2014 NFL Awards Week 1 – FootballThursday, September 11, 2014 9:25
Awards for the best and worst of the 2014 NFL season Week 1.
2014 NFL Awards Week 1
A new season is here, and another year of the Awards arrives with it – the best & worst performers in the passing, rushing, and receiving departments. A kicker is ioncluded this week, but that will not always be the case.
The Dan Marino Award — Matt Ryan, ATL….31-43, 448 yds, 3 TDs, 0 Int — The 3rd pick of the 2008 Draft is off to a strong start in 2014 after seeing his numbers slip a bit last year after losing Julio Jones for two thirds of the season. In 2012, Ryan joined the 4,000/30 Club, making him one of just 23 NFL QBs to throw for at least 4,000 yards and 30 TDs in one season. It’s an interesting list, as many Hall-of-Famers and soon to be Hall-of-Famers populate it (Marino, Fouts, Favre, Brady, Brees, P Manning), but it also includes a few randoms like Brian Sipe, Lynn Dickey, and Vinny Testaverde. With a rather ho-hum running game and a healthy Julio back, look for Ryan to possibly surpass his 2012 #’s (4,719, 32 TDs) this year.
The Ryan Leaf Award — Eli Manning, NYG….18-33, 163 yds, 1 TD, 2 Int — Eli also made the 4,000/30 Club, just barely in 2010 (4,002 yds, 31 TDs). That remains his best ever TD total, but he blew the yardage total away the next year, when he threw for 4,933 before winning his 2nd Super Bowl that post-season. But it’s been rather muted for him since that Super Bowl. In 2012 he failed to surpass 4,000 yards, and then last year, he threw 15 of his league-leading 27 interceptions in the first 6 games of the season, all Giants losses. This year the Giants and Eli look just as bad after a poor pre-season and now Week 1 as well. Interestingly, Manning has never completed 63% of his passes in a single season, and has completed better than 60% in only 4 of his 10 seasons.
The Walter Payton Award — Le’Veon Bell, PIT…..21 att, 109 yds, 1 TD; 6 rec, 88 yds — I watched a little of Bell at Michigan St and didn’t like his prospects to make much of a dent in the NFL. After he averaged just 3.5 yds/carry last year as a rookie, I thought I was right. But he looks much smaller than his listed weight of 244 lbs this year, and showed great vision and decent speed on a few plays Sunday, especially the 38 yd TD run. He actually has a very good chance of becoming the most prolific Spartan NFL running back ever, as right now that honor belongs to Lorenzo White, who had just one 1,000 yd season (1,226 in 1992) and only 4,242 yds in his career. Knowshon Moreno (134 yds, 1 TD), and Marshawn Lynch (110 yds, 2 TDs) were also big, but didn’t have the impressive receiving numbers that Bell put up.
The Curtis Enis Award — Toby Gerhart, JAX…..18 att, 42 yds, 0 TD; 2 rec, 15 yds — After watching a Jacksonville pre-season game in August, these numbers don’t surprise me at all. Gerhart has all the moves and elusiveness of a Manattee. The Jacksonville offense looks to be rather poor this year with Gerhart as the starting tailback, Chad Henne and/or rookie Blake Bortles at QB, and a WR core led by Cecil Shorts and two rookies – Marqise Lee & Allen Hurns. Ex-Jag Mo Jo Drew was also quite poor Sunday (9 att, 11 yds), as was Doug Martin (9 att, 9 yds), and surprisingly, Jamal Charles as well (7 att, 19 yds; 4 rec, 15 yds).
The Jerry Rice Award — Calvin Johnson, DET….7 rec, 164 yds, 2 TDs — Megatron just keeps on going as he looks to notch a 4th straight Mega-yardage, Mega-impressive season. But first, let’s give Mega-thanks that he has a very good QB in Matt Stafford. Stafford missed basically all of the 2010 season, and Calvin averaged just 74.7 yds/gm that year. With a healthy Stafford at QB the last 3 seasons, Calvin has averaged 105 yds (2011), 122.7 (2012), and 106.6 in 2013 (just 14 games). If this game is any indication, it looks like more of the same in 2014. If you want to entertain yourself, check out the leading Raider WRs since they passed on Calvin in the 2007 Draft to take JaMarcus Russell. Pure comedy.
The Charles Johnson Award — Larry Fitzgerald, ARI…1 rec, 20 yds, 0 TDs — On a night when Carson Palmer completed 24 passes for just over 300 yds, Fitzy was targeted just 4 times, catching only one pass. Michael Floyd was targeted 7 times, while rookie John Brown was targeted 5 times. This continues a trend that started in the 2012 season that has seen him break the 100 yard barrier just 4 times in his last 33 games (2012, ’13, & this game), while finishing with under 60 yards 18 times during that span. Strangely, he had one of his finest seasons ever in 2011, going over 1,400 yards for the 4th time in his career while also averaging a career-best 17.6 yds/rec (2nd best: 14.9 in 2008). Now in his 11th season, he’s definitely not the same Fitzy that had an NFL record 546 postseason yards in 2008, alongside 7 TDs. But having just turned 31 last month, he should have a few more decent years left in him.
The Morten Andersen Award — Matt Bryant, ATL…3-3 FGs, 4-4 XPs — Bryant hit a 51-yarder as time expired to send the game into OT, and then buried the Saints for good with a game-winning 52-yarder. Now in his 13th season out of Baylor, Bryant is in his 6th season on the Falcons, his 5th NFL team.
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