It’s mid-season awards time at the New York Times!
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE FIRST HALF (NON-QB EDITION) Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs. Honorable mention: LeSean McCoy, Jimmy Graham, Calvin Johnson.
No offense is as dependent on one player as the Chiefs are on Charles. He leads the league in carries on first-and-10 and has produced a higher percentage of his team’s offensive yards than anybody else. He has scored eight of the Chiefs’ 16 offensive touchdowns and gained at least 100 yards from scrimmage and scored a touchdown in each of his first seven games, making him the second N.F.L. player to do so (O. J. Simpson, 1975). In Week 8, he did not score, but picked up 120 yards in a victory over Cleveland.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER J. J. Watt, Houston Texans. Honorable mention: Richard Sherman, Robert Mathis, Justin Houston.
Watt had one of the N.F.L.’s best defensive seasons in 2012. He has been nearly as productive this year despite not capturing headlines. According to Football Outsiders, he has eight tackles for loss on running plays in seven games (and five more tackles for no yards); this time last year he had nine tackles for loss and four more on runs for zero yards. His sack totals are down this year — although 4.5 is respectable for a 3-4 defensive end — but Football Outsiders credits him with 12 hits on quarterbacks (not including sacks), compared with six at this point in 2012.
OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR Ken Whisenhunt, San Diego Chargers. Honorable mention: Adam Gase, Jay Gruden.
Coach Mike McCoy and the offensive coordinator Whisenhunt have revived the career of quarterback Philip Rivers. Before the team’s Week 8 bye, San Diego ranked second in points per drive and trailed only Denver in first downs per game. Rivers has completed a league-leading 73.9 percent of his passes. More impressive is that the San Diego offense has endured key injuries and succeeded with castoffs. Running back Danny Woodhead (a former Jet and Patriot) has 40 receptions, and the former Broncos receiver Eddie Royal has six touchdowns, easing the loss of the starting wide receivers Danario Alexander and Malcom Floyd.
DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR Bob Sutton, Chiefs. Honorable mention: Rob Ryan, Dan Quinn.
The Chiefs (8-0) lead the league in points allowed (12.2 per game), third-down conversion rate (25 percent) and sacks (36). They are the first team since the 1977 Falcons to hold each of their first eight opponents to 17 or fewer points. This is Sutton’s first year in Kansas City after more than a decade with the Jets; in 2012, without Sutton, the Chiefs finished 25th in points allowed and last in passer rating allowed.
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