Here are the 33rd Team’s standout rookie performances from Week 12:
Antonio Gibson, RB, Washington Football Team (3rd round, Memphis)
Thanksgiving gave us one of the best performances from a rookie running back so far this year, as Gibson stole the Turkey Day national spotlight that is bestowed upon Dallas annually. Gibson’s three touchdowns were the most by a rookie on Thanksgiving since the iconic Randy Moss game against the Cowboys in 1998. Yes, that Randy Moss game.
Gibson and the Washington Football Team ran all over the Cowboys, with Gibson reaching the end zone on runs of 5, 23, and 37 yards. He totaled 115 yards on 20 rushes and had 21 yards on 5 catches and crossed the 100-yard rushing threshold for the second time this season — both games coming against Dallas. Gibson has taken over the Washington backfield and looks to be the lead back in what was an incredibly crowded running back room at the beginning of the season.
Jeremy Chinn, S, Carolina Panthers (2nd round, Southern Illinois)
Some history was made by the rookie safety from Carolina last Sunday, with Chinn scoring two defensive touchdowns on consecutive plays against Minnesota. Chinn was the first player to score two touchdowns on fumble recoveries since Fred Evans did it for Chicago in 1948 and became the first player in Panthers history to score two defensive touchdowns in a single game. Again, he did it in back-to-back plays. Chinn is potentially the frontrunner for Defensive Rookie of the Year and has been proving that he was well worth the hype that began surrounding him at the Senior Bowl back in January.
Justin Jefferson, WR, Minnesota Vikings (1st round, LSU)
Staying with the game in Minneapolis, Jefferson had himself a day in a tight victory for the Vikings. Jefferson was targeted a career-high 13 times on Sunday, which proved to be an excellent game plan for the Vikings. Jefferson had 7 catches for 70 yards and 2 red-zone touchdowns. Jefferson struggled to string together multiple productive games early on in the season, but has averaged 97 yards and 1 TD over the past three games. Jefferson seems to be settling into Minnesota’s offense well and turning into a real weapon for Kirk Cousins.
Cam Akers, RB, Los Angeles Rams (2nd round, Florida State)
Akers hasn’t had many opportunities to showcase his abilities early on in his NFL career, but he made the most of his opportunities against San Francisco. The former Seminole was only on the field for 17 offensive snaps (27% of available offensive plays), but he finished the day with 84 yards and 1 touchdown on only 9 carries. Akers is seemingly still RB2 in L.A. behind Darell Henderson, and they play in an offense that hasn’t placed much of an emphasis on running the ball, but Akers now has touchdowns in back-to-back games. That can give him some real confidence going forward as he continues his rookie season.
Tristan Wirfs, OT, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1st round, Iowa)
If offensive linemen were given a fair shot at Rookie of the Year, Wirfs might be the favorite to win it. Wirfs has been rock solid on the right side of the Buccaneers offensive line all year and has only allowed one sack in his rookie campaign. Despite the Buccaneers early struggles in their game against the Chiefs, Wirfs played another clean game with no pressures allowed. Wirfs was the fourth tackle taken in the first round this year, but he has made a compelling case for being the best in the class so far this season.