STEELERS RB WILLIE PARKER, TITANS CB CORTLAND FINNEGAN &
BILLS WR-PR ROSCOE PARRISH NAMED AFC PLAYERS OF WEEK 1
Running back WILLIE PARKER of the Pittsburgh Steelers, cornerback CORTLAND FINNEGAN of the Tennessee Titans and wide receiver-punt returner ROSCOE PARRISH of the Buffalo Bills are the AFC Offensive, Defensive and Special Teams Players of the Week for games played on NFL Kickoff 2008 Weekend (September 4, 7-8), the NFL announced today.
OFFENSE: RB WILLIE PARKER, PITTSBURGH STEELERS
- In a 38-17 win over the Texans on Kickoff Weekend, Parker rushed for 138 yards (5.5 avg.) on 25 attempts and tied a franchise record with three rushing touchdowns in his first game back since suffering a broken leg in Week 16 against the St. Louis Rams (12/20/07). Parker scored on runs of 7, 13 and 4 yards and became the first Pittsburgh running back to reach the end zone three times since JEROME BETTIS (1/1/06). The former undrafted free agent posted 100 rushing yards for the fourth time of his career on opening day as he helped the Steelers win their sixth consecutive on Kickoff Weekend. Parker's 138 rushing yards in Week 1 led the AFC and ranked second in the NFL (MICHAEL TURNER, 220 yards).
In his fifthseason from North Carolina, this is Parker's third career Player of the Week Award. Parker last won the award in Week 10 of 2006.
DEFENSE: CB CORTLAND FINNEGAN, TENNESSEE TITANS
· Entering his second season as a full-time starter, Finnegan registered a career-high two interceptions and seven tackles as the Titans defeated the Jaguars 17-10 for their second consecutive win on Kickoff Weekend. In a key AFC South match-up, Finnegan picked off Jaguars' quarterback DAVID GARRARD twice in the second half and helped the Titans limit Jacksonville to 189 total yards. The former seventh-round selection posted his first interception in the third quarter while wrestling the ball away from Jacksonville wide receiver TROY WILLIAMSON, and his second interception came midway through the fourth quarter on the Titans' 43-yard line. Finnegan led the NFL with two interceptions on Kickoff Weekend.
In his third year from Samford, this is Finnegan's first career Player of the Week Award. The last Tennessee player to be named AFC Defensive Player of the Week was linebacker KEITH BULLUCK in 2007 (Week 3).
SPECIAL TEAMS: WR-PR ROSCOE PARRISH, BUFFALO BILLS
· Parrish, who led the NFL with a 16.3 punt return average last season, is off to a fast start in 2008. The 5-9, 168-pound returner totaled a franchise record 120 punt return yards (20.0 avg.) on six returns, including a second quarter 63-yard PR-TD en route to a 34-10 victory over Seattle on Kickoff Weekend. His PR-TD was the third of his career, and he became the first player in NFL history with a punt return touchdown in consecutive season openers. Parrish also tied the franchise record for most career punt return touchdowns (KEITH MOODY, 3) and surpassed JEFF BURRIS (1,045) for most career punt return yards in Bills history with 1,110.
In his fourth season from Miami (Fl.), this is Parrish's second career Player of the Week Award. He previously won the award in 2006 (Week 12). The last Buffalo player to win Special Teams Player of the Week was K RIAN LINDELL in 2007.
Other nominees for AFC Offensive Player of Week 1 were:
· Denver quarterback JAY CUTLER, who completed 16 of 24 passes (66.7 pct.) for 299 yards with two touchdowns and a 137.3 passer rating in a 41-14 over the Raiders.
· New York quarterback BRETT FAVRE, who completed 15 of 22 passes (68.2 pct.) for 194 yards with two touchdowns and a 125.9 passer rating in a 20-14 win against Miami.
· Baltimore rookie quarterback JOE FLACCO, who completed 15 of 29 passes (51.7 pct.) for 129 yards in his NFL debut as the Ravens defeated the Bengals 17-10.
· New York running back THOMAS JONES, who gained 101 yards (4.6 avg.) on 22 carries with one touchdown.
· Denver rookie wide receiver EDDIE ROYAL, who posted nine receptions for 146 yards (16.2 avg.) with one touchdown.
Other nominees for AFC Defensive Player of Week 1 were:
· Tennessee defensive tackle TONY BROWN, who had a career-high two sacks and four tackles.
· New York defensive end SHAUN ELLIS, who posted four tackles and one sack.
· Pittsburgh linebacker JAMES HARRISON, who had a team-high eight tackles, three sacks and one forced fumble.
· Tennessee defensive tackle ALBERT HAYNESWORTH, who had a four tackles and two sacks.
· Baltimore linebacker RAY LEWIS, who posted a team-high 11 tackles and one forced fumble.
· New York rookie cornerback DWIGHT LOWERY, who recorded four tackles and three passes defensed.
· New York linebacker CALVIN PACE, who tallied four tackles and one sack.
· Buffalo defensive end AARON SCHOBEL, who posted four tackles and one sack.
· Buffalo defensive tackle MARCUS STROUD, posted a half sack and six tackles.
· New York linebacker BRYAN THOMAS, who registered two tackles and two sacks.
· Denver linebacker NATE WEBSTER, who had a team-high 11 tackles.
· Pittsburgh linebacker LA MARR WOODLEY, who had had two tackles, one sack, one interception and one fumble recovery.
Other nominees for AFC Special Teams Player of Week 1 were:
· Buffalo punter BRIAN MOORMAN, who punted nine times for 419 yards (46.6 avg.) and recorded a 19-yard touchdown pass.
· Denver kicker MATT PRATER, who connected on two field goal attempts (29, 43) and all five extra points.