Week 1 NFL Awards: MVP, LVP and Top Rookie
The Pittsburgh Steelers were hungry for revenge after losing in the first round of the 2011 playoffs to the Tim Tebow-led Broncos. Manning had other things in mind. Manning and the Broncos secured a 31-19 victory, proving that Manning is healthy, and the Broncos are Super Bowl contenders.
There were many great players and highlights from the game, but I will showcase an MVP, LVP and top rookie in the following slides.
MVP: Tracy Porter
Yes, Peyton Manning had an MVP-like game, but I can't give him that honor every week!
New Bronco Tracy Porter made a giant splash Sunday night in big moments. Two of his biggest plays came in the second and fourth quarters.
In the second quarter, he tipped away a touchdown pass to Heath Miller on third down and forced the Steelers to kick a field goal. With the clock winding down in the fourth quarter, Ben Roethlisberger threw a pass to Emmanuel Sanders on the sideline.
Porter read the route, grabbed the interception and returned the ball 43 yards for a touchdown to seal the Broncos win!
On top of those two great defensive plays, Porter also had five broken-up passes and eight tackles.
Other than Manning, Porter is the best offseason acquisition the Broncos secured, and he proved it Sunday night.
LVP: Rahim Moore
It was hard to pick an LVP (Least Valuable Player) in midst of all the great players, but the helmet-to-helmet hit by Rahim Moore makes him the LVP.
With 5:17 left in the third quarter, the Steelers were 3rd-and-10 at their own 20-yard-line. It was looking as though the defense was going to make a stand and force a punt. The referees called a personal foul on Moore when he hit Emmanuel Sanders, helmet-to-helmet.
It looked as though Moore may have taken the hardest hit, but the referees threw the flag when he hit above the shoulder. The foul led to a Pittsburgh first down. The Steelers then ran 11 more plays, ending with a three-yard touchdown, putting them ahead 19-14 to start the fourth quarter.
The league may be looking to fine Moore who was fined $20,000 for an illegal hit last season.
Without this hit, the Steelers would have been forced to punt. This was a costly play at the time that put the Steelers up early in the fourth quarter. Big hits are a part of the game, but Moore needs to stay away from the illegal and finable type of hits.
Top Rookie: Derek Wolfe
Rookie Derek Wolfe made history Sunday night, becoming one of six Broncos rookies to get their first sack in his first regular-season game.
Wolfe's first came with 3:35 left in the first quarter. The Steelers were almost in field-goal range. When Ben Roethlisberger got the snap, Wolfe rushed him for a sack and a nine-yard loss. The sack resulted in a Pittsburgh punt.
This got the rookie, and the Broncos defense, fired up! Wolfe finished the game with three tackles on top of his sack for a loss.
The Broncos are immediately feeling the impact of their second-round pick, and he can only grow and get better from here. Wolfe also had two big sacks in his first preseason game.
At halftime, I already knew Wolfe was getting my top rookie award. I hope he continues to make an impact and make a run for rookie of the year.