Hey we gotta give some love to the special teamers:
Week 1 Players of the Week
Offense: QB Patrick Mahomes, KC
Defense: S Minkah Fitzpatrick, PIT
ST: K Cade York, CLE
Offense: RB Saquon Barkley, NYG
Defense: LB Uchenna Nwosu, SEA
ST: CB Zech McPhearson, PHI
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 14, 2022
McPhearson had the huge recovery on the onside kick, which was an underrated play in Sunday’s game. Detroit had just scored to cut the lead to ten (31-21), then Dan Campbell came back with that decision and McPhearson, the sophomore cornerback, very calmly just looked the ball right in:
Zech McPhearson won NFC Special Teams Player of the Week. Here's the all-22 of his onside kick recovery: pic.twitter.com/s6gqXqgW4D
— Kevin Kinkead (@Kevin_Kinkead) September 14, 2022
Special teams coordinator Michael Clay was asked about the sequence Tuesday:
Q.CB Zech McPhearson had the big onside recovery, is that something you alerted in that situation, or is that just something that you’re always looking for, particularly with this Lions team that had their fair share of onsides tries like a year ago?(Jimmy Kempski)
MICHAEL CLAY: Yeah, it’s always great when you have a full off-season going against an opponent that you know can pull out some trickery here and there. I could tell the guys until I’m blue in the face, watch out for the onside kick, but kudos to Zech to stay disciplined, stay in there at that time of the game not to panic. He stayed patient right there.
It was actually pretty cool listening to the guys talk about it. They noticed — and we always talk about we have rules on our kickoff return team, always see the ball kicked. But for him to stay in there and kind of alert — there was a different pace by the kicker in terms of that. Then you can see also Patrick Johnson, who plays our rover, was darting there because he saw it, also. So, it’s kudos to them just being so locked into that opportunity right there.
You never know in the NFL, everyone is trying to win, so they have to be locked in right there.
We had gone over it and we’ve worked on it in practice. The cool thing about it is what we worked on in practice, it happened in the game. Kind of makes you feel good as a coach that you had these guys prepared.
But it’s good for them to stay disciplined from the rules day one and help the team in any way we possibly can.
Nice play, for real. Didn’t get rattled, just stayed calm, waited for that ball to come down, and snagged it. Could have been an entirely different ballgame if Detroit recovered and went down to score again.