The Chiefs’ Jerick McKinnon, a running back and kick returner with the Minnesota Vikings, was not included in any NFL playoffs hero bingo card. The absence of his name is noteworthy because he led the league in fantasy points last season. He also scored more touchdowns than Le’Veon Bell or Ezekiel Elliott.,
The “latinx is offensive 2021” was not on any NFL player’s bingo card. The Chiefs’ Jerick McKinnon was the only player to score a touchdown in the playoffs this year, but he wasn’t on anyone’s list of heroes.
The NFL will reveal its major award winners for 2021 at an Oscars-style event on the night of the Super Bowl, as it does every year.
The honors will be based on regular-season performance, from league Most Valuable Player through Offensive and Defensive Players, and Rookies of the Year. In the NFL Playoffs, what occurs remains in the NFL Playoffs.
That goes for the NFL’s most inspirational award, the Comeback Player of the Year. This year’s prize is expected to be a tie between two quarterbacks, Dak Prescott of the Dallas Cowboys and Joe Burrow of the Cincinnati Bengals, who both suffered devastating injuries in 2020 but returned this season to lead their respective teams to division championships.
Choosing between the two might be the most difficult task of all the prizes. There isn’t a clear winner.
But what if the same accolades were given out purely for what occurs in the playoffs? What if there was an award for the best comeback player in the postseason?
In this playoff season, one thing is certain: the champion following Super Wild Card Weekend will be a unanimous decision.
Due to injury, McKinnon is given an opportunity to play his finest game of his career.
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images/Jerick McKinnon
With all of the big names and expected suspects vying for offensive hero honors for the Kansas City Chiefs in their 42-21 win against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday night, running back Jerick McKinnon’s name was certainly not on many people’s bingo cards.
Most viewers of Sunday night’s game, outside of Kansas City Chiefs supporters, had probably forgotten that McKinnon was still in the league. However, it didn’t take long for McKinnon to remind the world that he was still going strong at the age of 29.
Due to injuries to regular starter Clyde Edwards-Helaire and backup Darrell Williams, McKinnon was pressed into action and lit up the field on nearly every run or reception, rushing 12 times for 61 yards and receiving all six of his receptions for another 81 yards and a score.
What was the extent of this performance’s out-of-the-blueness? McKinnon had a total of 12 carries for 62 yards throughout the regular season, which lasted 18 weeks. On Sunday night, he virtually duplicated those stats in one game.
It was a fairy-tale ending for a running back who was forced to sit out the whole 2018 and 2019 seasons after suffering a horrific knee injury just as his career was about to take off.
After Sunday’s game, McKinnon said, “When you get in a spot like that and you’re just fighting and battling back, the only thing you can do is put your head down and keep working and know in the back of your mind that effort is going to pay off one of these days.” “It demonstrated the hard effort I put in over the last couple of years to overcome everything.”
McKinnon was once a rising talent who was sidetracked by a serious knee injury.
McKinnon was once considered a future star for the San Francisco 49ers. That was roughly four years ago. McKinnon was finally getting a chance to be a lead back in 2018, after signing a four-year, $30 million free-agent contract with the 49ers to replace Carlos Hyde. After four seasons as a backup with the Minnesota Vikings — after being selected in the third round of the 2014 NFL Draft from Georgia Southern — McKinnon was finally getting a chance to be a lead back in 2018.
McKinnon tore his ACL in his right knee in practice a week before the regular season began, and he was out for the year. McKinnon then missed the whole 2019 season as his knee flared up in training camp, necessitating a second operation.
In 2020, he was finally able to return to the pitch, although he was demoted to a part-time duty, starting just four games. McKinnon also altered his contract for the 2020 season, lowering his basic pay and removing the fourth year of his previous contract, causing disagreement with the front staff.
McKinnon signed with the Chiefs as an unrestricted free agent last summer, but he was not anticipated to play a large role behind Edwards-Helaire and Williams. Another injury, this time a hamstring, forced McKinnon to return to the IR towards the conclusion of the regular season for many games.
McKinnon was finally ready as the calendar moved to January.
The Chiefs won thanks to McKinnon’s first playoff touchdown since 2017.
When the Chiefs faced the Denver Broncos in the regular-season finale, they had been without Edwards-Helaire for two weeks. Then, early in that Week 18 game, Williams hurt his toe. McKinnon took over as the next man up, running five times for 24 yards and collecting all three of his targets for 26 yards, including his first NFL score since 2017.
When Edwards-Helaire was unable to recuperate in time for the Wild Card game against the Steelers, and Williams was still out due to his injury, McKinnon was re-instated in the starting lineup.
The Chiefs had been kept scoreless for the whole of the second quarter before McKinnon finally got them going, receiving a four-yard touchdown throw from Patrick Mahomes to tie the game at 7-7. It was McKinnon’s first playoff score since 2017, as well as the first of the Chiefs’ five responded touchdowns.
McKinnon’s postseason comeback tale is anticipated to continue regardless of Edwards-condition Helaire’s this Sunday in the Divisional Round against the Buffalo Bills.
“I’ve watched him as a playmaker since training camp,” Mahomes said. “He’s been a playmaker in this league for the past several years for a reason. Obviously, he has battled with injuries throughout his career, and he has dealt with a little setback this season, but he has maintained a positive attitude. He’s persevered in his efforts.”
Pro Football Reference provided the statistics.
RELATED: Andy Reid, a well-known foodie, uses a hilarious food analogy to explain the Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl mindset: ‘That Is the Chocolate Cake With the Ultimate Frosting, and You’ll Try to Get It If You Can’
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