OFFENSE: WR CHAD JOHNSON, CINCINNATI BENGALS
In the team’s first home win against Tennessee in five previous meetings, Johnson was a key factor as the Bengals tallied their second-highest point total of the season. Johnson hauled in a career-best 12 receptions for 103 yards (8.6 average) and tied a franchise and career-mark with three touchdown receptions in a 35-6 win over the Titans. Needing six receptions entering the game to surpass CARL PICKENS (530) for the most career receptions in club history, Johnson reached the mark in the second quarter and now has 537 career receptions. Johnson posted his fourth 100-yard game of the season and the 25th of his career. In his seventh year from Oregon State, this is Johnson’s first career Player of the Week Award. The last Bengals player to be honored was wide receiver T.J. HOUSHMANDZADEH (Week 3 in 2006).
DEFENSE: CB ASANTE SAMUEL, NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
In a 31-28 victory over the Eagles, Samuel registered three tackles, three passes defensed and two interceptions as the Patriots clinched the AFC East title and improved to 11-0. Samuel posted his first interception of the game in the first quarter and returned it 40 yards for a touchdown, giving the Patriots a 7-0 lead. Samuel’s interception-return touchdown was his first of the season and the third of his career in the regular season (six total). The veteran cornerback registered his second interception with 3:52 remaining in the fourth quarter as the Patriots halted the Eagles’ drive in a comeback attempt. For the season, Samuel has a team-high six interceptions and is tied with San Diego's ANTONIO CROMARTIE for the NFL lead. In his fifth season from Central Florida, this is Samuel’s second Player of the Week Award (Week 12 in 2006). Samuel is the second Patriots player to win Defensive Player of the Week this season (MIKE VRABEL in Week 8).
SPECIAL TEAMS: K JOSH SCOBEE, JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS
Scobee totaled a career-high 18 points as Jacksonville defeated Buffalo 36-14 and improved to 8-3 for the second best start in team history through 11 games. The veteran kicker made a career-high five field goals (46, 33, 22, 23, 20) and all three PATs on the day. Scobee’s 18 points tied MIKE HOLLIS (18 points on 9/10/00) for the most points by a kicker in franchise history. For the season Scobee has made all seven field goal attempts and all seven PATs in 2007. In his fourth season from Louisiana Tech, this is Scobee’s fourth Player of the Week Award and his first since Week 5 in 2005.
Other nominees for AFC Offensive Player of Week 12 were:
- Cleveland running back JAMAL LEWIS, who totaled 134 yards on a season-high 29 carries with one touchdown in a 27-17 win over Houston.
- Pittsburgh quarterback BEN ROETHLISBERGER, who completed 18 of 21 passes (franchise record 85.7 percentage) for 165 yards and a 79.6 passer rating in a 3-0 win against Miami.
- Kansas City rookie running back KOLBY SMITH, who had a career-high 31 carries for 150 yards with two touchdowns in a 20-17 loss to Oakland.
- New England wide receiver WES WELKER, who had a career-high 13 receptions for 149 yards.
Other nominees for AFC Defensive Player of Week 12 were:
- Kansas City linebacker DONNIE EDWARDS, who recorded seven tackles and one forced fumble.
- Pittsburgh linebacker JAMES FARRIOR, who registered 11 tackles, 0.5 sack and one forced fumble.
Other nominee for AFC Special Teams Player of Week 12 was:
- Oakland kicker SEBASTIAN JANIKOWSKI, who made two field goals, including a 54-yarder in a 20-17 win at Kansas City.
OFFENSE: RB FRANK GORE, SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
Gore rushed for 116 yards with two touchdowns and added 11 receptions for 98 yards in the 49ers’ 37-31 overtime win at Arizona. The game marked Gore’s 11th career 100-yard rushing effort and the third-year running back set career-highs in catches (11) and receiving yards (98). Gore scored on an 11-yard touchdown run in the second quarter and gave San Francisco the lead late in the fourth quarter with a 35- yard TD rush. On the day, Gore finished with 214 total scrimmage yards, the second-best total of his career. In his third season from Miami, this is Gore’s third career Player of the Week Award. He was honored twice last season in Weeks 5 and 11. Gore is the third San Francisco running back to win at least three Offensive Player of the Week Awards (ROGER CRAIG, GARRISON HEARST).
