The Week 14 NFL Player of the Week award goes to the top performers in three different categories. Quarterbacks are award hoarders, so we had to make them separate. This week was far more typical in terms of quarterback performances. There were many excellent outings from the QBs — a delightful sight after what’s been almost an entire season of mediocrity.
NFL Player of the Week | Week 14
These awards can be tough to decide. It’s nice to have a few performances stand out above the rest to make it easy, but the quarterbacks and defenders didn’t make it easy this week. Tom Brady, Patrick Mahomes, and Justin Herbert all had big days through the air but couldn’t win the award. Meanwhile, Myles Garrett and Nick Bosa made significant cases as pass rushers, and Ahkello Witherspoon’s 2 interceptions were substantial, even in a Pittsburgh loss.
NFL Quarterback of the Week | Aaron Rodgers
Aaron Rodgers and the Packers were in a bit of a dogfight last night against the Chicago Bears. The Bears put up more of an offensive fight than I anticipated, but Rodgers and company dominated Chicago’s defense — and his arm was at the center of it all. Five different receivers had a reception of 20 yards or more against the Bears’ secondary.
Davante Adams went off because that’s what he does. But Rodgers played some MVP-level ball last night as he willed his team past their NFC North rivals.
We should have seen this coming because, after all, Rodgers does “own” them. It shouldn’t be a surprise that he earned NFL Player of the Week honors against Chicago.
Maybe it was Cris Collinsworth’s incessant crowning of Rodgers that led the veteran QB to success. More likely, it was a Khalil Mack-less Bears defense that ranks 26th in dropback expected points added per play. But both teams get paid, and Rodgers went out and played his unique style of keep-away ball while somehow still making jaw-dropping passes.
NFL Offensive Player of the Week | Dalvin Cook
Raise your hand if you’re a useless dolt that benched Dalvin Cook in fantasy because the Vikings struggle to run the football (and Cook was so injured he probably shouldn’t have played against Pittsburgh).
Just me? Well then… I guess only I missed out on playing the NFL Offensive Player of the Week.
What a brilliant performance from Cook put on during Thursday Night Football. He finished with 27 carries for 205 yards and 2 TDs. The most impressive part is that he didn’t even break a massive run. Sure, he hit one for 30 yards, but if you take that away, he still averaged nearly 7 yards per carry.
Cook is such a unique runner. He’s perfect for the Vikings’ rushing attack, as he’s cerebral and able to avoid unnecessary contact. There might be one or two NFL runners that could even think about playing with the type of injury that Cook dealt with on Thursday Night Football.
NFL Defensive Player of the Week | Micah Parsons
Micah Parsons’ tear since Week 9 against the Denver Broncos is insane. In six games, he has 10 sacks on just 130 pass-rush snaps. For reference, that’s nearly twice the rate T.J. Watt has posted this season.
Parsons played 54 defensive snaps against Washington, and his split between defending the run, rushing the passer, and playing in coverage was almost perfectly balanced.
The rookie’s first sack was outstanding. He used his Saiyan-trained Instant Transmission to dip underneath Brandon Scherff, an All-Pro right guard. Parsons was able to force a fumble on a retreating Taylor Heinicke because it appeared as though the QB saw DeMarcus Lawrence coming off the edge. Still, Washington’s QB missed Parsons beating Lawrence to the punch on the interior. That play turned into a touchdown for the Cowboys and helped propel Parsons to his NFL Player of the Week honors.
His second sack was much more straightforward. He had a one-on-one situation with a running back as he blitzed the A gap. Heinicke never stood a chance.
Parsons is starting to prove his worth in coverage as well. Last week, he helped force an interception on an insane recovery against Kenny Stills. This week, he could be seen once again running the pole in Cover 2. Nobody can affect a game in a more versatile manner than Parsons.
Eventually, he might become a full-time pass-rushing linebacker. But until then, we should appreciate the variety he brings. It appears it won’t be too long before we talk about Parsons the way we do Aaron Donald. His versatility and dominance as a pass rusher make him our NFL Defensive Player of the Week. But will he break the rookie sack record?