Throughout the NFL season week in and week out, there are a select few players who rise above the rest with their performances. These select players are honored weekly for their effort with the Fedex air and ground player of the week award given to a quarterback and running back worthy of the honor. In addition to the weekly occurrence, the award has been expanded to award a top running back and quarterback for their yearly performance as voted by the fans. This year’s crop of quarterbacks and running backs consistently created highlight plays week in and week out ultimately making a very close competition for the honor.
”The guys around me are playing really well and when you have that, it kind of makes a quarterback look better,’’ explained Matt Ryan. With the best wide receiver in the game in Julio Jones catching passes Ryan has looked pretty good this season. Regardless of Jones, Ryan has needed no helping impressing as he has put together an MVP season and in large part the reason for the Falcons success this season. Leading the top offense in the league in terms of scoring, Ryan threw for 4,944 yards this season to go along with 38 TD’s and an 117.1 quarterback rating.
The ageless Drew Brees showed no signs of slowing down in his age 37 season for the New Orleans Saints. Although the Saints fell short of the playoffs once again Brees did all he could to bring them close throwing the ball for 5,208 yards with 37 TD’s and a 101.7 quarterback rating. Perhaps most impressive is that Brees was able to do this with a young roster around him including receivers Michael Thomas and Brandin Cooks.
Arugably the best quarterback in the NFL Rodgers did little to lessen that argument with his perfotrmance this past season. “Running the table,” Rodgers was able to shake off early season critics and get the Packers rolling into the playoffs and ultimately see them advance to the championship game. On the season Rodgers threw for 4,428 yards with 40 touchdowns and a 104.2 quarterback rating. Most impressive for Rodgers was what he was able to do down the stretch as he threw 18 touchdowns without an interception through the final seven games of the regular season.
With all the hype surround Elliot coming into the season any questions regarding if he could match it was quickly silenced. Running behind the best offensive line in the NFL Elliot quickly feasted on NFL defenses the same way he did at Ohio State. Leading the league in rushing and leading the Cowboys to the playoffs Elliot ended his rookie season with 1,631 yards on the ground this season to go along with 15 touchdowns. Through the air Elliot added on 363 yards receiving and one score.
Arguably the best player who receives the least amount of recognition Johnson put together another excellent season in Arizona. Compiling 15 straight games with over 100 total yards Johnson was a bright spot on a down Cardinals season. On the season Johnson rushed for 1,293 yards and 16 scores. What separates Johnson from other backs considered for the award such as Elliot is his skill as a receiver out of the backfield. Johnson hauled in 80 receptions on the season for 879 yards and four touchdowns, putting him in an elite class of his own.
1,268 yards rushing on the season and seven touchdowns, Bell was able to put up those numbers while missing four games this season due to suspension and rest. In an offense that includes Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown, Bell stands above the rest as he truly is what gives the Steelers that extra gear. In addition to his work on the ground Bell added 75 receptions for 616 yards and two scores.
Winners: Matt Ryan & Ezekiel Elliot
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