Years ago, former Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor told us that the winners of the various NFL player of the week awards receive a “sheet of paper” from the league. For the new PFT weekly awards, there isn’t even the paper.
Satisfaction is the sole, tree-saving reward.
Here’s the first group of awards for 2022.
Offensive player of the week: Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
Mahomes had five touchdown passes for the sixth time in his career, in only the first game of his fifth season. The all-time record is eleven. He’ll surely get there.
This time, he did it without receiver Tyreek Hill. It allows Mahomes to throw the ball to the open man, and not wait a little longer for Hill to spring open deep. And it underscores the fact that the Chiefs continue to be a serious contender in the AFC.
Other finalists: Vikings receiver Justin Jefferson (184 receiving yards, two touchdowns), Giants running back Saquon Barkley (164 rushing yards, one touchdown, game-winning two-pointer), Saints quarterback Jameis Winston (13 for 16, 212 yards, and two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to lead a comeback from 16 down), Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith (started 13 for 13 in win over Russell Wilson and the Broncos).
Defensive player of the week: Steelers defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick.
Fitzpatrick’s pick-six set the tone, and his blocked extra point saved the game at the end of regulation. He also had 14 tackles.
“I came in wanting to make a statement,” Fitzpatrick said after the game. Indeed he did. Without him, the Steelers are 0-1.
Rookie of the week: Commanders receiver Jahan Dotson.
He had only three catches for 40 yards, along with a rushing attempt that lost 10. However, he caught a pair of touchdown passes, including the game winner with 1:46 to play.
Other finalists: Jaguars linebacker Travon Walker (a sack and an interception), Chiefs running back Isaiah Pacheco (62 rushing yards and a touchdown), Browns kicker Cade York (made game-winning 58-yard field goal).
Coach of the week: Giants coach Brian Daboll.
The Titans let the Giants hang around, and the Giants and Daboll made them pay with a gutsy two-point conversion that stole a season-opening win. It was the kind of move that gets a team to buy in to a new program, and that lays the foundation for more wins. Also, Daboll didn’t freak out or give up when his team trailed by 13.
Other finalists: Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel, Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin.
Play of the week: Steelers receiver Diontae Johnson‘s overtime catch.
Watch it. I still can’t believe he caught it and got his feet down.
Other finalists: Dolphins’ 42-yard touchdown pass from Tua Tagovailoa to Jaylen Waddle on fourth and seven, Giants’ game-winning two-point conversion, Saints’ 40-yard pass from Jameis Winston to Jarvis Landry to set up game-winning field goal, Packers’ receiver Christian Watson dropping wide-open touchdown on first play from scrimmage for Green Bay, Denver’s 64-yard field goal try in lieu of going for it on fourth and five.