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Bledsoe wins ninth Player of the Week award

(Dec. 14, 2005) -- Quarterback Drew Bledsoe of the Dallas Cowboys, cornerback Ronde Barber of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and kickoff returner Antonio Brown of the Washington Redskins are the NFC Offensive, Defensive and Special Teams Players of the Week for games played the 14th week of the 2005 season (Dec. 11-12).

OFFENSE: QB DREW BLEDSOE, DALLAS COWBOYS
The Dallas Cowboys earned a thrilling 31-28 win over the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday in what some considered one of the NFL's best games of the season. Quarterback Drew Bledsoe had a starring role in the win, completing 22 of 34 attempts for 332 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions, posting a 126.1 passer rating. Trailing 28-24 late in the fourth quarter, Bledsoe drove the Cowboys 68 yards in 14 plays, capping the drive with a 1-yard touchdown pass to tight end Dan Campbell. Bledsoe's three touchdown passes give him 241 in his illustrious career, moving past Len Dawson (239) into 15th place all-time. Bledsoe's 22 completions bring his career total to 3,700 passing Fran Tarkenton (3,686) and Vinny Testaverde (3,688) for fifth-most in NFL history. The Cowboys improved their record to 8-5 with the win, one game behind the NFC East-leading New York Giants.

In his 13th season from Washington State, this is Bledsoe's ninth career Player of the Week award and second of 2005 (Week 1).

DEFENSE: CB RONDE BARBER, TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERSThe Tampa Bay Buccaneers earned a key 20-10 win over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, improving their record to 9-4 and giving them a leg up on Carolina in the chase for the NFC South title. Cornerback Ronde Barber was a defensive standout for the Buccaneers, helping them hold the Panthers to their second-lowest scoring output of the season. He finished with six tackles, one sack and one interception on the day. His sack was the 20th of his career and earned him the distinction as the first cornerback in NFL history to post 20 career sacks and 20 career interceptions. With the Buccaneers holding a 13-3 fourth-quarter lead and Carolina driving, Barber intercepted a pass at the Tampa Bay 7-yard line and returned it 35 yards. Rookie running back Carnell "Cadillac" Williams scored on a 10-yard touchdown run on the ensuing drive, giving the visitors an insurmountable 17-point advantage they would never relinquish.

In his ninth season from Virginia, this is Barber's fifth career Player of the Week award and first since Week 15 of 2001.

SPECIAL TEAMS: KR ANTONIO BROWN, WASHINGTON REDSKINSThe Washington Redskins won their second consecutive road game on Sunday with a 17-13 triumph over the Arizona Cardinals. After the Cardinals had seized a 13-10 lead late in the third quarter, Antonio Brown returned the ensuing kickoff 91 yards for a touchdown, giving the Redskins what would turn out to be the final points of the day in a 17-13 victory. Brown's touchdown was the first of his career and made the Redskins the NFL's first team with two players to have scored on kickoff return touchdowns this season. Running back Ladell Betts also accomplished the feat, returning a kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Nov. 13.

In his third season from West Virginia, this is Brown's first career Player of the Week award. He is the first Redskin to earn Special Teams honors since Deion Sanders in Week 5 of 2000.

Other nominees for NFC Offensive Player of Week 14 were:

  • New York running back Tiki Barber, who totaled 195 yards from scrimmage, rushing for 124 yards on 32 carries and adding five receptions for 71 yards, including a 4-yard touchdown catch, in a 26-23 overtime win against Philadelphia.
  • Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, who completed 84 percent of his pass attempts (21 of 25) for 226 yards and four touchdowns, posting a 127.2 passer rating in a 41-3 win over San Francisco.
  • Green Bay rookie running back Samkon Gado, who rushed for 171 yards in a 16-13 overtime win against Detroit, including a 64-yard touchdown run. Gado, who has rushed for 537 yards in seven games this season, averaged 5.9 yards per carry.
  • Dallas wide receiver Terry Glenn, who had six receptions for 138 yards, including a 71-yard touchdown catch. He also added a touchdown on a 6-yard run in the fourth quarter.
  • Washington running back Clinton Portis, who posted his sixth 100-yard rushing game of the season, scoring on a 15-yard touchdown run and rushing for 105 yards on the day.
    *Tampa Bay rookie running back Carnell "Cadillac" Williams, who rushed for 112 yards, scoring on touchdown runs of 14 and 10 yards. Williams leads NFL rookies with 924 rushing yards this season.

Other nominees for NFC Defensive Player of Week 14 were:

  • Green Bay linebacker Nick Barnett, who posted a team-leading 11 tackles.
  • New York defensive end Michael Strahan, who had two sacks, pushing his career total to 129½ and moving him past Rickey Jackson (128) for ninth most in NFL history.
  • Seattle rookie linebacker Lofa Tatupu, who helped the Seahawks hold San Francisco to 113 total yards, posting four tackles, one sack, one interception and one fumble recovery in the win.
  • Washington safety Sean Taylor, who had one interception, one forced fumble and six tackles.
  • New York defensive end Osi Umenyiora, who had six tackles, 1½ sacks and forced a fumble in overtime that was recovered by teammate Kenderick Allen, leading to the game-winning field goal.
  • Minnesota cornerback Brian Williams, who had two interceptions, forced one fumble and added six tackles and three passes defensed, as the Vikings earned a 27-13 win against St. Louis.

Other nominees for NFC Special Teams Player of Week 14 were:

  • Tampa Bay punter Josh Bidwell, who punted six times for a 43.2-yard average, twice pinning Carolina inside the 20-yard line. His long punt of the day was a 58-yarder, his 14th consecutive game with a punt of at least 50 yards.
  • New York kicker Jay Feely, who connected on 4 of 4 field-goal attempts, including a game-winning 36-yarder in overtime. He also added field goals of 24, 21 and 27 yards in the club's first win in Philadelphia since 2000
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