2014 NFL Awards Week 12 – FootballTuesday, November 25, 2014 9:00
Awards for the best and worst of the 2014 NFL season Week 12.
2014 NFL Awards Week 12
The Dan Marino Award — Tony Romo, DAL….18-26, 275 yds, 4 TDs, 0 Int — Romo was efficient and clutch in a tight game Sunday night, twice hitting Dez Bryant for TDs as well as hitting his longtime favorite TE, Jason Witten. For all his faults, including the classic bobbled extra point snap in the playoffs almost 8 yrs ago, Romo has been a tough gamer throughout his career…with a penchant for making one or two head-scratching decisions per contest. It’s all added up to legendary Cowboy status, and some rather gaudy numbers – top 40 all-time in completions, yards, and TDs. He’s made three Pro Bowls, though none since 2009, and has played through myriad injuries throughout his career.
The Ryan Leaf Award — Blake Bortles, JAX….15-27, 146 yds, 0 TD, 1 Int; 5 att, 24 yds — It’s been a lot of rookie struggles for Bortles (8 TDs, 15 picks so far) on a bad Jaguar squad this year. Like many people, I was a bit surprised when he went 3rd overall on draft day, especially after the ESPN analyst noted that ‘his arm strength isn’t ideal, but that should improve’? Huh? Yeah, maybe if he’s 14 his arm strength will improve, but by the time you’re 22, your arm is your arm – you either have a rifle or you don’t. You can improve in many other areas (mechanics, reading the defense, accuracy, etc…), but not much on arm strength. Bortles does have one 300-yard game this year, and this game is only his 2nd under 200 yards, so he has a few positives to take away from 2014 so far. He’s also been throwing to just one veteran (Cecil Shorts) and 3 rookie WRs (A Robinson, A Hurns, M Lee) all season.
The Walter Payton Award — TIE: Justin Forsett, BAL…..22 att, 182 yds, 2 TD; 2 rec, 8 yds, 0 TDs……and…..CJ Anderson, DEN…..27 att, 167 yds, 1 TD; 4 rec, 28 yds, 0 TD — Domination from the undersized (both 5’8″) Cal Bears at RB as Forsett (Cal 2004-07) and Anderson (Cal 2011-12) share the Payton Award this week. Anderson was never drafted, and Forsett, despite gaining over 1,500 yards as a senior, was barely drafted, 233rd overall in 2008 by Seattle. Seattle cut him right before the start of the ’08 season, then brought him back in Oct 2009 when he became a productive backup to Julius Jones, gaining over 600 yards while averaging 5.4 per for the year. He faded a bit after that, to the point where he only saw 6 carries with Jacksonville all last year. This is his best season since then, as he’s at 903 yards already at 5.8/carry. Forsett had 9 total TDs in his career before 2014, now he’s at 16 (all 7 this year by rush).
CJ signed with Denver last year but only saw action in 5 games, carrying the ball just 7 times all year. Injuries to Monte Ball and Ronnie Hillman have given him a chance this season, and he has seized the opportunity. He had a great catch and run TD in Week 10 (and 163 total yds), 8 recs for 86 yds a week ago, and now this – just 5 shy of 200 combined yards. He’s a nightmare to tackle at 5’8″ 224 lbs – a bowling ball of muscle and power. Two highly unlikely success stories for the Payton this week.
The Curtis Enis Award — Joique Bell, DET….19 att, 48 yds, 0 TD; 1 rec, (-2) yd — Bell has emerged in Detroit as a solid co-starter and good pass catcher, but he’s not a real threat to take it to the house. Reggie Bush has once again been hurt a large chunk of the season, making Bell more active than the Lions would like. He’s averaging 3.5 yds/carry in 141 attempts this year, with 3 visits to the end zone, and has just 21 recs so far, after hauling in 53 catches a year ago. As an undrafted free agent, Bell had a heck of a path just to get in the league. The Bills, Eagles, Colts, Eagles again, and finally the Saints all signed him and cut him before he finally stuck with Detroit. He was the Division II player of the year at Wayne State in Michigan after the 2009 season, gaining over 2,000 yards.
The Jerry Rice Award — Odell Beckham Jr., NYG….10 rec, 146 yds, 2 TDs — No one was talking about Odell’s numbers after the Giants-Cowboys game Sunday night, only if his catch was better than David Tyree’s famous helmet catch in the Super Bowl a few years ago. As a stand-alone catch, no circumstances considered, I’d put Beckham’s in the top 5 all-time. His arm looked like a slot machine handle going the wrong way as he snatched it high & deep behind his head – absurd athleticism and coordination. But the Tyree catch, in double coverage and also absurdly athletic, and HUGELY clutch, will be remembered a lot longer.
Beyond just that catch, Beckham is one of the many rookie WRs I mentioned last week as making a big impact this season and showing a ton of talent. In his last 4 games, he has 31 recs for 503 yards. He was hurt at the start of the year, as Sunday was just his 7th game of the season. He was the 12th pick of the 2014 Draft out of LSU, where he had 1,117 yards as a junior last year, at just under 20 (19.6) per catch.
The Charles Rogers Award — Reggie Wayne, IND…3 rec, 10 yds, 0 TDs — He was targeted 9 times but could not outproduce rookie teammate Donte Moncrief, who in just 4 targets caught them all for 38 yards. Watch for the 21-yr old Moncrief to catch more of Andrew Luck’s eye going forward as the Colts brace themselves for life without 36-yr old Reggie in the near future. Wayne has three games over 80 yards on the season, and four games under 40 yards. Much like Andre Johnson, he’s a borderline Hall-of-Famer – Top 10 all-time in recs and yards, 22nd in TDs.
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