CB Will Blackmon
Running back MICHAEL TURNER of the Atlanta Falcons, defensive end ADEWALE OGUNLEYE of the Chicago Bears and punt returner-kick returner WILL BLACKMON of the Green Bay Packers are the NFC Offensive, Defensive and Special Teams Players of the Week for games played on NFL Kickoff 2008 Weekend (September 4, 7-8), the NFL announced Wednesday.
OFFENSE: RB MICHAEL TURNER, ATLANTA FALCONS
In his first game with Atlanta, Turner set a franchise record with 220 rushing yards (GERALD RIGGS, 202 yards, September 2, 1984) in the Falcons' 34-21 victory over Detroit. Turner's 220 rushing yards were the most in NFL history by a player in his first game with a team and the second-highest total on Kickoff Weekend in league annals (Pro Football Hall of Famer O.J SIMPSON, 250 yards, September 16, 1973). The five-year veteran, who signed with Atlanta as an unrestricted free agent after serving as a back-up to San Diego's LA DAINIAN TOMLINSON, scored a career-high two touchdowns on the day, including a 66-yard score. He carried the ball 22 times and averaged 10.0 yards per attempt. The Falcons finished with a team-record 318 rushing yards.
In his fifth season from Northern Illinois, this is Turner's first career Player of the Week Award. He is the first Falcons running back to win the award since WARRICK DUNN in 2003 (Week 10). The last Atlanta player to be named NFC Offensive Player of the Week on Kickoff Weekend was Riggs in 1984, when he rushed for a then-team record 202 yards.
DEFENSE: DE ADEWALE OGUNLEYE, CHICAGO BEARS
Ogunleye had six tackles, including three for losses, one which resulted in a safety in the Bears' 29-13 victory at Indianapolis on Sunday night in a rematch of Super Bowl XLI. In the first game at Lucas Oil Stadium, the Bears handed the Colts their first September loss since 2004. In the second quarter, with Chicago ahead 10-6, Ogunleye extended the lead by tackling the Indianapolis running back in the end zone for a safety. For the game, the Bears held Indianapolis to 293 total yards. In addition to the safety, Chicago's defense scored when cornerback CHARLES TILLMAN forced a fumble that linebacker LANCE BRIGGS returned for a touchdown.
In his eighth year from Indiana, this is Ogunleye's third career Player of the Week Award. Ogunleye won the award twice with the Miami Dolphins (Week 11, 2002 and Week 3, 2003). The last Bear to be named NFC Defensive Player of the Week on Kickoff Weekend was Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive tackle DAN HAMPTON in 1989.
SPECIAL TEAMS: PR-KR WILL BLACKMON, GREEN BAY PACKERS
With the Packers ahead 10-6 in the third quarter, Blackmon increased the lead with a 76-yard punt-return touchdown in Green Bay's 24-19 victory on Monday night over the division-rival Minnesota Vikings. For the night, Blackmon averaged 26.0 yards per punt return (three returns, 78 yards) and 23.0 yards per kickoff return (three returns, 69 yards). The touchdown was the third of his career and his second on a punt return. Blackmon's previous two touchdowns came last year versus Oakland (December 9, 2007) when he recovered a fumble in the end zone and returned a punt 57 yards for a score.
In his third season from Boston College, this is Blackmon's second career Player of the Week Award. He was honored in Week 14 of last year for his two-touchdown performance against Oakland.
Other nominees for NFC Offensive Player of Week 1 were:
New Orleans quarterback DREW BREES, who completed 23 of 32 passes (71.9 percent) for 343 yards with three touchdowns and one interception for a 124.9 passer rating in the Saints' 24-20 win versus Tampa Bay.
New York Giants wide receiver PLAXICO BURRESS, who had 10 receptions for 133 yards in the Giants' 16-7 win over Washington.
New Orleans running back REGGIE BUSH, who compiled 163 scrimmage yards, including eight catches for 112 yards and a 42-yard game-winning touchdown.
Carolina quarterback JAKE DELHOMME, who completed 23 of 41 passes (56.1 percent) for 247 yards and threw a game-winning 14-yard touchdown as time expired in the Panthers' 26-24 win at San Diego.
Chicago rookie running back MATT FORTÉ, who rushed 23 times for 123 yards, including a 50-yard touchdown.
Arizona running back EDGERRIN JAMES, who rushed for 100 yards in the Cardinals' 23-13 win at San Francisco.
Philadelphia quarterback DONOVAN MC NABB, who completed 21 of 33 passes (63.6 percent) for 361 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions for a 131.0 passer rating in the Eagles' 38-3 win against St. Louis.
Green Bay quarterback AARON RODGERS, who completed 18 of 22 passes (81.8 percent) for 178 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions for a 115.5 passer rating in his first career NFL start. Rodgers added 35 rushing yards and one touchdown.
Dallas quarterback TONY ROMO, who completed 24 of 32 passes (75.0 percent) for 320 yards with one touchdown and one interception for a 103.6 passer rating in the Cowboys' 28-10 win at Cleveland.
Carolina tight end DANTE ROSARIO, who had a career-high seven catches and 96 yards, including a 14-yard game-winning touchdown as time expired.
Other nominees for NFC Defensive Player of Week 1 were:
Atlanta defensive end JOHN ABRAHAM, who had four tackles and three sacks, the fourth time in his career he has recorded at least three sacks in a game.
Philadelphia linebacker STEWART BRADLEY, who had a team-high 13 tackles, including a sack.
Tampa Bay cornerback PHILLIP BUCHANON, who had five tackles and returned an interception 26 yards for a touchdown.
New Orleans linebacker SCOTT FUJITA, who had 10 tackles and sealed the Saints' victory with an interception with 44 seconds remaining.
Arizona defensive end TRAVIS LA BOY, who had five tackles, two sacks, a tackle-for-loss, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
New York Giants defensive end JUSTIN TUCK, who recorded six tackles and a sack.
Other nominees for NFC Special Teams Player of Week 1 were:
Tampa Bay punter JOSH BIDWELL, who had a net punting average of 40.4 yards and placed four punts inside the 20-yard line.
New York Giants kicker JOHN CARNEY, who converted all three field-goal attempts (24, 25, 47 yards) and a PAT.
Philadelphia rookie punt returner DE SEAN JACKSON, who averaged 12.1 yards-per-return (8 returns, 97 yards), including a long of 60 yards.
Carolina kicker JOHN KASAY, who was four-of-four on field-goal attempts (44, 33, 30, 49 yards) and connected on both PATs.
Philadelphia punter SAV ROCCA, who placed three of his four punts inside the 20-yard line.