The Award Section
Offensive Player of the Week
Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jacksonville.
Biggest difference-maker in the day games Sunday, with 123 rushing yards, 22 receiving yards, and two very big plays that don't show up in the ol' box score in the Jags' 24-22 win over the Jets. In the first half, he scored one touchdown on a 33-yard run and set up another by pushing a stalled David Garrard ahead for a first down. In the second half, he made the play of the day. "An MVP play,'' Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez praised. I went over it earlier, but by purposely taking a knee at the Jets' 1, Jones-Drew allowed the Jags to run out the clock on the timeout-less Jets and kick a field goal to win at the gun. What a football game, and what a smart way to end it.
Defensive Player of the Week
Charles Woodson, CB, Green Bay.
First, Woodson winning this is an achievement in itself, because the Bengals had about five guys who deserved this. But Woodson was dominant in a 17-7 win over the red-hot Cowboys. Imagine holding the Cowboys to a garbage-time touchdown in the final minute of the game ... with weather being no factor. Woodson led the charge with nine tackles, a sack, two forced fumbles and a crucial interception of Tony Romo at the goal line with six minutes left. That was the Cowboys' last gasp, and the way Woodson played all day, it was fitting it was he who made the acrobatic interception.
Special Teams Player of the Week
Bernard Scott, RB/KR, Cincinnati.
First, what can't be overlooked on Scott's weaving, sprinting, game-changing 96-yard kick return for touchdown -- the first kick return for a touchdown by a Bengals rookie in 33 years -- was the ridiculously weak tackle try by kicker Jeff Reed. What, Reed can get in fights off the field but can't contest a runner on the field?
That was the only touchdown of the game, but it wasn't Scott's only impact on the game. After Cedric Benson went down with a hip injury early, Scott, a rookie from Division II Abilene Christian who scored 73 college touchdowns for the Texas school, had to bang against the great Steelers run defense. He rushed 13 times for 33 yards and caught a swing pass from Carson Palmer for 21 yards. He also returned five kicks for a 41.5-yard average. Imagine someone named Bernard Scott accounting for 260 all-purpose yards in your biggest game of the year. Kudos to the Bengals oft-maligned scouting staff, headed by Jim Lippincott, for finding this diamond in the very deep rough.
Coach of the Week
Mike Zimmer, defensive coordinator, Cincinnati.
In four victories this fall, Zimmer's Bengals have held the Steelers and Ravens to 20, 14, 7 and 12 points. As I wrote higher in this column, Zimmer has shot up the charts and is now a legitimate 2010 head-coaching candidate. "What he's done is teach our players the total game of football,'' Marvin Lewis said after the win over Pittsburgh. "He's been invaluable.''
Goat of the Week
Jay Cutler, QB, Chicago.
I hear the natives in the Loop are beyond restless, and they're not naming sandwiches after Trader Jerry Angelo anymore. Cutler has been at his worst in prime time -- 12 night quarters on national TV, 11 interceptions -- including the five-interception game at San Francisco on Thursday night. There's no question Cutler's not alone in the Chicago blame game; his offensive line is helping kill the Bears offense. But a couple of Cutler's Thursday night interceptions, such as the one on the 49ers goal line to nose tackle Aubrayo Franklin, were absolutely careless, the kind of throws you see from a Josh Johnson. Very bad sign. Oh, and the next game is in prime time. At home. Against Philly. Wear a fur coat, Jay. Reception will not be warm.
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