Packers defensive end Vonnie Holliday, quarterback Kerry Collins of the New York Giants and kicker Gary Anderson of the Minnesota Vikings are the NFC Defensive, Offensive and Special Teams Players of the Week for games played the 16th week of the 2002 season (December 21-23), the NFL announced Thursday.
Holliday earned defensive honors for his play in the Packers' 10-0 shutout of the Buffalo Bills, who entered the game with the NFL's third-ranked offense, averaging 363.0 yards per game.
Holliday totaled seven tackles, a club-record five sacks and three forced fumbles in the win. His five sacks broke Bryce Paup's club record of 4.5, set on September 15, 1991, and were the most in the NFL since Derrick Thomas had six for the Kansas City Chiefs on September 6, 1998.
With the Packers holding a 3-0 lead midway through the fourth quarter, Holliday sacked Bills quarterback Drew Bledsoe, forcing a fumble that was recovered by Green Bay defensive end Jamal Reynolds. The Packers took over at the Bills' 39 yard-line, and four plays later, quarterback Brett Favre connected with wide receiver Donald Driver on an 11-yard touchdown pass for a 10-0 lead.
"I can't say enough about my teammates and the way they played today," Holliday said. "We had great coverage from our defensive backs all day long and they really made Bledsoe hold the ball. All the factors that help us defensive linemen get sacks were happening today, and I'm very fortunate."
In his fifth season from North Carolina, this Holliday's first Player of the Week Award.
Collins passed for a "perfect game"in the Giants'44-27 road win over the Indianapolis Colts, completing 23 of 29 attempts for 366 yards, a career-high four touchdowns and no interceptions for a 158.3 passer rating, the highest possible rating a passer can achieve.
Collins'previous best was a 134.1 rating (17 of 29, 341 yards, three touchdowns, no interceptions) in a 41-28 win over the New York Jets on December 5, 1999.
With the Giants needing a win to bolster their postseason chances, Collins was at his best. After helping stake New York to a 10-3 halftime advantage, he led the team to a 34-point second half, tossing four touchdown passes, including an 82-yard scoring strike to wide receiver Amani Toomer on the first play from scrimmage in the third quarter.
The Giants' 44 points were the team's most since a 45-29 win over the New Orleans Saints on September 24, 1995.
"We have shown glimpses of this kind of potential throughout the year," Collins said. "We have a lot of guys who can play, and the pieces are all there. Today, it came together."
In his eighth season from Penn State, this is Collins' fourth Player of the Week Award and second in 2002 (Week 2).
Anderson earned special teams honors for his role in helping the Vikings to a 20-17 win over the visiting Miami Dolphins.
The veteran kicker connected on two of two field-goal attempts, including the game-winning 53-yarder with 17 seconds left. It was his first 50-yard field goal since booting a 53-yarder against the Jacksonville Jaguars on December 20, 1998.
Anderson's game-winner tied Pro Football Hall of Famer Jan Stenerud for the longest game-winning field goal in club history. Stenerud connected on a 53-yarder to beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 27-24 on November 4, 1984. Anderson has connected on 17 of 21 field goals this season.
"As soon as I hit it, I felt it had the distance," Anderson said. "When it was about halfway there, I was getting concerned about it, but then it came back just enough, and we got the win."
In his 21st season from Syracuse, this is Anderson's sixth Player of the Week Award.
Other nominees for NFC Offensive Player of Week 16 were:
Washington rookie running back Ladell Betts, who rushed for a career-high 116 yards, averaging 5.8 yards per carry, and scored his first NFL touchdown on a three-yard run in the Redskins' 26-10 win over Houston.
Atlanta running back Warrick Dunn, who rushed for 132 yards on a career-high 30 carries, including a three-yard touchdown run. He also added five receptions for 37 yards in the Falcons' 36-15 win over Detroit.
Green Bay running back Ahman Green, who rushed for 116 yards on 26 carries, averaging 4.5 yards per carry, and added two receptions for 17 yards.
Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, who completed 20 of 32 attempts for 303 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions for a 104.0 passer rating in the Seahawks' 30-10 win over St. Louis.
Tampa Bay wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson, who had eight receptions for 132 yards, including an eight-yard touchdown catch, in the Buccaneers' 17-7 loss to Pittsburgh.
Atlanta wide receiver Quentin McCord, who had career highs with seven receptions for 182 yards, including a 20-yard touchdown catch.
Minnesota wide receiver Randy Moss, who had seven receptions for 110 yards and added a 13-yard touchdown pass.
New York wide receiver Amani Toomer, who had career-highs with 10 receptions and 204 yards and added three touchdowns.
Atlanta quarterback Michael Vick, who completed 20 of 38 attempts for a career-high 337 yards and two touchdowns for an 89.5 passer rating. He also added 42 yards rushing.
Washington running back Kenny Watson, who rushed for 110 yards on 20 carries.
Other nominees for NFC Defensive Player of Week 16 were:
Philadelphia linebacker Shawn Barber, who had three tackles and a career-long 80-yard interception return for a touchdown in the Eagles' 27-3 win over Dallas.
San Francisco defensive end Andre Carter, who had six tackles and two sacks in the 49ers' 17-14 win over Arizona.
Tampa Bay defensive end Simeon Rice, who had five tackles and a sack.
New York linebacker Brandon Short, who had a team-leading eight tackles and one interception.
Washington defensive end Bruce Smith, who had six tackles and two sacks.
Seattle safety Reggie Tongue, who had six tackles and a career-high-tying two interceptions.
Carolina defensive end Al Wallace, who had six tackles, two sacks and one forced fumble in the Panthers' 24-14 win over Chicago.
Other nominees for NFC Special Teams Player of Week 16 were:
Detroit rookie return specialist Eddie Drummond, who returned six kickoffs for 178 yards, averaging 29.7 yards per return. Drummond's 88-yard fourth-quarter kickoff return set up a touchdown.
Atlanta kicker Jay Feely, who kicked a career-high five field goals. Feely was good from 23, 23, 36, 30 and 39 yards.
New Orleans return specialist Michael Lewis, who had 98 combined kick-return yards in the Saints' 20-13 loss to Cincinnati, giving him an NFL single-season record 2,231 combined kick return yards in 2002.
Seattle kicker Rian Lindell, who connected on three of three field-goal attempts.
Tampa Bay punter Tom Tupa, who averaged 41.1 yards on seven punts, with a long of 63 yards.