LA Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford won NFC Offensive Player of the Week honors for Week 1, it was announced on Wednesday morning. Stafford helped the Rams defeat the Chicago Bears 34-14 by tossing three touchdown passes, heaving several completed deep bombs, posting career-highs in yards per attempt and passer rating, and generally having one of the greatest debuts at the position for a team in league history.
But should the award have gone to Kyler Murray of the Arizona Cardinals?
This meant to say the Rams’ Matthew Stafford was named NFC *Offensive* Player of the Week. https://t.co/nNZVnq6yMz— Kevin Modesti (@KevinModesti) September 15, 2021
The debate over a conference’s player of the week award is certainly not that common of one, but Stafford definitely wasn’t the only NFC West quarterback to have himself a performance to remember on Sunday. Not only did the Cardinals blow out the Titans in Tennessee thanks in part due to an NFC Defensive Player of the Week performance for Chandler Jones, who had five sacks of Ryan Tannehill, but also Kyler Murray scored five total touchdowns. Murray was undeniably an NFL star in his own right in Week 1, giving the division at least those two quarterbacks the distinction of being ridiculously valuable to start the season.
Players of the Week— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 15, 2021
Offense: QB Patrick Mahomes, KC
Defense: DE Maxx Crosby, LV
ST: K Evan McPherson, CIN
Offense: QB Matthew Stafford, LAR
Defense: LB Chandler Jones, AZ
ST: P Bradley Pinion, TB
Additionally, Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks threw four touchdowns and no interceptions in Week 1, while the San Francisco 49ers scored an NFL-best 41 points, Deebo Samuel had 189 receiving yards, and running back Elijah Mitchell was one of the few 100-yard rushers on the day.
But Murray is the only one seen as a snub this week because of his five-touchdown performance.
Matt Stafford over Kyler Murray for NFC Offensive Player of the Week is so egregious.— Johnny Venerable (@JohnnyVenerable) September 15, 2021
Matt Stafford looked amazing but Kyler Murray should be NFC Offensive Player of the Week. https://t.co/YTN3otFVEh— William (@twilliamjr) September 15, 2021
I understand Chandler Jones and Kyler Murray are on the same team but so what? Murray had 5 TDs against the Titans. Stafford only had 3 TDs against a Bears defense that simply didn't even try to play and allowed him to have easy long TDs, 5>3— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) September 15, 2021
Winston also had 5 TD as well.. ♂️
This is easily the best situation Matthew Stafford has been in, and the most gifted supporting cast he’s ever had. #Rams got off to a running start, Stafford takes home NFC OPOW, over the likes of Kyler Murray, Tyler Lockett and Tom Brady, who all showed out Week 1. https://t.co/uuZtVQiVVZ— Matt Lombardo (@MattLombardoNFL) September 15, 2021
Stafford selected as player of the week over Kyler Murray is a crime https://t.co/H496EgNfno— Dominique Clare (@DomClare) September 15, 2021
Some have even turned the argument that the only thing that matters, or the thing that matters the most, is not how you play but the total number of touchdowns scored and included New Orleans Saints QB Jameis Winston in the conversation because he scored five touchdowns. Winston only completed one pass longer than 17 yards and finished with only 148 passing yards.
Matthew Stafford is the NFC’s Week 1 offensive player of the week though. Some find it debatable, but it is absolutely indisputable.
And well deserved.