The Patriots announced that Rob Gronkowski was named AFC Offensive Player of the Week for his performance in the Patriots 34-27 victory over the Washington Redskins.
It is the first Player of the Week honor for Gronkowski.
Gronkowski caught six passes for a career-high 160 yards and two touchdowns against the Redskins. He extended his NFL record for overall touchdowns in a single season by a tight end to 16 (15 receiving and 1 rushing). His 14th and 15th touchdown receptions of the season established an NFL record for most touchdown receptions in a season by a tight end.
Gronkowski also became just the second New England tight end to go over 1,000 yards for the season after the 160 yards pushed his 2011 total to 1,088. TE Ben Coates set the franchise mark for a tight end with 1,174 yards in 1994.
Gronkowski needs 203 yards in the final three games to set the NFL record for most yards in a season by a tight end, held by Kellen Winslow, who had 1,290 yards in 1980 with San Diego.
It is the fifth Player of the Week honor for the Patriots in 2011. Tom Brady was named AFC Offensive Player of the Week following the first two games of the season at Miami on Sept. 12 and vs. San Diego on Spt. 18, Andre Carter was named AFC Defensive Player of the Week following the win at the Jets on Nov. 13 and Julian Edelman was named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week following the win vs. Kansas City on Nov. 21.
The Patriots and Raiders and neck-and-neck as the race for home field in the AFC turns for home. And, with four games left, the Raiders are ahead by a nose. The tiebreakers between the 10-2 teams in play currently? Common games followed by strength of victory.
The first tiebreaker – conference record – is a deadlock as both teams are 7-1 in the AFC (the Brady-less Patriots lost to the Bills back in Week 4.
After conference record, it's the teams record in common games.
PATRIOTS 26, RAMS 10
So far in common games with the Texans and Bills, the Patriots have gone 2-1 and the Raiders have gone 2-0. The Patriots play the Ravens next week. Oakland beat them. The Patriots play Denver after that. Oakland beat them as well but have one more game against Denver in Week 17.
So if it comes down to common games the Patriots really need to win these next two games.
Or hope the Raiders stub their toe a time or two in their final four games which are at the Chiefs, Chargers and Broncos with a home game against Indy in Week 16.
As for strength of victory, that too goes to Oakland at this point. The Raiders’ strength of victory is at .471. The Patriots’ is at .370.
But the tiebreaker that kicks in after conference record and before strength of victory – common games – is very much unresolved.The remaining picture as it stands right now? The Ravens are the No. 3 seed with a 7-5 record that leads the AFC North. The Texans’ 6-6 record is good enough to lead the AFC South. The 9-3 Chiefs are the top Wild Card. The 8-4 Broncos are the No. 6 seed.
The Patriots play the Ravens and Broncos over the next two weeks. Currently, the Dolphins (7-5) and Steelers (7-5) are on the outside looking in.
The Titans (6-6) will have a chance to get even with the Texans in Week 17 in head-to-head matchups but they host Denver and play at Kansas City the next two weeks so they have obstacles to clear before they get there.
PITTSBURGH - The Pittsburgh Steelers ended the New York Giants' winning streak with a familiar formula.
Ben Roethlisberger passed for 289 yards and two touchdowns, Le'Veon Bell rolled up 182 yards of total offense, and Pittsburgh's resurgent defense harassed Eli Manning into a flurry of mistakes in a dominant 24-14 win on Sunday.
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