Around the NFL

DeMarco Murray, J.J. Watt lead Players of the Month

DeMarco Murray has been a wrecking ball for the first month of the season. Guiding the Dallas Cowboys to a 3-1 start and earning the running back the NFC's Offensive Player of the Month award for September.

Murray leads the NFL in rushing with 534 yards on the ground through four games -- a whopping 156 yards more than the next running back.

Behind one of the NFL's best offensive lines, Murray became just the fourth player in NFL history to record 100-plus rushing yards and at least one rushing touchdown in each of the first four games of a season, joining Jim Brown, O.J. Simpson and Emmitt Smith.

On Sunday, Murray will face off against the AFC's Defensive Player of the Month, J.J. Watt.

Watt won the award with a dominating September, carrying the Houston Texans to a 3-1 start. The defensive lineman has nine total tackles, two sacks, three pass attempts and an interception he rumbled 80 yards for a touchdown -- turning the tide of the game.

According to Pro Football Focus, Watt has 32 quarterback pressures this season. That number would have put Watt in Top 20 among 3-4 defensive ends for the entire 2013 season. Through the first four games of 2014, Watt has the most pressures among 3-4 defensive ends by an eye-opening 17. Among all defensive players, Watt is still well ahead of second-place Dwight Freeney, with 22.

When Watt meets Murray in the hole Sunday that should be a fun collision.

Other September winners:

AFC

Offense: QB Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers: He completed 70.1 percent of passes and led the Chargers to a 3-1 record -- including defeating the defending Super Bowl champions. Compiled 1,155 yards passing, nine touchdowns to one interception and a 114.5 passer rating.

Special Teams: P Pat McAfee, Indianapolis Colts: McAfee has two successful onside kicks in four weeks. He averages 49.6 yards per punt and has given up just 36 return yards on punts, with six downed inside the 20-yard line.

NFC

Defense: LB DeAndre Levy, Detroit Lions: Levy has 25 tackles, three passes defensed, an interception and a safety for the NFL's No. 1 defense in September.

Special Teams: P Jon Ryan, Seattle Seahawks: The booming kicker has forced seven punts to be downed inside the 20 in just three games and has drawn five fair catches. Ryan has given up just 21 return yards on punts.

NFL Rookies of Month

Offense: WR Kelvin Benjamin, Carolina Panthers: Leads all rookies with 329 receiving yards on 21 receptions with three touchdowns.

Defense: CB Kyle Fuller, Chicago Bears: Tied for the NFL lead in interceptions (3). Also has compiled 22 tackles to go with his four passes defensed.

*The latest Around The NFL Podcast previews "Thursday Night Football" and discusses the biggest surprises in the season's first quarter. *

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