The final play of Chris Godwin's rookie season not only gave the Tampa Bay Buccaneers a thrilling 31-24 victory over the New Orleans Saints, it also netted Godwin his first major individual NFL award.
On Wednesday, the NFL announced that Godwin had been named the NFC Offensive Player of the Week for the final week of the 2017 regular season. Godwin's entire body of work on Sunday – including 111 receiving yards to lead all NFC players in Week 17 – factored into his selection but obviously it was the 39-yard touchdown catch with nine seconds left that made him the top choice.
View photos of Chris Godwin's Week 17 game against the Saints.
Godwin's catch, which capped a 95-yard game-winning drive led by Jameis Winston, came with the Buccaneers down by one point and holding no more timeouts. A two-point conversion by Mike Evans provided the final winning margin as the Buccaneers upset the NFC South-winning Saints at Raymond James Stadium.
The third-round draft pick out of Penn State caught a season-high seven passes, five of which produced first downs, tying for the most among all NFC players on Sunday. Godwin's second-quarter reception at the Saints' one-yard line set up Winston for a one-yard touchdown run on the next play. Godwin started for the second consecutive week in place of an injured DeSean Jackson; in those two games, the rookie wideout racked up 209 receiving yards and averaged 20.9 yards per reception.
Godwin is the first Tampa Bay rookie to win an NFC Offensive Player of the Week Award since Mike Evans took home the honors in Week 11 of the 2014 campaign. Surprisingly, in 34 seasons of the NFL's Player of the Week awards, Godwin and Evans are the only Buccaneer wide receivers ever to win the weekly offensive award. (A number of Tampa Bay receivers have won Special Teams Player of the Week.)
Godwin is also just the fourth Buccaneer rookie at any position to win an Offensive Player of the Week award. Prior to Evans getting the nod in 2014, the only other Bucs on the list were running back Doug Martin (Week Nine of 2012) and running back Warrick Dunn (Week Two of 1997).
Godwin waited until the final snap of his rookie season to score his first NFL touchdown, and in the process he helped the Buccaneers avoid a certain type of shutout at the absolute last moment. Godwin is the only Tampa Bay player to win any of the three NFC Player of the Week awards in 2017. That continues a streak of at least one such award won by a Buccaneer in every season since 1989.