New York, NY – Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher and San Francisco return specialist Ted Ginn Jr. have been chosen as the NFC's top players for Week 1 of the NFL season.
Rodgers had a banner opening night last Thursday against New Orleans to capture the offensive award, completing 27-of-35 passes for 312 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions in Green Bay's 42-34 win. He misfired on just one of his 15 throws in the first quarter and his three scoring passes in the opening period tied the 1964 record set by Buffalo's Jack Kemp for the most in the first quarter of an opener. It's the third weekly honor for Rodgers, who picked up his first two last year.
Urlacher spearheaded a Chicago defense that kept the high-powered Atlanta Falcons out of the end zone in a 30-12 win on Sunday. He led the Bears with 10 tackles and added an interception while also returning a fumble 12 yards for a touchdown. The 12th-year veteran from New Mexico earned his sixth weekly honor and first since the 2004 season.
Ginn claimed the special teams award after returning a kickoff and punt for touchdowns in San Francisco's 33-17 win over Seattle. He turned a two-point edge into a 16-point cushion in just 59 seconds, the fastest time of any of the now 12 players that have returned a kickoff and punt for a score in the same game.
After his 102-yard kickoff return made it 26-17, the 49ers forced a quick punt and Ginn wove his way to the end zone from 55 yards away to put the game away. He finished with a franchise-record 268 return yards and earned his second career weekly award, also picking up the honor in 2009 with Miami.
Other nominees for the offensive award were Washington quarterback Rex Grossman, who threw for 305 yards with two touchdowns in a 28-14 win over the New York Giants; Arizona's Kevin Kolb, who threw for 309 yards with a pair of scores in a 28-21 win over Carolina; and Panthers rookie Cam Newton, whose 422 passing yards were the most for a player in his NFL debut.
Defensive consideration went to 49ers linebacker Parys Haralson, who had four tackles with two sacks and two forced fumbles against the Seahawks; and Dallas linebacker Sean Lee, who recorded 15 tackles and a 37-yard interception return that led to a touchdown in a 27-24 loss to the Jets.
Green Bay rookie Randall Cobb was nominated for the special teams honor thanks to a 108-yard kickoff return against the Saints.