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    NFL News
    Brady, Lewis, Anderson earn AFC honors

     

    (Dec. 30, 2003) -- Quarterback Tom Brady of the New England Patriots, linebacker Ray Lewis of the Baltimore Ravens, and kicker Gary Anderson of the Tennessee Titans are the AFC Offensive, Defensive and Special Teams Players of the Week for games played the 17th week of the 2003 season (Dec. 27-28).

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    Brady and the Patriots clinched home field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs with a 31-0 victory against the Buffalo Bills Saturday at Foxboro. The four-year veteran posted a season-best 122.9 passer rating by connecting on 21 of 32 attempts (65.6 percent) for four touchdowns without an interception. Brady's sparkling rating marked the sixth time he surpassed a 100.0 rating in 2003.

    "One of the things that Tom has really done a good job of the last couple of years is managing the empty backfield, the 'no huddle' procedure, and that really came into play Saturday," said Patriots head coach Bill Belichick. "He made a lot of good decisions -- not only the throws, but in terms of just orchestrating the whole procedure."

    Brady engineered New England's no-huddle offense to perfection on its opening drive, a nine-play, 62-yard march to paydirt as tight end Daniel Graham pulled in a 1-yard touchdown reception for New England's first score. The Patriots' quarterback was a flawless 5-for-5 on New England's second drive which also resulted in a touchdown, this time a 9-yard strike to rookie wide receiver Bethel Johnson.

    Brady now owns the NFL record for most pass attempts at home in a season without an interception (241) against 11 touchdowns, as the Patriots possess the third-longest winning streak in league history (12 games) to begin a postseason.

    From Michigan, this is the 6-4, 225-pound quarterback's second Player of the Week award of the season and the sixth of his career. New England receives a bye this week and will host a Divisional Playoff during the weekend of Jan. 11-12.

    Baltimore's Lewis was a primary contributor on a defense that stifled Pittsburgh in a 13-10 overtime victory as the Ravens earned their first division title in their eight-year history.

    One of eight AFC All-Stars on the Ravens (10-6), Lewis notched 15 tackles and an interception as Baltimore denied the Steelers an offensive touchdown and limited their AFC North-rival visitors to 3 of 15 (20.0 percent) on third-down conversion attempts.

    Seven of Lewis' tackles were recorded within 3 yards of the scrimmage line. The heart of the NFL's No. 3-ranked defense (275.1 yards per game) was central to a defensive display that allowed Pittsburgh's offense no drive longer than 31 yards. The Steelers entered the game having posted at least 20 points in three of their past four games.

    Tom Brady tossed four touchdowns to lead the Patriots to their 12th straight victory. 
    Tom Brady tossed four touchdowns to lead the Patriots to their 12th straight victory.  
    "We just wanted to come in and make a mark going into the playoffs," said Lewis, who is a co-leader atop club's all-time interception list (20). Lewis is the only linebacker to currently stand as a team's leader or co-leader in career interceptions. "Today we came out and played as a team all the way around.

    "It's not about boasting, it's not about bragging -- we're just a physical football team. We love to play old school football."

    In his eighth year from Miami, this is Lewis' fifth Player of the Week honor. The Ravens host the Tennessee Titans Saturday at 4:30 p.m. ET in Baltimore's M&T Bank Stadium.

    In Tennessee's 33-13 home victory against Tampa Bay, Anderson was a perfect 4-for-4 in field goal tries to best all NFL kickers in Week 17 for most field goals attempted without a miss. Sunday marked the 22nd time in his career that Anderson has made four kicks in a game.

    Leading 10-3 midway through the second quarter, Anderson gave his team breathing room with three consecutive field goals for a 19-3 advantage. The victory earned Tennessee a 12-4 record, the best mark among NFL wild-card clubs.

    The Titans' kicker, who is 27 of 31 (87.1 percent) on the season, is the oldest player to ever win a Player of the Week award at 44 years, five months and 12 days.

    In his 22nd year from Syracuse, this is the South African native's seventh Player of the Week distinction and his first as a Titan.

