The divisional round weekend was an absolute thriller. Throughout the games, there were quite a few rookies who were relied upon and helped their team in a big way. Four of the players listed below have ranked among the best throughout the 2021 NFL season. The first-year player who earned the top spot for the week is making his first appearance here late in the season after winning a game for his team.
5. Nick Bolton, LB, Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs second-round selection continued his strong first season play in the Chiefs’ big win. He recorded eight total tackles in the fantastic game against the Buffalo Bills. Bolton also had one tackle for loss. For the Chiefs’ defense, it was a bad game. Bolton did give some contributions though. For the Bills, Devin Singletary was running the football well the last few weeks and Bolton helped contribute to slow him down.
4. Elijah Mitchell, RB, San Francisco 49ers
Statistically speaking, it was not the game that we have come to expect from Mitchell throughout his rookie year. That being said, the conditions made it a tough game to be productive in. The 49ers still counted on Mitchell in a big way on their route to victory. Mitchell had 17 carries and ran for 53 yards. In the passing game, he contributed as well. Mitchell saw four targets come his way catching three of them for 18 yards, putting him at 71 scrimmage yards for the game.
3. Creed Humphrey, C, Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs star rookie center had another good performance for his team. He helped his offensive unit score a total of 42 points. Humphrey helped Patrick Mahomes have time all game. In the final few drives, their offense was unstoppable. He helped the Chiefs also have an effective game running the football on the ground. PFF has Humphrey ranked as their top-graded rookie on offense throughout the two weeks of the postseason.
2. Ja’Marr Chase, WR, Cincinnati Bengals
The likely Offensive Rookie of the Year winner had yet another big game for his team on their way to victory. Chase concluded Saturday’s game with five catches on six targets for 109 receiving yards. He had one big play early on in the ballgame that helped the Bengals get going. It was a great job of getting yards after the catch on the play. Chase made a clutch play late to set up the game-winning field goal for the top-ranked player on the week.
1. Evan McPherson, K, Cincinnati Bengals
Yes, a kicker! McPherson came up clutch for the Bengals all game Saturday against the top-ranked AFC team and belongs in the No. 1 spot for the week. He finished the game four-of-four and one-for-one on his lone extra-point opportunity. McPherson’s long on the day was 54 yards. None of his attempts on the day were easy ones. His other three made field goals were from 38, 45, and 52 yards, which was the game-winner. The fifth-round selection of McPherson paid dividends for the Bengals to keep their special season alive.
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