Every week, we’ll go through some of the best and worst of the notable Sunday performances and plays. Here they are for Week 15.
Offensive Player of the Week: Drew Brees, Saints
Brees went off in Week 15, showing that the old guy can still sling it. While the Saints are a disappointing 6-8 this season, their 48-41 win over the Cardinals on Sunday was really fun to watch. Especially coming off back-to-back terrible performances by the offense where it managed only 24 total points against the Lions and Bucs, while Brees threw six interceptions and no touchdowns.
On Sunday, Brees lit up Arizona, completing 37 of 48 passes (77.1 percent) for 389 yards and four touchdowns. He didn’t throw an interception, averaged 8.10 yards per attempt and posted a quarterback rating of 127.9 and a Total QBR of 78.8.
Despite his team’s record, Brees has had another big year. He is completing 71.1 percent of his passes and leads the NFL in yards (4,559) and touchdown passes (34), ranks fourth in passer rating (103.0), fifth in YPA (7.74), seventh in Total QBR (71.9) and has thrown 14 interceptions.
If the Saints were even halfway decent we’d be celebrating Brees having a brilliant year as a 37-year-old. Instead, he was snubbed for the Pro Bowl.
Defensive Player of the Week: Bruce Irvin, Raiders
(Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
Irvin and the Raiders were all over Philip Rivers on Sunday, as the Silver and Black beat the Chargers 19-16. Irvin had 2.0 sacks and a forced fumble, but was in the backfield all afternoon harassing Rivers and his over-matched offensive line.
With the win, Oakland clinched its first playoff berth since 2002. If the Raiders want to go anywhere in the postseason, Irvin, Khalil Mack and the rest of the defense must play better than they have so far this year.
Oakland is picking it up at the right time, and Irvin and Mack’s 18.0 combined sacks are an indication of that. But the Raiders currently rank 30th in the NFL in total defense, allowing 375.9 yards per game. That must improve.
Most Impressive Rookie of the Week: Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys
(Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
What else can we say about Ezekiel Elliott? The kid is a beast who continues to play like a beast. On Sunday night in Dallas’ 26-20 win over Tampa Bay, the Ohio State product rushed for 159 yards and a score on 23 carries (6.9 yards per carry) and caught three passes for 29 yards. It was his seventh 100-plus yard rushing game of the season.
Elliott leads the NFL in rushing with 1,551 yards. Second place is DeMarco Murray, who has 1,224. So the rookie is more than 300 yards ahead of his closest competition. He’s also averaging 5.0 yards per carry, has an NFL-best 13 runs of 20-plus yards and has 13 rushing touchdowns.
With the Cowboys sitting at 12-2 on top of the NFC, Elliott needs to be seriously considered for MVP. While an argument can be made that the team’s offensive line (or maybe just Tyron Smith) should get consideration, Elliott has dominated. Tom Brady and Matt Ryan are likely the clubhouse leaders right now, but Elliott has to be in the mix.
Hot Seat of the Week: Mike McCoy, Chargers
(Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Please just fire this guy already. I…I just can’t. I don’t even need to provide reasons anymore. It’s over. He’s done. If the Jaguars can finally scrape up the cojones to fire a nice guy like Gus Bradley, an unlikable one like Mike McCoy needs to be gone. Do it. Save us all the time and just do it.
Randy Fasani Award: Brock Osweiler, Texans
(Bob Levey/Getty Images)
In Week 15 Osweiler showed, once again, that he’s a terrible quarterback and shaping up to be one of the biggest free agent busts in NFL history. After just 11 throws in Week 15, Texans coach Bill O’Brien had finally seen enough. He yanked Osweiler and replaced him with Tom Savage, who actually looked competent.
Osweiler was 6-for-11 for 48 yards, with no touchdowns and two terrible interceptions. So it was par four the course for Houston’s $72 million man. He’s been an absolute abomination under center for the Texans.
So far this season, Osweiler is completing just 59.6 percent of his passes for 2,704 yards, with 14 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. His 5.75 yards per attempt rank dead-last in the NFL, while his quarterback rating of 71.4 ranks 30th (out of 31 who qualify) and his Total QBR of 54.5 is 24th out of 30 qualifiers.
He’s terribad and the Texans guaranteed him $37 million. Nice move guys.
*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.
Hurdle of the Week: Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys
I know this may be controversial to say, but Zeke is fairly athletic.
Horrendous Penalty Flag of the Week:
Not sure how that’s roughing the passer.
Gruesome Injury of the Week: Keanu Neal, Falcons
Pretty sure a finger isn’t supposed to bend that way…
Ezekiel Elliott Poster of the Week:
Play of the Week That Didn’t Count: Odell Beckham, Giants
ODB is ridiculous.
Hit of the Week: Zach Brown, Bills
Robert Griffin III is having a no good, very bad year. Zach Brown (no, not this one) just made it worse.
Catch of the Week: Odell Beckham, Giants
I feel like I’ve said this before, but ODB is ridiculous.