As the NFL regular season is approaching its conclusion, second-season sensation New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley has begun to look exactly like the phenom he was during his NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year campaign.
His latest outing was his best of the season and he garnered NFC Offensive Player of the Week honors.
The Week 16 Players of the Week were released on Thursday, due to the Christmas holiday, and Barkley and his quintet of fellow honorees' performances were worth the wait.
In the Giants' 41-35 overtime victory over the Redskins, Barkley produced a franchise-record 279 scrimmage yards, as he ran for a season-high 189 yards on 22 carries (8.6 yards-per-carry average) with a touchdown. He added another score on one of his four catches for 90 yards in an all-around phenomenal day. This is Barkley's second POTW honor, but the first this season.
For the eighth time in an adventurous 15-year career, Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick drew a POTW accolade and for the fifth time, he is the AFC Offensive Player of the Week. In a thrilling 38-35 overtime win over the Dolphins on Sunday, Fitzpatrick threw for a season-high 419 yards and season-best four touchdowns. He completed 31-of-52 attempts, racked up a 103.0 quarterback rating and led the Dolphins to their fourth win, all with him as the starter.
NFC Defensive Player of the Week was no surprise at all, as Arizona Cardinals pass rusher Chandler Jones turned in a monster outing in a 27-13 win over the Seahawks. Jones had four sacks, two forced fumbles and six tackles. It was Jones' seventh game in a row with at least 0.5 sacks. This is Jones' second NFC Defensive Player of the Week accolade this season and his fourth POTW honor overall.
Denver Broncos defensive end Dre'Mont Jones had the best game of his rookie season and earned AFC Defensive Player of the Week in the process. In a 27-17 win over the Lions on Sunday, Jones tallied five tackles, 2.5 sacks, three quarterback hits and two tackles for loss -- all of his numbers were season-bests.
Indianapolis Colts punt returner Nyheim Hines had an all-time performance Sunday in his team's 38-6 win over the Panthers and was justly rewarded as the AFC Special Teams Player of the Week. Hines had three punt returns for 195 yards, including spectacular 84- and 71-yard returns for touchdowns. He became just the fifth player in NFL history with two punt returns of 70 or more yards for touchdowns in a game, set a Colts record with 195 total return yards in a game and was the first player in the league since 2012 to score twice in a game on punt returns.
Clutch as ever, San Francisco 49ers kicker Robbie Gould lined up and promptly delivered a 33-yard game-winning field goal as the game ended Sunday with San Francisco defeating the Rams, 34-31. Gould hit on both his field goals and all four of his extra points as his 10 total points sent L.A. into playoff elimination.