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors for the second time in 2020.

More importantly, it ultimately might propel him to a more significant accolade than the Pro Bowl, All-Pro honors.

And maybe even first-team All-Pro honors.

Heading into Week 17, Sanders now is 34-for-37 on field goal attempts and a perfect 34-for-34 on extra points for a total of 136 points.

Sanders' numbers compare favorably with those of the two kickers who were selected to the Pro Bowl, Justin Tucker of the Baltimore Ravens and Younghoe Koo of the Atlanta Falcons.

Those three, and maybe Daniel Carlson of the Raiders and Graham Gano of the Giants, would have to be considered the logical candidates for the two All-Pro spots.

Gano is 30-for-31 on field goal attempts, including 4-for-5 from 50 or beyond, and 19-for-20 on PATs.

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Carlson is 32-for-34 on field goals, including 4-for-4 from 50 or beyond, and 42-for-44 on PATs. One of those misses came Saturday night and set in motion the events that led to the wild finish and the Dolphins' miraculous victory.

Tucker is 25-for-28 on field goals, including 3-for-5 from 50 or beyond, though one of the misses was from 61 yards. He's also got a 55-yard game-winning field goal on his resume.

Finally, Koo is 35-for-37 on field goals, including 8-for-8 from 50 or beyond, and 30-for-33 on extra points. But the day after Sanders hit his game-winning 44-yard field goal, Koo missed a 39-yard field goal attempt with nine seconds left with Atlanta trailing Kansas City 17-14.

That should factor heavily into the All-Pro voting, which will be done for NFL writers (the Pro Bowl voting is done among fans, coaches and players).

If you throw in kickoffs into the debate for the All-Pro teams, it's important to note that Sanders leads the five candidates we've listed in both touchback percentage (seventh overall in the NFL) and net kickoff average (fifth overall).

So, yes, Sanders certainly appears to have a very strong case for All-Pro honors even if he didn't make the Pro Bowl.

Finally, since we began with the AFC Special Teams Player of the Week award, this was the second time Sanders won it this year, the first coming for his performance at San Francisco in Week 5.

Gano and Carlson each have won the award once this season; Tucker and Koo have not won it.

Sanders spoke this week about the Pro Bowl snub, and his words would apply if somehow he were to be snubbed in the All-Pro voting as well, though here's thinking that doesn't happen.

“I think nothing takes away from a good season that I’m having," Sander said. "As a kicker, you know if you’re doing well or if you’re not doing well and just because I didn’t make the Pro Bowl doesn’t mean I didn’t have a good year. That’s ultimately what I reflect on.”