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PFW's Lighthouse Awards 2013
The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed on the PFW Blog represent those of individual authors, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions or policies of the New England Patriots organization, front office staff, coaches and executives. Authors' views are formulated independently from any inside knowledge and/or conversations with Patriots officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.
Before we crawl in our caves and lament the end of the season that was, we at PFW like to take some time to take a peek back and remember the most memorable moments of the 2013 season with our annual Lighthouse Awards. The following should offer one last glimpse of the Patriots 2013 campaign before we all turn our attention to the offseason and figuring out how we'll spend our Sundays without the NFL.
First he was gone and the offense struggled. Then he returned and the team played its best football of the season. Then he was gone again, and soon the offense was back to its struggling ways.
Offensive Player of the Year
Defensive Player of the Year
Few Patriots made a bigger impact individually than Talib did when he was healthy. Completely changed the defense with his ability to lock down on opponents' top receivers.
Rookie of the Year
Punters don't have the most glamorous job but Allen performed his duties exceptionally well in his first season despite a larger-than-expected workload considering the offense's early struggles.
Offensive Play of the Year
Kenbrell Thompkins' game-winning TD catch against Saints
The rookie came up with a huge play in the waning seconds when he out-jumped Jabari Greer for Tom Brady's game-winning touchdown pass to beat the Saints.
Defensive Play of the Year
Marquice Cole's "tip pick" against Miami
We're not sure what was more impressive - Devin McCourty's deflection to Cole for the interception or the fact that the two later said Cole screamed for McCourty to tip it to him.
In honor of Dante's retirement we're naming an award for the team's best assistant coach after him. Few have conducted themselves with as much class as Scarnecchia.
Ref-Off II Award
Some iffy decisions by the men in stripes cost the Patriots a chance to win on the road against the Jets and Panthers. The Carolina non-call in particular ranks as one of the all-time worst.
It stands to reason the Most Valuable Kicker award goes to Gostkowski for his incredible season, but his fill-in work at punter in the playoffs really put his performance over the top.
Bumper TD Award
The fullback broke about 111 tackles on his 2-yard touchdown run in Houston, and few were as excited as former high school fullback Andy Hart.
Given the multitude of maladies in New England, Bill Belichick could be forgiven if he confused the locker room with an emergency ward.
LL Cool J Award
Last-second comebacks against Buffalo, New Orleans, Denver and Cleveland kept Patriots fans interested right till the final gun.
Leave 'em Hanging Award
Tom Brady's teammates
He may be the most famous athlete in the world but Brady couldn't get a teammate to give him a high-five all year.
Caught Red-handed Award
The quarterback's sore hand became a topic of tight scrutiny in the middle of the season, and eventually reports indicated he played through some ligament damage.
Bad to the Bone Award
The wideout's groin was described as having torn away from the bone, which doesn't sound too comfortable but earned Amendola plenty of toughness points.
No truth to the rumor that Hasbro is planning an updated version of the '80s children's game using Gronk (and his many surgeries) as the model.
2014 Appetizer Award
The rookie showed signs of better things to come with his terrific performances down the stretch and in the playoffs.
No Running Award
After being promoted from the practice squad Siliga plugged the hole in the middle of the defense and helped the Patriots run defense improve dramatically down the stretch.
Good Neighbor Award
Belichick's buddy Schiano did the Patriots a huge favor by dealing LeGarrette Blount to New England for Jeff Demps. Blount responded by carrying the running game late in the season.
Fantasy Camp Award
With no other options Tebow spent his summer in Foxborough, and like those overmatched fantasy campers he didn't last long.
Worthy Successor Award
Bob proved to be an excellent replacement for long-time radio voice and legend Gil Santos on the Patriots Radio Network.
Colorful Commentary Award
Speaking of Patriots radio, how did Bob put up with Zolak's "quirks" all year? Unicorns? Show ponies? Where's the beef?
If You Don't Like the Weather Award
New England's weather is famously unpredictable and the Patriots experienced just about everything this season from bitter cold, heavy wind and rain to intense heat.
Vince You've Been Gone Award
Big Vince went down with an Achilles injury in Week 4 but that didn't mean he was forgotten. Wilfork served as a mentor to the young defensive tackles the rest of the way and provided plenty of inspiration.
Once the big fella got rolling there wasn't much opposing defenses – particularly defensive backs – could do to stop him.
Hit Man Award
Wes Welker/Bill Belichick
Welker's takeout of Talib in the AFC title game certainly got the coach's attention. Whether it was deliberate or not is debatable, but the coach's views are not.
Knight Moves Award
With as many as eight Rutgers players on the roster during the summer, the Patriots may as well have opened a satellite campus in Foxborough.
Field Trip Award
The Patriots ended the bye week before the Colts playoff game by taking in a screening of "Lone Survivor" alongside its star Mark Wahlberg.
Round Mound of Bad Sound Award
Basketball Hall of Famer Barkley was a guest of the Krafts at the Colts playoff game and after the win proceeded to explain to the media how the Patriots, um, wouldn't be very good when Belichick and Brady leave.
The corner's reaction following his game-clinching pass defense in the end zone against Atlanta said it all.