Monday Morning QB (cont.)
Posted: Monday December 10, 2007 3:32AM; Updated: Monday December 10, 2007 2:31PM
The Awards Section
Offensive Player of the Week
Washington QB Todd Collins. I never thought I'd be writing that name into the "Offensive Player of the Week'' slot. Before last Thursday night, the 36-year-old Collins' last completion was three years ago. His last touchdown pass was five years ago. His last time playing a half in any game was 10 years ago. That's right -- the last time he threw more than seven passes in a game was Dec. 14, 1997, as a Bill.
When Jason Campbell went down (probably for the season with a left kneecap injury) late in the second quarter against Chicago, in came Collins. He was offensive coordinator Al Saunders' hand-picked insurance policy at quarterback before the 2006 season.
First snap: incompletion. Second snap: short completion. Third snap: sack, fumble, Chicago ball. Fourth snap: 21-yard perfect strike for a touchdown to tight end Todd Yoder. In all, after not playing much for a decade, Collins completed 15 of 20 passes for 224 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.
"I don't know that I've ever had a better performance coming off the bench -- ever,'' coach Joe Gibbs said of Collins.
Dallas TE Jason Witten. Fifteen catches for 138 yards, including the game-winning 16-yard touchdown pass from Romo with 18 seconds left, giving the Cowboys a scintillating 28-27 win over the Lions. For the record, there are six Hall of Fame tight ends, and none of them ever surpassed 15 catches in a game. In fact, no tight end in NFL history has. Kellen Winslow and Mike Ditka had 15 in a game, Ozzie Newsome 14, Dave Casper 12, Charlie Sanders 10 and John Mackey, interestingly (for its smallness), eight. "That is such an honor,'' Witten said after the game. "I play this game to be a great all-around tight end, and I'm glad I could be there to make a big play when my team needed me.''
Defensive Player of the Week
Denver DE Elvis Dumervil. Three sacks, five tackles, a forced fumble, and he helped the Broncos hold the Chiefs to 16 rushing yards on 17 carries. Dumervil's a 6-foot fireplug -- totally not the body type of your classic pass-rusher. But he's been the Denver's best sackman since being drafted out of Louisville last year.
Special Teams Player of the Week
Green Bay CB Will Blackmon. The former Boston College cornerback/wide receiver gave the Packers a 14-0 lead over Oakland in the second quarter with a 57-yard punt return for touchdown -- a play on which the officials may have missed Blackmon stepping out on the Raiders' 7. And Blackmon recovered a fumbled punt in the end zone in the third quarter, making it 31-7.
Coach of the Week
Dallas coach Wade Phillips. I remember when Pat Riley was asked once about how good a coach could be for a Lakers team with Magic, Kareem and Worthy steamrolling the rest of the league. "There's no such thing as 'rolling the ball out there' and letting the player play -- in any sport,'' he said. Same thing this year with Phillips, who had a good table set for him by Parcells.
But Phillips has done some really smart things this year, not the least of which is making Terrell Owens a team leader by having him stand in front of the team -- often -- and talking like a leader. Maybe T.O. isn't the perfect guy to do that, but it makes Owens feel like a king and makes him toe the line as a team player. The Cowboys are 12-1 because they don't wilt when the pressure's on. Phillips was the right hire at the right time.
Goat of the Week
Pittsburgh FS Anthony Smith. After his ill-timed guarantee (is there ever a good time to inflame the overwhelming favorites to win the Super Bowl?), Smith got beat for two long Brady touchdowns. I'm not sure anyone cared much about his statements, but why antagonize a great team?