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Longwell Named NFC Special Teams Player Of The Week


Packers kicker Ryan Longwell, Quarterback Jeff Garcia of the San Francisco 49ers and safety Aeneas Williams of the St. Louis Rams are the NFC Special Teams, Offensive and Defensive Players of the Week for games played the fourteenth week of the 2003 season (December 7-8), the NFL announced Wednesday.

Longwell earned special teams recognition for his role in the Packers' come-from-behind 34-21 win over the NFC North-rival Chicago Bears at Lambeau Field. Green Bay improved to 7-6, one-game behind the division-leading Minnesota Vikings (8-5).

In conditions that included a 35-degree temperature with gusty winds of 16 miles per hour, Longwell was perfect, connecting on four-of-four field goals (24, 38, 35, 45) and two-of-two extra points for 14 points on the day. He scored 13 of the Packers' first 19 points, helping the club erase a 14-0 first-quarter deficit.

Longwell's 38-yarder with 6:52 remaining in the third gave Green Bay a 16-14 lead, its first of the game. He followed that up with a 45-yard effort later in the period to extend the Packers' advantage to 19-14.

Longwell has scored 818 career points and is on the cusp of breaking the team's 58-year-old scoring record, held by Pro Football Hall of Famer Don Hutson, who scored 823 points from 1935-45. Longwell has connected on 19 of 21 field goal attempts in 2003.

In his seventh season from California, this is Longwell's fourth-career Player of the Week Award.

Garcia completed 19 of 28 attempts for 252 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions for a Week 14-high 135.7 passer rating in a 50-14 win over the Arizona Cardinals. He also added 32 yards rushing on five carries, including touchdown runs of three and four yards in the victory.

Garcia became the third player in NFL history with four touchdown passes and two touchdown runs in a single game. Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Bill Kinney did it on November 27, 1983 in a 51-48 overtime loss to the Seattle Seahawks and Detroit Lions passer Eric Hipple also accomplished the rare six-touchdown effort in a 48-17 win over the Chicago Bears on October 19, 1981.

Garcia directed a 49ers offense that produced 496 yards and 50 points, the team's most prolific scoring day since a 50-14 win over the Atlanta Falcons on December 4, 1994. His first-half performance was nearly flawless, completing 16 of 19 attempts for 221 yards and four touchdowns for a 154.7 passer rating, staking the club to a 34-0 halftime advantage.

"Jeff played really well and made a huge difference in the football game," said 49ers head coach Dennis Erickson. "When there were problems, he moved around and made big plays. There are not many people that have thrown for four touchdowns and run for two, so it was a very big day for him."

In his fifth season from San Jose State, this is Garcia's second-career Player of the Week Award.

Williams earned defensive honors for his play in the NFC West-leading Rams' playoff-clinching 26-20 win over the Cleveland Browns on ABC's NFL Monday Night Football. The win gave St. Louis a 10-3 record, the club's fourth 10-win season in the past five years.

Williams totaled 14 tackles, two interceptions, one sack, and three passes defensed, helping turn a 9-7 lead with just over one minute remaining in the second quarter into a 23-7 halftime advantage.

With Cleveland in possession at its own 42-yard line, Williams picked off a pass and returned it 46 yards for a touchdown, giving St. Louis a 16-7 lead. The interception return touchdown was the ninth of Williams' career, tying him with Pro Football Hall of Famer Ken Houston for second-most in NFL history.

Williams struck again two plays later, intercepting a pass and returning it 27 yards, setting up St. Louis at the Cleveland 20 with 0:39 remaining. The Rams capitalized when quarterback Marc Bulger connected with wide receiver Isaac Bruce on a 16-yard touchdown pass for the 23-7 halftime lead St. Louis would never relinquish.

"We are not just trying to create turnovers," Williams said. "We're talking about scoring."

Added Rams head coach Mike Martz, "Aeneas sets the standard for all of us. He makes the plays in clutch situations."

In his thirteenth season from Southern, this is Williams' fifth-career Player of the Week Award.

Other nominees for NFC Special Teams Player of Week 14 were:

  • Tampa Bay punter Tom Tupa, who punted five times for a 52.0-yard average, including one inside the 20-yard line with a long punt of 55 yards.
  • St. Louis kicker Jeff Wilkins, who connected on four of five field goal attempts (28, 26, 29, 37).
  • San Francisco return specialist Jimmy Williams, who returned one kickoff for 24 yards and three punts for 12 yards, adding two special teams tackles.

Other nominees for NFC Offensive Player of Week 14 were:

  • Minnesota quarterback Daunte Culpepper, who completed 21 of 33 attempts for 274 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions for a 120.0 passer rating in the Vikings' 34-7 win over Seattle.
  • St. Louis running back Marshall Faulk, who carried 24 times for 102 yards and added six receptions for 43 yards.
  • Minnesota wide receiver Randy Moss, who had eight receptions for 133 yards, including touchdown catches of 47 and 45 yards.
  • Atlanta quarterback Michael Vick, who carried 14 times for 141 yards and one touchdown and completed 16 of 33 attempts for 179 yards in the Falcons' 20-14 overtime win over Carolina.

Other nominees for NFC Defensive Player of Week 14 were:

  • Washington linebacker Jessie Armstead, who had eight tackles, two sacks and one fumble recovery in the Redskins' 20-7 win over the New York Giants.
  • Tampa Bay linebacker Derrick Brooks, who totaled a game-high 12 tackles, one forced fumble and one sack in the Buccaneers' 14-7 road-win over New Orleans.
  • Green Bay cornerback Mike McKenzie, who had a career-high tying two interceptions, including a 90-yard interception return touchdown.
  • Minnesota rookie linebacker Mike Nattiel, who scored his first-career touchdown on an 80-yard interception return.
  • San Francisco linebacker Julian Peterson, who had eight tackles, one sack, one forced fumble and four passes defensed.
  • Tampa Bay defensive end Simeon Rice, who posted three sacks, five tackles and one forced fumble.
  • Washington defensive end Bruce Smith, who had his 199.0 career sack, passing Reggie White (198.0) for most in NFL history.


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

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