2011 NFL Season: 1st Quarter MVP Awards
It’s been a crazy start to the 2011 NFL season.
We have a “Dream Team” that looks more like an “In-Your-Dreams Team” and we have 4-0 teams that are used to being 0-4.
But through all the confusion, there are those players who have made an early, indelible mark on the beginning of the season. Whether they are throwing, catching, running or tackling, these handful of players have stood out as men amongst boys.
Now that we are four games into the season, it is time to take a look at these players who have been lights-out and made significant contributions to their teams.
I Put the Team on My Back Award – Matt Forte, RB, Chicago Bears
Let’s face it. When you account for over half of your team’s total yards, chances are you are doing something right.
With Matt Forte, it seems like he is doing everything right.
Not only has he accounted for 634 of the Chicago Bears 1,231 total yards, but he has been both their leading rusher and receiver. Critics may point to the team’s lowly arsenal of wide receivers or woeful offensive line as reasons for Forte’s success, but the fact of the matter is that this RB is simply on a different playing field.
Just last week, Forte etched his name into Bears history. With his 205 rushing yards against the Carolina Panthers, he now joins Walter Payton and Gale Sayers as the only players in team history to rush for more than 200 yards in one game.
Which begs the question: If Forte now joins the ranks of some of the Bears' most decorated players, why on earth would OC Mike Martz not dish him the rock more often?
Just Throw Me the Ball Award – TIE: Wes Welker and Calvin Johnson
Never in my young years have I seen two wide receivers dominate the game in two distinctly different ways.
First there is Wes Welker, he of the 40 receptions and 616 receiving yards. And that is in four games.
Now fully recovered from his knee injury, Welker has elevated his game and is playing perhaps the best football of his career.
His quickness is unmatched and he dominates the middle of the field. Oh, and it doesn’t hurt to have Tom Brady throwing to you.
Then there is the man they call Megatron.
In a quarter of a season, Calvin Johnson has singlehandedly made fools of both critics and coaches alike, struck fear into the hearts of cornerbacks and caught 8 touchdowns.
That is a ridiculous two touchdowns per game for those of you keeping track at home.
This physical specimen has always had the height, speed and hands needed to be successful in the NFL. Now, he finally has a franchise quarterback to throw him the ball.
By the end of this season, it is entirely possible that these two studs end up rewriting the record books.
They Hear My Footsteps Award – Jason Babin, DE, Philadelphia Eagles
For those of you who thought Jason Babin was a one-hit wonder: shame on you.
Babin has started the year on fire, lighting up all offensive lines that get in his way.
Not only does he have at least one sack in each game this season, but his seven leads the league. This sack specialist is on a torrid pace right now, on his way to 28 sacks to finish the season.
And with the Philadelphia Eagles’ defensive line battered and injured, Babin will have to maintain his dominance if his team hopes to rebound from its current 1-3 record.
He may not be playing on a “Dream Team,” but he sure has been a nightmare for quarterbacks this season.
Shoulda Been No. 1 Overall Award – Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Washington Redskins
While there have been numerous rookies who have already made significant contributions to their team, none has made more of an impact than Ryan Kerrigan.
Kerrigan started the season on a huge note, making a pick-six against the New York Giants that helped the Redskins win the game.
From there, he has simply refused to stop being a game-changer. On the season, the kid from Purdue has notched 2 sacks, 3 passes defended and 2 forced fumbles.
He is a big part of the reason why the Redskins are a surprising 3-1 to begin the season and he shows no signs of slowing down.
Don’t be surprised to see him end up as Defensive Rookie of the Year.
I’ve Got The Moves Like Jagger Award – Tony Scheffler, TE, Detroit Lions
Time for a little fun.
Through four games, we have been entertained by numerous players as they dance their way into the end zone. Tony Scheffler tops all of them.
Leading the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 13-10 in the second quarter of a Week 1 game, the Lions found themselves 11 yards away from another touchdown.
After Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford found him at the goal line, Scheffler and his swashbuckling moves took over. After the score, Scheffler mimed taking out his rapier and engaged in some good-humored fencing practice.
Who needs Dancing with the Stars when you get dance moves like this every Sunday?