#4 – RB Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks
Ask RB Marshawn Lynch what he thinks about accolades and he’ll either say “Thanks for asking” or nothing at all. The soft-spoken leader of the Seahawks’ rushing attack led the league in total TDs with a career-high 17, and finished tied for the league lead with 13 rushing TDs. Lynch has been the focal point of a Seahawks offense that lacks firepower but that teams simply cannot defend against with his combination of speed and power. Every week has been a highlight reel for Lynch, who had 5 games with over 100 yards rushing, nine games with over 100 yards from scrimmage, five games with multiple TDs and finished in the top 10 of every major rushing category.
While QB Russell Wilson and the defense gets a lot of credit for the success of the Seahawks these last few years, the key has been Lynch, who all teams must account for by stacking the box – allowing Wilson to make short, easy passes to sustain drives and keep the defense off the field and well-rested.
Without a doubt, there isn’t a more important or irreplaceable player on the entire Seahawks team than Marshawn Lynch.
#3 – QB Tony Romo/RB DeMarco Murray/WR Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys
Perhaps it would be cheating to not pick just one of them, but collectively these three elite players led the league in many key categories of passing, rushing and receiving. Not since the Cowboys had Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin has the Cowboys gotten such a level of domination out of the three critical positions – and that spells great things for the short-term future of this Cowboys team.
Tony Romo led the league in completion percentage (69.9% – 6th highest in NFL history), TD percentage (7.8%), yards/pass (8.5), and passer rating (113.2 – 6th highest for a full season in NFL history). He had only two games all season with a passer rating below 90, and 11 games with 2 TD passes or more. Additionally, he went a perfect 8-0 on the road and 4-0 in the month of December. Finally, he led the Cowboys to their first NFC East title since 2009 with wins over the Philadelphia Eagles, Indianapolis Colts and Washington.
DeMarco Murray set an NFL record of eight consecutive games with over 100 yards rushing to start the season. He finished the season as the league leader in rushes, rushing yards, rushing TDs, yards/game and yards from scrimmage. He broke the Cowboys single-season record for rushing yards with his 1,845 yards – shattering the record held by Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith.
Lastly is Dez Bryant, the star WR who not only led the league in TD catches with 16, but set a new Cowboys franchise record for TD catches in a season previously held by Terrell Owens. He had four games with over 100 yards receiving, four games with 2 or more TD catches, and six games with over 15.0 yards/catch.