The Bosa Constrictor! Image: Getty Images
On Christmas Eve most of the NFL roster was played on Saturday and it was freezing cold in most stadiums. Recovering from frostbite while unwrapping presents as a family seemed like a necessary evil for some. In two of the three stadiums where fans weren’t freezing, two of the NFL’s most important awards were decided. No matter what happens in the last two weeks of the season. And ignore the Vikings and Giants, both of whom add another one-score game to their resumes. It’s the Bay Area and Lone Star State showdowns that apply here.
Nick Sirianni will be your NFL Coach of the Year despite his team losing their second game of the season yesterday. Nick Bosa becomes NFL Defensive Player of the Year after Commanders couldn’t stop him rocking both Taylor Heinicke and Carson Wentz into 2023. The 49ers defensive end had seven tackles, two sacks, one forced fumble and five pressings in the win over Washington. Not to mention he fired Wentz on a 2-point conversion attempt that doesn’t add to his stats. If anything, Bosa’s performance for overall league MVP needs to be considered, despite Vegas’ claims that it’s a two-man, two-quarterback race between Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts. It became a quarterback award, much like the Heisman Trophy, and the NFL MVP should have gone to Cooper Kupp last season. The case will wrongly probably never be made for Bosa.
Bosa has 17.5 sacks on the season and it’s not a runaway from Patriots outside linebacker Matt Judon, who has 15.5. The way the Patriots played, there’s no way the league is seriously considering him. Judon might be awesome, but the NFL has made it clear that you can’t break free if your team sucks. And so, a little sucking eliminates Judon. Bosa is also third in the league in quarterback pressure (51), despite missing a game earlier this season. You can bet that Bosa would have contributed to both impressive totals if he hadn’t missed a matchup against the Falcons in Week 6.
Bosa’s contenders for Defensive Player of the Year paled in comparison to yesterday’s games. Sirianni’s chances were a bit bleaker, mainly because of the competition. Yes, the Eagles only lost one game to the Commanders all season leading up to Saturday. It would have been a one-point loss had it not attempted a Music City Miracle-style finish, resulting in a Washington defensive touchdown just as the game was up. Philadelphia did enough to prove Sirianni’s case will be too strong with a one-point loss to an 11-4 Dallas team with no hurts behind center.
With Gardner Minshew at quarterback, Philadelphia’s offense didn’t miss much of a shot. Hurt elusiveness was a layer of the Eagles offense that was gone, but the Birds still put up 34 points against an above-average Cowboys defense. Sirianni is an attacking coach and always has been. Criticism as to why his defense gave up 40 points is valid, but it needs to be balanced with one of the frontrunners for league MVP being out of uniform at AT&T Stadium and keeping up with the Cowboys.
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Andy Reid and Sean McDermott’s names will feature in the Coach of the Year talks. Also, remember Brian Daboll, Giants rookie head coach, for how quickly he turned Big Blue back into a playoff team that only a preseason psychopath would have predicted. Kevin O’Connell has done a great job in Minnesota but has a similar resume to Sirianni, who is significantly weaker in direct comparison. Kyle Shanahan is a dark horse after finding success with his third-string quarterback. And they are all really fighting for second fiddle to Sirianni.
Sirianni’s offensive system looked so good sans hurts that it’s the best case Mahomes has for NFL MVP. Put Chad Henne in place as Kansas City’s starting quarterback. Nowhere else is he as effective as Minshew was yesterday. Hurts has been incredibly valuable in 2022, but Mahomes, who is flawless throughout, shouldn’t distract from the fact that he’s otherworldly. Eight quarters is a lot of time to change in the NFL. Yes, the Eagles and 49ers have playoff spots available. San Francisco has already won its division. You can bet Sirianni and Bosa will take home league-wide honors and not go away.