The Arizona Cardinals remain the NFL’s only undefeated team. Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys extended their win streak to five in Foxborough. The Cincinnati Bengals have already matched their 2020 win total. The Derek Carr-led Las Vegas Raiders look like the real deal, while the Kansas City Chiefs have been wildly inconsistent.
The NFL landscape is taking shape as the first third of the 2021 season has come to a close, and PFF is here to break down the teams on the path to the postseason and the teams that should be tweaking their grand plan. But first, it’s time for the weekly awards.
Now that the first run of PFF analysis has been finalized and made available in PFF's Premium Stats, we get to fill you in on this week’s top performers. Here, we present PFF’s Team of the Week and player awards from Week 6 of the 2021 NFL season.
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PFF TEAM OF THE WEEK
QB: Carson Wentz, Indianapolis Colts
RB: Aaron Jones, Green Bay Packers
WR: CeeDee Lamb, Dallas Cowboys
WR: Odell Beckham Jr., Cleveland Browns
TE: Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens
Flex: Jakobi Meyers, New England Patriots
LT: Jason Peters, Chicago Bears
LG: Quinton Spain, Cincinnati Bengals
C: David Andrews, New England Patriots
RG: Zack Martin, Dallas Cowboys
RT: Cornelius Lucas, Washington Football Team
DI: Armon Watts, Minnesota Vikings
DI: Cameron Heyward, Pittsburgh Steelers
Edge: Randy Gregory, Dallas Cowboys
Edge: Josh Allen, Jacksonville Jaguars
LB: Darius Leonard, Indianapolis Colts
LB: Derrick Barnes, Detroit Lions
CB: Bashaud Breeland, Minnesota Vikings
CB: Chidobe Awuzie, Cincinnati Bengals
S: Taylor Rapp, Los Angeles Rams
S: Derwin James, Los Angeles Chargers
Flex: Amani Hooker, Tennessee Titans
Editor's Note: PFF's Team of the Week was updated following the conclusion of Monday Night Football.
Offensive Player of the Week: QB Carson Wentz, Indianapolis Colts
Wentz kicked off his time with the Indianapolis Colts with five straight passing grades that hovered from the mid-60s to low-70s. In other words, he was consistently average.
However, Wentz was anything but average in Indy’s big win over the Houston Texans in Week 6, earning a career-high 94.2 PFF grade. He completed three of his four deep throws for 131 yards and two touchdowns, and the one incompletion was a dropped pass. All four of those deep pass attempts earned the big-time throw designation in PFF’s grading system.
SPOOKY SZN. ????
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— Indianapolis Colts (@Colts) October 17, 2021
The Colts quarterback missed a couple of throws under pressure, but when the pass-protection was clean, so was he. Wentz earned a 98.6 passing grade from a clean pocket on Sunday, averaging 14.5 yards per attempt in the process.
Defensive Player of the Week: Edge Randy Gregory, Dallas Cowboys
Gregory put up multiple high-level pass-rush reps against the New England Patriots. His pass-rush plan, paired with his lateral quickness and explosiveness, put the Pats’ tackles into a blender. He earned a 93.5 pass-rush grade for the game and won five reps on 21 total opportunities.
Two of those five wins were sacks executed in lighting quick times of 1.9 and 2.3 seconds, respectively.
This performance comes just one week after a nine-pressure outing against the New York Giants in Week 5 — a performance that earned an 89.9 overall grade.
With multiple suspensions, Gregory has had a rocky NFL career, but he flashed elite pass-rushing ability on the field. Now that he has been reinstated and been deemed a featured piece in the Cowboys’ defense, a late-career breakout could be in the cards.
Rookie of the Week: QB Mac Jones, New England Patriots
Jones had the best performance by a rookie quarterback of the 2021 season in the Pats’ overtime loss to the Dallas Cowboys. He earned a 92.7 passing grade for the game and was flawless on his deep throws.
The Patriots quarterback went 4-of-4 on throws of 20-plus yards downfield for 144 yards and two touchdowns. Three of those passes earned the big-time throw tag, and one of them was among the best plays of the week:
PATRIOTS FIRE BACK
— PFF (@PFF) October 17, 2021
Unfortunately for Jones and Co., Dallas marched down the field and tied the game on a 49-yard field goal before eventually winning in overtime, but that shouldn’t take away from Jones’ strong performance.
