Quarterback Brett Favre of the Green Bay Packers, linebacker Derrick Brooks of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and kicker Bill Gramatica of the Arizona Cardinals are the NFC Offensive, Defensive and Special Teams Players of the Week for games played the fifth week of the 2002 season (October 6-7), the NFL announced Wednesday.
Favre passed the Packers to a 34-21 win over the Chicago Bears on Monday night, completing 22 of 33 attempts for 359 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions for a 133.3 passer rating. His 85-yard first-quarter touchdown pass to wide receiver Donald Driver was the second-longest of his career (99 yards for a TD to Robert Brooks, 9/11/95), and the longest play from scrimmage this year in the NFL.
It was a historic night for the Packers' No. 4, as he became only the eighth player in NFL history to pass for 40,000 yards. His career total of 40,097 yards ranks eighth in NFL history and he needs 143 yards to pass Pro Football Hall of Famer Johnny Unitas in seventh place. Favre's three touchdown passes give him 298 all-time. With two more, he will become the fourth player in history to reach 300, and with three, he will pass John Elway for third-most ever, behind Dan Marino (420) and Fran Tarkenton (342).
"It would be hard to top the game that Brett had out there tonight," said Packers head coach Mike Sherman. Added wide receiver Terry Glenn, "I've been practicing with him for a couple of months now and everything he does amazes me. I know Brett is going to make plays, and if I get open, he will be getting me the ball."
In his 12th season from Southern Mississippi, this is Favre's seventh Player of the Week Award.
Brooks helped the Buccaneers to a 20-6 road win over the Atlanta Falcons - their third consecutive road victory without allowing an offensive touchdown. The perennial All-Star led the team with 13 tackles, an interception and a pass defensed in the win.
Brooks also scored on a 15-yard interception-return touchdown after taking a lateral from defensive tackle Warren Sapp, becoming the only linebacker in NFL history to have three interception-return touchdowns in a single season. The Tampa Bay defense has scored four touchdowns in 2002, equal to the number they have allowed opposing offenses. The Buccaneers have also surrendered an NFL-low 53 points this season.
"We are playing extremely well on defense right now," says Buccaneers head coach Jon Gruden. "The standards are there for us to play like that because we are very talented, we know what we are doing, and we believe in the concept of this defense. Guys are healthy right now, they are running well, and they are excited. But every week is a new game and it's a week-to-week challenge."
In his eighth season from Florida State, this is Brooks' fourth Player of the Week Award.
Gramatica connected on three out of three field-goal attempts, including the 50-yard game-winner with 16 seconds remaining, lifting Arizona to a 16-13 road win over Carolina and the club's best start (3-2) since 1991.
Gramatica's 50-yarder tied a career long and he was also good from 41 and 28 yards.
"I was glad I was able to come through for the coaches and the team," said Gramatica.
Added head coach Dave McGinnis about the winning kick, "It was great execution all around by the snapper, the holder and the kicker. No one could get in to block it and it was just a big-time kick by Bill. He really nailed it."
In his second season from South Florida, this is Gramatica's third Player of the Week Award.
Other nominees for NFC Offensive Player of Week 5 were:
· Chicago wide receiver Marty Booker, who had a career-high 12 receptions for 141 yards.
· Green Bay wide receiver Terry Glenn, who had eight receptions for 154 yards.
· San Francisco running back Garrison Hearst, who rushed for 116 yards, including a 16-yard touchdown run, and averaged 8.9 yards per carry in the 49ers' 37-13 win over St. Louis.
· Tampa Bay wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson, who had six receptions for 131 yards, including a game-winning and career-long 76-yard touchdown catch.
· New Orleans running back Deuce McAllister, who had 123 yards rushing on 23 carries, including touchdown runs of one and 52 yards, in the Saints' 32-29 win over Pittsburgh.
· Washington quarterback Patrick Ramsey, who in his first NFL action, completed 20 of 34 attempts for 268 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions for a 103.6 passer rating in the Redskins 31-14 win over Tennessee.
Other nominees for NFC Defensive Player of Week 5 were:
· Green Bay defensive end Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila, who had two sacks, three tackles, two passes defensed, one forced fumble and a 72-yard interception-return touchdown.
· San Francisco safety Tony Parrish, who returned an interception 50 yards to thwart a St. Louis scoring drive. He also added seven tackles and four passes defensed, and has a takeaway in four consecutive games.
· New Orleans linebacker Darrin Smith, who had a team-leading 11 tackles, a career-high 3.0 sacks and two passes defensed.
· Washington cornerback Fred Smoot, who had a career-high two interceptions, four tackles and two passes defensed.
Other nominees for NFC Special Teams Player of Week 5 were:
· New Orleans kicker John Carney, who connected on four of four field-goal attempts, including a pair of 48-yarders.
· San Francisco kicker Jose Cortez, who was three of three in field-goal attempts, and has connected on seven consecutive attempts overall.
· Tampa Bay punter Tom Tupa, who averaged 43.2 yards on five punts, pinning two inside the 20 yard-line with a long of 58 yards.