The 2017 NFL Playoffs have officially settled in after a weekend of questionable plays, immaculate throws and outstanding celebration work. Each week, we'll take part in admiring these fine catches and blunders by handing out a set of accolades. Some players will undoubtedly be proud to take home the hardware, others not so much.
Most Impressive Performance: Marcus Mariota
You could argue the immortal Drew Brees had the better weekend—after all, it was Brees who eviscerated a defense for 376 yards and Mariota who squeaked out a win with a QBR of 48.1. But as these things often go, points points are accrued for becoming the first quarterback in NFL playoff history to throw a touchdown to your own damn self.
Marcus Mariota just caught his own pass for a @Titans TD!!
Not a typo.#TitanUp #NFLPlayoffs pic.twitter.com/bDBVukfZuY
— NFL (@NFL) January 6, 2018
This is essentially the football equivalent to Henry Rowengartner floating one in for a K in Rookie of the Year. Only it was most likely Mike Mularkey who made the call—saving his head coaching job in the process—and not Marcus’s mom. But who knows?
If you want to further Mariota’s case (in an alternate reality where the self-pass was some sort of fluke accident), then look no further than this fire-me-up block on the game-sealing play of the game:
Great key block by Mariota and Derrick Henry takes off to clinch it pic.twitter.com/Q9SxJQag0h
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) January 7, 2018
We’ve seen signal callers go after defenders before, but mostly in the vein of Samwell Tarly picking a castle fight. This was a well-executed block from Mariota that freed Derrick Henry for an extra 12 yards and a first down.
Marcus Mariota throws. Marcus Mariota catches. Marcus Mariota blocks. Marcus Mariota gets to play Tom Brady and the Patriots in Foxboro next weekend.
Least Impressive Performance: The Buffalo Bills
As a hearty supporter of Bills Mafia Instagram videos each Sunday, this was a heartbreaker—and an absolute dumpster dive of a game. Tony Romo was better suited to play quarterback than both Tyrod Taylor and Blake Bortles yesterday, and he was literally just that: upstairs in a suit. Taylor was eventually knocked out of the game in the fourth. And Bortles was forced to physically move his legs after failing to throw over 4 yards per attempt. (To his credit, he kind of turned on the jets for 89 yards!) Alas, the loser of the least impressive game tends to garner the least impressive performance award. It’s just a shame our beautiful friends from Buffalo have to take the fall. Luckily, they’re going to fucking love it:
#BillsMafia is ready to go, more than two hours before game time... in Jacksonville
( @stroobydoobydoo) pic.twitter.com/QzGymoSiBb
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) January 7, 2018
And Now, a Moment of Feverish Yodeling for Derrick Johnson, the All-Time Leading Tackler In the History of the Chiefs
The John Carpenter Award for Most Terrifying Moment: Blake Bortles
I am going to zero scary movies with this cameraman in 2018:
Life comes at you fast. pic.twitter.com/nKYMB9KOLa
— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) January 7, 2018
Best Good Ol’ Fashioned Throwdown: The One In the Superdome Last Night
As mentioned, Drew Brees turned back the funky, bourbon-soaked clock last night in a down-to-the-wire win against Carolina. New Orleans’s potent running attack—the one with Alvin Kamara, who is like if a swordfish had hands and really cool hair—was stifled from the jump. And a legitimately concussed Cam Newton insisted on kicking in the joint’s front door each time the contest was presumably over. But in the end, it was Brees who kept the Saints and their fans rolling—controlling the pace of the game and tossing two touchdowns for a total QBR of 89.3. It was the best (and most controversial) game of the weekend. Here’s to seeing it all over again next Sunday in Minneapolis.
An Award for the Best In-Game Award: Alvin Kamara
Correction—*Alvin Kamara, who is like if a swordfish had hands and really cool hair and passed out Airheads to the other swordfish.
Kamara was thanking his blockers with Airheads after his TD pic.twitter.com/JJGdY6b7hk
— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) January 8, 2018
See you next week.