Chiefs’ Alex Smith named RJ’s MVP in first-quarter NFL awards

Updated October 7, 2017 - 6:46 pm

Remember when the NFL was boring in 2017? The excitement level has picked up in the past two weeks with numerous upsets (looking at you, Buffalo) and thrilling shootouts (thank you, Rams).

The rookie running backs dominated the early headlines with spectacular play from the Chiefs’ Kareem Hunt and the Vikings’ Dalvin Cook before his torn ACL.

Not surprising, the Patriots’ Tom Brady and the Packers’ Aaron Rodgers continue to play like the best quarterbacks in the league (make room for the Chiefs’ Alex Smith).

The Bengals fired offensive coordinator Ken Zampese two weeks into the season (A.J. Green’s prayers were answered).

The Browns are still the Browns, but they’re not alone in the winless department. The no-one-wants-you-here Chargers, the Brian Hoyer-led 49ers and Odell Beckham’s team from New York are also 0-4.

Kickers not named Jake Elliott continue to miss potential game-winning field goals (Nick Folk, Younghoe Koo). The Raiders, Ravens and Dolphins forgot how to score. The Saints miraculously learned to play defense in their past two games.

It’s been a wild first quarter to the NFL season. Here are a few awards and takeaways from the first month:

MVP: Alex Smith, Chiefs

It started out as a joke, but Smith’s gun-slinging ways are here to stay. He caught the Patriots by surprise on opening night with many deep-ball completions, including one for 78 yards. Football fans and pundits made jokes on social media: When did the game manager learn to throw deep?

It’s better late than never, and Smith’s aggressiveness has the Chiefs as the league’s only undefeated team. He’s completing 76 percent of his passes with eight touchdowns and zero interceptions.

Smith had an MVP-type performance against the Redskins on Monday night with a clutch game-winning drive that included a memorable 37-yard strike on the run to Albert Wilson.

Offensive player of the year: Hunt. In his first game, he rushed for 148 yards and one touchdown and caught five passes for 98 yards and two TDs as the Chiefs ruined the Super Bowl celebration for the Patriots. He leads the NFL in rushing with 502 yards and a 7.4 average per carry. He also has scored an AFC-high six TDs.

Defensive player of the year: DeMarcus Lawrence, Cowboys

This one was tough. The usual suspects — Von Miller, Justin Houston and Khalil Mack — are off to hot starts. Calais Campbell has ignited the Jaguars defense. Chandler Jones is back to playing at a high level. Everson Griffen is dominating offensive linemen.

But no one is doing more for his team than Lawrence, who leads the league in sacks with 7.5. The Dallas defensive end doesn’t have a reliable secondary to fall back on like Miller, Houston, Campbell and Griffen.

Lawrence has kept the Cowboys in games with his constant pressure on opposing quarterbacks.

Coach of the year: Sean McVay, Rams

The Rams went from the worst offense of the past three years to the highest-scoring team in the league this season with 35.5 points per game.

McVay, an offensive-minded guru, has gotten the best from quarterback Jared Goff, who had a dreadful rookie year under Jeff Fisher.

It’s amazing what McVay has done in the first month with so many new faces on offense.

Best team: Chiefs

Andy Reid was a close second for the coaching award. He has coached in the NFL for 25 years, and his offensive playbook continues to evolve.

He’s added new formations and plays with the addition of Hunt, arguably the best rookie of the first month. Tight end Travis Kelce does a lot more than run routes across the middle. Reid is finding creative ways to give the ball to Kelce and Tyreek Hill.

On defense, the Chiefs lost safety Eric Berry, but Houston and Marcus Peters have picked up the slack. The Chiefs are clearly in a class of their own to start the season.

Surprise team: Bills

Not many had the Bills in first place with a 3-1 record after four games. Buffalo seemed destined to enter the Josh Rosen sweepstakes after trading Sammy Watkins and Ronald Darby in August. The Bills also let Stephon Gilmore walk to New England, and he has been awful.

