Running back JAMAL LEWIS of the Baltimore Ravens, linebacker TEDY BRUSCHI of the New England Patriots and kick returner-punt returner DANTE HALL of the Kansas City Chiefs are the AFC Offensive, Defensive and Special Teams Players of the Week for games played the second week of the 2003 season (September 14-15), the NFL announced today.
Baltimore's Lewis ran his way into the NFL record books with 295 rushing yards on 30 carries (9.8 avg.) and touchdown runs of 82 and 63 yards to defeat Cleveland in the Ravens' home opener, 33-13. The victory lifts Baltimore to 1-1 (.500) as the team now travels west to play the San Diego Chargers.
With 7:40 remaining in the fourth quarter, Lewis gained three yards on a handoff over left guard to reach 280 rushing yards to surpass the 278-yard performance by Cincinnati Bengals running back COREY DILLON in 2000. Dillon rushed for 278 yards against the Denver Broncos on October 22, 2000.
"It was great the way the whole team took part in Jamal's record," says Baltimore head coach BRIAN BILLICK. "They took pride in the way that they blocked for him, at the line and downfield ... We all were part of history. It was special."
The three-year NFL veteran from Tennessee scored his 82-yard touchdown run on the second play from scrimmage and had 180 rushing yards by halftime.
"At halftime, when he had 180 yards, I said to him, 'Why not go for the record?'" says Ravens offensive tackle JONATHAN OGDEN. "He smiled and said, 'Why not?' Man, to be 240 pounds and that fast. Beautiful, just beautiful."
This is Lewis' first-career AFC Offensive Player of the Week award.
New England's Bruschi had a career-high five passes defensed, including an 18-yard interception return for a touchdown to cap a 31-10 victory at Philadelphia. The eight-year veteran from Arizona also registered four tackles, including one sack to help the Patriots even their record at 1-1 (.500).
"Being a captain is one thing but I think we have 50 some-odd captains," says Bruschi. "Everyone stepped it up and that's what happens. You bounce back, you get back on track."
Bruschi and his teammates stymied the Eagles, limiting them to 18-of-46 passing (39.1 pct.) and 268 total yards. The Patriots recovered four Philadelphia fumbles and posted two interceptions.
This is Bruschi's first-career AFC Defensive Player of the Week award.
Kansas City's Hall provided enough electricity to power Arrowhead Stadium with a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and a 45-yard punt return to boost the Chiefs (2-0) past visiting Pittsburgh, 41-20.
Hall's 100-yard kickoff return occurred as the Steelers enjoyed a 10-0 lead with 9:48 remaining in the first quarter. It was the second-longest kickoff return in club history, second only to a club- and NFL-record 106-yard return by NOLAND SMITH in 1967.
Hall's second big return occurred early in the third quarter with the Chiefs ahead, 27-20. Pittsburgh was forced to punt from its own 19-yard line after going three and out. Hall fielded the punt on his own 48-yard line and returned it 45 yards to the Steelers' 7, where running back PRIEST HOLMES scored on a four-yard run two plays later for a 34-20 lead.
"I love this guy," says Chiefs head coach DICK VERMEIL of Hall. "He's an inspirational kid ... It takes all 11 guys, but he's a special kind of spark plug."
In his fourth NFL season from Texas A&M, this marks Hall's second-career AFC Special Teams Player of the Week award. The speedy Chief earned his previous honor last season in a victory over St. Louis.
Other nominees for AFC Offensive Player of Week 2 were:
- Buffalo quarterback DREW BLEDSOE, who passed for 314 yards on 19-of-25 (76.0 pct.) passing with two touchdowns without an interception for a 144.2 passer rating in a 38-17 win at Jacksonville.
- Kansas City running back PRIEST HOLMES, who gained 122 rushing yards on 26 carries (4.7 average) with three touchdowns.
- Indianapolis running back EDGERRIN JAMES, who on 30 rushes gained 120 yards (4.0 avg.) with a touchdown in a 33-7 home opening win against Tennessee.
- Denver quarterback JAKE PLUMMER, who passed for three touchdowns on 9 of 13 (69.2 pct.) passing for 94 yards in a 37-13 win at San Diego.
- Pittsburgh wide receiver HINES WARD, who caught nine passes for an AFC Week 2-best 146 yards.
- Miami running back RICKY WILLIAMS, who rushed 34 times for 125 yards (3.7 avg.) and a touchdown in a 21-10 road win against the New York Jets. Williams also gained 37 yards on four receptions.
Other nominees for AFC Defensive Player of Week 2 were:
- Pittsburgh linebacker JAMES FARRIOR, who made five tackles and recorded an interception.
- Indianapolis cornerback NICK HARPER, who returned an interception 75 yards for a touchdown. Harper leads the NFL with three interceptions on the year.
- Baltimore safety ED REED, who recorded two interceptions and returned the second of his two 54 yards for a touchdown.
- Denver linebacker AL WILSON, who led the Broncos with eight tackles.
- Kansas City safety JEROME WOODS, who notched three tackles, forced and recovered a fumble and returned an interception 46 yards for a touchdown.
Other nominees for AFC Special Teams Player of Week 2 were:
- Denver kicker JASON ELAM, who was 3-for-3 in field goals (30, 45, 34).
- Oakland kicker SHANE LECHLER, who punted six times for a 54.2 average in a 23-20 win against Cincinnati.
- Indianapolis kicker MIKE VANDERJAGT, who was 4-for-4 in field goals from 29, 41, 23 and 48 yards.
2003 AFC PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
|Wk 1||QB Tommy Maddox, Pittsburgh||LB Takeo Spikes, Buffalo||P-K Craig Hentrich, Tennessee|
|Wk 2||RB Jamal Lewis, Baltimore||LB Tedy Bruschi, New England||KR-PR Dante Hall, Kansas City|