    Other nominees for AFC Offensive Player of Week 17 were:

    • Miami wide receiver Chris Chambers, who caught nine passes for 153 yards (17.0-yard average) and a touchdown in a 23-21 win against the New York Jets.
    • Baltimore running back Jamal Lewis, who became only the fifth player in NFL history to surpass 2,000 rushing yards. Lewis ran for 114 yards on 27 carries (4.2-yard average) with a 25-yard touchdown.
    • Kansas City running back Priest Holmes, who scored two rushing TDs to establish a record for most touchdowns in a season with 27 (all rushing) in a 31-3 win against Chicago.
    • Pittsburgh wide receiver Antwaan Randle El, who caught six passes for 41 yards.
    • Cleveland rookie running back Lee Suggs, who ran for 186 yards on 26 attempts (7.2-yard average) with TD runs of 78 and 25 yards in a 22-14 win at Cincinnati. Suggs rushed for the most yards in a game by a Browns player since Earnest Byner (188) in 1984.
    • San Diego running back LaDainian Tomlinson, who ran for a team-record 246 yards and two TDs on 31 rushing attempts (7.9-yard average) in a 21-14 win against Oakland. Tomlinson also caught eight passes for 17 yards.

    Other nominees for AFC Defensive Player of Week 17 were:

    • New England linebacker Tedy Bruschi, who led the Patriots to their third shutout of the season with a 31-0 win against Buffalo. Bruschi totaled 10 tackles, 1.0 sack, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and one pass defensed.
    • San Diego linebacker Donnie Edwards, who had an interception, a game-high 14 tackles, half a sack and a pass defensed in a 21-14 victory against San Diego's AFC West rival Oakland Raiders. The Raiders were stymied for zero net passing yards.
    • Pittsburgh linebacker Joey Porter, who racked up nine tackles, one forced fumble and one pass defensed.
    • Kansas City defensive end R-Kal Truluck, who registered 2.0 sacks for 16 yards in losses.

    Other nominees for AFC Special Teams Player of Week 17 were:

    • Kansas City punt-returner/kick-returner Dante Hall, who returned two kickoffs for 70 yards (35.0-yard average) and four punt returns for 32 yards (8.0-yard average).
    • Pittsburgh special teamer Chris Hope, who scored on an 81-yard touchdown reception off of a fake punt.

    2003 AFC PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
    Week Offense Defense Special Teams
    1 QB Tommy Maddox
    Pittsburgh
    LB Takeo Spikes
    Buffalo
    P-K Craig Hentrich
    Tennessee
    2 RB Jamal Lewis
    Baltimore
    LB Tedy Bruschi
    New England
    KR Dante Hall
    Kansas City
    3 QB Jake Plummer
    Denver
    DE Adewale Ogunleye
    Miami
    KR Dante Hall
    Kansas City
    4 QB Peyton Manning
    Indianapolis
    LB Rocky Boiman
    Tennessee
    KR Dante Hall
    Kansas City
    5 WR Marvin Harrison
    Indianapolis
    DE Courtney Brown
    Cleveland
    KR Dante Hall
    Kansas City
    6 QB Trent Green
    Kansas City
    DT Jason Ferguson
    New York Jets
    S Ed Reed
    Baltimore
    7 RB LaDainian Tomlinson
    San Diego
    DE Jevon Kearse
    Tennessee
    DE Richard Seymour
    New England
    8 TE Daniel Graham
    New England
    LB Brian Simmons
    Cincinnati
    KR Antwaan Randle El
    Pittsburgh
    9 QB Tom Brady
    New England
    DE Dwight Freeney
    Indianapolis
    P Chad Stanley
    Houston
    10 QB Doug Flutie
    San Diego
    DE Jason Gildon
    Pittsburgh
    K Doug Brien
    New York Jets
    11 TE Shannon Sharpe
    Denver
    CB Phillip Buchanon
    Oakland
    PR Peter Warrick
    Cincinnati
    12 QB Anthony Wright
    Baltimore
    DE Jason Taylor
    Miami
    PR Justin McCareins
    Tennessee
    13 QB Jay Fiedler
    Miami
    DE Aaron Schobel
    Buffalo
    PR Bethel Johnson
    New England
    14 RB Clinton Portis
    Denver
    LB Tedy Bruschi
    New England
    K Mike Vanderjagt
    Indianapolis
    15 QB Peyton Manning
    Indianapolis
    DT Rod Coleman
    Oakland
    K Jason Elam
    Denver
    16 RB Jamal Lewis
    Baltimore
    LB Willie McGinest
    New England
    P Craig Hentrich
    Tennessee
    17 QB Tom Brady
    New England
    LB Ray Lewis
    Baltimore
    K Gary Anderson
    Tennessee


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