Green Named NFL Offensive Player Of The Week

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Running back Ahman Green of the Green Bay Packers, linebacker Chad Brown of the Seattle Seahawks and rookie defensive end Osi Umenyiora of the New York Giants are the NFC Offensive, Defensive and Special Teams Players of the Week for games played the seventeenth week of the 2003 season (December 28-29), the NFL announced Tuesday.

With the Packers needing a win against the Denver Broncos at Lambeau Field to keep their playoff hopes alive, Green delivered in a huge way, propelling the Packers to a 31-3 victory. That, along with the Arizona Cardinals' 18-17 win over the Minnesota Vikings, gave Green Bay its second consecutive NFC North division championship.

Never before in the venerable history of the Packers has a player enjoyed a rushing game like Green, as he gained 218 yards on 20 carries, including a pair of touchdown runs, in the win. Green's 218-yard performance was the first 200-yard effort in team annals, as he finished 2003 with a franchise-record 1,883 yards rushing.

With Green Bay holding a 10-3 lead late in the third quarter, his 47-yard run helped set up his own two-yard touchdown run two plays later for a 17-3 advantage. On the Packers ensuing possession, after the defense stopped Denver on fourth and goal, Green etched his name in the record books yet again.

He took a handoff from quarterback Brett Favre and exploded 98 yards for a touchdown, the second-longest run from scrimmage in the 84-year history of the National Football League, trailing only Pro Football Hall of Famer Tony Dorsett, who scored on a 99-yard run for the Dallas Cowboys on January 3, 1983 against the Minnesota Vikings.

The touchdown gave Green 20 on the season, moving him past Jim Taylor for the single-season franchise record. Taylor scored 19 touchdowns for the 1962 Packers, helping them to a 13-1 record and the NFL championship.

"The biggest thing for us in this game was just getting the win" Green said. "Now that we made the playoffs, we are excited about facing Seattle. Their defense is going to be flying around and it will be another intense game, both for us and for them."

In his sixth season from Nebraska, this is Green's fifth career Player of the Week Award and third of 2003 (Week 4, 12).

In a must-win game for the Seattle Seahawks in their quest for a coveted playoff berth, Brown helped the postseason become a reality for Seattle, earning defensive honors for his play in the Seahawks 24-17 road-win over the NFC West-rival San Francisco 49ers.

Brown had a hand in three sacks of 49ers quarterback Jeff Garcia, finishing with 10 tackles, tied for the team-high with fellow linebacker Anthony Simmons. Brown's efforts helped limit the 49ers to 17 points after scoring 50, 38, and 31 points in its three previous December games.

Brown's first sack helped keep the game scoreless in the first quarter, as he dropped Garcia on a third-and-10 play from the Seattle 47-yard line, forcing a punt. Then with San Francisco driving on the first possession of the second half, Brown helped stall the drive, stopping running back Jamal Robertson for a three-yard loss on a first-and-10 from the Seattle 22. The 49ers had to settle for a field goal three plays later and a 17-14 lead.

After Seattle had taken a 21-17 lead, Brown again rose to the occasion on third down, combining with cornerback Shawn Springs for a sack on third-and-12 from the San Francisco 44, forcing a punt and preserving the four-point lead. His final sack came on the 49ers last possession of the game, with Seattle holding a 24-17 advantage. Brown and defensive end John Randle shared a sack of Garcia to force third-and-15. The 49ers would not convert, and two plays later, victory was secured.

"You can credit our defense for playing an outstanding football game," said head coach Mike Holmgren. "The 49ers are a very potent offensive football team and they have been racking up big numbers the last few weeks. I know our defensive guys did a good job."

In his 11th season from Colorado, this is Brown's third-career Player of the Week Award and first since 1997 (Week 3).

Umenyiora, a rookie second-round draft pick from Troy State (No. 56 overall), helped keep the Giants in the game against the Carolina Panthers, blocking two punts that led to a pair of New York touchdowns in an eventual 37-24 loss to the NFC South-champion Carolina Panthers.

With the Giants trailing 20-3 in the second quarter, Umenyiora's blocked punt was recovered by rookie wide receiver David Tyree at the Carolina 20 and set up New York at the Panthers' seven-yard line. On the next play, quarterback Jesse Palmer connected with wide receiver Amani Toomer on a seven-yard touchdown, cutting the deficit to 20-10.

