All-Star Team of the Week: Week 12
We’re closing in on the home stretch now and starting to see which teams are going to make a push for the playoffs, and which teams will be making their selection at the top of the draft. As always, another week brought us some of the same superstars shining, and a few surprises.
So who made the Team of the Week this week? Let’s find out.
(Note: Team will be updated as needed after Monday Night Football and by Wednesday when All-22 footage helps us study plays in even more detail.)
Quarterback: Ryan Tannehill, MIA (+6.3)
The game didn’t go their way in the end, but that’s about as good as Tannehill has played all year. Completing 72.2% of his passes and throwing three touchdowns, he showcased the form the Dolphins need from him if they are to go anywhere late in the 2014 season.
Honorable Mention: Drew Brees, NO
Running Back: Eddie Lacy, GB (+6.0)
We’ve seen some impressive performances from running backs in recent weeks, and this might have been the best of the bunch. 125 yards, 2.8 yards averaged after contact per run, five missed tackles forced and a touchdown. Throw in a receiving touchdown for good measure and it was quite the performance from Lacy.
Honorable Mention: C.J. Anderson, DEN
Fullback: Bruce Miller, SF (+1.2)
Not a great week for fullbacks around the league, but Miller was solid as a blocker and added 40 yards on three receptions.
Honorable Mention: Anthony Sherman, KC
Tight End: Rob Gronkowski, NE (+1.4)
A strange week at tight end so far with most of the top performers doing to for their blocking alone and offering little as receivers. He may not have been at the level we’ve seen him but it was still the best all-around performance in Week 12.
Honorable Mention: Daniel Fells, NYG
Wide Receivers: Robert Woods, BUF (+4.7) and Odell Beckham Jr. (+3.7)
A big game by Robert Woods on Monday night saw him leap to the top of our wide receiver grading for the week. With some nice catches amongst his nine receptions for 118 yards and a touchdown performance. Highlighted by that catch, Beckham Jr. continued his strong rookie season with his best game so far. Two touchdowns and four missed tackles forced, he’s becoming a force to be reckoned with.
Honorable Mentions: Emmanuel Sanders, DEN and Anquan Boldin
Tackles: Russell Okung, SEA (+4.4) and Louis Vasquez, DEN (+3.2)
A perfect day in pass protection against a defense as tough as Arizona’s is always nice, and he was one of the best run-blocking left tackles this week, too. Vasquez filled in at right tackle for the second straight game and like Okung, was perfect in pass protection and produced some nice work as a run blocker.
Honorable Mentions: Duane Brown, HOU and Geoff Schwartz, NYG
Guards: Orlando Franklin, DEN (+3.7) and Manuel Ramirez, DEN (+5.2)
Following their teammate at right tackle, both guards in Denver make the team this week. Like Vasquez, they were both perfect in pass protection but it was their work as run blockers that really got our attention — the two highest-graded guards in that regard from Week 12 so far.
Honorable Mentions: Joel Bitonio, CLV and David Joseph, STL
Center: Russell Bodine, CIN (+3.3)
The best performance of the rookie’s young career, he was dominant against the run despite allow a quarterback hurry in pass protection.
Honorable Mention: Rodney Hudson, KC
Each week we put forward a hybrid defense that features two edge rushers (4-3 defensive ends or 3-4 outside linebackers), three players on the “interior” of the defensive line (3-4 defensive ends or defensive tackles) and two linebackers (all inside linebackers and 4-3 outside linebackers).
Defensive Interior – Ends: J.J. Watt, HOU (+6.9) and Stephen Paea, CHI (+7.2)
Two big performances here, with Watt back at his best after finishing with a grade of “only” +4.4 last week. The usual reasons apply, dominant all around from the best player in football. Paea is more of a surprise, but he was tremendous as a pass rusher against Tampa Bay, giving their interior offensive line nightmares all game long.
Honorable Mentions: Justin Smith, SF and Fletcher Cox, PHI
Defensive Interior – Nose: Brandon Williams, BAL (+4.8)
He’s really impressed in his second year in the league, but Monday night was his best showing yet. A force against the run, he recorded two tackles which resulted in a defensive stop while proving tough to move for the Saints offensive line against the run.
Honorable Mention: Bennie Logan, PHI
Edge Rushers: Justin Houston, KC (+7.4) and Khalil Mack, OAK (+4.8)
Our starting edge rushers played in Thursday night’s game, with Houston the star of the show. Just the one sack might not seem like much but he added seven hurries to go along with it. Mack’s best work came against the run, but he added a hit and four hurries as a pass rusher as well.
Honorable Mentions: Carlos Dunlap, CIN and Von Miller, DEN
Linebackers: Rolando McClain, DAL (+6.1) and Dont’a Hightower, NE (+3.8)
After disappointing in recent weeks, McClain was back to impressive this week. Finishing the game with 10 defensive stops, no other inside linebacker had more than six this week, he was a force against the run. Hightower’s play was more balanced, adding a hit and three hurries to some stellar work against the run.
Honorable Mentions: Bobby Wagner, SEA and D’Qwell Jackson, IND
Cornerbacks: Darrelle Revis, NE (+5.0) and Brandon Browner, NE (+2.6)
As a duo they made life very tough for the Lions’ offense in New England, combining to allow just 87 yards through the air and breaking up five passes between them. Revis now has a +10.9 grade in coverage over the past four weeks.
Honorable Mentions: Alterraun Verner, TB and Xavier Rhodes, MIN
Safeties: Eric Weddle, SD (+2.9) and Kam Chancellor, SEA (+3.4)
Weddle was excellent in coverage, with three receptions netting just 21 yards against him. Chancellor saw just five yards completed into his coverage while finishing the game with five defensive stops.
Honorable Mentions: Barry Church, DAL and Ryan Mundy, CHI
Kicker: Matt Bryant, ATL: Few kickers have stood out so far this week and, while he only attempted one kick, it was from 50+ and gave Atlanta the lead late in the game.
Punter: Sam Martin, DET: Five punts with a 46.2 average and two inside the twenty, an impressive Sunday from Martin.
Returner: Dwayne Harris, DAL: He may not have scored but consistently impressing on punt returns with some nice moves to avoid defenders saw Harris jump into the top spot amongst our returners this week.
Follow Gordon on Twitter: @PFF_Gordon