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Friday, 27 September 2013

TPL Weekly Awards - Week 3

Week 3 in the NFL saw a number of outstanding games, some shocking results, and a few teams started to show their true colours. Amongst the headline makers, we've again picked out the best and worst performances from the week's action, as well as hailing an unsung OL hero. Our week 3 MVP, LVP and O-lineman of the Week are after the jump.

Most Valuable Player, Week 3: Spencer Lanning, P, Cleveland Browns
 Also nominated: Jordan Cameron

Punters are people too. And in week 3, a punter was a game changer.

In the lead up to their game with the Vikings it looked inconceivable that the Browns would win. They traded their best offensive weapon away. Their starting QB was out injured. They had to face the best running back in the NFL.

The Browns didn't read the script, and neither did Spencer Lanning. At 17-14 up in the 2nd quarter, the Browns punter, and holder on field goals, completed a sneaky 11 yard pass out to fellow MVP nominee TE Jordan Cameron on a fake FG. The 10 point lead this scoring play gave the Browns was almost enough for them to hold out until the end, but not quite. When the Vikings fought back to take the lead in the 4th quarter, Lanning was again the centre of attention doing a job he's not supposed to have. Regular kicker Billy Cundiff went down injured, and following a go-ahead score from Cameron (his 3rd TD on the day), it fell to Lanning to put the Browns a TD ahead rather than a FG. Completing the kick effectively sealed the game for the Browns, when they looked like they'd be struggling to find a W all year.

That sort of added production from a punter is good enough for MVP in our book.

Least Valuable Player, Week 3: The Entire Giants OL
Also nominated: Eli Manning, but it was really the OLs fault
This award had to be shared this week, by the carcrash that was the Giants OL in week 3.

For a unit that was ranked #1 in the NFL by our OLR rating system in 2012, this kind of performance was both unexpected and hideous. Eli Manning was sacked 7 times, the running backs were able to combine for just 46 yards, and the Giants were anaemic on offense - getting shut out by a good-but-not-great Panthers defensive unit. Injuries have decimated the unit all season, not a single member of the OL has completed every training session, and this has led to constant reshuffling of personnel and positions. This week 3 trouncing saw RG Chris Snee and C David Baas both pick up knocks keeping them out of training all week, just as veteran OT Dave Diehl gets back on the field after thumb surgery.

It looks worryingly like this unit could get worse before things get better, and that doesn't bode well for big blue.

Offensive Lineman of the Week, Week 3: Joe Thomas, OT, Cleveland Browns
Also nominated: David DeCastro

It helps to get a little perspective on Offensive Line play from those that have to go head-to-head with the best in the business. It's for that reason we give Joe Thomas the nod as OL of the week for week 3, thanks to a glowing reference from current London visitor Jared Allen, who faced him Sunday...
Jared Allen: "Joe's probably the best in the league, just the way he operates, the way he works and the way he moves on you. He's got great hands, great feet, he's a big body and the way he sets you he forces you to rush into some of his strengths, he's a good tackle."
Can't argue with that.

Two positive awards for the Browns in one week? What is the world coming to...

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