Umenyiora struck again in the third quarter, blocking another punt that went out of bounds at the Carolina one. The Giants capitalized again on the next play, as Palmer found rookie tight end Visanthe Shiancoe for a one-yard score to trim the Panthers' lead to 30-17.

Umenyiora's two blocked punts marked the first time the Giants accomplished the feat as a team since October 9, 1943. He also was active at his defensive end position, recording a sack that forced a fumble in the end zone, which was recovered by defensive end Keith Washington for the club's final touchdown of the game.

"Osi was phenomenal," said Giants defensive end Michael Strahan. "He had two blocked punts and then a sack that ended up in a touchdown. He pretty much scored 21 points today. It shows the upside of what he can do and I'm excited about playing with him next season."

A former football and soccer player at Auburn (AL) High School, this is Umenyiora's first Player of the Week Award.

Other nominees for NFC Offensive Player of Week 17 were:

  • Detroit quarterback Joey Harrington, who completed 26 of 36 attempts for 238 yards, three touchdowns and one interception in the Lions' 30-20 win over the St. Louis Rams.
  • Philadelphia quarterback Donovan McNabb, who completed 23 of 32 attempts for 242 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions in the Eagles' 31-7 win over the Washington Redskins. McNabb also added a one-yard touchdown run in the win.

Other nominees for NFC Defensive Player of Week 17 were:

  • New Orleans safety Jay Bellamy, who had eight tackles, two interceptions and one sack in the Saints' 13-7 win over the Dallas Cowboys.
  • Detroit defensive tackle Shaun Rogers, who had one sack and one forced fumble, helping the Lions limit the Rams to 41 yards rushing.
  • Minnesota rookie defensive end Kevin Williams, who had eight tackles, three sacks and one interception against Arizona.

Other nominees for NFC Special Teams Player of Week 17 were:

  • Arizona kicker Neil Rackers, who connected on field goals of 22 and 26 yards and converted a successful onsides kick that led to a game-winning touchdown in the Cardinals' 18-17 win over Minnesota.
  • Carolina punt returner Steve Smith, who scored on a 53-yard punt return touchdown in the Panthers' 37-24 win over the Giants.

2003 NFC PLAYERS OF THE WEEK

Wk 1

QB Joey Harrington, Det.

S Corey Chavous, Minn.

RB Terry Jackson, SF

Wk 2

RB Stephen Davis, Car

S Ken Hamlin, Sea

K Billy Cundiff, Dal

Wk 3

QB Kerry Collins, NY

S Dexter Jackson, Ariz

P Tom Tupa, TB

Wk 4

RB Ahman Green, GB

CB Champ Bailey, Was

K David Akers, Phi

Wk 5

RB Stephen Davis, Car

CB Ahmed Plummer, SF

K Paul Edinger, Chi

Wk 6

QB Brad Johnson, TB

DE Simeon Rice, TB

WR Randal Williams, Dal

Wk 7

QB Aaron Brooks, NO

DE Lance Johnstone, Min

PR Brian Westbrook, Phi

Wk 8

RB Stephen Davis, Car

DE Michael Strahan, NY

KR Jerry Azumah, Chi

Wk 9

WR Amani Toomer, NY

DE Willie Whitehead, NO

KR Cedrick Wilson, SF

Wk 10

RB Warrick Dunn, Atl

DT Brian Young, StL

K Jason Hanson, Det

Wk 11

QB Donovan McNabb, Phi

LB Nick Barnett, GB

PR Bobby Engram, Sea

Wk 12

RB Ahman Green, GB

CB Brian Williams, Min

K Paul Edinger, Chi

Wk 13

RB Deuce McAllister, NO

DE Leonard Little, StL

K David Akers, Phi

Wk 14

QB Jeff Garcia, SF

S Aeneas Williams, StL

K Ryan Longwell, GB

Wk 15

QB Aaron Brooks, NO

CB Terence Newman, Dal

K John Kasay, Car

Wk 16

QB Brett Favre, GB

S Tony Parrish, SF

K Billy Cundiff, Dal

Wk 17

RB Ahman Green, GB

LB Chad Brown, Sea

DE Osi Umenyiora, NYG

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