New York, NY – Washington Redskins rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III, Tampa Bay Buccaneers veteran defensive back Ronde Barber and Minnesota Vikings kicker Blair Walsh have been selected as the NFC's top players for Week 1 of the NFL season.
Griffin, the No. 2 overall pick in April's draft, completed 19-of-26 passes for 320 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions in a 40-32 road win over the New Orleans Saints. He is the first player in history to record 300- plus passing yards with at least two touchdowns and no interceptions in an NFL debut.
The former Baylor standout is the first rookie quarterback to earn the honor in Week 1 since the award's inception in 1984.
Barber tallied five tackles, one sack, one interception and two passes defended in a 16-10 win over the Carolina Panthers to earn his franchise- record 10th weekly award. The 16-year veteran started his 200th consecutive game at cornerback on Sunday -- the longest streak at cornerback in NFL history and the longest active streak among all players.
Walsh made two point after touchdowns and all four field goal attempts -- including the game-winner -- in a 26-23 overtime victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars. The rookie hit a 55-yard field goal to send the game into overtime, then secured the win with a 38-yarder in OT.
The University of Georgia product joins Matt Bahr (1979) and Todd Peterson (1994) as the only players in NFL history to win their debut with an overtime field goal.
Others considered for the offensive award were Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, who threw for 333 yards with two touchdowns and one interception in a 41-21 win over the Colts; Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, who completed 23-of-31 passes for 299 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions in a 40-24 victory over the Chiefs; and Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, who rushed for 84 yards with two touchdowns.
Defensive consideration went to San Francisco 49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman, who had 11 tackles, an interception and two passes defended in a 30-22 win at Green Bay; Philadelphia Eagles safety Kurt Coleman, who had four tackles and two interceptions in a 17-16 triumph over the Browns; and Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway, who finished with 13 tackles and two passes defended.
San Francisco kicker David Akers was also nominated for the special teams award after scoring 12 points and tying an NFL record with a 63-yard field goal.