Jordan Elliott just wrote an article about why 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan should be in the conversation for the NFL’s Coach of the Year award. Some names ahead of Shanahan on the list are “feel good” stories that are easy to root for.
The NFL just announced Rams quarterback Baker Mayfield was recognized as Week 14’s Offensive Player of the Week, thanks to a 98-yard game-winning drive against the Raiders. Baker winning this award falls into the same category as above: A feel good story.
Mayfield wins the award because the Rams scored two touchdowns on their final two drives to comeback and beat the then 5-7 Raiders, who most would agree are one of the most inept teams in the league. Before those drives, the Rams kicked a field goal, fumbled, ran the clock out after Mayfield threw two incompletions before the end of the half, punted two other times and were in a position to kick a field goal thanks to a defensive pass interference call.
The first touchdown drive was extended because the Raiders jumped offsides on 4th & 3. The second touchdown drive could have ended on back-to-back plays as Baker threw an interception then was sacked, but, again, the Raiders Raider’d and had penalties on both plays.
Mayfield finished the game 22-for-35 for 230 yards, a touchdown, and had a QBR of 59.4 and a QB rating of 91.4.
Jalen Hurts, against a playoff team and effectively in one half, had 217 yards, two touchdowns, a QBR of 85.4 and a QB rating of 109.2 in a blowout victory over the Giants. Philadelphia running back Miles Sanders also has an argument with 17 carries for 144 yards.
Guess who else does? Christian McCaffrey. The 49ers midseason acquistiion had 14 carries for 119 yards and a touchdown. He also caught two passes, including one for 27 yards and a score. McCaffrey had five touches that went for double-digit yards and did so against a top-10 defense that’s a playoff team.
The feel good story who was aided by the opposition, or players who helped their team win decidedly over playoff opponents? Seems easy.