The Bills have two signature victories over the Broncos at home and the Falcons on the road. Buffalo’s defense is allowing 13.5 points per game, the best in the league.

Cornerback Tre’Davious White is playing like the defensive rookie of the year.

Most disappointing team: Giants

Raise your hand if you had the Giants winning the NFC East? C’mon, own it.

The Giants have been a disaster. New York’s offensive line can’t protect quarterback Eli Manning, who is starting to throw ducks. Brandon Marshall is dropping balls, and Beckham is dealing with an ankle injury. The Giants can’t run the ball, and the defense has been average.

Contact Gilbert Manzano at Follow @GManzano24 on Twitter.

Raiders Videos
Vegas Nation Stadium Show: Retractable Field Update - VIDEO
Much like the Arizona Cardinals field, the Raiders will also be playing on a field tray that can be retracted in order to maintain real grass. Vegas Nation host Cassie Soto and Las Vegas Review- Journal reporter Rick Velotta discuss the latest updates regrading the Las Vegas Stadium as well as the groundbreaking of the Raiders headquarters in Henderson.
Raiders Henderson Practice Facility Render - VIDEO
Video of the Raiders practice facility that will be built in Henderson Nevada.
Raiders Headquarters Groundbreaking Ceremony - VIDEO
The Raiders make Henderson their new home with a groundbreaking ceremony. Derek Carr and many other players past a present came together to celebrate the new location. Cassie Soto and Ed Graney report from Henderson, Nevada.
Former Raider James Harris says fans will follow the team "to the moon" - VIDEO
The Oakland Raiders will play in Las Vegas when their team's move is completed in 2020. Former Raiders' defensive end and Las Vegan, James Harris, says fans will follow and support the team "to the moon".
Jim Plunkett on the Raiders' move to Las Vegas, changes under Gruden
At the groundbreaking ceremony for the Raiders new headquarters in Henderson, Nevada, former quarterback Jim Plunkett gave his thoughts on the new facility, the team's move to Las Vegas and what the future holds for the team with head coach Jon Gruden.
JT The Brick says where he thinks the Raiders should play in 2019
At the Raiders headquarters groundbreaking ceremony in Henderson, Nevada, radio host J.T. The Brick gave his take on where he thinks the team should play in 2019 and provided his thoughts on their three, first-round draft picks and more.
Raiders Hold Groundbreaking Ceremony For Henderson Practice Facility
The Raiders hold a groundbreaking ceremony in Henderson for the new practice facility for the teams move to Las Vegas.
A quick look at the Raiders HQ in Henderson
The Raiders held a groundbreaking ceremony for their Las Vegas headquarters, which is based in Henderson, on Monday, Jan. 14th.
Designers of Raiders Field Learn Lessons from Cardinals
The retractable grass in the future home of the Raiders will look largely like an updated and improved version of the field tray system used at State Farm Stadium, home of the Phoenix Cardinals. (Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vegas Nation: Mahomes Throws his 50th TD in Victory over the Raiders
The Oakland Raiders lose the last game of the season to the Kansas City Chiefs 35-3. Pat Mahomes throws his 50th touchdown and the Chiefs take first place in the division. Cassie Soto is in studio and Michael Gehlken and Ed Graney report from Kansas City.
Raiders look ahead to next season after loss to Chiefs
After the Oakland Raiders' 35-3 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, players analyze their play and look ahead to what they can do better in the next season.
Vegas Nation: Raiders hire Mike Mayock as new GM
Raiders beat reporter describes newly-hired general manager's opening press conference.
Vegas Nation: Players receive signing bonuses
Raiders beat reporter Michael Gehlken explains why four players received roster bonuses and what that means for their respective futures on the roster.
Vegas Nation Mailbag: Will the Raiders play in Oakland next season?
The Raiders get an emotional win against the Denver Broncos. The game was potentially the Raiders last time playing in the colosseum due to a lawsuit from the city of Oakland. Elaine Wilson and Ed Graney go over the Raider Nation reaction to the game an news.
