The NFL Players of the Week were released earlier today, with Jets punt returner Xavier Gipson headlining the list. Gipson took home the special teams POTW honors in the AFC, while Eagles kicker Jake Elliot was the special teams winner in the NFC. The Offensive Player of the Week Awards went to the 49ers’ Brandon Aiyuk and Dolphins signal caller Tua Tagovailoa. The defensive standouts were new Falcons safety Jessie Bates and the second Jet on the list, Jordan Whitehead.
NFL Players of the Week (Week 1):
— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) September 13, 2023
Offensive Players of the Week: Tua goes bonkers in a thrilling win over LAC
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk earned NFC Offensive Player of the Week after snagging eight catches and two touchdowns on a career-high 129 receiving yards. Aiyuk beat out teammate Christian McCaffrey, who ran for a league-high 152 yards on Sunday, and Green Bay quarterback Jordan Love for the award. Fellow wide receivers Justin Jefferson, Puka Nacua, and Tutu Atwell were the only other wideouts in the NFC to eclipse 115 yards in Week 1.
The AFC recipient for Offensive Player of the Week went to the Dolphins’ Tua Tagovailoa. The lefty gunslinger put on a show in Week 1, throwing 466 yards and three touchdowns in a narrow 36-34 win over the Los Angeles Chargers. His 466 passing yards rank fourth all-time among Week 1 passers. Teammate Tyreek Hill received 215 yards, but the award went to Tagovailoa. The Raiders’ Jakobi Meyers, New England pass catcher Kendrick Bourne, and Jets phenom Breece Hall also had big offensive performances in Week 1.
Defensive Players of the Week: Jordan Whitehead becomes Josh Allen’s worst nightmare
The Falcons’ newly acquired safety, Jessie Bates, earned NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors in his Atlanta debut. The former Cincinnati Bengal led a feisty Falcons defense in a 24-10 Week 1 victory over division foe Carolina. Bates forced three fumbles and tallied ten tackles in the victory. Seattle veteran Bobby Wagner (19 TOT tackles) and Drake Jackson (3.0 sacks) also had an outside chance at edging Bates for the award.
Jordan Whitehead garnished AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors in Week 1. The free safety put on a masterclass performance on Monday Night Football, intercepting Bills star quarterback Josh Allen three times in a 22-16 overtime win. Whitehead also added two tackles in the thriller. The Jaguars’ Josh Allen (3.0 sacks), Pittsburgh star T.J. Watt (3.0 sacks), and Ravens linebacker Roquan Smith (16 TOT tackles) also had elite production in Week 1 and could have taken home Defensive Players of the Week honors.
Special Teams Players of the Week: Jake Elliot hits two 50-yard field goals in a narrow win over New England
Eagles place kicker Jake Elliot took home NFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors in Week 1. The Memphis product went a perfect 4-for-4 on field goals, including three from 48 yards out. Elliot hit all three field goal attempts in the second half of a 25-20 win over the New England Patriots.
Unsurprisingly, Xavier Gipson is the AFC Special Teams Player of the Week. The wide receiver turned punt returner walked off the Bills on Monday Night Football with a dramatic 65-yard punt return in overtime. The undrafted rookie is just the third player in the history of the NFL to return a punt for a touchdown in overtime.