Bleacher Report's NFL Awards Week 15: Handing out Hardware
Another week of NFL football is in the books, which means it's now time to hand out awards for the biggest moments of the week.
There was a lot to like about this week's action, including some clutch finishes, some dynamic performances and some electrifying game delays.
In addition to the standard awards for best and worst players and games, this week's awards also recognize the most painful play of the week and a special recognition for the use of some colorful language.
Here are the awards for the NFL's Week 15.
Game of the Week: Detroit Lions vs. Oakland Raiders
In a battle of two teams fighting desperately for a wild-card spot, the Detroit Lions were able to squeak out an incredible 28-27 victory over the Oakland Raiders.
While the Lions benefited greatly from wide receiver Calvin Johnson (who we'll talk about later), the much-criticized defensive end Ndamukong Suh blocked a 65-yard field goal attempt to seal the win. Throwing his helmet in the air in celebration, it was sweet way to make up for lost time.
With the win, the Lions now have a comfortable hold of an NFC wild-card spot. Inversely, the Raiders now face a must-win game against the Kansas City Chiefs (who had a big win of their own Sunday against the Green Bay Packers).
Honorable Mention: New England Patriots vs. Denver Broncos, San Francisco 49ers vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Stinker Game of the Week: Atlanta Falcons vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
I really dislike the NFL's move to screening games on its NFL Network on Thursday nights, but if they're going to show any games, I hope they're not ones like the Atlanta Falcons versus the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Falcons moved the ball with ease, scoring 41 unanswered points before putting on the brakes. The Jaguars, for their part, looked like kitty cats, as they gave up a dispiriting four turnovers.
Atlanta would take the easy win, 41-14.
Fake-out of the Week: Carolina Panthers
The Carolina Panthers were dominant Sunday against the Houston Texans, so much so that they were able to pull off a fumblerooski play.
Taking the snap, Panthers' quarterback Cam Newton slipped the ball between the legs of tight end Richie Brockel before sliding to the right (pulling the defense with him). With space to work, Brockel was able to get to the end zone for the seven-yard score.
After the game, Panthers head coach Ron Rivera said he got the idea for the play from the 1990s film Little Giants.
"Nice Catch Guy!" Award of the Week: Ahmad Bradshaw
New York Giants' quarterback Eli Manning got a lot of help from running back Ahmad Bradshaw, who was able to come down with this sensational catch that originally bounced off of his foot. With most of the Giants receivers having down days (talking to you Hakeem Nicks), Bradshaw's catch was surely appreciated.
Drop of the Week: Hakeem Nicks
New York Giants' wide receiver Hakeem Nicks must have been attempting to resurrect the memory of David Tyree Sunday, as he appeared to attempt to catch a perfect pass from quarterback Eli Manning off his face. Nicks' attempt fell a little short, as the ball fell harmlessly to the ground.
Had he been able to come down with the catch, it would have been a guaranteed touchdown. The points would've certainly been appreciated, as the Giants lost to the Washington Redskins 23-10.
"Ouch!" Award: Johnny Knox
The Chicago Bears' wide receiver had to undergo back surgery after taking this excruciating hit Sunday from the Seattle Seahawks' Anthony Hargrove, literally folding him backwards. Fortunately for Knox, it appears the injury is not career-threatening.
It was a rough day for the Chicago Bears Sunday, as they got whooped 38-14.
Shock of the Week: Candlestick Park
The much-anticipated matchup between the San Francisco 49ers and Pittsburgh Steelers featured two disruptive power delays, one right before kickoff, the other in the second half. The game was delayed by about 45 minutes overall.
Despite the delays, the 49ers' lights-out play allowed for an electrifying 20-3 win, keeping the team in the hunt for the No. 2 seed in the NFC. The 49ers also became the first team in NFL history to go 14 games in a season without allowing a rushing touchdown.
Sailor Award: Harvey Dahl
St. Louis Rams' guard Harvey Dahl may have been confused with a sailor on Sunday, as he vocally disagreed with the referee on a holding penalty.
"That's not F@#%$ holding!," Dahl exclaimed, in a shout to the ref that was unfortunately picked up on the stadiums public announcement system.
For the outburst, the Rams were given a penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct, tacked on to the previous holding penalty.
Read of the Week: Jason Gay
In this interesting write-up for the Wall Street Journal, writer Jason Gay profiles Paul Cunningham, who has been attempting to create the perfect football by using specially formed pieces of leather.
While its $120 price tag may be a bit high for most people's Christmas shopping list, it is certainly a unique attempt to rethink the part of the game many take for granted.
Upset of the Week: Indianapolis Colts vs. Tennessee Titans
With all due respect to the Kansas City Chiefs, who had a fantastic win over the undefeated Green Bay Packers Sunday, I was personally more surprised in the previously winless Indianapolis Colts' victory over the Tennessee Titans.
Led by a solid performance by running back Donald Brown (plus a non-terrible effort from quarterback Dan Orlovsky) to go with a dominating defensive effort, the Colts were able to lock down a 27-13 win.
The win was the first of the year for the Colts, whose play had many suspecting (myself included) that they would go completely winless.
Halftime Champion: Monkey Riding a Dog
It's a monkey riding a dog. Simple as that.
Done during halftime of the Denver Broncos' game against the New England Patriots, I sincerely hope this becomes a regular part of halftime performances across the league.
MVP: Calvin Johnson
Playoff dreams live and die in the performances of players who can step up to make the big play, and the Detroit Lions got a major effort out of wide receiver Calvin Johnson on Sunday.
Ending the game with nine receptions for 214 yards, he also added two touchdowns. His second was the most important, as he took in a six-yard touchdown with only 39 seconds which would give the Lions the win by a final score of 28-27.
LVP: Matt Hasselbeck
The Tennessee Titans, hanging on for dear life for a potential AFC wild-card spot, needed a win over the shoddy and winless Indianapolis Colts.
They couldn't make it happen, and a good deal of the finger-pointing in the loss has to go toward quarterback Matt Hasselbeck. Hasselbeck started the game with two ugly interceptions, which would lead to his benching.
Thrown into the game without warning, rookie quarterback Jake Locker struggled to get the team's offense rolling.
In a game that was a must-win, Hasselbeck let his team down.