As the 2021 season winds down with the temperatures dropping and the days getting shorter, a pair of star quarterbacks have restated their claim as the league’s best.
In December, Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes and Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers highlight the NFL’s Players of the Month, which were revealed by the league on Thursday.
Mahomes returned to form with a grand total of 1,110 passing yards and nine touchdowns (eight passing, one rushing) in four games to earn AFC Offensive Player of the Month. Mahomes completed 68.5% of his passes and had just two interceptions to comprise a 108.8 passer rating during that span. The Chiefs averaged 35.0 points per game in each of those four wins, which extended Kansas City’s win streak to eight and clinched the franchise’s sixth AFC West title in a row.
Rodgers, who is lauded as the NFC Offensive Player of the Month, was near perfect over the course of three wins. The Packers QB completed 76 of 102 passes (74.5%) for 811 yards with 10 touchdowns and no interceptions to propel Green Bay into the current No. 1 seed of the NFC. Recently selected to his 10th Pro Bowl, a franchise record, Rodgers also became the Packers all-time leader in TDs thrown, passing Brett Favre on Christmas Day.
On the defensive side of the ball, Los Angeles Rams defensive tackleAaron Donald takes home NFC Defensive Player of the Month after an annual reminder of his dominance. Donald had at least one sack in each of the Rams’ four wins during the month, and ended up with a total of 6.0 sacks, eight QB hits, two forced fumbles and 20 total tackles (eight tackles for loss).
The AFC’s Defensive Player of the Month goes to Miami Dolphins linebacker Jerome Baker, who earns his first recognition of this kind. Baker compiled 3.5 sacks, six QB hits and 12 total tackles (six tackles for loss) in three games. The fourth-year LB is an overlooked component of an underrated defense for Miami, a team riding a seven-game winning streak into January.
Cincinnati Bengals kicker Evan McPherson is the AFC Special Teams Player of the Month by scoring 35 total points. The rookie made 9 of 11 field goals and 8 of 9 extra points in four games.
Atlanta Falcons punter Thomas Morstead is the NFC Special Teams Player of the Month after leading the conference in opponent field position (18.5-yard line average). Six of his 11 punts settled inside the 20-yard line, and the 35-year-old veteran had a net average of 45.9 yards per punt.
Recognizing this month’s stellar rookies, Detroit Lions wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown is the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Month. The Lions’ fourth-rounder had 35 receptions for 340 yards and three touchdowns and added 26 yards on four rushing attempts over four games. St. Brown’s December was highlighted by the game-winning TD in Detroit’s first win of the season in Week 13.
Dallas Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons continues a stellar first season with his second consecutive NFL Defensive Rookie of the Month honor. Parsons had 4.0 sacks with six QB hits, a forced fumble and 12 total tackles (three tackles for loss).
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