Offensive Player of the Week
Donovan McNabb, QB, Washington
I don't care if he had gone 2-for-33 Sunday. As long as the Redskins won the game and McNabb was a very positive influence in what had to be the most emotional game of his life, he was a lock for the player of the week.
In his first game back at Lincoln Financial Field after his Easter night trade from Philadelphia to Washington, McNabb kept the chains moving (8-of-19, 125 yards, one touchdown, one interception, five rushes for 39 yards) in Washington's 17-12 victory. For one day anyway, the major advantage in the trade went Washington's way.
Defensive Players of the Week
Shaun Phillips, LB, San Diego
This shouldn't be an award for the defensive player of the week -- it's the best single game for a defensive player this year. Phillips had four sacks, an interception, two passes defended and six tackles. The Chargers completely embarrassed the defending NFC West champions (we won't be using that title to describe the Cardinals in 2011, I don't believe), holding them to 128 total yards. With Shawne Merriman ineffective or inactive so far this year, Phillips needs to be the impact linebacker on this defense. He was that and more on Sunday.
Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora, DE, New York Giants
Smart use of the perimeter rushers against a bad offensive line Sunday night, and Tuck and Umenyiora combined for six of the Giants' 10 sacks, three forced fumbles and 11 tackles. This is a rush the Giants have been desperate to see, a rush mindful of the Super Bowl win over the Patriots. GM Jerry Reese has spent enormously to build the defensive front, and when Mathias Kiwanuka was lost to a neck injury late in the week, it looked like this game would be curtains. But the Giants responded with a 17-3 win. New York will need to win more games like this if it's going to salvage the season.
Special Teams Player of the Week
Josh Scobee K, Jacksonville
I've never been a kicker, but I imagine they must grow up dreaming of moments like Scobee experienced on the final play of the Colts-Jags game Sunday in Jacksonville. After Peyton Manning drove the Colts the length of the field (what else is new?) to tie the game at 28, the Jags drove the ball to the Indy 41 and Jack Del Rio sent his kicker out. The ball was spotted at the 49, making it a 59-yard attempt. Scobee kicked it perfectly, lofting it over the middle of the crossbar by three or four yards. Scobee ran around like Favre after his Super Bowl touchdown pass to Andre Rison 14 years ago. I don't doubt he was just as joyous.
Dominique Ziegler, WR; Delanie Walker, TE; Taylor Mays, S, San Francisco
You're not going to see a better-executed punt block for a touchdown. Ziegler and Walker deked their way through the Atlanta offensive line in the first half at Atlanta, bore in on punter Michael Koenen in the end zone and a diving Walker tipped the punt. Ziegler got a second block in -- enabling the acrobatic Mays to grab the ball near the back of the end zone and tiptoe both feet in for a touchdown. Beautiful play.
Coach of the Week
Steve Spagnuolo, head coach, St. Louis
Entering last weekend, the Rams were 6-44 in the last three-plus years. They'd won one of their previous 28 games. This morning, they're 2-2 and playing better than any other team in the NFC West (I know Arizona's 2-2, but I don't call a team with 34- and 31-point losses in the first month of the season a respectable team). I'm sure the Rams are very thankful they listened to a coach who kept telling them they were getting better, and to keep working and they'd see.
Goat of the Week
Nate Clements, CB, San Francisco
As detailed earlier, with the Niners nursing a 14-13 lead at Atlanta with 1:22 left in a game they desperately needed, Clements picked off a pass from Ryan -- reading Ryan's eyes perfectly and making an easy interception -- and began a gallop down the left side of the field. Clearly, even though the interception likely clinched the victory for San Francisco, Clements wanted to score, and as he ran down the left side, he didn't protect the ball the way he should, and Atlanta wideout Roddy White caught him from behind and punched the ball out. Dumb, dumb play by Clements. It cost the 49ers their first victory of the year.
"When I came out and got a standing ovation, it was overwhelming. Thank you to the fans ... It's big, it's big. There's no way of hiding it. It's over now. The exciting part of this is, it's over now.''
-- Donovan McNabb, to Alex Flanagan of NBC's Football Night in America, on the reception he got, and the emotion he felt, Sunday afternoon on his return to Philadelphia.
"I don't understand why my name is associated with this whole ordeal. I mean, it's the same offensive dinner that we've been doing, that every team does in the NFL, so I don't know why my name is the single name in this thing. I have nothing against Dez; Dez has nothing against me. Like I said in training camp, I don't want you guys to bang our heads together and try to make us hate each other. That's not going to work. He didn't take my pads. Whoop-de-doo, he didn't take my pads. But he's still out there as a punt returner, catching balls and doing things he needs to do, and I'm doing things I need to do to make this team better. So don't associate me with being the bad guy with Dez and Dez being the bad guy with me, because that's not what it is.''
-- Roy Williams, to Todd Archer of the Dallas Morning News, on the controversial $55,000 dinner tab the Cowboy veterans stuck on first-round draft choice Dez Bryant (with other rookies chipping in) last week.
Williams and Bryant butted heads in training camp when the rookie wouldn't carry the veteran's shoulder pads at the end of a camp practice, which is customary for rookies to do in training camp. Williams did tell Archer he did have quite a nice -- and filling -- meal when the rookies paid. "I ain't ate in two days,'' he said.
This doesn't deserve a monumental amount of coverage, but one thing should be said to the Cowboy veterans who delighted in spending about $2,500 per man (one estimate I heard for the 22 to 25 men who attended this dinner) as most of America struggles to pay for weekly groceries: Stop being pigs. It's disgusting.
"Well that's a good question. I'm not a 'sit around the fireplace' guy. I don't know. I'm not certain about it. We'll see what happens when the time comes, but I know I want to do something, even if it's not day-to-day or something like that. I know I want to do something. I don't like sitting around. I like to get up and get out and go do something.''
-- Bill Parcells, asked about his next job in the NFL -- if there will be a next job -- as he was inducted in the New York Giants ring of honor at the new Meadowlands Stadium. Parcells has handed off control of the Dolphins' front office to Jeff Ireland, and he could be bound for a new team as a consultant, and not likely much beyond that, in 2011.
"The 'victory bell' rings two times -- when we win and when else?''
-- Ohio State coach Jim Tressel, in a pop quiz to his weekly "Coaching Football'' class on campus at Ohio State, according to a story in Friday's Wall Street Journal.
One of the 49 students in class said, "Third down?''
"Third down? No! At graduation,'' replied Tressel.
The Journal reported that Tressel is the only major-college football coach to teach a class in-season. His class convenes early in the morning, twice a week, on the Columbus campus.
"offended & sad for what...why is it such an issue...I understand time r hard but if he can afford it...it is what it is...
"everybody in this league had to do something one time or another...they don't want u to physically haze...so guy get hit..
"monetarily (I hope I spelled that right) lol''
-- QBComa92, Cleveland defensive tackle Shaun Rogers, in three tweets, responding to my tweet about how the $55,000 "dinner'' Dez Bryant had to buy in Dallas for his Cowboy teammates was "offensive in all ways'' and a sad commentary on our society.
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