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Johnson, Lynch, Flutie earn AFC honors

(Jan. 4, 2006) -- Running back Larry Johnson of the Kansas City Chiefs, safety John Lynch of the Denver Broncos and quarterback-kicker Doug Flutie of the New England Patriots are the AFC Offensive, Defensive and Special Teams Players of the Week for games played the 17th week of the 2005 season (Dec. 31-Jan. 1).

For the second consecutive week and the third time in past the seven, Kansas City's Larry Johnson delivered a standout performance for AFC honors in a 37-3 home victory against the Cincinnati Bengals. In a game that the Chiefs needed to win in order to have any chance of advancing to the playoffs, Johnson roared through the Bengals for 201 yards and three touchdowns on 26 carries for a 7.7-yard-per-carry average. Entering the season, the franchise record for most rushing yards in a game was 200 (Barry Word, 1990) -- a figure that Johnson has surpassed twice in the past seven weeks. The 6-foot-1, 230-pounder (1,750) moved past Priest Holmes (1,615, 2002) for the most rushing yards by a Chief in a single season. Sunday's game marked Johnson's ninth consecutive 100-yard game, extending the longest streak in franchise history.

In his third year from Penn State, this is Johnson's third career Player of the Week award -- all earned in the past seven weeks. Johnson's three Player of the Week honors tie him with San Diego's LaDainian Tomlinson for the most by an AFC player on the year.

Denver safety John Lynch registered two sacks, both of which came at or near the San Diego goal-line -- and on both plays forced fumbles that produced points for Denver -- in a 23-7 road win against the Chargers on Saturday. The first fumble caused by the Broncos' All-Star safety was recovered at the Chargers' 1-yard line by teammate Sam Brandon. Denver (13-3) scored on a 1-yard Tatum Bell run on the next play. The second was recovered by a San Diego offensive lineman who was tackled by the Broncos' Demetrin Veal in the end zone for a safety to give the AFC's No. 2 playoff seed a 16-7 third-quarter lead. For the day, Lynch recorded five tackles, including two sacks for minus-12 yards and two forced fumbles. The AFC West champion Broncos earned a playoff bye this week and will host an AFC Divisional Playoff next Saturday evening.

In his 13th year from Stanford, this is Lynch's second career Player of the Week distinction and his first with Denver.

SPECIAL TEAMS: QB-K DOUG FLUTIE, NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTSIn one of the 2005 season's most memorable moments, New England quarterback Doug Flutie successfully executed the NFL's first drop kick since the 1941 NFL Championship Game when he booted an extra point in the fourth quarter of a 28-26 loss to the Miami Dolphins. Prior to Flutie's play, a drop kick had not been converted in an NFL game since Ray McLean of the Chicago Bears did so following a touchdown in a 37-9 championship game victory over the New York Giants on Dec. 21, 1941. Flutie also became the first Patriots non-kicker to execute a successful kick (field goal or extra point) since linebacker Steve Zabel booted an extra point in the fourth quarter of a 31-14 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Dec. 12, 1976.

In his 12th year from Boston College, this is Flutie's fifth Player of the Week award and his first for his special teams play.

Other nominees for AFC Offensive Player of Week 17 were:

  • Denver running back Tatum Bell, who scored a career-best three rushing touchdowns on 17 carries.
  • Steelers running back Jerome Bettis, who rushed for three touchdowns in a 35-21 win against Detroit. Pittsburgh needed the victory in order to advance to the playoffs. Bettis toted the ball 10 times for 41 yards on the afternoon.
  • Cleveland wide receiver Antonio Bryant, who recorded nine receptions for 123 yards and one touchdown in a 20-16 win against Baltimore. Bryant's play helped him reach 1,009 receiving yards on the season, making him the fifth player in franchise history to reach the 1,000-yard receiving milestone.
  • Miami running back Ricky Williams, who posted 108 rushing yards and a touchdown on 28 carries in a 28-26 win at New England.

Other nominees for AFC Defensive Player of Week 17 were:

  • New York Jets cornerback Ty Law, who had a career-high three interceptions with a pair of tackles and an additional pass defensed in a 30-26 home victory against Buffalo.
  • Kansas City cornerback Patrick Surtain, who compiled four tackles and an interception.

Other nominees for AFC Special Teams Player of Week 17 were:

  • Kansas City punter Dustin Colquitt, who booted a pair of punts for a 49.5 average.
  • Miami kicker Olindo Mare, who was a perfect four-for-four in field-goal attempts from 36, 38, 41 and 42 yards on the road in Gillette Stadium.
  • New York Jets rookie cornerback-kick returner Justin Miller, who returned a kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter for the game's final points and a Jets victory. Miller returned six kickoffs on the day for 221 yards (36.8-yard average).
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