Hopefully you're already in the voting mood, here on Election Day, because LeGarrette Blount needs your help at the ballot box.
In a season full of standout rookie performances by young Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Blount is the team's latest newcomer to receive a nomination for the NFL's Rookie of the Week Award. The hard-charging running back is the third Bucs rookie to get a bid, joining wide receiver Mike Williams (four times!) and safety Cody Grimm (once).
The Buccaneers have yet to have a player actually win the Rookie of the Week award in 2010, but Blount may be ready to end that drought. His performance on Sunday in Arizona was statistically excellent, key to the team's thrilling 38-35 victory and – this is no small matter – ready-made for televised highlight reels.
Blount will need your help, however, if he is to win the award. The NFL has nominated five rookies for the Week Eight honor, and the winner will be chosen by fan votes. The voting began Tuesday and continues through Friday at noon. The winner will be announced Friday evening.
Click here to visit the Rookie of the Week page on NFL.com and cast your vote.
Oh, and while you're there, you can actually cast your vote for Blount twice. The Buccaneers rookie is also nominated for the Never Say Never Moment of the Week.
In the rookie voting, Blount finds himself up against Kansas City safety Eric Berry, St. Louis quarterback Sam Bradford, New England cornerback Devin McCourty and Detroit defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. For the Never Say Never Moment, his fellow nominees are Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford and Kansas City kicker Ryan Succop. In both cases, you can consider your decision while watching video highlights of all the nominees and their performances.
Blount's video is inspiring, filled with touchdowns, broken tackles and that one incredible leap. In helping lead the Buccaneers to the win that pushed their record to an NFC-best 5-2, Blount ran 22 times for 120 yards and two touchdowns. It was the Bucs' first 100-yard rushing game of the season and the first two-TD performance by a Tampa Bay back since Cadillac Williams' effort against Oakland in the 2008 season finale. Blount also caught two passes for nine yards.
The powerful rookie had some of the most critical plays of the game for Tampa Bay. Midway through the third quarter, he appeared to put the Bucs in control of the game with a 15-yard touchdown run that made it 31-14. After bursting through the initial group of tacklers on the play, Blount found one more Cardinal in his path at the three-yard line and simply lowered his shoulder and blasted the defender to the ground as he continued into the end zone.
Earlier, Blount had prompted the Bucs to use the final two minutes of the first half to drive 94 yards for a field goal by converting a third-and-six with a seven-yard run. In the second half, he then exploded for 110 of his 120 yards, including another touchdown on a one-yard run that proved to be the game's final points. After cornerback Aqib Talib had stopped Arizona's ensuing drive with an interception at the Buccaneers' six-yard line, Blount provided the final blow in Tampa Bay's win. Needing to run the final two minutes off the clock and push the Cardinals out of scoring range, the Bucs gave it to Blount, who spun away from a defender at the line of scrimmage, cut right and then leaped completely over another standing Arizona player. In the open field, Blount then rambled for 48 yards to the Arizona 46, and the Cardinals never got back into Tampa Bay territory.
Blount's heroics helped the Buccaneers capture their team-record fifth straight road win. Perhaps they can also make him the NFL's Rookie of the Week…with your help.