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Johnson, Jones, Vinatieri earn AFC honors

NEW YORK (Nov. 1, 2006) -- Running back Larry Johnson of the Kansas City Chiefs, safety Sean Jones of the Cleveland Browns and kicker Adam Vinatieri of the Indianapolis Colts are the AFC Offensive, Defensive and Special Teams Players of the Week for games played the eighth week of the 2006 season (Oct. 29-30).

OFFENSE: RB LARRY JOHNSON, KANSAS CITY CHIEFSThe Chiefs' Johnson carried the ball a franchise-record 39 times for 155 yards (4.0 avg.) and three touchdowns as Kansas City edged visiting Seattle 35-28. The 6-foot-1, 230-pound rusher also added two catches for 26 yards and another touchdown on the day, giving him a club-record 41 total touches from scrimmage. The NFL's scrimmage yards leader (973) registered touchdown runs of 3 and 2 yards before bullying into the end zone from 3 yards out for the game-winning score with 1:58 left in the game. His four touchdowns tied for the second-most scored by a Chiefs player in one game, trailing only Abner Haynes, who scored five TDs on Nov. 26, 1961. Johnson chalked up 13 rushes of at least 5 yards against the Seahawks and Sunday's performance marked his fourth 100-yard rushing game of the season, placing him third in the NFL with 644 rushing yards. Johnson's 10 touchdowns rank second in the NFL, trailing league leader LaDainian Tomlinson (11) of San Diego by one.

In his fourth season from Penn State, this is Johnson's fourth Player of the Week Award.

DEFENSE: S SEAN JONES, CLEVELAND BROWNSCleveland's Jones racked up five tackles with a career-high two interceptions and another pass defensed in a 20-13 win against the New York Jets. Jones' first interception at the Browns' 28-yard line stalled a seven-play Jets drive approaching field-goal range at the Cleveland 31. Ten plays later, the Browns' offense capitalized on the takeaway with a 2-yard rushing touchdown by Reuben Droughns for a 10-3 lead. Maintaining a 20-13 lead with 7:51 left in the fourth quarter, Jones made his second interception at the Cleveland 33, clutching onto a tipped pass by teammate Leigh Bodden. Jones recorded four of his five tackles within 3 yards of the line of scrimmage, providing strong run support. The Cleveland safety led a defensive effort that limited New York to only 193 net yards of total offense, including 88 net yards rushing to go with three forced turnovers. Jones is now tied for the NFL lead with four interceptions.

In his third year from Georgia, this is Jones' first Player of the Week Award.

SPECIAL TEAMS: K ADAM VINATIERI, INDIANAPOLIS COLTSThe Colts' Vinatieri hit field goals of 42, 30, 48 and 37 yards, the final one coming with :02 left for a 34-31 win at Denver for the 19th game-winning field goal in the final minute of regulation or overtime in his career. The kicker's clutch performance amid a loud opposing crowd enabled Indianapolis to keep its perfect record intact at 7-0, keeping pace with Chicago (7-0) as the league's only unbeaten teams. Vinatieri's last two upright splitters gave the Colts fourth-quarter leads of 23-21 and 34-31. He also teed-up eight kickoffs with seven reaching the Broncos' end zone and five resulting in touchbacks.

In his 11th season from South Dakota State, this is Vinatieri's 10th career Player of the Week Award and his second of the season (Week 1). The Colts travel to New England to face Vinatieri's former team this Sunday night.

Other nominees for AFC Offensive Player of Week 8 were:

