Posted: Monday September 25, 2006 10:31AM; Updated: Monday September 25, 2006 6:16PM
The Awards Section
Redskins quarterback Mark Brunell had struggled this season before setting an NFL record for consecutive completions to start a game on Sunday.
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Offensive Players of the Week
Mark Brunell, QB, Washington. Football is a funny game. How else to explain the embattled Brunell completing his first 22 passes against Houston, an NFL record for consecutive completions to start a game? He finished 24 of 27 for 261 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions. "We didn't change very much,'' he said afterward. "We just played better.'' There's more to it, to me. First, it looked as if Brunell was looking for the sure things rather than downfield. Second, Houston's pass rush is nothing like the Dallas rush Washington faced the previous week.
Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jacksonville. A star is born. Last year, in two losses to Indy, Jacksonville running backs totaled 172 rushing yards. In the first half of Sunday's vital AFC South match in Indianapolis, Jags backs rushed for 154 -- 87 by the 5-foot-7 whippet from UCLA. For the game, he totaled 103 rushing yards, 32 receiving yards and 104 kick-return yards. The Jags will be a different team with Jones-Drew playing a key part of the offense.
Defensive Players of the Week
Ken Hamlin, FS, Seattle. Imagine what must have been going through Hamlin's mind as he, in effect, clinched the win against the Giants in the first quarter at Qwest Field. His two picks in the first 10 minutes led to the first and third Seattle touchdowns, and the Seahawks were up 21-0 "before we even got lathered up,'' said Giants coach Tom Coughlin. Hamlin didn't even know 10 months ago if he'd be able to play football again after fracturing his skull in a bar fight. Looks like he's all the way back.
Kerry Rhodes, SS, New York Jets. The more you watch the rangy and versatile second-year safety from Louisville, the more it looks like he'll be a big star -- and soon. In the 28-20 win over Buffalo, he attacked the pocket for two sacks of J.P. Losman, forced two fumbles and collected 10 tackles.
Special Teams Player of the Week
John Kasay, K, Carolina. He became the first kicker ever to make four field goals of 45 yards or longer in a game at Tampa, kicking, in order, field goals of 51, 50, 49 and 46 in the 26-24 win over the Bucs. His last one came with two seconds to go. "I do not like John Kasay,'' Jon Gruden said through clenched teeth afterward.
Goat of the Week
Josh Scobee, K, Jacksonville. Once in a while it's excusable to clang a 24-yard field goal try off the left upright, but not when Scobee did it Sunday. Jags 7, Colts 7. Jags dominating the game. Running all over the Colts. Jags drive 66 yards in almost nine minutes of the second quarter. Stall at the Indy 6. Here comes Scobee. Clang! Deflated, the Jags saw the Colts go up 21-7 en route to a 21-14 victory.
Coach of the Week
Mike McCarthy, Green Bay. With hounds baying at the Lambeau gates over a variety of things -- most prominently, losing two straight at home to start the season, including one to the Saints -- McCarthy got his team ready to play in a hostile environment at Ford Field on Sunday. The first win of his coaching career, 31-24 over the toothless Leos, was enough to merit a game-ball presentation from his captains.
Quote of the Week I
"We got outplayed and outcoached. Write that one down.'' -- Jeremy Shockey, the shock-jock Giants tight end, after New York fell behind 35-0 in Seattle and lost 42-30.
Quote of the Week II
"We need this win a lot more than I needed my 400th touchdown pass.'' -- Green Bay quarterback Brett Favre, who actually threw three touchdown passes (the 400th, 401st and 402nd of his career) in the Packers' first win of the season, 31-24 at Detroit.
Quote of the Week III
"I was talking to my old roommate, Y.A. Tittle, this morning. We were reminiscing about the times we took stagecoaches to games.'' -- New Atlanta kicker Morten Andersen, 46, who will kick against the Saints tonight in New Orleans.
Quote of the Week IV
"It's a blessing. It's one of the best jobs you can have. I've been thinking a lot about how lucky I am and how many people would love to be in my shoes.'' -- Cincinnati wide receiver Chris Henry, who has been arrested four times for various offenses in the last year, after listening to commissioner Roger Goodell address the Bengals on Wednesday on the responsibility of NFL players to be good citizens.
Stat of the Week
Number of games it took Dan Marino to throw for 20,000 yards: 75. Number of games it took Kurt Warner to throw for 20,000 yards: 76.
Factoid of the Week That May Interest Only Me
In a month-long span that began Sunday in Houston, the Redskins play every team in the AFC South.
In a month-long span beginning Nov. 19 in Tampa, the Redskins play every team in the NFC South.
Enjoyable/Aggravating Travel Note of the Week
Oasis of the Week: The Acela Quiet Car.
I had never traveled in the mandatory quiet space of Amtrak's fast train before because I carry my cell phone, and even thought it's on vibrate and I speak softly, I'm not totally quiet. But now I will be, whenever possible. The other day, traveling home in the Quiet Car from a day in Baltimore with the Ravens, the only sounds I heard were the shuffling of papers, the train on the track, the occasional announcement for the next station and "Tickets, please.'' Softly. Amtrak, for people who don't try you, I have pity. The Acela is wonderful enough. The Quiet Car is one of the best inventions in travel.