Linebacker NICK BARNETT of the Green Bay Packers, Quarterback DAUNTE CULPEPPER of the Minnesota Vikings and safety BRACY WALKER of the Detroit Lions are the NFC Defensive, Offensive and Special Teams Players of the Week for games played on NFL Kickoff 2004 Weekend (September 9, 11-13), the NFL announced Wednesday.
DEFENSE: LB NICK BARNETT, GREEN BAY PACKERS
- Barnett helped the Packers to a 24-14 road-win on ABC's NFL Monday Night Football against the defending NFC champion Carolina Panthers. The second-year pro tied for the team lead with seven tackles and added one interception and 1.0 sack in the win. Following his third-quarter interception and 16-yard return, the Packers drove 67 yards for a touchdown, giving Green Bay a 24-7 advantage.
A college standout at Oregon State, this is Barnett's second career Player of the Week Award.
OFFENSE: QB DAUNTE CULPEPPER, MINNESOTA VIKINGS
- Culpepper played a key role in the Vikings' 35-17 win against the visiting Dallas Cowboys, completing 17 of 23 attempts for 242 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions. He posted a 147.1 passer rating versus a Cowboys' defense that finished the 2003 season as the NFL's No. 1 unit, surrendering an average of 253.5 yards per game. His five touchdown passes were a career-high and now leave him with 95 in his career, just five shy of joining FRANK TARKENTON (239) and TOMMY KRAMER (159) as the only players in franchise history with 100.
In his sixth season from Central Florida, this is Culpepper's fourth career Player of the Week Award.
SPECIAL TEAMS: S BRACY WALKER, DETROIT LIONS
- Walker helped the Lions to a 20-16 road-win against their NFC North-rival Chicago Bears as the Lions earned their first win in Chicago since 2000. With Detroit trailing 7-6 in the third quarter, Walker returned a blocked field goal 92 yards for a touchdown to give the Lions the lead. The 92-yard blocked field goal return for a touchdown was the longest of its kind since 1970. Walker then helped seal the victory with an interception in the end zone with 18 seconds remaining.
In his 11th season from North Carolina, this is Walker's first Player of the Week Award.
Other nominees for NFC Offensive Player of Week 1 were:
- Seattle running back SHAUN ALEXANDER, who rushed for 135 yards and two touchdowns and added 31 yards receiving, including a 14-yard touchdown reception in a 21-7 road win against New Orleans.
- St. Louis running back MARSHALL FAULK, who rushed for 128 yards on 22 carries, averaging 5.8 yards per rush in a 17-10 home win against Arizona.
- Green Bay running back AHMAN GREEN, who rushed for 119 yards and two touchdowns and added a three-yard touchdown catch.
- Philadelphia quarterback DONOVAN MC NABB, who completed 26 of 36 attempts for 330 yards and four touchdowns, posting a 137.5 passer rating in a 31-17 triumph against the Giants.
- Washington running back CLINTON PORTIS, who rushed for 148 yards in his Redskins debut, including a 64-yard touchdown run, helping his team to a 16-10 win against Tampa Bay.
Other nominees for NFC Defensive Player of Week 1 were:
- Tampa Bay cornerback RONDE BARBER, who totaled five tackles and returned a fumble nine yards for a touchdown against Washington.
- Washington safety MATT BOWEN, who finished with 10 tackles, 2.0 sacks and one forced fumble.
- St. Louis defensive end BRYCE FISHER, who posted 10 tackles and 1.0 sack.
- Arizona safety QUENTIN HARRIS, who had a role in three takeaways, forcing a fumble, recovering a fumble and posting an interception against St. Louis. He also added five tackles.
- Philadelphia safety MICHAEL LEWIS, who totaled a team-leading 13 tackles.
- Detroit defensive tackle SHAUN ROGERS, who had four tackles, recovered a fumble and also blocked a field goal.
- Minnesota cornerback ANTOINE WINFIELD, posted nine tackles, forced two fumbles and recovered one.
Other nominees for NFC Special Teams Player of Week 1 were:
- Tampa Bay kickoff returner FRANK MURPHY, who averaged 31.3 yards on four kickoff returns, with a long return of 54 yards.
- Seattle punter TOM ROUEN, who pinned four of seven punts inside the 20, helping limit New Orleans to 24 punt return yards.
- Washington punter TOM TUPA, who averaged 49.6 yards on seven punts, including two inside the 20 with a long of 58 yards.
- St. Louis kicker JEFF WILKINS, who connected on three of three field goal attempts (50, 28, 22) and became the club's all-time leading scorer with 798 career points.