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NFL Report: Midseason Individual Awards



Even if Mike Shanahan did backtrack on a stunningly candid statement, Washington is one of a half-dozen or more NFL cities that are already thinking about 2013. (Whether he’ll be there as part of it is another issue.)

Still, most of the league is focused on getting hot for the second half of a wildly unpredictable season. Before then, though, let’s take a breath and reward the best of the first nine weeks.

  • MVP: Matt Ryan, QB, Falcons

    He’s the quarterback of the NFL’s only unbeaten team, and he’s hardly a game manager. He’s third in the NFL in passer rating (103.0), fourth in touchdown passes (17, with six interceptions), and Sunday’s win over Dallas marked his third fourth-quarter rally of the season.

    Runners-up: Peyton Manning, Broncos; Matt Schaub and J.J. Watt, Texans.

  • Offensive player: Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay

    Look, defense isn’t part of his job description. The Packers may have lost three times as many games as they did all last season, but they’re still in the rugged NFC North race thanks to Rodgers’ NFL-high 25 touchdown passes.

    Runners-up: Manning; Drew Brees, Saints; Adrian Peterson, Vikings.

  • Defensive player: Charles Tillman, CB, Bears

    It’s tempting to pick Texans defensive end J.J. Watt, who leads the NFL with 10 sacks. But Tillman’s performance Sunday against the Titans puts him over the top. He forced four fumbles (giving him seven for the season), and he has two of Chicago’s seven interception returns for touchdowns.

    Runners-up: Watt; Lance Briggs, Bears; Chad Greenway, Vikings.

  • Coach: Bruce Arians, Colts

    Indianapolis was already making great progress before head coach Chuck Pagano was diagnosed with leukemia (which is now in remission). But the Colts haven’t missed a beat with the veteran Arians in charge, winning two straight.

    Runners-up: Mike Smith, Atlanta; Gary Kubiak, Houston.

  • Offensive rookie: Andrew Luck, QB, Colts

    Robert Griffin III had a lock on this until the past two weeks, when he and his team have struggled. Meanwhile, Luck has led the Colts to a 5–3 record and set a rookie mark with 433 passing yards against Miami.

    Runners-up: Griffin and Alfred Morris, Redskins; Doug Martin, Buccaneers; Russell Martin, Seahawks.

  • Defensive rookie: Chandler Jones, DE, Patriots

    He has a team-high six sacks and three forced fumbles for a defense that has needed every one of them.

    Runners-up: Luke Kuechly, Panthers; Bobby Wagner, Seahawks; Casey Hayward, Packers.

  • Comeback player: Peyton Manning, Broncos

    Adrian Peterson’s recovery from a catastrophic injury to lead the NFL in rushing is remarkable. But he didn’t miss an entire season, then join a new team (as Manning did) and show almost no rust. Any questions?

    Runner-up: Peterson.

  • Most disappointing

    Team: Eagles. Player: (tie) Mark Sanchez, Jets, and Michael Vick, Eagles. Coach: Jason Garrett, Cowboys. Rookie: Justin Martin, Jaguars.


    Struggling at 2–5, The Pick will take a flier on the well-rested Jets (6-point road underdogs) to cross the country and surprise Seattle.

    Steve DeShazo: 540/374-5443


      1. Falcons (8–0)

      Defense getting healthier.

      2. Texans (7–1)

      Bears are a good test.

      3. Bears (7–1)

      Best offense: stout defense.

      4. 49ers (6–2)

      Off-field issue for A. Smith.

      5. Steelers (5–3)

      Defense is finding form.

      6. Packers (6–3)

      Five division tests remain.

      7. Ravens (6–2)

      As good as their record?

      8. Giants (6–3)

      Eli’s not very sharp lately.

      9. Broncos (5–3)

      Schedule ahead is forgiving.

      10. Patriots (5–3)

      Talib should help defense.

      11. Colts (5–3)

      The NFL’s best story line.

      12. Seahawks (5–4)

      Lynch carried the load.

      13. Dolphins (4–4)

      Struggling in fourth quarter.

      14. Lions (4–4)

      The best last-place team.

      15. Vikings (5–4)

      Schedule ahead is brutal.

      16. Buccaneers (4–4)

      RB Martin is a real find.

      17. Saints (3–5)

      Poised for a playoff push.

      18. Cowboys (3–5)

      Sean Payton’s next stop?

      19. Chargers (4–4)

      Norv’s job hardly secure.

      20. Cardinals (4–5)

      Pass protection is porous.

      21. Raiders (3–5)

      Injuries galore at RB.

      22. Bengals (3–5)

      Struggle to hold late leads.

      23. Jets (3–5)

      Powerless before, after storm.

      24. Eagles (3–5)

      ‘Panic’ is such an ugly word.

      25. Redskins (3–6)

      Scrutiny starts with coaches.

      26. Bills (3–5)

      Abandoned running game.

      27. Rams (3–5)

      Progress is steady but slow.

      28. Panthers (2–6)

      Redskins cured their ills.

      29. Titans (3–6)

      Owner blows a gasket.

      30. Browns (2–7)

      Red-zone issues remain.

      31. Chiefs (1–7)

      Crennel’s days numbered.

      32. Jaguars (1–7)

      Would L.A. want this team?