Winners of 10 straight games, the San Francisco 49ers are taking a wave of momentum with them into the playoffs along with some accolades.
Niners running back Christian McCaffrey and rookie quarterback Brock Purdy were among those lauded on the final Players of the Month honor roll of the regular season, which was revealed Thursday morning. The awards recognize contributions for December and January, from Weeks 13-18.
McCaffrey garnered NFC Offensive Player of the Month, while Purdy was recognized as Offensive Rookie of the Month.
Since he was traded from the Carolina Panthers to the 49ers, McCaffrey has shined in his new surroundings. Over the last six games with the club, McCaffrey’s dual-threat abilities have been showcased to the tune of 767 scrimmage yards (505 rushing, 262 receiving) with seven total touchdowns. CMC, who’s racked up 27 receptions over the past six weeks, has scored a touchdown in six straight games.
Purdy took the NFL world by storm when he come on in relief of an injured Jimmy Garoppolo and hasn’t looked back. Purdy, the final selection of the 2022 NFL Draft, is 5-0 as a starter and over the past six games has thrown for 1,308 yards with 13 touchdown passes to just three interceptions. Purdy, who has a rushing score in that span as well, has completed 68.3% of his passes and posted a 112.0 passer rating as he’s helped the Niners to an NFC West title and the NFC’s No. 2 seed — so far.
Jerick McKinnon has found himself to be a splendid fit in the Kansas City Chiefs offense, and found his way to being named AFC Offensive Player of the Month, as well. McKinnon has been sensational catching balls from quarterback Patrick Mahomes out of the backfield. Over the past six games, he’s posted 416 scrimmage yards, with 274 receiving on 27 catches, and become a touchdown-scoring machine. He’s scored nine touchdowns in December and January, with eight TD catches.
It hasn’t been a bad few days for Baltimore Ravens linebacker Roquan Smith, who agreed to a massive extension with his new squad and has now been named AFC Defensive Player of the Month. Over the last six games, Smith has piled up 66 tackles — 11 per game. He’s added six tackles for loss, three passes defensed, a sack and an interception, having filled up the box score for playoff-bound Baltimore.
The NFC’s top-seeded Philadelphia Eagles have a parade of standout defenders, and Haason Reddick has been leading the way. The NFC Defensive Player of the Month has racked up eight sacks in the last six games. In addition, he’s tallied 18 tackles, five tackles for loss, two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and a pass defensed.
For six straight weeks, Atlanta Falcons kicker Younghoe Koo was perfect. The NFC Special Teams Player of the Week converted all seven of his extra points and all 12 of his field goals during the Falcons’ final six games.
Los Angeles Chargers kicker Cameron Dicker misfired on just one kick across the last six games of the regular season. Dicker was 14 of 14 of extra points and 11 of 12 of field goals to earn AFC Special Teams Player of the Month.
While the last pick of the 2022 NFL Draft drew offensive honors, Defensive Rookie of the Month went to the No. 2 overall pick, Detroit Lions defensive lineman Aidan Hutchinson. Hutchinson was stellar in the stretch run of the season, posting 21 tackles, four sacks, five tackles for loss, a fumble recovery and an interception.