Eddie Lacy named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year

Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Spor

Lacy helped the Packers reach the playoffs by rushing for 1,178 yards.

SB Nation 2014 NFL Playoff Coverage

Green Bay Packers running back Eddie Lacy has been named the NFL's Offensive Rookie of the Year. Lacy had been considered the front-runner for the honor for much of the second half of the season, and he only solidified his case by putting up multiple 100-plus yard games over said second half.

Lacy finished the year with 284 carries for 1,178 yards and 11 touchdowns. He added 35 receptions for 257 yards through the air. Few expected Lacy to put up the touchdowns he did, but he found the end zone five times over the last four weeks of the season.

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Among the other players likely being considered for Offensive Rookie of the Year honors were fellow running backs Le'Veon Bell, Giovani Bernard and Zac Stacy. But Lacy out-gained them all, in both rushing yardage and in total yardage. Stacy managed 973 yards rushing and 141 yards receiving, Bell had 860 yards rushing and 399 yards receiving and Bernard finished with 695 yards rushing and 514 yards through the air. Each of those three rookies scored eight touchdowns.

But Lacy was more important to his team than just the raw stats -- he was the MVP of the Packers this season. When quarterback Aaron Rodgers sustained a broken collarbone, it fell to Lacy to lead the offense. Neither Scott Tolzien nor Matt Flynn inspired a whole lot of confidence, as it happened.

In addition to having to rely on Flynn, the Packers had significant issues along the offensive line. The run blocking wasn't great, and teams obviously didn't have to fear the pass. That was impacted further by the injuries to Green Bay wide receivers throughout the season.

Then you have the Green Bay defense ... that's certainly not going to carry the team to any wins. Lacy became the face of a Green Bay team that has considered running backs an afterthought for some time, and he arrived at precisely the right moment.

Add to that the fact that multiple teams were afraid to draft Lacy due to some injury concerns in the offseason and he's even more impressive. He enjoyed an eight-game stretch at one point in the season in which he ran for 755 yards, and he's the first Packers rookie to rush for 1,000 yards since John Brockington in 1971.

There are other players who were considered who weren't running backs. They included San Diego Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen and Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson. Allen had 71 receptions for 1,046 yards and eight touchdowns on the season. Patterson had just 469 yards and four receiving touchdowns, but he added 1,393 kickoff return yards and two touchdowns off of returns.

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