With the final NFL games of October in the books, it is time to look back at who has been the Player of the Month at the respective positions. With several superb performances in the past few weeks, there were plenty of candidates for every position, but which players have stood out above the rest of the field in October?
NFL Player of the Month awards for October
Over the last month, we’ve seen several superb performances of the NFL season. This article takes into consideration all of the games played in Weeks 4-8. Technically, the Thursday Night Football game in Week 4 was in September, and the Giants vs. Chiefs Monday Night Football game was in November. However, those games will be included as part of the October performances instead of those other months.
Quarterback | Matthew Stafford, Los Angeles Rams
Several quarterbacks have had impressive performances in October. Nevertheless, Matthew Stafford takes the award ahead of the rest of the field. Stafford has completed 68% of his pass attempts for 1,535 passing yards, 13 passing touchdowns, and just 3 interceptions. His performances this month have seen the Rams climb to the top of PFN’s Power Rankings.
Since moving to the Rams, Stafford has more than proven his worth to the franchise with 2,477 passing yards, 22 touchdowns, and 4 interceptions. He is on pace to throw for over 5,000 yards, with more than 45 touchdowns in 2021. His ESPN Total Quarterback Rating (QBR) is the highest of any quarterback at 77.4.
Honorable mentions at QB
There are more honorable mentions for the QB award. Josh Allen has provided his usual threat both as a passer and running the ball. Allen has averaged just under 300 passing yards per game while scoring 10 touchdowns through the air and 2 on the ground.
Other honorable mentions include Tom Brady, Joe Burrow, Kyler Murray, and Dak Prescott. Prescott would likely have been the award winner had he not played two fewer games than Stafford. His numbers through three games include 10 touchdowns and a traditional passer rating of 120.1.
Offense | Cooper Kupp, WR, Los Angeles Rams
Of the Player of the Month awards in this article, this was the closest of them all. However, Cooper Kupp takes back-to-back awards with what has been another terrific month.
In his five games in October, Kupp has 557 receiving yards and 5 touchdowns on 38 receptions. He has averaged 14.7 yards per reception this month and scored a touchdown on 13% of his receptions.
This performance is part of an incredible eight-game stretch for Kupp. He leads the league in receiving yards (924) and touchdowns (10). He was the first player in the Super Bowl era to have both 800 receiving yards and 9 receiving touchdowns through his team’s first seven games. The Rams’ WR1 is currently on pace for 1,963.5 receiving yards and 21 touchdowns.
Kupp edges out some talented RBs
Kupp narrowly beat out Jonathan Taylor for this award, who receives an honorable mention. Taylor had a superb month, with 478 rushing yards and 6 touchdowns. He is averaging over 6 yards per carry this month and has added 195 receiving yards and a touchdown on 13 receptions.
Other players that were in consideration include Derrick Henry and Ja’Marr Chase. Henry scored 7 total touchdowns and amassed 584 rushing yards through five games. Meanwhile, Chase was in line to challenge Kupp until he had a tough Week 8 game, pulling in just 3 of his 8 targets for 32 yards.
Defense | Trevon Diggs, CB, Dallas Cowboys
What is there to say about the play of Trevon Diggs that has not already been said. The second-year cornerback has been tremendous for the Cowboys. His Week 8 game against the Vikings was the first this season in which he did not make an interception.
Overall in October, Diggs had 4 interceptions and 15 tackles. On the season, he leads the league in interceptions (7) and pass breakups (11). With his interception against the Patriots in Week 6, Diggs became just the second player in NFL history with 7 interceptions in six games. He is the second player on this list to take back-to-back Player of the Month awards.
Other NFL Player of the Month awards for October
Zack Martin, Dallas Cowboys
Jonathan Greenard, Houston Texans
Harold Landry, Tennessee Titans
NFL Rookies of the Month
Every year, a handful of rookie players stand out from the field with their performances. Last year, it was Justin Jefferson who set the NFL alight, and this year we have seen strong performances from a number of rookies, both on offense and defense. Let’s take a look at who has taken home the NFL Player of the Month awards for October.
Offense | Ja’Marr Chase, WR, Cincinnati Bengals
Given that Chase was in the running for the overall Offensive Player of the Month, it only seems right he takes the rookie award for October. Chase has had two huge games this month, one in a winning effort and one in an unfortunate losing effort.
Despite being on an offense loaded with receiving talent, Chase has averaged more than 8 targets per game in October. He has caught 27 of those for 566 yards and 3 touchdowns. Without his tough game against the Jets in Week 8, he would almost certainly have pipped Kupp for the overall award.
Defense | Nick Bolton, LB, Kansas City Chiefs
On a Chiefs team with several stars, Nick Bolton has slid under the radar somewhat in 2021. However, the rookie linebacker out of Missouri has been outstanding in the past few weeks. In his last two games, Bolton has 26 tackles, including 4 tackles for loss in the game against Tennessee.
Kansas City has desperately needed their defense to step up this year, and Bolton — alongside Willie Gay — has not let them down. Since Gay returned in Week 5, he and Bolton have formed a formidable duo. Overall, they look like they could be the centerpiece of the Chiefs’ defense for years to come.