  • Denver rookie running back Mike Bell, who rushed for 136 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries (9.1 average). All but one of his yards came in the second half, including 97 in the fourth quarter. He also caught one pass for 7 yards to account for 143 yards of total offense.
  • New England quarterback Tom Brady, who tied his career high with four TD passes in the Patriots' 31-7 win over Minnesota on Monday night. His 372 passing yards ties his second-highest career total. Brady's season-high passer rating of 115.6 marks his fifth straight week of improvement in his rating from the previous game. Brady distributed the ball to 10 different receivers and completed two passes of 40 yards or longer and four of 25 yards or longer.
  • Cleveland running back Reuben Droughns, who had a season-high 125 yards rushing on 33 carries (3.8 average) and a touchdown. The 100-yard game was his second this season, fifth as a Brown and 11th of his career.
  • Indianapolis quarterback Peyton Manning, who completed 32 of 39 passes (82.1 percent) for 342 yards and three TDs and led the team to five second-half scoring drives.
  • San Diego's LaDainian Tomlinson, who rushed for two touchdowns and scored on a 51-yard pass and catch en route to 183 rushing yards and 57 yards receiving (240 scrimmage yards) in a 38-24 home win against St. Louis. Early in the fourth quarter, Tomlinson (8,017) surpassed 8,000 career rushing yards, becoming the eighth player to do so in less than 90 games (86).
  • Indianapolis wide receiver Reggie Wayne, who caught 10 passes for 138 yards and three touchdowns on scoring passes of 12, five, and 19 yards along with a two-point conversion reception. Wayne's three TD catches tied the club's single-game record against the NFL's No. 1-ranked defense in points allowed.
  • Pittsburgh wide receiver Hines Ward, who caught eight passes for 81 yards (10.1 average) and extended his team record streak to 126 consecutive games with at least one reception in a 20-13 loss at Oakland.

Other nominees for AFC Defensive Player of Week 8 were:

  • Kansas City defensive end Jared Allen, who notched three solo tackles and an interception.
  • Oakland cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, who had nine tackles and an interception, which he returned 24 yards for a touchdown in the Raiders' 20-13 win against Pittsburgh.
  • Pittsburgh linebacker Clark Haggans, who registered seven tackles and a pair of sacks as the Steelers limited Oakland to 98 total yards on offense, including 17 net passing yards.
  • San Diego linebacker Shawne Merriman, who matched a career-high with 3.0 sacks.
  • Pittsburgh linebacker Joey Porter, who posted 2.0 sacks, an interception and two passes defensed.
  • Tennessee defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch, who chalked up nine tackles, including 2.0 sacks, and forced a fumble that was recovered by a teammate and returned for a touchdown in a 28-22 win against Houston.
  • New England linebacker Mike Vrabel, who led the team with seven tackles and added his first interception of the season. Vrabel led a defensive charge that allowed only 45 rushing yards.

Other nominees for AFC Special Teams Player of Week 8 were:

  • Tennessee cornerback-punt returner Pacman Jones, who returned a punt 53 yards for a touchdown.
  • Denver punter Paul Ernster, who played a key role in forcing the Colts' high-powered offense to work on a long field most of the day, averaging 50 yards on two punts (45 and 55) and put all six of his kickoffs in the end zone, including four touchbacks.
  • New England rookie running back-kick returner Laurence Maroney, who posted a 77-yard kickoff return Monday night to keep momentum in the Patriots' favor. The play led to a New England touchdown three plays later.

2006 AFC PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Week Offense Defense Special Teams
1 QB Chad Pennington
N.Y. Jets
LB Ray Lewis
Baltimore
K Adam Vinatieri
Indianapolis
2 QB Peyton Manning
Indianapolis
CB Rashean Mathis
Jacksonville
S Coy Wire
Buffalo
3 WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh
Cincinnati
S Kerry Rhodes
N.Y. Jets
PR-WR Terrence Wilkins
Indianapolis
4 WR Andre Johnson
Houston
DE Jarvis Green
New England
KR-WR Joshua Cribbs
Cleveland
5 QB Damon Huard
Kansas City
DT Jamal Williams
San Diego
K Lawrence Tynes
Kansas City
6 QB Philip Rivers
San Diego
S Troy Polamalu
Pittsburgh
TE Casey Cramer
Tennessee
7 QB Peyton Manning
Indianapolis
DE Derrick Burgess
Oakland
KR/RB Laurence Maroney
New England
8 RB Larry Johnson
Kansas City
S Sean Jones
Cleveland
K Adam Vinatieri
Indianapolis

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