The NFL regular season has come to an end and the New England Patriots once again find themselves with a first-round bye in the playoffs. The Pats experienced plenty of ups and downs throughout the regular season. As Patriots fans have come to expect there have been plenty of unlikely faces making important contributions. With that being said now is a better time than ever to look at the 2018 Patriots regular season awards.
The Patriots had many players make some major contributions in all three phases of the game. That made choosing the recipients of these awards that much more difficult. After combing through the numbers it became clear which players had seasons that were deserving of recognition. Without further delay here are the 2018 Patriots regular season award winners.
MVP: Tom Brady
This was probably the toughest call out of any of the awards. Despite having a “down” year, Tom Brady still put up numbers that were close to those of his 2017 MVP campaign. The 41-year-old signal caller finished the season with 29 touchdowns, 11 interceptions, and a completion percentage of 65.8%. Despite the seemingly pedestrian numbers for a quarterback of Brady’s caliber, he was a key cog in the Patriots’ success in 2018. He did a superb job at moving the ball through the air considering how depleted his receiving corps has been.
Offensive Player of the Year: James White
James White‘s season is a story of two halves. He started the season on fire and was one of the best dual-threat backs in the NFL. However as the season wore on, he began to see his touches decrease. Despite his slight role reduction, White still had a spectacular season amassing over 1,000 scrimmage yards and 12 touchdowns. He was particularly potent in the passing attack racking up 87 receptions for 751 yards and seven touchdowns. White’s ability to be a dual-threat back is what makes him the Patriots’ offensive player of the year.
Defensive Player of the Year: Stephon Gilmore
Next on the list is the Defensive Player of the Year, cornerback Stephon Gilmore. Gilmore turned in an absolutely spectacular 2018 season. Gilmore anchored what turned out to be a very stingy Patriots secondary this season. Pro Football Focus ranked him the number one cornerback in the league after putting up two interceptions and a career-high 20 passes defended. These numbers are made even more impressive by the fact that he was glued to the opposition’s best receiver most of the time. A few of Gilmore’s best performances came in Week One against the Houston Texans when he held DeAndre Hopkins to eight catches for 78 yards. Another great performance by Gilmore was in Week 17 when he shut down the Jets’ star receiver Robby Anderson, holding him to three catches for 24 yards.
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Sony Michel
It should come as little surprise that Sony Michel is the winner in this category. After fellow rookies Isaiah Wynn and Braxton Berrios went down for the season Michel was the only rookie on the offense. However, Michel likely would have won this award anyway. The Georgia product put up 931 and six touchdowns despite missing three games along the way. Michel showed many flashes of being a star throughout the season. His quickness and explosiveness out of the backfield were extremely impressive all season and he showed great patience in hitting the gaps. Although it was unusual for New England to take a running back in the first round, in Michel’s case the pick definitely worked out.
Defensive Rookie of the Year: J.C. Jackson
Next up in the 2018 Patriots Awards is the Defensive Rookie of the Year, cornerback J.C. Jackson. Jackson was a pleasant surprise in 2018 as an undrafted free agent. He collected three interceptions and contributed 24 tackles this year. Jackson clearly got better and better as the season wore on, and has already drawn multiple comparisons to former Patriot Malcolm Butler. In what was a relatively experienced secondary J.C. Jackson was a nice infusion of youth, and he performed well above what anybody expected from him.
Comeback Player of the Year: Julian Edelman
The final award given out is Comeback Player of the Year. The recipient is none other than wide receiver Julian Edelman. After missing the entire 2017 season due to a torn ACL, and the first four games of 2018 due to a suspension, Edelman hit the ground running. He impressed all season long, hauling in 74 catches for 850 yards and six touchdowns. The way that Edelman was able to come back from such a major injury and produce at a high level was impressive and earned him the title of Comeback Player of the Year for the Patriots.
Contrary to the doom and gloom that often surrounds the Patriots they did put together a good season. They had many players make contributions and some unexpected faces come to the forefront on both sides of the ball. Even though the 2018 Patriots weren’t the most dominant team, they were helped tremendously by these players who stood above the rest as some of the best on the team.
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