Offense: WR Brandon Marshall, Denver Broncos
In Denver’s home opener, Marshall hauled in a franchise-record 18 receptions for 166 yards (9.2 avg.) with one touchdown in the Broncos’ 39-38 win against San Diego. Marshall’s 18 receptions tied former Los Angeles Rams wide receiver TOM FEARS (18 receptions vs. Green Bay on 12/31/50) for the second most receptions in a single-game in NFL history. Marshall’s 18 receptions were two shy of the NFL record set by Dallas Cowboys wide receiver TERRELL OWENS (20 receptions with San Francisco against Chicago on 12/17/00). Marshall leads the NFL through Week 2 with 18 receptions. In his third season from Central Florida, this is Marshall’s first career Player of the Week Award. He is the first Denver player to win AFC Offensive Player of the Week since wide receiver ROD SMITH in 2005.
Defense: S Troy Polamalu, Pittsburgh Steelers
In a divisional road game against Cleveland, Polamalu recorded his second interception of the season and added four tackles with one tackle for a loss and two passes defensed as the Steelers defeated the Browns 10-6. Polamalu’s interception came with eight seconds remaining in the second quarter on Pittsburgh’s 3-yard line, ending a potential Cleveland scoring drive as the Steelers took a 7-0 lead into the half. The All-Star safety played a major role in Pittsburgh’s pass coverage and run support, which limited the Browns’ offense to 208 total yards (155 passing, 53 rushing) as Pittsburgh improved to 2-0. In his sixth year from Southern California, this is Polamalu’s third career Player of the Week Award. He previously won the award in 2006 (Week 6). Polamalu is the first Pittsburgh player to win Defensive Player of the Week since Pro Bowl linebacker JAMES HARRISON in 2007 (Week 9).
Special Teams: LB Keith Bulluck, Tennessee Titans
With the Bengals at their own one-yard line, Bulluck blocked a KYLE LARSON punt and recovered the loose ball for a touchdown to give the Titans a 24-7 lead with 14:05 remaining in the fourth quarter. The ninth-year linebacker scored the sixth touchdown of his career and was the first Tennessee player to block a punt since CASEY CRAMER (10/15/06 at Washington) and posted the team’s first touchdown on a blocked punt since DONALD MITCHELL (10/7/01 at Baltimore). The Titans’ defensive captain also notched four tackles on the NFL’s second-ranked defense as Tennessee started the season 2-0 for the first time since 1999. In his ninth season from Syracuse, this is Bulluck’s second career Player of the Week Award. He previously won AFC Defensive Player of Week in 2007 (Week 3). The last Tennessee position player to win Special Teams Player of the Week was FB CASEY CRAMER in 2006 (Week 6).
Offense: QB Kurt Warner, Arizona Cardinals
Warner posted a perfect passer rating of 158.3 in Arizona’s 31-10 victory over Miami as the Cardinals started 2-0 for the first time since 1991. The 11-year veteran completed 19 of 24 passes (79.2 percent) for 361 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. The performance marked Warner’s third “perfect game” in his career, tying PEYTON MANNING for the most in NFL history (minimum 20 attempts). The last time Warner achieved a perfect rating was October 1, 2000 and the last Cardinals player to accomplish the feat was JIM HART on November 23, 1975. Warner’s 361 passing yards against Miami marked the 42nd 300-yard game of his career and 12th with the Cardinals. In his 11th season from Northern Iowa, this is Warner’s seventh career Player of the Week Award and third with Arizona (Week 11, 2005 and Week 1, 2006). Warner’s three Offensive Player of the Week Awards are the second-most by a Cardinals player, trailing NEIL LOMAX’s four.
Defense: S Chris Horton, Washington Redskins
Making his first career start, the rookie seventh-round pick (No. 249) notched three tackles, two interceptions and recovered a fumble in the Redskins’ 29-24 win over New Orleans. Horton did not find out that he would be starting until Sunday morning, when safety REED DOUGHTY could not play due to a stomach virus. Facing his hometown team, the New Orleans native became the first rookie to record two interceptions and a fumble recovery in his first career start since PAUL TRIPOLI on October 4, 1987. Horton also became the first Redskins rookie with two interceptions and a fumble recovery since BRIG OWENS on November 27, 1966. In his rookie year from UCLA, this is Horton’s first career Player of the Week Award. Horton is the first Redskins player to be honored on defense since SEAN TAYLOR (Week 12, 2006) and the first Washington defensive rookie to win the award since CHAMP BAILEY (Week 6, 1999).
Special Teams: KR-RB Felix Jones, Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys’ first-round pick (No. 22) in the 2008 NFL Draft set a club record with 247 kickoff-return yards in Dallas’ 41-37 win on Monday night against the Philadelphia Eagles. The rookie from Arkansas had six kickoff returns and averaged 41.2 yards per return, including an electrifying 98-yard touchdown in the first quarter. Jones’ 247 kickoff-return yards are the most by a Cowboy, breaking the previous mark held by REGGIE SWINTON (213 yards, September 22, 2002), and the most in the NFL since Houston’s JEROME MATHIS had 266 yards on November 20, 2005. In his rookie season from Arkansas, this is Jones’ first career Player of the Week Award. Jones is the fourth Cowboys kick-returner to be honored, joining KEVIN WILLIAMS (Week 10, 1993 and Week 12, 1994), HERSCHEL WALKER (Week 8, 1996) and RANDAL WILLIAMS (Week 6, 2003).