Quarterback TOM BRADY of the New England Patriots, cornerback ARTRELL HAWKINS of the Cincinnati Bengals and punt returner SANTANA MOSS of the New York Jets are the AFC Offensive, Defensive and Special Teams Players of the Week for games played the ninth week of the 2002 season (November 3-4), the NFL announced today.
Brady produced a nearly perfect passer rating in leading New England to a 38-7 victory over the Buffalo Bills, completing 23 of 27 passes (85.2 percent) for 310 yards and four touchdowns without an interception for a career-high passer rating of 154.1 -- 4.2 points below a perfect passer rating of 158.3. The third-year quarterback from Michigan completed his first 10 passes, two of them for touchdowns.
Brady recorded his second career game with four touchdown passes and the 18th in Patriots history. The 25-year-old quarterback also set the single-game club record for highest completion percentage (85.2 percent), besting the previous mark of 80.0 percent, shared by Brady and VITO "BABE" PARILLI.
"I thought Tom was really sharp," said New England head coach BILL BELICHICK. "(Offensive Coordinator) CHARLIE WEIS did a great job of play-calling. Tom threw the ball well and made good decisions and ran the team well."
In all eight of the Patriots' possessions, not including taking possession with 10 seconds left in the first half, Brady guided New England to six scoring drives (five touchdowns) and at least one first down on seven possessions.
This is the fourth AFC Offensive Player of the Week Award for Brady and his second of the season (Week 1).
Cincinnati's Hawkins recorded six tackles, defensed three passes, and made a game-altering play when he intercepted a third-down pass two yards deep in the Bengals' end zone and returned it for a score to help Cincinnati defeat the Houston Texans 38-3.
With the score tied 3-3 late in the first quarter, the Texans appeared poised to take the lead. With 12 seconds remaining and Houston on Cincinnati's five-yard-line, the Texans sent a receiver on an "out" pattern in the end zone. Hawkins stepped in front of the intended receiver and returned the ball 102 yards for a touchdown and a 14-point swing.
"I felt like if I had made a couple of plays last week against Tennessee, we could have been in that game," said Hawkins. "(Sunday's play) completely changed the momentum of the game and after that we came around like we hadn't all year."
"You can't say enough about what Artrell did," said Cincinnati quarterback JON KITNA. "It set them on their heels."
Hawkins' 102-yard interception return tied former Bengals cornerback LOUIS BREEDEN for the longest in club history. Breeden made his record-book score on November 8, 1981 in San Diego. Hawkins also tied Breeden and former Bengals running back ERIC BIENIEMY for the longest play in Bengals history. Bienemy raced to a 102-yard kickoff return in 1997 against the New York Giants.
From the University of Cincinnati, this is Hawkins' first AFC Defensive Player of the Week Award.
New York's Moss returned five punts for 116 yards (a 23.2-yard average), including a 52-yard return for a touchdown to help the Jets defeat the hosting San Diego Chargers 44-13.
Four of Moss' returns gave the Jets' offense a starting point inside San Diego territory, producing three scores and 17 points. The second-year player from Miami posted his touchdown return with 43 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
"He's a weapon and we know that," said Jets coach HERMAN EDWARDS about Moss. "He can score."
Moss has now returned punts for touchdowns in consecutive weeks. The last player with punt-return TDs two weeks in a row in the same season was J.T. SMITH for the Kansas City Chiefs in 1979. In addition, Moss is the first player in Jets history to register two punt returns for touchdowns in the same season since DICK CHRISTY in 1962.
"As long as my blockers do their job, I've got to do mine," said Moss. "The groove that I'm in is due to the people I have up front. They're doing their job."
Moss leads the NFL with a punt-return average of 20.6.
This is the first AFC Special Teams Player of the Week Award in Moss' career and the second for the Jets this season (kick returner CHAD MORTON in Week 1).