It had to happen eventually.
One of these weeks the NFL was going to have to recognize that Phillip Lindsay is outplaying - or playing as well as - all the best guys on offense in the league.
After multiple nominations this season for Rookie of the Week (including this week again), the running back was officially named AFC Offensive Player of the Week for his performance in Denver’s 24-10 win against the Cincinnati Bengals, sharing the weekly honors with NFC counterpart, Todd Gurley III.
That’s pretty good company.
As the NFL’s fourth-leading rusher right now, this is Lindsay’s first conference award.
No. 30 rushed for a career-high 157 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries, landing him with a whopping 8.3 yards-per-carry average. His 157 rushing yards led all NFL players in Week 12 and his two rushing scores tied for the league lead.
With his 8.3-yard rushing average against the Bengals, Lindsay became the first NFL player since Fred Taylor in 2007 - and the first rookie since Jerome Bettis in 1993 - to average at least seven yards per attempt in three consecutive games.
Following up on his 14-carry, 110-yard performance against Pittsburgh the week before, Lindsay also became the first Broncos rookie since Clinton Portis in 2002 to produce back-to-back 100-yard rushing games.
As if that’s not enough accolades, Lindsay becomes just the seventh Broncos rookie to be named conference player of the week and only the 10th undrafted rookie in NFL history to take home the offensive or defensive award since it was initiated in 1984. The first undrafted rookie on offense to win the award was Samkon Gado of the 2005 Packers.
Only six other Broncos have won this conference honor during their rookie season, according to denverbroncos.com. Von Miller won AFC Defensive Player of the Week in 2011, and Justin Simmons earned AFC Special Teams Player of the Week in 2016.
But Lindsay is the first Broncos offensive rookie to win it since Mike Anderson won the award back-to-back during the 2000 season.
Lindsay is the third Broncos player to receive AFC player of the week recognition this season, joining linebacker Miller (Week 11) and wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders (Week 7).
Broncos GM John Elway told Orange & Blue Radio yesterday that he feels “fortunate” to have Lindsay.
“He’s a guy who is an underdog and plays with a chip on his shoulder, and that’s what I like about him,” Elway said. “I think that his size was the one thing that was his drawback, but you look at his heart and you look at his ability and the speed.”