words // Brandon Richard
When considering players for Eastbay’s NFL Player of the Week, two names immediately jumped to mind. The first was New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, who continued his historic season this past Sunday against the Washington Redskins. “Gronk” caught six passes for a career-high 160 yards and two touchdowns, helping lift the Pats to a 34-27 victory. The two touchdown receptions, Gronkowski’s 14th and 15th of the season, set a new single-season record for tight ends. He also became just the second New England tight end to go over 1,000 yards for the season.
The second name that I thought of was the player that I eventually ended up giving the nod to – New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul. Known to fans simply as “JPP,” Pierre-Paul had what can only be described as a season saving performance on Sunday. The second-year standout recorded eight tackles, two sacks (one for a safety), one forced fumble and a game-winning blocked field goal in the Giants’ 37-34 win over the Dallas. On the season, Pierre-Paul has 12.5 sacks and is positioned to make the first Pro Bowl of his young, promising career.
Behind Pierre-Paul’s big plays, the Giants overcame a 12-point fourth quarter deficit and took the NFC East division lead. Had they lost the game, they would have trailed Dallas by two games and been on the wrong side of the tiebreaker. The two teams will meet again in the season finale.
images via ESPN