Vegas Nation: Miller and Parker draw praise
Raiders beat reporter Michael Gehlken takes a look at Kolton Miller and Brandon Parker's Monday Night Football performance against the Denver Broncos.
Vegas Nation: Raiders to face Chiefs in season finale
Raiders beat reporter Michael Gehlken describes how the team is doing after their emotional win over the Denver Broncos, and how they're preparing for the last game of the year in Kansas City.
Raiders Win Emotional Game Against Broncos - Vegas Nation
The Oakland Raiders win their Monday Night football game against the Denver Broncos. This game is potentially the last time the Raiders will play in Oakland before coming to Las Vegas. Vegas Nation host Cassie Soto, Raiders beat writer Michael Gehlken and Ed Graney go over the emotional win.
Carr, Gruden reflect on what could be the last game played in Oakland
Raiders head coach Jon Gruden and quarterback Derek Carr comment on what could be the the last home game the team played at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.
Raiders locker room after victory over Broncos
Raiders players Jalen Richard, Lee Smith, Karl Joseph, and Erik Harris react to defeating the Denver Broncos in what could be the final game at the Oakland Coliseum.
Raiders fans react to possible final game in Oakland
Raiders fans from around the country respond to the team potentially playing their final game at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum prior to Monday night's game against the Denver Broncos.
Vegas Nation: Raiders hold final practice before MNF
Raiders beat reporter Michael Gehlken describes the trouble Von Miller and Bradley Chubb bring to the Raiders offensive line, as well as who's questionable for Monday night's game against the Denver Broncos.
Vegas Nation: McCarron returns to practice
Raiders beat reporter Michael Gehlken reports that back up quarterback AJ McCarron returned to practice on Friday following the birth of his son.
Vegas Nation: Nathan Peterman practices with Raiders
Raiders beat reporter Michael Gehlken unveils the reaction Jon Gruden received after signing quarterback Nathan Peterman to the practice squad.
Vegas Nation Mailbag - December 19, 2018
Elaine Emerson and Ed Graney go over all burning Vegas Nation Raiders questions
Vegas Nation: Raiders prepare for potential final game in Oakland
Raiders beat reporter Michael Gehlken reports on how Christmas Eve could be the final game in Oakland for the Raiders, and how Jon Gruden will handle it with himself and the players.
RJ columnist Ed Graney goes in-depth to find out if an NFL team would have success in London
While London's Cray Wanderers may be the one of the oldest football clubs in the world, could an NFL team have the same success overseas? (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal @HeidiFang)
Raiders Fall To Bengals 30-16 - Vegas Nation
Raiders fall to the Cincinnati Bengals 30-16. Vegas Nation host Cassie Soto and Raiders beat writer Michael Gehlken recap the loss.
Raiders players on the team's loss to the Bengals
Raiders running back Doug Martin and tight end Darren Waller discuss their performances against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Gruden and Carr share positive outlook on remaining games
After suffering a 30-16 loss to the Bengals in Cincinnati, Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden and quarterback Derek Carr think the team can still finish the season strong.
NFL Draft Coming to Las Vegas in 2020 - Vegas Nation
The NFL Draft has been awarded to Las Vegas in 2020 as the Raiders move in. Michael Gehlken discusses what this means for the the city and the Raiders.
Vegas Nation: Osemele, Jackson miss practice on Thursday
Raiders beat reporter Michael Gehlken explains the injuries to offensive linemen Kelechi Osemele and Gabe Jackson, and who the Raiders have signed to the offensive line in response to those injuries.
Raiders vs Bengals Preview - Vegas Nation Mailbag
The Oakland Raiders will face off against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday. Vegas Nation Mailbag host Elaine Emerson and sports columnist Ed Graney answer all of Raider Nation's burning questions about the upcoming game.
Las Vegas Raiders Stadium
Las Vegas Raiders Stadium (Raiders)
News Headlines
Local Spotlight
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like