Every week, we’ll go through some of the best and worst of the notable Sunday performances and plays. Here they are for Week 7.
Offensive Player of the Week: Jay Ajayi, Dolphins
We waited patiently for Ajayi to break out last season, and all we got was 187 yards and one touchdown on 49 carries. Through the first four weeks this year he continued to be pedestrian. He looked like just another back set to go bust in the increasingly fast and physical NFL. Then Week 6 hit and all of a sudden Jay freaking Ajayi turned into Earl Campbell. For the second week in a row, the 23-year-old, second-year back broke the 200-yard barrier for the Dolphins and led them to a win over a tough opponent.
In Week 6 he went for 204 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries (8.2 ypc) and followed that up this week by busting loose for 214 yards and a score on 28 carries (7.6 ypc). He became just the fourth ball-carrier in NFL history to break 200 yards in back-to-back weeks, joining the aforementioned Campbell, O.J. Simpson and Ricky Williams. That’s a fascinating trio to join for a whole lot of reasons.
Ajayi is a 6-foot, 229-pound behemoth out of Boise State who was the 149th pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. He rushed for 3,796 yards and 50 touchdowns at Boise. He capped his career by racking up 1,823 rushing yards and scoring 32 (!!!!!) total touchdowns as a junior.
Ajayi became a favorite of some scouts during the pre-draft process but dropped like a rock given the lack of importance football people place on running backs these days. He’s a big, strong runner who also possesses quick feet and is great at making the first guy miss. When he turns upfield it’s hard to stop him.
After a year and a half of waiting it appears he is finally realizing the promise he showed in college.
Defensive Player of the Week: Cliff Avril, Seahawks
Avril was one of the main reasons the Seahawks were able to salvage a 6-6 tie despite getting run up and down the field by the Cardinals Sunday night. The 30-year-old defensive end managed just four tackles but had 2.5 sacks and two passes defended. He harassed Arizona quarterback Carson Palmer all night and was an unblockable pest all night.
Avril has 6.5 sacks this year and two forced fumbles, and has really come on over the last three games, racking up 5.5 sacks in that time. He’s poised to blow past his sack total of 9.0 from 2015.
Most Impressive Rookie: Joey Bosa, Chargers
Say what you want about his holdout and his subsequent hamstring injury, but damn, Bosa can play. San Diego’s first-round pick has shown up in every game he’s played, and it was no different on Sunday. The Ohio State product had five tackles and 2.0 sacks, and held the edge well as part of a Chargers defense that was decimated by injuries against the Falcons.
So far this season, Bosa has 11 total tackles, with 4.0 sacks in just three games. Imagine what his numbers would be if he had been signed an in training camp on time.
Hottest Seat of the Week: Gus Bradley, Jaguars
After two straight wins, the Jaguars went back to being the Jaguars this week. They were demolished by the Raiders 33-16 and Bradley’s head is now back on the chopping block. The Jags were supposed to compete this year after three years of building, instead they’re back where they’ve always been under Bradley: the bottom of the AFC South.
The 50-year-old coach is 14-40 in his three-plus years in Jacksonville and this season is going nowhere. He may get the rest of the year to play out the string, but unless there’s a major turnaround he’ll be done with the Jags.
Mike McCoy Update:
He got lucky on Sunday with a 33-30 overtime win against the Falcons. He’s still awful at his job.
Randy Fasani Award: Brock Osweiler, Texans
Whew boy, Brock Osweiler is not good at the whole “quarterbacking” thing. On Monday night Osweiler returned to Denver and led the Texans into the tank against the Broncos. In his new team’s 27-9 loss, the big armed signal-caller was straight awful.
In defeat, Osweiler completed just 22 of 41 passes (53.7 percent), for 131 yards, with no touchdowns or interceptions. He averaged a hilariously low 3.2 yards per attempt, his longest completion went for 13 yards, and he finished with a passer rating of 60.1 and a Total QBR of 36.0.
The Texans’ $37 million investment over the next two years for Osweiler (the full amount was $72 million for four years, but it’s looking like that will never be realized) is looking like a complete bust thus far. He is completing just 58.2 percent of his passes, averaging just 5.72 yards per attempt and has just eight touchdowns and eight interceptions through seven games. Osweiler ranks 30th in passer rating (71.9) ahead of only Blaine Gabbert and Ryan Fitzpatrick. That’s just sad. He’s dead last in yards per attempt, and 26th in Total QBR.
Sure, Osweiler is only 25 and it’s his first year as a full-time starting quarterback, but the Texans handed him $37 million in guaranteed and certainly expected better than this. He’s terrible and shows no signs of breaking out of this.
*The Randy Fasani Award is given weekly to the NFL quarterback who turns in the worst performance. Fasani is the award’s namesake because he had one career start and turned in a 0.0 passer rating. That makes him the worst starting quarterback in NFL history.
Guy Who Killed Your Fantasy Team: Melvin Gordon, Chargers
If I told you a running back who averaged just 3.1 yards per carry on Sunday would be instrumental in your loss this week you’d probably be pretty ticked off. Gordon rushed for just 68 yards on 22 carries, but had three touchdowns (two rushing, one receiving) and another 58 yards through the air. He was the top scorer in ESPN’s fantasy rankings with 29 points.
So yeah, it’s OK to be ripping out your hair over that one.
Catch of the Week: A.J. Green, Bengals
Yeah, like anyone else was winning this award.
Defensive Play of the Week: Landon Collins, Giants
That was ridiculous.
Run and Hide Moment of the Week: Michael Floyd, Cardinals
Yeesh. If someone finds Mr. Floyd’s hands could you please return them?
Troll of the Week: Denver Broncos fans
Yeah, they look super depressed about losing Brock Osweiler.
Fat Guy Touchdown of the Week: Taylor Lewan, Titans
Titans offensive coordinator Terry Robiskie knows the way to my heart: design and run plays to get fat guys touchdowns. It’s really not that complicated.
Holy Crap He’s Fast Moment of the Week: Josh Huff, Eagles
Holy crap he’s fast.
The One Person Who Lost Sunday Night: Me
On a personal aside, I truly love my job and am lucky to have it. But some assignments are tougher than others. Sunday night was one of those times.
You see, as the site’s token “guy on the West Coast,” it’s my job to watch Sunday Night Football every week. That means I had to watch the utter abomination that was the Seahawks and Cardinals tie 6-6 in primetime. It was one of the worst games I’ve ever watched. It had all the excitement of sitting in traffic for 75-minutes, including the very real possibility you might see a dead person.
Unfortunately, unlike the vast majority of viewers, I wasn’t allowed to change the channel and watch something else. So I suffered through the entire, excruciating contest, one horrible play at a time. I hope you appreciate the Sisyphean nature of that task as you read these final thoughts…
My exact reaction when I realized the game was going to OT:
When my request to quit and just watch “Walking Dead” was denied:
When I finally thought it was over and then…nope: