The National Football League has announced AFC and NFC player of the week honors for Week 1 of the 2021 season.
AFC Players of the Week
Quarterback Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs, defensive end Maxx Crosby of the Las Vegas Raiders and kicker Evan McPherson of the Cincinnati Bengals are the AFC Offensive, Defensive and Special Teams Players of the Week for games played on Kickoff Weekend 2021 (Sept. 9, 12-13).
OFFENSE: QB PATRICK MAHOMES, KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
Mahomes completed 27 of 36 pass attempts (75 pct.) for 337 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions for a 131.4 rating and added a rushing touchdown in Kansas City’s 33-29 comeback win against Cleveland.
This is the sixth-career Offensive Player of the Week Award for Mahomes:
●2018, Weeks 1-2
●2019, Week 2
●2020, Weeks 3, 8
●2021, Week 1
Mahomes has now won the most-ever Offensive Player of the Week Awards by a Chiefs quarterback, surpassing Pro Football Hall of Famer Joe Montana (five).
DEFENSE: DE MAXX CROSBY, LAS VEGAS RAIDERS
Crosby registered six tackles, two sacks and two tackles for loss in the Las Vegas’ overtime comeback victory over Baltimore on Monday Night Football.
This is the second-career Defensive Player of the Week Award for Crosby and third overall Player of the Week Award:
●2019, Week 11 (Defense)
●2020, Week 17 (Special Teams)
●2021, Week 1 (Defense)
Crosby’s three Defensive Player of the Week Awards are the most-ever by a former Eastern Michigan player.
SPECIAL TEAMS: K EVAN MCPHERSON, CINCINNATI BENGALS
In McPherson’s first-career game, he converted a 53-yard field goal in the fourth quarter, and then the game-winning 33-yard field goal as time expired in Cincinnati’s overtime victory over Minnesota.
He became the second rookie kicker in NFL history to kick a game-winning field goal with no time remaining in overtime, joining Jason Sanders (October 14, 2018). At 22 years and 53 days old, he also became the youngest kicker in NFL history to kick a game-winner in overtime.
McPherson becomes the first rookie kicker to win Special Teams Player of the Week since Indianapolis’ Rodrigo Blankenship in Week 11 of the 2020 season and joins Doug Pelfrey (Week 13, 1993) as the only Cincinnati rookie kickers to earn the honor.
NFC Players of the Week
Quarterback Matthew Stafford of the Los Angeles Rams, linebacker Chandler Jones of the Arizona Cardinals and punter Bradley Pinion of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the NFC Offensive, Defensive and Special Teams Players of the Week for games played on Kickoff Weekend 2021.
OFFENSE: QB MATTHEW STAFFORD, LOS ANGELES RAMS
Making his Rams debut, Stafford completed 20 of 26 pass attempts (76.9 pct.) for 321 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions for a 156.1 rating in Los Angeles’ Sunday Night Football victory over Chicago.
This is Stafford’s second-career Offensive Player of the Week Award (2009, Week 11).
He becomes the first former Georgia Bulldog quarterback to win the award multiple times.
DEFENSE: LB CHANDLER JONES, ARIZONA CARDINALS
Jones registered six tackles, five sacks, four tackles for loss and two forced fumbles in a historic Kickoff Weekend performance, becoming the third player since 1982 to record at least five sacks in Week 1.
This is the fifth-career Player of the Week Award for Jones and fourth with the Cardinals:
●2014, Week 2
●2018, Week 5
●2019, Weeks 7, 16
●2021, Week 1
Jones ties Adrian Wilson (four) for the most-ever Defensive Player of the Year Awards by a Cardinal.
Jones joins Dwight Freeney (six) as the only former Syracuse players to earn Defensive Player of the Week five times.
SPECIAL TEAMS: P BRADLEY PINION, TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
In the league’s annual primetime Kickoff game on Thursday against Dallas, Pinion’s four punts averaged 49.3 yards, with a net average of 45.8. Three of his four punts landed inside the 10-yard line.
This is the second-career Player of the Week Award for Pinion (Week 9, 2018) and first with the Buccaneers.
Pinion becomes the first Tampa Bay punter to earn the honor since Bryan Anger (Week 17, 2016).
He joins Chris Gardocki (two) as the only former Clemson Tiger punters to earn the award multiple times.