The 2013 regular season is almost over, and Alex Smith decided it was his time to shine. For three months he's been called a "game manager" or referred to as the Chiefs' Achilles heel, but in Week 15 he stood out and took over.
Passer of the week: Alex Smith, 17-of-20, 287 yards, five touchdowns, zero interceptions, 158.3 passer rating
There were quarterbacks who threw for more yards in Week 15, but nobody was as efficient as Smith. It's an apropos metaphor for his season: unremarkable, overlooked, unbridled efficiency.
It's easy to write off this performance as a late-season matchup with the Oakland Raiders, but throwing five touchdowns is an impressive feat, regardless of the competition. Almost all of his passing yards came by way of Jamaal Charles, but Smith still deserves his moment in the sun -- regardless of your preconceived notions about him.
Rusher of the week: Eddie Lacy, 21 attempts, 141 yards, one touchdown
The Green Bay Packers found themselves in a must-win situation. In dire need of a win, the team moved away from its passing game to make rookie running back Eddie Lacy the emphasis. He didn't let the Packers down, averaging 6.7 yards per carry in the team's comeback win.
It's unclear if 2013 will allow Green Bay to land an unpredictable playoff spot, but there's a lot to build on for the future. The return of Aaron Rodgers paired with Lacy's further development will ensure the Packers remain competitive in years to come.
Receiver of the week: Jamaal Charles, eight receptions, 195 yards, four touchdowns
There's a reason we're not limiting this award to wide receivers, or fudging the result to award Charles the "best rushing" prize.
The Oakland Raiders had no answer for Charles in the passing game. Kansas City seamlessly transitioned from rushing to receiving when it quickly became clear that Oakland's stout run defense would be enough to contain Charles, making him the Chiefs' primary receiving threat.
Catching the ball in open space allowed him to average over 24 yards per reception, including two long touchdowns in the first quarter that took over the game and led to the blowout win.
Defender of the week: Captain Munnerlyn, four tackles, 2.0 sacks, one interception, one touchdown
The Carolina Panthers secondary took some harsh comments to heart, and cornerback Captain Munnerlyn asserted himself in a win on Sunday. Jets receiver Santonio Holmes called the Panthers secondary their weak link, causing the players to give their all and make a statement.
Munnerlyn isn't the perfect cornerback in coverage, and he's best used in a joker role. The Panthers put him in space in an effort to confuse Geno Smith and a Jets offense that likely schemed for Carolina's defensive ends. It worked, and he had the best game of his career.