The NFL Player of the Week award for Week 18 feels a bit cheap. We’re still taking the top players from three different categories, but there were quite a few NFL stars out of action in the final week of the season. The early slate felt odd. I felt robbed watching every non-Lions football team. But in the end, it wasn’t hard to figure out this week’s awardees.
NFL Player of the Week | Week 18
I wanted so badly to give the QB award to Justin Herbert. If you didn’t watch the game, you wouldn’t understand. That game alone is worth the Game Pass subscription the NFL has us “professionals” down bad for. But in the end, the Chargers lost, and Herbert made a big boo-boo trying to make a play that ended in an interception. That said, if his receivers could catch, he would have probably thrown for 500+ yards.
NFL Quarterback of the Week | Dak Prescott
The potential Walter Payton Man of the Year played like a machine against Philadelphia, earning him NFL Player of the Week honors. Dak Prescott plays like that weekly, but the results aren’t always nearly as perfect as they were on Saturday.
Schematically, the Cowboys found a few soft spots in the Eagles’ zone scheme, and they took advantage.
The Cowboys’ offense was humming against the Cardinals early in Week 17, but penalties on third downs killed their first three drives. If they continue to play at that high of a level, it’ll be difficult for the 49ers’ young cornerbacks to keep tight to Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb in the Wild Card round.
Prescott finished 21-for-27 for 295 yards and 5 TDs. A few of those incompletions came from throwaways off pressure against Prescott.
NFL Offensive Player of the Week | Rashaad Penny
Rashaad Penny is finally living up to his first-round draft selection. In his first three seasons, he had two 100-yard games. In 2021, he amassed four in a five-game stretch to end the year. He never averaged fewer than 6.8 yards per carry in those four games.
His emergence came at a good time for his future earning potential. The Seahawks declined Penny’s fifth-year option, so he becomes an unrestricted free agent in the offseason. In his final game of the year, Penny rushed for 190 yards on just 23 carries, averaging over 8.2 yards per carry for the day.
NFL Defensive Player of the Week | Maxx Crosby
Facing the Chargers on Sunday Night Football, Maxx Crosby posted his fourth game this season with at least 10 pressures. In fact, I was a bit surprised his final total was only 11 because it felt as if Herbert threw 37 passes in the fourth quarter and overtime alone — and Crosby never left his side.
Storm Norton had a tough day at the office in what should be his last start for the Chargers unless he makes significant improvements in the offseason. Crosby sacked Herbert twice and hit him twice, but the Chargers quarterback was consistently sliding to his left throughout the game.
Nobody pressured opposing QBs more than Crosby in 2021. Now, we get to see him coming off the left side of the defensive line to try and scare another 2020 NFL draftee in Joe Burrow. He’ll continue to rack up awards in his career.