It’s awards time, Week Four edition.
You know the drill by now. Offensive player of the week. Defensive player of the week. Rookie of the week. Coach of the week. Play of the week.
Each award winner is bestowed below, along with the finalists.
As always, these awards are based on the input from the PFT staff, with me eventually making the decision as to each category via a complicated and proprietary mathematical model that you must accept and respect, because I say so.
Offensive player of the week: Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith.
Smith, who has played very well post-Russ, completed 23 of 30 passes for 320 yards and a pair of touchdowns in a 48-45 win over the Lions. He averaged 12.0 yards per attempt.
Through four games, he has a completion percentage of 77.3 and a passer rating of 108.0. Wilson’s numbers are 61.1 and 91.1, respectively.
Other finalists: Raider running back Josh Jacobs (144 rushing yards, two touchdowns), Seahawks running back Rashaad Penny (151 rushing yards, two touchdowns), Eagles running back Miles Sanders (134 rushing yards, two touchdowns), 49ers receiver Deebo Samuel (115 receiving yards, one touchdown), Vikings receiver Justin Jefferson (147 receiving yards, one rushing touchdown), Lions tight end T.J. Hockenson (179 receiving yards, two touchdowns).
Defensive player of the week: 49ers safety Talanoa Hufanga.
The emerging star clinched San Francisco’s seventh straight regular-season win over the Rams with a 52-yard pick six.
He’s already drawing comparisons to Hall of Famer Troy Polamau, and not because of the hair. Hufanga has an innate knack for knowing where to be and when to be there, like he was on Monday night.
Get used to seeing more of the same from Hufanga.
Other finalists: 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa (two sacks), Bill safety Jordan Poyer (two interceptions), Bengals safety Vonn Bell (two interceptions), Packers linebacker Rashan Gary (two sacks); Eagles linebacker Haason Redick (two sacks).
Rookie of the week: Patriots quarterback Bailey Zappe.
With starter Mac Jones out and backup Brian Hoyer injured, Zappe was thrust into service at Lambeau Field. He nearly led the Patriots to an upset win over the Packers.
He completed 10 of 15 passes for only 99 yards and a touchdown. So he’s not getting this for the stats. He’s getting it for not shrinking in the moment, and for nearly delivering what would have been an unforgettable moment in his first NFL game.
Other finalists: Texans running back Dameon Pierce (131 rushing yards, one touchdown), Patriots defensive back Jack Jones (pick six of Aaron Rodgers), Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett (two rushing touchdowns, but three interceptions).
Coach of the week: Jets coach Robert Saleh.
The Jets finished a crippling tour of the AFC North by winning two games on the road. They trailed by double digits in the fourth quarter of each game.
Most recently, Saleh kept his team focused and confident throughout a game full of momentum swings. He has them believing, which has them achieving.
Other finalists: Chiefs coach Andy Reid, Patriots coach Bill Belichick, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan, Bills coach Sean McDermott
Play of the week: The Patrick Mahomes touchdown pass to Clyde Edward-Helaire.
Mahomes has an instinctive flair for the dramatic. It’s always authentic, never forced. There’s a hair-on-fire quality that makes every step and body movement more exciting, causing the anticipation to reach a crescendo just before Mahomes does something memorable.
He did it on Sunday night, with another uncanny moment of running around as defenders couldn’t get to him, capped by a casual flip to a wide open Edwards-Helaire.
It’s easy to take what Mahomes can do for granted. We never should. He does it like few if any ever have.
Other finalists: Deebo Samuel’s 57-yard catch and run for a touchdown, Raiders defensive back Amik Robertson‘s 68-yard fumble return for a touchdown, Jaguars safety Andre Cisco‘s pick six, the Jets’ Philly Special, the Double Doink.