ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — For the fifth time this season, Phillip Lindsay has been nominated for the NFL's rookie of the week award. Lindsay earned the nomination after rushing for 110 yards and a touchdown in the Broncos’ 24-17 win over the Steelers.
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The rookie back made the most of his 14 carries Sunday, averaging 7.9 yards per rush against a Steelers defense that ranks ninth in yards allowed per run.
And though Lindsay’s 2-yard touchdown run gave the Broncos the go-ahead score in the fourth quarter, perhaps his most memorable run came midway through the second quarter. On first-and-5 after a Pittsburgh neutral-zone infraction, Lindsay slid through a narrow gap in middle of the Steelers’ defense and turned on the jets for a 32-yard carry before being pushed out of bounds.
When asked about Lindsay’s ability to succeed running between the tackles at his size, Head Coach Vance Joseph said Monday that he thinks it’s about more than just Lindsay’s physical attributes.
“I think it’s speed and it’s courage,” Joseph said. “You’ve got to have courage to run through darkness and that’s what it is inside. Honestly, it is. In this league, the holes open and close. He has the courage and the speed to run through darkness and to run through the smoke, so to speak. He’s so fast through the hole that by the time the linebackers see him, he’s so close to them it’s hard for those guys to tackle him. He gets into the secondary really fast. I think it’s a combination of speed and courage.”
Lindsay’s outstanding effort as a rookie has been one of the more notable parts of the Broncos’ season, especially given his local roots, but his numbers show that he’s more than just one of the NFL’s top rookies this year — he’s also one of its top running backs, period.
With 780 rushing yards on the season, Lindsay ranks seventh in the NFL, but he also has the fewest carries of any running back in the top 10 of the rushing leaderboard. His 5.8-yard-per-carry average is better than that of Ezekiel Elliott, Todd Gurley, Saquon Barkley and the rest of the top-10 rushers.
Lindsay is up against Barkley, Browns RB Nick Chubb, Patriots RB Sony Michel and Browns QB Baker Mayfield for rookie of the week honors for Week 12. Only Barkley and Mayfield have more nominations for the award this year.