New York, NY – New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs and Oakland kicker Sebastian Janikowski have been selected as the AFC's top players for the opening week of the NFL season.
Brady garnered the offensive award after an incredible performance on Monday against the Miami Dolphins. The reigning league MVP threw for a team-record 517 yards, the fifth-highest total in NFL history, with four touchdowns in a 38-24 victory.
He tied a NFL record with a 99-yard touchdown pass to Wes Welker that sealed the contest and registered his 35th career 300-yard passing game. He has been honored as the top offensive player for the 18th time, tying Hall of Famer Dan Marino for second-most weekly awards. Only Peyton Manning, with 21, has more.
Suggs tied career highs with three sacks and two forced fumbles in Baltimore's 35-7 thrashing of Pittsburgh to earn defensive accolades for the third time in his career. He became the club's all-time leader in sacks with 71 1/2, surpassing Peter Boulware's previous mark of 70, and helped the Ravens register a franchise-record seven turnovers.
Janikowski picked up the special teams award after becoming the third kicker in league history to connect on a 63-yard field goal in Oakland's 23-20 win over Denver on Monday night. He now shares the NFL record for longest field goal with Tom Dempsey and Jason Elam, while becoming the first kicker with two kicks of 60-plus yards. The veteran, who collected his fourth special teams award, also drilled a 61-yard kick in 2009.
Other nominees for the offensive award included Welker, who finished with eight catches for 160 yards and two scores in New England's victory; Cincinnati running back Cedric Benson, who ran for 121 yards and one score in a 27-17 win over Cleveland; and Buffalo quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who threw for 208 yards with four touchdowns in a 41-7 rout at Kansas City.
Returners Jacoby Jones of Houston and Eric Decker of Denver, both of whom returned punts for touchdowns, were also given special teams nominations, as did Jets running back Joe McKnight, whose block of a Dallas punt led directly to the tying score in New York's 27-24 comeback win over the Cowboys.