NFL News & Analysis

NFL Week 12 Team of the Week & Awards

From the Cincinnati Bengals blowing out the Pittsburgh Steelers to Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers storming back to beat the Indianapolis Colts in typical fashion, Week 12 certainly did not disappoint.

Now that the first run of PFF analysis has been finalized and made available in PFF's Premium Stats, it’s time to highlight Week 12’s top performers. Here, we present PFF’s Team of the Week and player awards from Week 12 of the 2021 NFL season.

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PFF TEAM OF THE WEEK

Offense

QB: Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals
RB: Cordarrelle Patterson, Atlanta Falcons
WR: Jaylen Waddle, Miami Dolphins
WR: Tee Higgins, Cincinnati Bengals
TE: Rob Gronkowski, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Flex: Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams
LT: Jordan Mailata, Philadelphia Eagles
LG: Ezra Cleveland, Minnesota Vikings
C: Brian Allen, Los Angeles Rams
RG: Zack Martin, Dallas Cowboys
RT: Lane Johnson, Philadelphia Eagles

Defense

DI: Aaron Donald, Los Angeles Rams
DI: DaQuan Jones, Carolina Panthers
Edge: Brian Burns, Carolina Panthers
Edge: Jaelan Phillips, Miami Dolphins
LB: Ja’Whaun Bentley, New England Patriots
LB: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Cleveland Browns
CB: Jaylon Johnson, Chicago Bears
CB: Javelin Guidry, New York Jets
S: Xavier McKinney, New York Giants
S: Mike Edwards, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Flex: Mike Hilton, Cincinnati Bengals

Offensive Player of the Week: TE Rob Gronkowski, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay generated only four gains of 15 or more yards in the passing game in Week 12, and Gronk was responsible for all of them. Three came down the seam, while one was a wheel route on a pivotal second-half possession that helped the Bucs take the lead.

Gronk bullied defenders with the ball in his hands, recording three forced missed tackles, 53 yards after the catch and 28 yards after contact. In all, Gronkowski generated 4.10 yards per route run en route to a 93.1 PFF grade for the game.

The veteran tight end has been targeted on more than 20% of his team's passing plays in each game he has played so far this season. As long as he stays healthy, expect Brady’s longtime friend and pass-catching weapon to be an integral part of Tampa’s game plan.

Defensive Player of the Week: CB Mike Hilton, Cincinnati Bengals

The veteran slot corner got the chance to face his former team for the second time this season, and he came away with a performance of a lifetime.

Hilton earned a 93.7 coverage grade against the Steelers in Week 12. He allowed only three yards in coverage, picked up a passing stop and came away with a huge pick-six.

Rookie of the Week: Edge Jaelan Phillips, Miami Dolphins

The first-round rookie is serving as a situational pass-rusher in his first year in Miami, and he had just one 70.0-plus single-game PFF grade to his name entering Week 12.

Phillips then exploded against the Carolina Panthers, recording seven pressures — three of which were sacks — and a batted pass across 24 pass-rush opportunities. The Dolphins edge defender earned a 90.0 PFF grade for his efforts, a season-high mark for the young rookie by a significant margin.

Offensive Line of the Week: New England Patriots

This week, the New England Patriots offensive line was the only unit to turn in a grade above 75.0 in both pass and run blocking. And they did so convincingly, as they sat above 83.0 in each metric.

New England finished third for the week in pressure rate allowed and saw three different offensive linemen — Shaq Mason, Ted Karras and Isaiah Wynn — earn a single-game grade above 80.0.

Secret Superstar of the Week: CB Javelin Guidry, New York Jets

Guidry, a 2020 undrafted free agent, is relatively undersized at 5-foot-9, but he possesses elite track speed that gave him a real shot in the NFL. Of course, his size initially limited him to more of a slot role, but with starter Brandin Echols out a few weeks with an injury, the corner-depleted Jets were forced to throw Guidry into a starting spot for Week 12.

The Utah product had never started an NFL game on the outside up until this past week, but he still earned an 84.9 PFF grade for his Week 12 outing. He allowed zero catches from two targets in coverage and even broke up a pass.

Play of the Week: OBJ's sluggo route for six

From 2014 through 2018, no wide receiver in the NFL had more receptions, yards or touchdowns coming from double-moves than Odell Beckham Jr.

Those plays dried up after he departed for Cleveland, but in his second game as a Los Angeles Ram on Sunday, we got a glimpse of the vintage OBJ with a 54-yard sluggo touchdown.

Biggest Game-Changing Moment: Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety Antoine Winfield Jr. “Mossing” Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr.

Tampa Bay entered the half down by 10 points in Indianapolis. But as we all know by now, there’s never a lead large enough for teams playing Tom Brady.

The Bucs were in comeback mode for the third quarter and needed impact plays on both sides of the ball. And safety Antoine Winfield Jr. provided a game-changing play as he went up and high-pointed a deep ball over 6-foot-4 Michael Pittman Jr. while playing centerfield to give Tampa the ball late in the third quarter. 

Colts Win Probability Change: -17.7%

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