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Tom Brady, David Johnson are Players of the Month

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  • By Mark E. Ortega NFL.com
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Who else could be the AFC Offensive Player of the Month but Patriots quarterback Tom Brady?

Brady returned from a four-game suspension to post numbers in line with being his career best. He's thrown 12 touchdowns passes against zero interceptions for 1,319 yards and a 73.13 completion percentage. The Patriots are 4-0 since Brady returned to the field and New England is currently holding the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoff picture. Brady has the most Player of the Month awards in NFL history after earning his ninth.

NFC Offensive Player of the Month honors go to Cardinals running back David Johnson. In five games, Johnson averaged 145.2 yards rushing and receiving per game with five touchdowns to go with it. Johnson would be a leading MVP candidate if Arizona were a team with a winning record right now -- he's been as much a part of a team's offense as anyone in the league. He's the first running back in franchise history to earn the monthly award.

The AFC Defensive Player of the Month goes to the unlikeliest of heroes. Bills pass-rusher Lorenzo Alexander tallied six sacks in five games for Buffalo, to go along with two passes defensed and a forced fumble. The 33-year old Alexander entered the league as a tight end in 2007 and had never tallied more than 2.5 sacks in a single season before joining Buffalo this year. He's been a true Cinderella story in Buffalo and as much of a reason as any that they're fighting for a playoff spot.

NFC Defensive Player of the Month go to Seahawks defensive end Cliff Avril. The ninth-year veteran has 6.5 sacks with two forced fumbles and three passes defensed. Avril is on pace to match his career-best numbers he posted in 2011 with the Lions when he notched 11 sacks.

Ageless wonder Adam Vinatieri earned the AFC Special Teams Player of the Month award. The 43-year old Colts kicker was 12-of-12 in October with 13 extra points and he set the NFL record for consecutive makes when he notched his 43rd straight field goal in a win over the Titans. His fifth monthly award ties him for most in NFL history.

Fellow fortysomething field-goal kicker Matt Bryant of the Falcons won NFC Special Teams Player of the Month. Bryant was 11 of 12 with 17 extra points in October. Bryant joins Hall of Fame kicker Morten Andersen as the only kicker in Falcons history to win multiple Special Teams Player of the Month awards.

Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott and Chargers pass-rusher Joey Bosa earned Rookie of the Month honors. Elliott is on pace for one of the best seasons ever by a running back -- not just for a rookie. Bosa missed the first handful of games but returned to the lineup to post impressive numbers, particularly when it came to getting pressure on the quarterback.

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