And for Ball, who posted the best performance of his young NFL career with 117 yards on 13 carries, the showing also meant a nomination for the Pepsi NEXT Rookie of the Week award.
It’s the second time that Ball has been nominated as Pepsi NEXT Rookie of the Week – he also earned a nomination for his two rushing touchdown performance in the Broncos’ 27-17 win over the Chiefs in Week 11 – but the nomination for FedEx Ground NFL Player of the Week marked a first in Ball’s career.
In setting a career high for rushing yards and posted an average of 9.0 yards per carry, Ball broke off a key 45-yard run late in the third quarter with the Broncos pinned at their own 5-yard line, helping set up Denver’s final touchdown of the game.
“Montee was a real pro all week last week,” Manning said after the game. “He was disappointed in the fumble he had last week, but he had a good week at practice. He came in ready to play and had a good game today against the Chiefs. That’s part of being a pro, putting last week’s game behind you and learning from it, it’s not easy to do and I thought his run on the 5-yard line was a critical play to get us out of that hole.”
Meanwhile, Manning is no stranger to FedEx Air NFL Player of the Week honors. This is the sixth time this season that the quarterback has been nominated for the award, and he was named FedEx Air NFL Player of the Week for his performances in the Broncos’ wins over the Ravens and Raiders in Week 1 and Week 3.
On Sunday against the Chiefs, he was once again instrumental in leading the Broncos to victory, completing 22 of 35 passes for 403 yards and throwing five touchdown passes – helping wide receiver
After the game, Decker credited Manning with making the performance possible.
“It was easier, I guess, just because of the balls (Manning) throws,” Decker said.
Manning underlined the importance of the win for the Broncos.
“It was a big win because it was a division game,” Manning said. “We played them two weeks ago in a close game, a tough game. We knew coming here it would be tough as well. They’re coming off a disappointing loss last week, and we knew we’d get their best shot.”
To cast your votes for Manning and Ball for the FedEx Air & Ground NFL Players of the Week, click here – and remember that you can also support Ball by clicking here to vote for him as Pepsi NEXT Rookie of the Week.