He did place the ball a tad too far in front of the receiver on the fourth-quarter pick rookie Trevon Diggs took back for six, but that play was only an interception on the box score because it took an unlucky bounce off Kendrick Bourne’s hands. It was one of just a few misfires from Jones. The good far outweighed the bad in the end.
The 2021 15th pick made the right decisions, was composed under pressure and consistently made accurate and anticipatory throws down the football field.
Jones is playing better than any other rookie quarterback in the NFL right now, and it’s not even close. His 78.3 passing grade through Week 6 is over 20 grading points higher than the next best rookie and ranks 13th overall among all quarterbacks.
Offensive Line of the Week: Washington Football Team
Washington’s offense may have fallen flat against Kansas City, but the offensive line had nothing to do with that, as the Football Team’s offensive line was the highest-graded unit of Week 6.
What’s most impressive is that they did that without starting right guard Brandon Scherff and right tackle Samuel Cosmi. Wes Schweitzer and Cornelius Lucas started in place of Scherff and Cosmi, and they ended up being Washington’s highest-graded offensive linemen. The group as a whole helped provide a notable cushion of 2.3 yards before contact per attempt for the running backs, tying for the third-highest of the week. In pass-protection, they combined for only six pressures — and zero sacks — allowed on 39 dropbacks.
Secret Superstar of the Week: G Quinton Spain, Cincinnati Bengals
It’s no secret that Cincinnati needed some of their returnees along the offensive line to vastly improve from their 2020 form. Perhaps the biggest spotlight was on guard Quinton Spain, who earned a 43.8 pass-block grade as a Bengal last year.
Spain got off to a bit of a rocky start in 2021 but has strung together his three highest-graded games in pass protection as a member of the Bengals in the last three weeks. His performance on Sunday against the Detroit Lions was his best yet. Spain earned a 79.2 pass-block grade with only one pressure allowed across 41 pass-block snaps. To make that even better, Spain earned an 87.1 grade as a run-blocker to give him an 89.6 overall mark for the game.
That was the second-highest-graded game by an offensive lineman in Week 6 and was his highest-graded game with Cincinnati by over nine grading points.
Play of the Week: Minnesota Vikings CB Bashaud Breeland recovers to making a diving pick on the first play from scrimmage
Just 12 seconds removed from kicking off the ball to the Carolina Panthers to start the game, the Minnesota Vikings found themselves just outside the red zone, and they have cornerback Bashaud Breeland to thank for that.
Breeland took advantage of a mistake made by Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold on a long play and made a diving interception on the first play from scrimmage. Darnold missed a chance to actually take advantage of a Breeland slip-up that caused his man to become open, but the Vikings corner recovered and made the play of the day.
Breeland proceeded to see five more targets against Carolina, and he didn’t allow a single catch en route to an 89.9 coverage grade for the game.
Breeland kicked off the season with three concerning performances. He allowed 18-of-21 targets to be caught for 257 yards and four touchdowns. Over the last three games, Breeland has allowed only five catches on 15 targets for 43 yards and no scores.
Biggest Game-Changing Moment: Pittsburgh Steelers edge defender T.J. Watt’s strip-sack to set up a game-winning field goal
No Russell Wilson for the Seattle Seahawks gave us a Sunday Night Football full of inefficient offense, courtesy of Geno Smith and Ben Roethlisberger.
The game ultimately got sent to overtime, and it began to look like a tie was on the horizon after each team punted on their first possession. Both teams needed a big defensive play to swing the game, and to no surprise, Pittsburgh edge defender T.J. Watt was the one to step up with this strip-sack fumble deep in Seattle’s territory to set up a game-winning field goal.
THAT’S WHY YOU PAY TJ WATT
— PFF (@PFF) October 18, 2021
This was Watt’s third strip-sack of the 2021 season and 14th since 2018, both of which are the most in the NFL over that span. Watt’s game-changing play was just one of many that show why he’s one of the league's elite.