The NFL named Patriots cornerback Asante Samuel the AFC Defensive Player of the Week after he recorded three interceptions in the Patriots 17-13 win over the previously 9-1 Chicago Bears last Sunday.
The game marked just the second time a player has notched three interceptions in a game this season and Samuel was the first AFC player to do so.
The last Patriots player to intercept three passes in a regular-season game was Roland James, who had a hat trick of picks in the team's 31-0 victory over the Bills on Oct. 23, 1983. Samuel was just two years old at the time. The three interceptions ties the Patriots single-game franchise record, and marks the seventh time a Patriots player has grabbed that many in a single regular-season game.
This was the second multi-pick game for Samuel this season. He also had two against Miami in Week 5 in addition to recording two passes defensed. He is currently sitting on a career-high six interceptions this season.
Aside from stealing three passes from quarterback Rex Grossman in the Bears game, Samuel also tackled wide receiver Rashied Davis and held him to a 3-yard gain on a crucial third-and-9 play at the Patriots 17-yard line with 4:20 left in the game. The play held the Bears to a field goal and stopped a drive that could have potentially ended in a game-tying touchdown.
After the game, fellow defensive back Artrell Hawkins spoke about Samuel's performance, saying, "Asante Samuel's game was big today. I mean he had a Pro Bowl game today, straight up and down. He could've had five picks, I think."
"Man, I could have had six," said Samuel with a chuckle when he was informed of his teammate's earlier statement. "I dropped a couple."