Hardest Working Man  


New York Giants' David Wilson sends message to NFC

  • By Jim Reineking NFL.com
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These guys might not be carrying a lunch pail and to the stadium each week, but they did bring an industrious, blue-collar, working-man approach to Week 14. Take a look at all the nominees, then vote in the poll at the bottom of the right column for your choice for the Hardest-Working Man.

Jason Avant, Philadelphia Eagles

Avant had seven catches for 133 yards in the Eagles' 23-21 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. However, two of those catches were absolutely vital to the team's first win since September. Avant's one-handed catch was the highlight of the game. His final catch of the game went for 22 yards on a fourth-and-five situation as the game clock was ticking down its final seconds. That play set up the game-winning touchdown from Nick Foles to Jeremy Maclin that ended the Eagles' embarrassing eight-game losing streak, the longest for the franchise since an 11-game slide in 1968.

Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks beastmoded the Arizona Cardinals for an emphatic 58-0 win that was the 10th-largest shutout in the history of the NFL (the largest, of course, is the 73-0 win for the Chicago Bears over the Washington Redskins in the 1940 NFL Championship Game). In the massive dumptrucking of a reeling division rival, the Seahawks got mammoth contributions from a number of players. Richard Sherman and Bobby Wagner each had two interceptions apiece. Sherman also collected one of four fumble recoveries as the Seahawks' defense had eight takeaways in the rout. Lynch tied a career high with three touchdown runs and rushed for a season-high 128 yards. The Seahawks set a franchise record for points in the game, besting the previous mark of 56 set in a 56-17 win over the Buffalo Bills during the 1977 season.

Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers

Newton and the Panthers put aside a frustrating season to administer a 30-20 beatdown of the NFC South division champion Atlanta Falcons. Newton rushed for a career-high 116 yards as the Panthers adquired 475 total offensive yards. The win ended a five-game losing streak against the Falcons, and added a badge of honor for a team with little left to play for in a season that opened with so much promise. Newton threw for two touchdowns and ran for another on a 72-yard scamper that ended with a somersault into the end zone.

Aldon Smith, San Francisco 49ers

With three games left to play, Smith is already the 49ers' all-time single-season sack leader and three sacks short of Michael Strahan's record of 22.5 set in 2001. In the 49ers' 27-13 win over the Miami Dolphins, Smith had two sacks to run his season total to 19.5 sacks and eclipse Fred Dean's franchise record of 17.5 set in 1983. Smith also now has 33.5 sacks in his first two NFL seasons, which is the most by any player since sacks became an official statistic in 1982 (Reggie White had 31 sacks from 1985-86 for the Philadelphia Eagles).

David Wilson, New York Giants

The Giants got a major contribution from an unlikely source, the rookie Wilson, in a crucial 52-27 win over the visiting New Orleans Saints. The triumph kept the Giants on top of the NFC East after a Sunday during which every team in the division was victorious. Wilson's emergence might just send a message to potential playoff opponents of the Giants. Wilson delivered a career day against the Saints, returning a kickoff for a touchdown, rushing for 100 yards and two more touchdowns, and collecting a team-record 327 all-purpose yards.

Follow Jim Reineking on Twitter @jimreineking.



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