DEFENSE: S DWIGHT SMITH, MINNESOTA VIKINGS
The veteran safety had two interceptions, including a 93-yard interception-return touchdown, four tackles and three passes defensed in the Vikings’ 41-17 road win over the New York Giants. Smith’s 93-yard interception-return was the third-longest in team history and his 112 yards on two returns were the secondmost in club annals. The Vikings had four interceptions on the day and became the first team since 1984 (Seattle, 4) with three interception-return touchdowns in a game. Smith’s first interception came in the second quarter and set up a CHESTER TAYLOR TD to put Minnesota ahead 21-7. His second interception, which he returned 93 yards for a score, put the Vikings up 34-10 in the fourth quarter. In his seventh year from Akron, this is Smith’s first career Player of the Week Award. The last Vikings player to be honored on defense was cornerback CEDRIC GRIFFIN in Week 14 of 2006.
SPECIAL TEAMS: PR-KR DEVIN HESTER, CHICAGO BEARS
Chicago’s exciting return specialist had a 75-yard punt-return touchdown and an 88-yard kickoff-return touchdown in the Bear’s 37-34 overtime win over Denver. In just his second season, Hester now has 10 combined kick-return touchdowns, the fourth-most in NFL history, and averages a touchdown every 13.1 kick returns, the best mark all-time (Pro Football Hall of Famer GALE SAYERS, 14.8 kick returns per touchdown). Both of Hester’s touchdowns came in the third quarter and he is only the 10th player in league annals to record two kick-return TDs in the same quarter. This season, Hester has five combined kick-return touchdowns, tying the single-season record he set last year. In his second season from Miami, this is Hester’s sixth career Player of the Week Award and third this season (Weeks 2 and 6). Hester’s six career Special Teams Player of the Week Awards are tied for the second most in NFL history among returners, trailing only DANTE HALL (7).
Other nominees for NFC Offensive Player of Week 12 were:
- New Orleans quarterback DREW BREES, who completed 24 of 36 passes (66.7 percent) for 260 yards with three touchdowns and one interception for a 103.9 passer rating and added an eight-yard touchdown run in the Saints’ 31-6 win at Carolina.
- Green Bay wide receiver DONALD DRIVER, who had 10 catches for 147 yards in the Packers’ 37-26 win over Detroit on Thanksgiving.
- Green Bay quarterback BRETT FAVRE, who completed 31 of 41 passes (75.6 percent) for 381 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions for a 128.2 passer rating.
- Philadelphia quarterback A.J. FEELEY, who passed for a career-best 345 yards and tied a career-high with three touchdowns in the Eagles’ 31-28 loss at New England.
Other nominees for NFC Defensive Player of Week 12 were:
- Tampa Bay cornerback RONDE BARBER, who had 11 tackles, four passes defensed and an interception in the Buccaneers’ 19-13 win against Washington.
- New Orleans safety ROMAN HARPER, who had five tackles, an interception and a forced fumble.
- San Francisco cornerback WALT HARRIS, who had two interceptions.
- Seattle defensive end PATRICK KERNEY, who had seven tackles, three sacks, an interception and a forced fumble in the Seahawks’ 24-19 win over St. Louis.
- Chicago defensive end ADEWALE OGUNLEYE, who had seven tackles, two sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
- Chicago cornerback CHARLES TILLMAN, who had an interception, three passes defensed and blocked a punt.
- San Francisco rookie linebacker PATRICK WILLIS, who had a game-high 18 tackles and a half-sack.
- Tampa Bay defensive end GREG WHITE, who had seven tackles, one sack, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.
- St. Louis linebacker WILL WITHERSPOON, who had five tackles, two sacks and two passes defensed in the Rams’ 24-19 loss to Seattle.
Other nominees for NFC Special Teams Player of Week 12 were:
- Tampa Bay punter JOSH BIDWELL, who punted seven times for a 50.4-yard average and placed three punts inside the 20-yard line.
- Tampa Bay kicker MATT BRYANT, who converted all four field goal attempts (35, 27, 48, 39).
- Minnesota linebacker HEATH FARWELL, who tied a team record with six special teams tackles.
- Detroit kicker JASON HANSON, who converted all four field goal attempts (41, 47, 45, 52) in the Lions’ 37-26 loss to Green Bay.
- San Francisco punter ANDY LEE, who averaged 47.7 yards on six punts, including three punts of at least 50 yards.