Peyton Manning, Robert Quinn, Luke Kuechly, Patrick Willis, and Joique Bell were all among those who received consideration for this award, but a lesser-known player earns out Player of the Week for Week 16. Oakland Raiders defensive tackle Pat Sims quietly recorded 15 tackles in a loss to the San Diego Chargers, and 15 tackles is quite a feat for a defensive lineman. They weren’t garbage tackles either, as Sims was consistently doing his best to plug holes and make up for the lack of talent around him on the Raiders defense.
Sure, the Raiders lost and Sims isn’t a big name, but that shouldn’t stop him from earning honors; we tend to look past these sorts of things. In fact, Sims has been very good all year without much fanfare, but that’s exactly what happens when you are a consistent, run-stopping defensive tackle on a below-average team. It’s time Sims earned some recognition for his hard work in the trenches, especially after a 15-tackle day. Luke Kuechly’s 26 tackles against the New Orleans Saints and Patrick Willis’s 18 tackles against the Atlanta Falcons were awesome, but I think getting 15 tackles as a DT is at least as impressive.
Sims also added a sack on Philip Rivers, an additional quarterback hit, and another tackle for loss to add to his sack. Ryan Matthews did a nice job of helping the Chargers control possession, but that isn’t the fault of Sims. The Raiders received some undisciplined play in run defense from some of their defensive backs (Tracy Porter comes to mind), but the interior of the defense was stout up front thanks to Sims’s commanding display. Again, ten of those fifteen tackles were solo tackles, and Sims barely let anything get past him.
It’s always tough making the case for a lesser-known player on a poor team that lost on Sunday, but it would be a major disservice to overlook the performance that Sims had. I really wanted to give Manning the nod this week following his monster performance, but he had it way too easy against the Houston Texans, because the Texans didn’t even seem to know how to cover a downfield pass in that one. Meanwhile, Sims went up against a very credible opponent and dominated, and he shouldn’t be penalized solely because his team couldn’t prevail.