STEELERS DE AARON SMITH, CHARGERS QB PHILIP RIVERS, &
PATRIOTS KR-CB ELLIS HOBBS NAMED AFC PLAYERS OF WEEK 15
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.
DEFENSE: DE AARON SMITH, PITTSBURGH STEELERS
· 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.
OFFENSE: QB PHILIP RIVERS, SAN DIEGO CHARGERS
· 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).
SPECIAL TEAMS: KR-CB ELLIS HOBBS, NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
- 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.
*2008 AFC PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
|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 quarterbackMATT 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 endDALLAS CLARK, who posted 12 receptions for 142 yards (11.8 average) with one touchdown in a 31-21 win against Detroit.
· Houston wide receiverANDRE JOHNSON, who totaled 11 receptions for 207 yards (18.8 average) with one touchdown in a 13-12 win over the Titans.
· Jacksonville wide receiverDENNIS NORTHCUTT, who totaled five receptions for 127 yards (25.4 average) with one touchdown in a 20-16 win against Green Bay.
· Pittsburgh quarterbackBEN 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 receiverHINES WARD, who recorded eight receptions for 107 yards (13.4 average).
*Other nominees for AFC Defensive Player of Week 15 were: *
· Denver rookie safetyJOSH BARRETT, who registered seven tackles and posted his first career interception in a 30-10 loss to Carolina.
· New York defensive endSHAUN ELLIS, who recorded an 11 yard fumble recovery-touchdown in a 31-27 win against Buffalo.
· Jacksonville defensive endREGGIE 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 punterBRANDON 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.