Air supremacy often dominates the modern game of football. In Week 9, it dominated the game's award winners.
Fan of quarterbacks? You'll be pleased to see who takes home the NFC hardware. Supporter of wide receivers? Well, why don't we direct you to our first honoree? His name is Eugene Marquis, but you might know him as T.Y. Hilton.
The Colts receiver was the focal point of an Indianapolis offense that saw quarterback Jacoby Brissett post his best overall game in blue and white, completing 20 of 30 passes for 308 yards and two touchdowns. More than half of those 308 yards were gained by receptions made by Hilton, who caught five passes for 175 yards and two touchdowns in a 20-14 win over the Texans. His performance was good enough to be recognized as AFC Offensive Player of the Week.
On the defensive side in the AFC, shine a little light on the New York Jets and linebacker Jordan Jenkins. The outside linebacker recorded two sacks and forced a fumble in the Jets' surprising victory over the Buffalo Bills on Thursday Night Football, sparking a defense that had fallen on hard times in recent weeks and earning AFC Defensive Player of the Week. His sack of Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor pinned Buffalo deep in its own territory in early in the first quarter and set the tone for a much-needed victory.
In the college football world, Washington's Dante Pettis made history last weekend, setting the all-time record for most punt-return touchdowns in a career. A fellow Husky who's now toiling in the NFL on special teams for the Jacksonville Jaguars did his own damage in the return game this week.
Jaydon Mickens returned a punt 63 yards for a touchdown against the Cincinnati Bengals, which served as the proverbial dagger in Jacksonville's 23-7 win in Week 9 and also earned him AFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors. A quick dive into the Next Gen Stats reveal Mickens hit a max speed of 19.62 mph on the run. Sprint on, young fella.
We gave the front-page treatment to Jared Goff on Tuesday, and the league gave him the NFC Offensive Player of the Week after his 14-of-22, 311-yard, four-touchdown light show against the New York Giants. Goff's air prowess powered an offense that put up the ol' 50-burger on the Giants in a blowout win.
On the other side of the ball, Karlos Dansby is the latest NFL veteran to join Tom Brady in the public fight against Father Time. The longtime linebacker has shown he has a penchant for picking off opposing quarterbacks, and even at 36 years old, managed to do it again, intercepting C.J. Beathard in a win over the San Francisco 49ers. His interception and play Sunday was good enough for NFC Defensive Player of the Week. Cast that football in bronze.
Finally, we finish with New Orleans Saints special teamer Justin Hardee, who sprinted between two blockers to deny Bryan Anger a chance to send the football soaring through the Mercedes-Benz Superdome air. Hardee capped his blocked punt by catching it and taking it to the house for six points. The play was worthy of NFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors. Not bad for a rookie.