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Smith named AFC Defensive Player of the Week

Quarterback PHILIP RIVERS of the San Diego Chargers, defensive end AARON SMITH of the Pittsburgh Steelers and kick returner-cornerback ELLIS HOBBS of the New England Patriots are the AFC Offensive, Defensive and Special Teams Players of the Week for games played the 15th week of the 2008 season (December 11, December 14-15), the NFL announced today.
·         Smith registered eight tackles, one sack and two quarterback pressures in a 13-9 road win over Baltimore as the Steelers clinched the AFC North title in back-to-back seasons. A former fourth-round pick by the Steelers in 1999, Smith played a pivotal role as Pittsburgh's defense limited Baltimore to 202 total yards on offense and held Ravens rookie quarterback JOE FLACCO to a 22.2 passer rating. The Steelers defense has held opposing offenses to less than 300 yards in 14 consecutive games, which ties the 1973 Los Angeles Rams for an NFL record. Through Week 15, Pittsburgh's defense ranks first in the NFL allowing 239.1 yards per game.
In his 10th year from Northern Colorado, this is Smith's first Defensive Player of the Week Award. He joins safety TROY POLAMALU (Week 2) and linebacker JAMES HARRISON (Week 11) as the third Steelers defensive player to win the award in 2008. 
·         Entering the fourth quarter trailing the Chiefs 21-10, Rivers rallied the Chargers for a 22-21 victory and preserved San Diego's playoff hopes. For the game, Rivers completed 34 of 48 passes (70.8 percent) for 346 yards with two touchdowns versus one interception and a 96.4 passer rating. In the fourth quarter, Rivers completed 18 of 24 passes (75.0 percent) for 190 yards with two touchdowns and a 125.3 passer rating. Rivers recorded both of his touchdowns passes in the final minute and 193 seconds, starting with a four-yard toss to wide receiver MALCOM FLOYD and a 10-yard game-winning touchdown pass to wide receiver VINCENT JACKSON. Through Week 15, Rivers is tied for first in the NFL with 10 fourth quarter touchdown passes (JAY CUTLER). Rivers has set career-highs in passing yards (3,515) and touchdowns (28) in 2008.
In his fifthseason from North Carolina State, this is Rivers' third career AFC Offensive Player of the Week Award. He most recently won the award in 2007 (Week 5).

  • In a 49-26 victory against the Raiders, Hobbs totaled three kick returns for 126 yards (42.0 average), including a 95-yard kick return-touchdown. Following a 91-yard kick return-touchdown by JUSTIN MILLER of Oakland, Hobbs countered immediately with a 95-yard KR-TD to give New England a 35-14 lead with 12:46 left in the second quarter. Hobbs' kick return-touchdown was the third of his career and tied RAYMOND CLAYBORNfor the most in franchise history. The Patriots kick return specialist ranks second in the AFC with a 28.8 KR average this season and has a franchise record 1,266 kick return yards in 2008. *
    In his fourth season from Iowa State, this is Hobbs' second career Special Teams Player of the Week Award. He previously won the award in 2007 (Week 1). Hobbs is the first New England player to win Special Teams Player of the Week in 2008.


Special Teams
Wk 1
RB Willie Parker, Pittsburgh
CB Cortland Finnegan, Tennessee
WR-KR Roscoe Parrish, Buffalo
Wk 2
WR Brandon Marshall, Denver
S Troy Polamalu, Pittsburgh
LB Keith Bulluck, Tennessee
Wk 3
RB Ronnie Brown, Miami
CB Antonio Cromartie, San Diego
K Josh Scobee, Jacksonville
Wk 4
QB Brett Favre, New York
LB Derrick Johnson, Kansas City
K Jeff Reed, Pittsburgh
Wk 5
QB Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh
LB Gary Brackett, Indianapolis
K Matt Prater, Denver
Wk 6
QB Peyton Manning, Indianapolis
CB Eric Wright, Cleveland
WR-PR Jacoby Jones, Houston
Wk 7
QB Matt Cassel, New England
LB Terrell Suggs, Baltimore
K Sebastian Janikowski, Oakland
Wk 8
QB Chad Pennington, Miami
S Chris Hope, Tennessee
WR-PR Jacoby Jones, Houston
Wk 9
QB Joe Flacco, Baltimore
DT Kris Jenkins, New York
K Adam Vinatieri, Indianapolis
Wk 10
QB Jay Cutler, Denver
LB Ray Lewis, Baltimore
P Craig Hentrich, Tennessee
Wk 11
QB Peyton Manning, Indianapolis
LB James Harrison, Pittsburgh
KR-RB Leon Washington, New York
Wk 12
QB Matt Cassel, New England
S Ed Reed, Baltimore
PR-WR Johnnie Lee Higgins, Oakland
Wk 13
RB Steve Slaton, Houston
DE Robert Mathis, Indianapolis
CB Maurice Leggett, Kansas City
Wk 14
QB Matt Schaub, Houston
S Ed Reed, Baltimore
K Dan Carpenter, Miami
Wk 15
QB Philip Rivers, San Diego
DE Aaron Smith, Pittsburgh
KR-CB Ellis Hobbs, New England

Other nominees for AFC Offensive Player of Week 15 were: *
·     New England quarterback
MATT CASSEL, who completed 18 of 30 passes (60.0 percent) for 218 yards with four touchdowns versus one interception and a 108.1 passer rating.
·     Indianapolis tight end
DALLAS CLARK, who posted 12 receptions for 142 yards (11.8 average) with one touchdown in a 31-21 win against Detroit.
·     Houston wide receiver
ANDRE JOHNSON, who totaled 11 receptions for 207 yards (18.8 average) with one touchdown in a 13-12 win over the Titans.
·     Jacksonville wide receiver
DENNIS NORTHCUTT, who totaled five receptions for 127 yards (25.4 average) with one touchdown in a 20-16 win against Green Bay.
·     Pittsburgh quarterback
BEN ROETHLISBERGER, who completed 22 of 40 passes (55.0 percent) for 246 yards with one touchdown versus zero interceptions and an 81.9 passer rating.
·     Pittsburgh wide receiver
HINES WARD, who recorded eight receptions for 107 yards (13.4 average).
Other nominees for AFC Defensive Player of Week 15 were: *
·     Denver rookie safety
JOSH BARRETT, who registered seven tackles and posted his first career interception in a 30-10 loss to Carolina.
·     New York defensive end
SHAUN ELLIS, who recorded an 11 yard fumble recovery-touchdown in a 31-27 win against Buffalo.
·     Jacksonville defensive end
REGGIE HAYWARD, who posted three tackles, a season-high two sacks and one forced fumble.
Other nominee for AFC Special Teams Player of Week 15 was: *
·     Miami punter
BRANDON FIELDS, who punted five times for 205 yards (41.0 average) with three punts inside the 20-yard line in a 14-9 win over the 49ers.

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