2005 Overview: Breaking Down The Special Teams' Best Players

*The Green Bay Packers hand out game balls after each victory.

Who deserves such accolades for their body of work during the entire season?

Packers.com analyzes the performances of the team's best players in 2005 and invites you to vote for the Green Bay Packers Offense, Defense and Special Teams MVPs.

Vote for your 'Special Teams MVP' in the poll on the left side of Packers.com.

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Below is the third of a three-part series.*

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WR Antonio Chatman

Chatman served as the punt returner in every game in 2005, but he made his biggest mark in Week 16 against the Chicago Bears. In the fourth quarter he fielded a punt at the Green Bay 15-yard-line and dashed down the right sideline 85 yards for a touchdown. The score was the longest return and the first special teams score of his career. The play also ended a dry spell for the team. Before Chatman, Allen Rossum was the last Packers player to return a punt for a touchdown on Nov. 4, 2001. Chatman had other strong performances during the 2005 season. In Week 9 he returned a punt for 36 yards against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Chatman's 2005 special teams stats: 45 punts fielded, 18 fair catches, 381 yards, 8.8 average and one touchdown


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S Nick Collins

Taking advantage of the second round-draft pick's speed, the Packers used Collins as the R-1 or outside contain specialist. And the rookie prevented players from streaking toward the sideline all season long. Against the Detroit Lions in Week 14, he ran from across the field to prevent R.W. McQuarters from returning a kickoff for a touchdown. Collins knocked him out of bounds at the 16-yard line.

"(He has) eliminated the long run," former Head Coach Mike Sherman said. "We hadn't made that play last year."

Collins also showcased his sure hands. Part of the all-hands team, he secured an Atlanta Falcons onside kick in Week 10, allowing the Packers to run out the clock and preserve the 33-25 win.

Collins' special teams 2005 special teams stats: 10 tackles and one forced fumble


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K Ryan Longwell

Longwell entered the season as the fourth-most accurate field goal kicker in NFL history at 82.4 percent. Although he will be the first to say he did not live up those lofty standards in 2005, he had his share of memorable moments. He nailed the game-winning 28-yard field goal in overtime in Week 14 against the Detroit Lions. That kick served as his 10th career game-winning field goal. The nine-year-veteran demonstrated good leg strength throughout the year. He made four-of-five field goals from 50 yards or longer, including a 50-yarder in Week 1 against the Lions, a 53-yarder against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 6 and 51 and 53-yarders against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 10. Longwell secured his place in franchise history as well. He became the first player in Packers history to score 1,000 points with a 40-yard field goal against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 9.

Longwell's 2005 special teams stats: 20-27 FG attempts and 30-31 PAT attempts


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LB Brady Poppinga

From the very outset of the season, Poppinga gave an indication of his special teams ability. Against the Detroit Lions in Week 1, the rookie recorded two special teams tackles. With a chiseled 245-pound frame and a non-stop motor, the fifth-round draft pick showed a knack for chasing down returners all season long. He led the team in special teams tackles for most of the year, but a knee injury suffered in Week 14 ended his season. His best special teams performance occurred in Week 10 against the Atlanta Falcons when he racked up four special teams tackles.

Poppinga's 2005 special teams stats: 22 tackles


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P B.J. Sander

The second-year punter emerged from his disappointing rookie year as a confident punter capable of both booming and placing punts.

"He's matured a ton," Longwell said. "He doesn't get too excited when he hits a good one, doesn't get down when he hits a bad one. It's just kind of even keel, which you need to be to survive in this league."

Sander benefited from spending the offseason in NFL Europe with the Hamburg Sea Devils. In Europe and during training camp with the Packers, he focused on synchronizing the timing between his hands and feet so he could drop the ball onto his foot the same way every punt. Sander could have further honed his skills, but a bruised left kicking knee suffered in Week 15 forced him to miss the last two games of the season.

Sander's 2005 special teams stats: 64 punts, 39.2 gross average, 33.9 net average and 11 punts inside the 20

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