New York, NY – Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson, Atlanta Falcons defensive end John Abraham and San Francisco 49ers punter Andy Lee have been selected as the NFC's top players for Week 15 of the NFL season.
Johnson had nine catches for 214 yards and two touchdowns, including the go- ahead, six-yard TD reception with 39 seconds left, in Detroit's 28-27 comeback victory against Oakland. The Lions erased a 27-14 deficit in the final 7:47 of regulation and became the first team in NFL history to win four games in which they trailed by at least 13 points in a single season. It's Johnson's second career award.
Abraham was selected for defensive honors for the first time in five years after a huge showing in Atlanta's 41-14 rout over Jacksonville on Thursday night. In the contest, Abraham recorded 3 1/2 sacks, two forced fumbles and five tackles. This is Abraham's fourth career defensive award and first since Week 1 of 2006.
Lee claimed the special teams award in San Francisco's 20-3 win over Pittsburgh on Monday night. In a game where field position played a pivotal role, Lee placed four of his six punts inside the 15-yard line. He had a net average of 49.2 yards per punt. Lee is the first punter in 49ers history to win the special teams award.
Others considered for the offensive award included New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees, who completed 32-of-40 passes for 412 yards and five touchdowns in a 42-20 win over Minnesota; Philadelphia tight end Brent Celek, who caught five balls for 156 yards and a score in a 45-19 win over the Jets; and Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford, who connected on 29-of-52 passes for 391 yards and four touchdowns.
Defensive consideration went to Detroit defensive end Cliff Avril, who had two sacks, and four tackles; Philadelphia defensive end Jason Babin, who had three sacks and four tackles; and San Francisco defensive end Aldon Smith, who had 2 1/2 sacks and leads all NFL rookies with 13 sacks.
Washington kicker Graham Gano was nominated for the special teams award after kicking three field goals in a 23-10 win over the Giants.