NFL Awards Week 3: Handing out Hardware
Historic upsets, highlight reel plays and late scores. This weekend had all the makings of a great week of NFL action.
With almost all of the main action for the week wrapped up, now it's time to hand out the awards for the action on the field.
In addition to awarding the MVP and rookie of the week, this week's awards highlight some odd weather, wacky catches and some surprises from the week.
Here are the NFL awards for Week 3.
Noah's Ark Game of the Week: Carolina Panthers vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
In the biblical telling of the story of Noah's Ark, God flooded the earth after observing mankind's evil ways.
Likewise, the rookie quarterback matchup of the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Carolina Panthers was initially so unappetizing that the football gods attempted to wash out the field. With the rain that engulfed Charlotte's Bank of America Stadium Sunday, one can only wonder if plans were in place for a collection of two of every animal.
After a dismal offensive first half in the wet conditions, the half ended on an amazing touchdown pass from the Jaguars' Blaine Gabbert to Mike Thomas.
Recognizing the folly of their thought process, the football gods issued a retraction on the rain order, and the rest of the game played out in clear weather.
The Panthers would go on to win 16-10.
Snoozer of the Week: Cincinnati Bengals vs. San Francisco 49ers
John Grieshop/Getty Images
While few were hyping the Cincinnati Bengals and San Francisco 49ers matchup Sunday as a potential shootout, fans were probably hoping to see some life on offense.
Those fans would be left disappointed.
Both teams struggled to get any excitement going during their offensive drives, and the Niners didn't move the ball across midfield until midway through the third quarter.
The game's only touchdown came with four minutes left in the game, when rookie running back Kendall Hunter ran in a seven yard score (much to the chagrin of fantasy owners of starter Frank Gore).
With that said, the game was a battle of great punting, with the Niners' Andy Lee narrowly edging out the Bengals' Kevin Huber in both punt average and the longest punt for the afternoon.
"What Was That!?!" Award: Kevin Walter
Every once in a while, a touchdown will come through that requires a double take.
"What was that!?!"
That would accurately describe the touchdown of the Houston Texans' Kevin Walter. After the sloppy pass of quarterback Matt Schaub nearly fell straight in the hands of linebacker Jonathan Casillas, the ball somehow tipped right into the hands of receiver Kevin Walter.
Amazed at his good fortune, Walter strolled into the end zone for the easy touchdown.
While the Texans eventually lost to the New Orleans Saints 33-40, the touchdown was one of the most wild of the week.
Fake out of the Week: Chicago Bears
The Chicago Bears put one on the rival Green Bay Packers thanks to this sweet punt return fake out from wide receivers Devin Hester and Johnny Knox.
With the Packers punting late, Hester made the slide up and waved as though he were making a fair catch. One problem: He was nowhere near the ball.
On the complete other side of the ball, Knox had caught the return and ran the ball back for a touchdown with only one man to block.
Unfortunately for the Bears, the great return, which would have made it a three point game, was negated by a holding penalty near where Hester made his initial move.
"Nice Catch Guy!"Award: Josh Cribbs and Mohamed Massaquoi
It's been a while since the Cleveland Browns have dominated the highlight reel with their passing game, but both of their touchdowns Sunday were spectacular catches in tight space.
While the two touchdown catches, made by Josh Cribbs and Mohamed Massaquoi, were spectacular, I have to give the edge to Cribbs. Rising up over his defender, Cribbs plucks the ball out of the air, before landing just inbounds.
Nice catch guy!
Rookie O'The Week: Torrey Smith
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
It's tough to imagine a better NFL debut than Baltimore Ravens' wide receiver Torrey Smith. In his first three receptions of his career, Smith hauled in three first quarter touchdown passes for a whopping 133 yards.
Smith was pretty modest about his breakout game when he said, "I've been playing football forever and I've been making plays forever. Having a game like this, it proves to other people that haven't seen me play, it lets them know I can play."
If it wasn't clear before that this guy can play, Smith's play should silence all critics.
Disappointment of the Week: Tom Brady
The Buffalo Bills Sunday were able to break a 15-game losing streak to the New England Patriots, and they were helped in a major way by the passing errors of Tom Brady
While Tom Brady's play has been spectacular in the New England Patriots early season success, his second half against the Bills was abysmal.
After cruising to three touchdowns in the first half, Brady finished the game with four interceptions, matching his total for all of last season.
Of course, the word disappointment has to be used relatively. Brady was only 13 yards away from becoming the first player in a row to throw for 400 passing yards in three straight games.
Surprise of the Week: The Undefeated
Adam Bettcher/Getty Images
I would have laughed if you told me before the season started that the last four unbeaten teams in the league would be the Detroit Lions, Buffalo Bills, Green Bay Packers (OK that's not a huge surprise) and the Washington Redskins (who battle the Dallas Cowboys Monday night).
While it unlikely this is a sign that the balance of power in the league is shifting, the early success all points to the same conclusion. When you make fewer mistakes than your opponent, you will always have a good shot to win.
MVP: Joe Flacco
Jeff Curry/Getty Images
The Baltimore Ravens stomped the St. Louis Rams today, and the only thing more prominent than quarterback Joe Flacco's passing numbers were his eyebrows.
Throwing three touchdowns in the first quarter, Flacco led the team to 30 unanswered points before the Ram could get on the board.
A great game overall for a quarterback and a team that is looking to make a statement in the AFC North.
LVP: Mike Kafka
Chris Trotman/Getty Images
With the Philadelphia Eagles looking for production out of the quarterback position with the possibility of starter Michael Vick out with an injured hand, the Eagles sputtered with backup Mike Kafka.
He got off to a lousy start, with his first pass being picked off easily by Aaron Ross.
He didn't finish much better, ending the day completing four of seven passes for 35 yards and two interceptions.
Can somebody find Vince Young (and not his impostor)?
Listen to featured columnist Gordon Block talk about his awards on the Outside the Pocket podcast with Bleacher Report front page editor Thomas Emerick.