As we head into the weekend, it's a good time to be a San Francisco 49ers fan. The team is 5-1 and making their way back to the top of the football world. In particularly interesting news, the team is starting to bring home some weekly awards hardware. The only trophy that matters at the end of the day is the Lombardi Trophy, but it is still nice to see the 49ers players getting rewarded for their strong play thus far.
For the second consecutive week, Aldon Smith was voted the Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week. He beat out Bengals QB Andy Dalton, Bears DT Stephen Paea, Rams WR Greg Salas and Browns DE Jabaal Sheard. Smith won the award thanks to his two sacks, safety and forced fumble. He also received a $15,000 fine for hitting Matthew Stafford below the knee. It was a legit Tom Brady-rule penalty, but at least he offset it with a strong performance on the day. He actually got off to a bad start with penalty problems before settling in quickly. He even got some extended work in the more traditional 3-4 OLB role when Parys Haralson went down with a hamstring strain.
In addition, Frank Gore was named the FedEx Ground Player of the Week. Gore rushed for 141 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries and had a couple huge runs early on when the 49ers were struggling to get their offense in gear. After a slow start to the season, Gore has gotten into gear and is playing strong football the last few weeks. Over his last three games, Gore has rushed for 393 yards and three touchdowns. Not too shabby.