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Some offbeat awards for NFL season

By Barry Wilner

Associated Press

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 27 2011 3:06 p.m. MST

Contract values aside, the choices are two 49ers, kicker David Akers and CB Carlos Rogers, Eagles DE Jason Babin, Saints RB-KR Darren Sproles and Texans CB Johnathan Joseph.

We'll go with Akers, who has set a league record with 42 field goals, has shown range as well as accuracy (7 for 9 from 50-plus yards) and has helped the league's worst red-zone team go 12-3.

WORST FREE AGENT SIGNING

See next award.

MOST OVERRATED TEAM

The Eagles "won" free agency with the likes of Nnamdi Asomugha, Jason Babin, Cullen Jenkins, Steve Smith and Vince Young. That had them, uh, dreaming of big things.

They wound up being big busts, by far the most underachieving squad in the league — and in Andy Reid's tenure.

MOST UNDERRATED TEAM

A rookie quarterback (Andy Dalton) throwing to a rookie wideout (A.J. Green) after much offseason turmoil is not the recipe for success in the NFL. Yet, if the lowly regarded Bengals beat Baltimore on Sunday, they head to the playoffs. Give a ton of credit to the coaching staff led by Marvin Lewis.

MOST MEMORABLE POST-GAME HANDSHAKE

Harbaugh might have done a sensational coaching job, but his postgame greeting style could use some work. The blowup with Lions coach Jim Schwartz provided the best (and worst) handshake moment since Bill Belichick and Eric Mangini.

BEST DECISION

The NFL and NFLPA finally getting together on a new collective bargaining agreement, ensuring 10 years of labor peace.

WORST DECISION

Falcons coach Mike Smith going for a fourth-and-inches at Atlanta's 29 in overtime. Michael Turner's run was stuffed by the Saints, who then kicked a winning field goal.

LAW AND DISORDER

Barring a complete reversal of conduct, the Raiders will break the NFL mark for penalty yards, needing 12 against San Diego — which they could get on the coin toss if they misbehave.

Individually, it's hard to distinguish between Steelers LB James Harrison, the first player suspended (one game) for an illegal hit (on Browns QB Colt McCoy) under the NFL's stricter guidelines, or Lions DT Ndamukong Suh (two games) for his stomping on Packers lineman Evan Dietrich-Smith on Thanksgiving Day.

BEST ASSISTANT COACH

Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips again proved why he is among the best at coaching one unit. Houston's defensive improvement, even without Mario Williams for much of the season, has been sensational. And when Phillips was sidelined for kidney/gall bladder surgery in December, Houston promptly lost two straight.

BEST MOVE INTO END ZONE

Making like an Olympic gymnast, Bengals WR Jerome Simpson vaulted over Cardinals linebacker Daryl Washington, landed on his feet for a touchdown, then raised both arms for sticking the landing.

"A lot of the guys gave me a 10 on it," Simpson said. "I think it was like a 9 maybe, because I touched the ground (with the hand) a little bit."

WORST MOVE INTO END ZONE

Tony Romo going back to pass against the Giants, avoiding Jason Pierre-Paul's sack attempt near the goal line, then going down to all fours and sprawling into the end zone for a New York safety.

BEST NFL BROADCAST CREW

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