The 1 p.m. slate was full of blowouts by favored teams, but the day heated up in the 4 p.m. window.
The San Francisco 49ers–Cincinnati Bengals and Buffalo Bills–Tampa Bay Buccaneers games went to extra time, with those results weighing heavily on the playoff picture. The Niners-Bengals result would change both teams’ playoff odds 31 percentage points in either direction, while the Bills were facing their playoff odds sinking to 25% with a loss or jumping to 44% with a win. In the end, San Francisco and Tampa Bay took care of business with walk-off touchdowns.
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 14’s top performers. Here, we present PFF’s Team of the Week and player awards from Week 14 of the 2021 NFL season.
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PFF TEAM OF THE WEEK
QB: Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals
RB: Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings
WR: Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks
WR: Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers
TE: George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers
Flex: Tee Higgins, Cincinnati Bengals
LT: Trent Williams, San Francisco 49ers
LG: Joel Bitonio, Cleveland Browns
C: Billy Price, New York Giants
RG: Kevin Zeitler, Baltimore Ravens
RT: Penei Sewell, Detroit Lions
DI: Chris Jones, Kansas City Chiefs
DI: Aaron Donald, Los Angeles Rams
Edge: Nick Bosa, San Francisco 49ers
Edge: Joey Bosa, Los Angeles Chargers
LB: Rashaan Evans, Tennessee Titans
LB: Josh Bynes, Baltimore Ravens
CB: Rasul Douglas, Green Bay Packers
CB: Mike Hughes, Kansas City Chiefs
S: Justin Simmons, Denver Broncos
S: Jessie Bates III, Cincinnati Bengals
Flex: Kendall Fuller, Washington Football Team
Offensive Player of the Week: TE George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers
Kittle takes PFF Offensive Player of the Week honors for the second consecutive week, following up last week’s 93.2 PFF grade with a mark of 91.1 in Week 14 against the Cincinnati Bengals.
In Sunday's big win, the star tight end was responsible for over half of San Francisco’s total receiving yards and first downs/touchdowns. He hauled in a couple of explosive receptions of 15-plus yards, one of which will go down as one of the catches of the week.
GEORGE KITTLE ????#ProBowlVote pic.twitter.com/IGrwaYBytl
— San Francisco 49ers (@49ers) December 13, 2021
The Niners ultimately missed the subsequent kick, but Kittle still helped get them in a potentially winning position. After these last two weeks, Kittle has bolstered his season-long receiving grade to the highest at the position.
Defensive Player of the Week: Edge Nick Bosa, San Francisco 49ers
Edge defender Nick Bosa took over on defense, just as his teammate George Kittle did on offense. Bosa earned a 90.2 pass-rush grade for his multi-sack performance. He recorded nine pressures and won 37% of his pass-rush opportunities. One of those sacks was one of the biggest plays of Week 14:
Biggest Game-Changing Moment: Nick Bosa’s third-down sack in overtime
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— San Francisco 49ers (@49ers) December 13, 2021
In overtime, Bosa grabbed Isaiah Prince‘s wrists on the punch and closed in on Burrow for the huge third-down sack inside the red zone. Had he not done that, the Niners would have been at risk of giving up a touchdown to lose outright, which would have impacted their playoff probability by more than 30 percentage points. Instead, the sack forced a field goal, and the Niners' offense executed a walk-off-touchdown drive right after.
Rookie of the Week: OT Penei Sewell, Detroit Lions
Sewell’s hot streak continued on Sunday. The 2021 seventh overall pick earned a 91.0 PFF grade against the Broncos in Week 14 — the highest of his rookie campaign by nearly 10 points. Sewell was clean in the run game and finished with a Week 14-leading 93.5 run-block grade.
Since Week 6, Sewell trails only Trent Williams of the San Francisco 49ers for the highest PFF grade among all NFL tackles. Through the first five weeks, Sewell ranked 50th of 65 qualifying tackles — so this is quite the turnaround from the rookie that entered the year with sky-high expectations.
Offensive Line of the Week: Denver Broncos
Denver’s offensive line showed out against the bottom-tier Detroit Lions on Sunday. They combined for only four total pressures allowed on 26 dropbacks, which paved the way for an NFL-low pressure rate for Week 14. Guards Dalton Risner and Quinn Meinerz pitched shutouts, with zero losses in pass protection. The group as a whole was one of three of Week 14 to earn grades above 75.0 in both pass and run blocking. The cherry on top is that the offensive line didn’t commit a single penalty.
Secret Superstar of the Week: C Billy Price, New York Giants
Price has gotten a lot of flak in his NFL career, and understandably so. After all, the former first-round pick had earned just one single-game PFF grade north of 75.0 entering Week 14.
Price put up a 46.7 career grade in Cincy from 2018 through 2020 and ranked 26th of 33 centers in PFF grade for the 2021 season in New York. But, this past week, Price put all of that aside and produced at a career-best level. He earned an 85.3 PFF grade against the Chargers, surpassing his previous best by over nine grading points. He didn’t allow a pressure and moved bodies in the run game consistently, as evidenced by his 87.4 run-blocking grade.
Play of the Week: Justin Herbert dropping a 60-plus yard nuke
Herbert did it again. He widened eyes and stunned everyone watching NFL RedZone on Sunday with his rocket launcher for an arm. At the end of the first half, and in his own territory, Herbert was flushed from the pocket and looked poised for a negative play. Instead, he decided to go for the home run by letting go a 60-plus-yard throw for a touchdown that even seemed to stun the camera operator, who stuttered while it was in the air:
JUSTIN HERBERT THROW OF THE YEAR
— PFF (@PFF) December 12, 2021
This was the longest touchdown throw of the 2021 season, taking out Hail Mary shots. When it comes to calling the best throw of the 2021 season, this is going to be one of the highlights that comes to mind.