PFF Team of Week 17
It takes into account which quarterbacks made plays, and which ones let their receivers do all the work. Which defensive tackles stood up offensive linemen to redirect runners. Which cornerbacks were bailed out by dropped passes.
So with that in mind, enjoy our Team of Week 17.
Quarterback: Aaron Rodgers, GB (+5.7)
The Packers suffered a demoralizing defeat, but you can’t fault the efforts of their franchise quarterback. Rodgers picked up four touchdowns and had an adjusted accuracy percentage of 86.1%. Just the kind of performance you want when heading into the playoffs.
Running Back: Alfred Morris, WAS (+4.3)
While we couldn’t divert our eyes from Adrian Petersons’ pursuit of the rushing record, it was the rookie Morris who put forth a truly remarkable display as he ran all over the Cowboys. His remarkable 200 yards, with 106 of those after contact, and three touchdowns did the job as the Redskin propelled his team into the playoffs.
Full Back: Darrel Young, WAS (+2.5)
Joining our Redskins rusher is his fullback who finished the week with the highest grade of all lead blockers. This is a guy who doesn’t need the ball in his hands to do damage.
Tight End: Jimmy Graham, NO (+3.5)
Saints fans must be wondering where that Jimmy Graham was all year. Well, 115 yards on 16 balls thrown his way should let everyone know that, while this year didn’t go as expected, Graham is someone to watch in years to come.
Wide Receivers: Demaryius Thomas, DEN (+5.1) and Michael Crabtree, SF (+4.1)
That was some performance from Thomas, who had one of the year’s most spectacular one-handed grabs in addition to his touchdown and 122 yards. Over in the NFC West, Crabtree picked up a couple of touchdowns and 172 yards in a dominant display.
Tackles: Michael Roos, TEN (+4.4) and Anthony Davis, SF (+5.8)
The Titans have come out and said they want to get younger on their offensive line, but rest assured Roos isn’t someone they’ll be looking to replace, and his performance against Jacksonville is one of the reasons why. Good work in the run game and perfect in pass protection. Meanwhile, Davis capped off his third regular season with one of his finest performances yet. It took him a while to get going but he’s come on leaps and bounds this year.
Guards: Evan Mathis, PHI (+4.1) and Manuel Ramirez, DEN (+4.0)
Mathis ends the season on a high. Grading in the green for the 13th time this year even as the Eagles have crumbled around him. Meanwhile, the Broncos Ramirez hasn’t been quite as consistent but his late-season form has been a real plus to the Denver rushing attack.
Center: David Baas, NYG (+4.4)
It’s not been a vintage year for Baas, but he ended it with his strongest run-blocking performance of the year.
Defensive Front 4-3
Defensive Ends: Chandler Jones, NE (+4.8) and Everson Griffen, MIN (+4.5)
It’s been a long while since we’ve seen Jones look that good, but it’s good news for New England that he finally seems over his injury with some good work in the run game. Griffen picked up seven quarterback disruptions with a performance that is bound to see his playing time increase.
Defensive Tackle: Vince Wilfork, NE (+5.7) and Geno Atkins, CIN (+5.3)
If Wilfork can replicate these performances in the playoffs then we should all watch out. Joining him is the best defensive tackle in football, Geno Atkins. The former fourth-round pick has been a star since entering the league, and it’s got to a stage now where performances like this (which would be high-points for most) are simply the norm.
Linebackers: Vontaze Burfict, CIN (+2.3), Akeem Jordan, PHI (+1.9) and Chase Blackburn, NYG (+3.0)
It wasn’t a classic week for outside linebacker play, but the tackling machine that is Burfict earned the honors with his six defensive stops, while Jordan had four of his own. Like a fine storyteller, Blackburn always leaves them wanting more, ending the year on a high with three quarterback disruptions and some good work in the run game.
Defensive Front 3-4
Defensive Line: J.J. Watt, HST (+8.9), Cameron Heyward, PIT (+5.9) and Ryan Pickett, GB (+3.1)
Watt made four tackles for a loss and harried Andrew Luck all day. His numbers haven’t been as striking recently, but don’t be fooled into thinking his play has dropped off. Over in Pittsburgh, Heyward put forward a convincing case for more playing time in 2013. On the nose, Pickett was as good as it got for the Packers in run defense, and even contributed with a hurry and batted pass.
Outside Linebackers: Sam Acho, ARZ (+1.3) and James Harrison, PIT (+1.2)
As you can tell from the grades, a very ‘meh’ week from the 3-4 outside linebackers.
Inside Linebackers: Dannell Ellerbe, BAL (+3.0) and Josh Bynes, BAL (+2.1)
A pair of Ravens who combined for seven defensive stops against, while excelling in coverage.
Cornerbacks: Jason McCourty, TEN (+4.3) and Tarrell Brown, SF (+3.4)
McCourty loved his time against Chad Henne, breaking up four balls to end his season on a high. Brown walked away with a pick and two pass breaks, with the eight times he was targeted resulting in just 36 yards.
Safeties: Troy Polamalu, PIT (+3.9) and Kenny Phillips, NYG (+3.9)
How differently could the seasons of the Steelers and Giants have been if they had these guys healthy for the duration?
Kicker: Blair Walsh (MIN)
Punter: Dustin Colquitt (KC)
Returner: Darius Reynauld (TEN)
Special Teamer: Dekota Watson (TB)
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