Though it was the opening week of the 2021 NFL season, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes looked to be in marvelous mid-season form.
And despite making his debut for the Los Angeles Rams, quarterback Matthew Stafford looked as good as he ever has.
Stafford and Mahomes led the way as the first batch of NFL Players of the Week were unveiled Wednesday.
Mahomes rallied the Chiefs to a dramatic 33-29 victory with four total touchdowns (three passing, one rushing). The former AP NFL Most Valuable Player and Super Bowl MVP completed 27 of 36 attempts for 337 yards, no interceptions and a 131.4 rating. It all added up to Mahomes hauling in his sixth career AFC Offensive Player of the Week accolade.
On the defensive side of the ball, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Maxx Crosby came up huge in his team’s raucous Monday night win over the Baltimore Ravens. Crosby tallied six tackles, two sacks and two tackles for loss in the Silver and Black’s overtime triumph to garner AFC Defensive Player of the Week.
Cincinnati Bengals kicker Evan McPherson came up clutch on two occasions to lift his squad to a 27-24 overtime win over the Minnesota Vikings and collected AFC Special Teams Player of the Week. McPherson was perfect on Sunday with three point-after makes and two field goals in as many tries. It was the drama that underscored the kicks which proved most impressive, though, as McPherson made good on a 53-yard field goal in the fourth quarter and then hit a 33-yard game-winner in OT.
In 12 seasons with the Detroit Lions, Stafford notched just one NFC Offensive Player of the Week honor. In his first game with the Rams, he brought home his second career NFC OPOTW accolade after torching the Chicago Bears in a 34-14 L.A. win. Stafford completed 20 of 26 passes (76.9%) for 321 yards, three touchdowns, no interceptions and a 156.1 rating.
Chandler Jones was a force on Sunday in the Arizona Cardinals’ 38-13 win over the Tennessee Titans, registering five sacks, which matched the franchise record. Jones was unstoppable and added six tackles, four tackles for loss and two forced fumbles to earn NFC Defensive Player of the Week.
In a close 31-29 victory for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers over the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday night, punter Bradley Pinion played a pivotal role for the Bucs. Of his four punts — which averaged 49.3 yards — three came to rest inside the 10-yard line.
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