The first quarter of the season has belong to Patrick Mahomes and his continued brilliance at the most important position in sports. So it should come as no surprise to see the Kansas City Chiefs star, and reigning league MVP, nab AFC Offensive Player of the Month honors as announced by the NFL on Thursday.
Mahomes currently leads the NFL in passing yards with 1,510 through four games, and his 10 touchdown passes also pace the league. The fact that Mahomes has been able to carry the Chiefs to a 4-0 record minus his top receiving option (Tyreek Hill) and his blind-side protector (Eric Fisher) all the more impressive and support his early case to become the first repeat MVP since Peyton Manning went back-to-back in 2003 and 2004.
This is the second Player of the Month award for Mahomes, who nabbed the hardware in Sept. 2018.
Here are the other award winners for September:
Defensive Player of the Month: Patriots safety Devin McCourty
McCourty became the first since 2003 to record an interception in each of the season’s first four games while pacing what has been a dominant New England defense through four weeks.
McCourty has teamed up with his twin brother Jason, Stephon Gilmore and Patrick Chung to form the league’s top secondary that has yet to give up a touchdown through the air this season. The Patriots’ defense as a whole just gave up their first TD since last year’s AFC title game last week in a win over the Bills.
Special Teams Player of the Month: Browns punter Jamie Gillan
Nicknamed “The Scottish Hammer,” Gillan’s booming leg has pinned the opponent inside the 20-yard line on 11 of 20 punts this season. The rookie has a 41.6 average on punts (40.6 net) and a long of 55.
Offense Player of the Month: Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey
McCaffrey has been a one-man offensive wrecking crew as the Panthers have rallied to a 2-2 record minus Cam Newton.
With an NFL-best 629 scrimmage yards through four games, Run CMC is on pace to break Chris Johnson’s 2009 record of 2,509 yards. McCaffrey’s brilliance has been on full display the past two weeks (both Carolina wins) as he has totaled 246 yards on the ground and 121 through the air to go along with two touchdowns.
Defensive Player of the Month: Buccaneers pass rusher Shaquil Barrett
One of the league’s most underrated free agent signees, Barrett leads the NFL with an astonishing nine sacks — tied for the most sacks through the first four games of a season since the sack became an official statistic in 1982.
And it isn’t just the sacks, Barrett has three forced fumbles (included last week’s to seal a win over the Rams), 10 QB hits and seven tackles for loss.
Special Teams Player of the Month: Saints punter Thomas Morstead
Morstead has seen 11 of his 17 punts pinned inside the 20-yard line to go along with a 48.8 yard average (44.8 net) with a long of 64. As the Saints adjust to life without Drew Brees, Morstead’s punts have helped win the position battle the past two weeks.
Rookies of the Month
Offensive: Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew
More recognition for Minshew Mania! The Jaguars sparkplug of a rookie signal-caller took the league by storm in September once Nick Foles was lost to a broken collerbone. Minshew is 2-1 as a starter (with a last-second defeat in Houston as his lone setback) and boasts a 7 to 1 TD-INT ratio.
It’s not just the mustache that deserves our attention.
Defense: Panthers linebacker Brian Burns
Burns has become a key member of a Panthers’ defensive front that is tied with the Patriots for an NFL-best 18 sacks. Burns has 2.5 sacks on the year to pace rookies in the NFC, and his nine QB hits are good for second in the NFL.