A wild and wacky and entertaining regular season filled with franchise quarterbacks young and old lighting up scoreboards and officiating blunders comes to an end, but not before the annual Serby Says awards are handed out:
Patrick Mahomes (Chiefs)
Heading into Sunday, Mahmomes has 4,816 yards passing, 48 touchdowns against 11 interceptions, that switch-to-the-left-hand-while-Von-Miller-is-chasing-you completion to Tyreek Hill, those off-schedule sidearm missiles. Everyone welcome the young Brett Favre.
Drew Brees (Saints)
A career-best 74.4 completion percentage, 32 TDs against five INTs and he would have notched a 12th consecutive 4,000-yard season if he wasn’t sitting out Sunday against the Panthers. DB9.
Aaron Donald (Rams)
Set new record for sacks (19.5) by a defensive tackle. That gives him 58.5 in 77 career games. Would have loved to have seen him in the trenches against John Hannah.
Matt Nagy (Bears)
By a nose, over a worthy field that includes Anthony Lynn, Andy Reid, Frank Reich, Pete Carroll and Sean Payton. But in a division ruled lately by the Packers and Vikings, Nagy developed second-year quarterback Mitch Trubisky enough to fashion a worst-to-first story in the Windy City.
Andrew Luck (Colts) and J.J. Watt (Texans)
Who else but Luck can miss a year and throw 36 TDs against 14 INTs and bring the Colts back? And who else but Watt could rebound from a fractured leg and back surgery to register 14.5 sacks at the age of 29?
Saquon Barkley (Giants)
Rookie’s offensive numbers are impressive and the season isn’t over. He has 244 carries for 1,198 yards and 10 TDs rushing and has 87 receptions for 688 yards and four TDs receiving. Dave Gettleman was right: touched by the hand of God — perhaps the only One who could tackle this big man with a small man’s move in the open field. Gold-jacket guy if he stays healthy.
Darius Leonard (Colts)
This 155-tackle linebacker with seven sacks, seven pass defenses and an interception edges out safety Derwin James and outside linebacker Bradley Chubb (12 sacks).
Ryan Pace (Bears)
He might have picked the wrong quarterback from the Class of 2017 (Mitch Trubisky over Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson), but he picked the right head coach (Matt Nagy) to groom Trubisky, and his bold trade for Khalil Mack and drafting of LB Roquan Smith gives defensive coordinator Vic Fangio a feared defense. Chris Ballard (Colts) deserves consideration — after getting jilted by Josh McDaniel, he got the right head coach (Frank Reich) for Andrew Luck, kept the right defensive coordinator (Matt Eberflus) and drafted Quenton Nelson and Darius Leonard, and signed TE Eric Ebron.
Biggest Surprise (player)
James Conner (Steelers)
Enters Sunday with 909 yards rushing, 52 receptions, 13 overall TDs filling void left by Le’Veon Bell before high ankle sprain sidelined him the last three weeks.
Biggest Surprise (team)
Since we awarded Nagy Coach of the Year, we’ll bypass the Bears and give it to Indianapolis, expected to bring up the rear in the AFC South, just ahead of the Seahawks, who were left for dead following the dissolution of the Legion of Boom.
Biggest Disappointment (player)
John Elway’s marquee free-agent quarterback didn’t live up to his two-year, $36 million contract (17 TDs, 14 INTs).
Biggest Disappointment (team)
Mutiny on Doug Marrone’s Bounty one season after reaching AFC Championship. A slow start next season could compel Tom Coughlin to answer the siren call of the sideline. … His birthday is in August, but don’t forget, 73 is the new 72.
Let’s go with the ticky-tack end-zone pass interference called on Joe Haden against Alvin Kamara. To his credit, Mike Tomlin did not blame the zebras for losing to the Saints. But something needs to be done about the officiating. Someone is about to get screwed in the playoffs.
The Edwin Moses
The Cowboys RB’s leap over of Tre Sullivan for a 32-yard run against the Eagles gets the nod over Christian McCaffrey’s hurdle over Carlton Davis, Josh Allen’s hurdle over Anthony Barr, Saquon Barkley’s hurdle over Adrian Amos and Kareem Hunt’s hurdle over Will Parks.
Matt Eberflus (Colts)
His ball-stripping defense is young and fast.
Kenyan Drake’s 50-yard game-ending TD run past a stumbling Rob Gronkowski at the end of a hook-and-ladder that stunned Bill Belichick and the Patriots.
The dark underside of that crazy Rams-Chiefs offensive epic
In the moment? Damn. In the moment, it was spectacular,…
Rams 54, Chiefs 51. If they meet in the Super Bowl, bet the UNDER. The Total will be astronomical.
49ers 34, Raiders 3. At least $100 million helps Chucky Gruden get over losing to Nick Mullens.
JuJu Smith-Schuster (Steelers)
Became a hero to the fantasy football world when he vowed in a tweet to tough it out with a groin injury he suffered two days before the Saints game:
“A lot on the line this week. The whole season comes down to this. Yes, I’m talking about the fantasy football championship round. Of course I’m playing Sunday!!! Theres no way I can let down the real ones who believed in me by drafting me!! Let’s get it!!”
Best TD Celebration
Tyler Lockett (Seahawks)
Hitting Doug Baldwin with a pitch.
Anthony Lynn (Chargers)
The head coach went for the win and got it on the road against the Chiefs when Philip Rivers hit Mike Williams with the two-point conversion with four seconds remaining.
The Mike Tyson
Leonard Williams (Jets)
For punching Bryan Bulaga. But at least he didn’t bite his ear.
Odell Beckham Jr. (Giants)
Odell Beckham just doesn't like water and it's causing problems
Another Odell Beckham Jr. controversy has begun. This time it…
Revealed that he hates water. Just hope that on his way to the stage to collect his award, he doesn’t need an I.V.
Mark Sanchez (Redskins)
Best impersonation of a quarterback, against the Giants.
Matt Bosher, Falcons
The Atlanta punter for his hit on Kenjon Barber.
The Kindergarten Cop
Matt Patricia (Lions)
The coach for having the gall to denigrate an inquisitive reporter’s posture at a press conference.
The Marion Motley
Derrick Henry (Titans)
Tennessee’s RB’s 99-yard runaway train TD vs Jaguars.
The Kirk Cousins “You like that?”
Baker Mayfield (Browns)
The rookie’s stare down of Bengals assistant Hue Jackson, his head coach at the start of the season.
Ryan Fitzmagic. And Ryan Fitztragic.