Chiefs QB Mahomes tops early honors list
Mack, Kamara also get awards for first quarter
Aaron Rodgers’ incredible comeback against the Chicago Bears in Week 1 feels like an afterthought. That’s how wild the first month of the NFL season was.
NFL offenses set records in points scored (3,030), total touchdowns (344) and touchdown passes (228) through four weeks.
There were two ties and a handful of other down-to-the-wire overtime games. Thirty-eight games were decided by eight points or fewer, the most in league history through Week 4.
Many players have stood out amid the dramatic finishes. Here are the award winners for the first quarter of the season:
Most Valuable Player Patrick Mahomes, QB, Chiefs
ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” crew tried its hardest last week to make “Showtime” Mahomes stick.
Stop it. No need to give the second-year quarterback an overused moniker. His play is turning him into a household name.
Mahomes arguably had the best September of any QB in NFL history. He leads the league in touchdown passes with 14 and hasn’t thrown an interception. His QB rating of 126.5 ranks second in the league behind Jared Goff ’s 127.3.
Mahomes turned many doubters into believers after he led the Chiefs to a 10-point fourth-quarter comeback against the Broncos last week to remain undefeated.
Defensive Player of the Year Khalil Mack, OLB, Bears
It’s rare when a defensive player garners MVP chatter. Mack has done just that in his first season with the Bears and is on pace to become a unanimous Defensive Player of the Year recipient.
Mack is first in the league in forced fumbles (four) and second in sacks (five). He also has 17 combined tackles and an interception return for a touchdown.
Mack’s arrival turned the Bears from a top-10 defense into arguably the league’s best after four games. The Raiders badly miss their former defensive star.
Offensive Player of the Year Alvin Kamara, RB, Saints
There’s a strong case to be made that Kamara is the best running back in the league. Todd Gurley, Ezekiel Elliott and Le’Veon Bell are dominant running backs, but they aren’t as dynamic as Kamara, who can run through linebackers and outrun the best cornerbacks.
Kamara has a league-best 611 yards from scrimmage. He ranks third in receptions with 35 and has five rushing touchdowns. There’s nothing he can’t do, and he proved he’s a three-down back with Mark Ingram suspended for the first four games.
Coach of the Year Mike Vrabel, Titans
If it wasn’t for a strange seven-hour game in Week 1 against the Dolphins, Vrabel probably would have been perfect in his first month with the Titans.
The 3-1 Titans have signature wins over the Jaguars and Eagles. Vrabel outcoached the Texans in a Week 2 victory with Blaine Gabbert as the starting quarterback.
Vrabel has the defense playing at a high level, and offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur is giving Marcus Mariota creative play calls. The Titans might be real contenders in the AFC.
Offensive Rookie of the Year Phillip Lindsay, RB, Broncos
This was a tough choice, and most likely a quarterback will win it at the end of the season, but Lindsay deserves some love after the first quarter.
The undrafted running back from Colorado is more than just a thirddown back. He leads the Broncos in carries (45) and rushing yards (267). He’s leading all rookies in rushing yards.
Lindsay’s dangerous speed adds another dimension to the Broncos’ offense. The one-two punch of Lindsay and fellow rookie Royce Freeman is giving defenses fits.
Defensive Rookie of the Year Derwin James, safety, Chargers
It might not be crazy to say James is already one of the best safeties in football. The special ones make their presence felt in pass defense and rushing the quarterback. That’s what James brings to the Chargers.
James became the first defensive back in NFL history to record three sacks in his first four games. The No. 17 overall pick in the draft spent the first four weeks playing many positions.