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Barnett Named NFC Player Of The Week


Linebacker Nick Barnett of the Green Bay Packers, quarterback Donovan McNabb of the Philadelphia Eagles and punt returner Bobby Engram of the Seattle Seahawks are the NFC Defensive, Offensive and Special Teams Players of the Week for games played the eleventh week of the 2003 season (November 9-10), the NFL announced Wednesday.

Barnett earned honors for his play in the Packers' 20-13 road-win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Green Bay's first win at Tampa Bay since 1997. The victory helped the Pack even their record at 5-5 and pull to within one game of the 6-4 Minnesota Vikings in the NFC North.

Barnett led the team with 10 tackles, one interception, one fumble recovery and two passes defensed in the win, as the Packers held Tampa Bay to a season-low 131 passing yards and one for 11 (9.0 percent) on third down conversion attempts. Barnett leads the team with 100 tackles this season and is the first Packer rookie to reach the century mark since Brian Noble in 1985.

With Green Bay leading 7-0 in the second quarter, Barnett recovered a fumble at the Tampa Bay 22-yard line. The Packers capitalized four plays later when kicker Ryan Longwell connected on a 31-yard field goal for a 10-0 Green Bay lead.

Later in the second quarter, Barnett intercepted a pass at the Packers' 24, helping keep the Bucs out of the end zone and aiding in Green Bay taking a 13-6 lead to halftime. Barnett has three interceptions this season, tied with Chicago's Charles Tillman and New England's Eugene Wilson for the NFL rookie lead.

"It felt great to be able to take the ball away," Barnett said. "We know what a big thing turnovers can be in a game and we are always looking to create them."

In his rookie season from Oregon State, this is Barnett's first Player of the Week Award. Barnett was named the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Month for October.

McNabb enjoyed one of the most prolific passing days of his career, leading the Eagles to a 28-10 win over the New York Giants before the hometown fans at Lincoln Financial Field. After an 0-2 start, the Eagles have rebounded to win seven of eight games, including five in a row, and are tied with the Dallas Cowboys for first place in the NFC East at 7-3.

McNabb completed 24 of 30 attempts for 314 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions for a 132.5 passer rating, the second-highest of his career, improving to 11-1 as a starter when posting a passer rating of at least 100.0. The Chicago native also tied a career-high by completing 80 percent of his pass attempts.

After the Eagles fell behind 3-0 early in the first quarter, McNabb responded by engineering a nine-play, 61-yard drive capped by a one-yard touchdown run by running back Correll Buckhalter for a 7-3 Philadelphia advantage. McNabb's arm was the difference in the second quarter, leading the Eagles 73 yards on three plays, connecting on a 38-yard pass and throwing a 29-yard scoring strike to Brian Westbrook for a 14-3 lead.

In the fourth quarter, after the Giants had narrowed their deficit to 21-10, McNabb helped end any hopes of a comeback. He led the team 55 yards on five plays, ending the march with a five-yard touchdown pass to Westbrook for the 28-10 lead.

"Donovan did a nice job and was very productive," said Eagles head coach Andy Reid. "He was able to spread the ball around to a lot of different receivers."

In his fifth season from Syracuse, this is McNabb's fourth career Player of the Week Award.

Engram earned special teams honors for his role in the Seahawks 35-14 win over the visiting Detroit Lions. Seattle improved to 7-3 and holds a share of first place in the NFC West with the St. Louis Rams.

Engram had a career-long 83-yard punt return touchdown, helping seal the win. The return came against a Detroit punt coverage team that entered the game as the NFL's best, surrendering just 5.3 yards per punt return and allowing a long of only 26 yards. Engram also added three receptions for 59 yards, including a 34-yard touchdown catch, in the win, joining Joey Galloway as the only players in team history with a receiving and return touchdown in the same game.

"Bobby is a great player for us," said wide receiver Koren Robinson. "Every time his number is called, he makes something happen and gets the job done. That's what he did for us today."

In his eighth season from Penn State, this is Engram's first Player of the Week Award.

Other nominees for NFC Offensive Player of Week 11 were:

  • Green Bay tackle Chad Clifton, who helped end the Buccaneers' NFL record streak for consecutive games with a sack at 69. Clifton also played a large part in the Packers rushing for 190 yards, including 67 on the game-winning 98-yard touchdown drive.
  • Carolina quarterback Jake Delhomme, who completed 20 of 30 passes for 317 yards and rushed for a touchdown in a 20-17 win over Washington. Delhomme engineered Carolina's third game-winning drive in the last two minutes of a game this season.
  • St. Louis running back Marshall Faulk, who rushed for 103 yards on 20 carries. Faulk's 52-yard run on fourth-and-one from the Rams' 40-yard line led to a touchdown that sparked a 23-21 the come-from-behind victory at Chicago. It was Faulk's 20th 100-yard rushing game with the Rams and St. Louis is 20-0 in those games.
  • Tampa Bay running back Thomas Jones, who carried nine times for a game-high 134 yards against Green Bay, becoming the first Buccaneer with two 50-yard runs (61, 51) in the same game.
  • New Orleans running back Deuce McAllister, who rushed for a career-high 173 yards and added career-bests with nine receptions and 64 receiving yards, scoring on touchdown runs of five and seven yards in the Saints' 23-20 overtime win over Atlanta.
  • Carolina wide receiver Mushin Muhammad, who caught a season-high nine passes for 189 yards, the second-highest single-game output in team history.
  • San Francisco wide receiver Terrell Owens, who set season-highs with eight receptions for 155 yards, including a 61-yard touchdown reception in a 30-14 win against Pittsburgh on Monday night.
  • San Francisco quarterback Tim Rattay, who posted a 130.6 passer rating, completing 21 of 27 passes for 254 yards and two touchdowns.
  • Philadelphia running back Brian Westbrook, who rushed for 48 yards and one touchdown and added five receptions for 60 yards and two touchdowns against the Giants.

Other nominees for NFC Defensive Player of Week 11 were:

  • Philadelphia linebacker Carlos Emmons, who finished with eight tackles, including a key stop of Giants running back Tiki Barber on a fourth-and-goal play.
  • San Francisco safety Tony Parrish, who had three passes defensed and returned an interception 48 yards setting up a 32-yard field goal in the second quarter.
  • St. Louis linebacker Tommy Polley, who recorded 11 tackles, one interception and three passes defensed.
  • New Orleans cornerback Fred Thomas, who had five tackles, three passes defensed and one interception.
  • Philadelphia cornerback Troy Vincent, who posted seven tackles and one interception.

Other nominees for NFC Special Teams Player of Week 11 were:

  • Green Bay punter Josh Bidwell, who punted seven times for a 43.1-yard average, including four inside the 20-yard line and two inside the five.
  • New Orleans kicker John Carney, who connected on three of three field goals, including a 36-yard overtime game-winner.
  • San Francisco safety Dwaine Carpenter, who had three special teams tackles and a forced fumble.
  • Tampa Bay punter Tom Tupa, who averaged 45.5 yards on nine punts, pinning two inside the 20-yard line.
  • St. Louis kicker Jeff Wilkins, who connected on three of three field goals, including a 31-yard game-winner with 38 seconds remaining.
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