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AFC Players of the Week

Thursday, October 17, 2002

By David W. Unkle
SJSports Staff Writer

Running back TRAVIS HENRY of the Buffalo Bills, defensive end JASON TAYLOR of the Miami Dolphins and kicker MIKE VANDERJAGT of the Indianapolis Colts are the AFC Offensive, Defensive and Special Teams Players of the Week for games played the sixth week of the 2002 season (October 13-14), the NFL announced today.

Henry rushed for 159 yards on 28 carries and two touchdowns in the visiting Bills' 31-24 comeback victory over the Houston Texans.

A second-year running back from Tennessee, Henry posted the NFL's highest rushing-yard total for Week 6, setting a career-high. His output marked the most rushing yards by a Buffalo back in 10 years (KENNETH DAVIS, 181 vs. Atlanta on November 22, 1992) and the most by a Bill on the road since THURMAN THOMAS had 214 at the New York Jets on September 24, 1990.

With Buffalo trailing the Texans 17-3 in the second quarter, Henry scored on a one-yard run shortly before halftime against the AFC's fifth-ranked defense. Henry scored the game's next touchdown on a 23-yard run up the middle from a shotgun formation with 6:32 remaining in the third quarter to tie the score at 17-17.

On the Bills' final nine-play, 68-yard scoring drive to forge a 31-24 lead, Henry added a pair of four-yard runs and recovered a fumble following a sack of quarterback DREW BLEDSOE to keep the team's go-ahead scoring hopes alive.

"We had great respect for Travis Henry going into the game," said Houston head coach DOM CAPERS. "He's a strong, quick and powerful running back. They're a big-play offensive team."

This is Henry's first Player of the Week Award.

Miami's Taylor excelled in prime-time Sunday night, helping the Dolphins earn a 24-22 victory over the Denver Broncos and gain a two-game advantage in the AFC East (5-1).

Taylor, a six-year veteran from Akron, recorded 2.0 sacks, six tackles, a pair of batted passes and forced a fumble on the Dolphins' one-yard line in the victory. Five of Taylor's six tackles were made within two yards of the line of scrimmage, including three that were made behind the line.

With Miami trailing 9-7 with 5:20 remaining in the second quarter, Denver had possession on the Dolphins' one-yard line in a second-and-goal situation. Taylor forced a fumble on the play by a Broncos ball carrier, which was recovered by Miami defensive tackle LARRY CHESTER. The recovery ensured that Denver would score no points the rest of the half.

"Jason does things to win the game for you," said Miami head coach DAVE WANNSTEDT. "He caused a fumble down on the goal line. For whatever reason with defensive linemen, the only thing people want to talk about is sacks. For a majority of defensive linemen, all they do is rush the passer."

"Jason makes more tackles and he makes more things happen, from causing fumbles to recovering fumbles, than maybe anyone on our football team. That is the way he has always been."

This is the Pro Bowler's first Player of the Week honor.

Indianapolis' Vanderjagt was a perfect five-for-five in field goals Sunday, including a 38-yard kick with nine seconds remaining to give the Colts a 22-20 victory over the Baltimore Ravens. His other four kicks on the day were from 39, 50, 43 and 25 yards.

The 6-3 kicker's final field goal capped an 11-play, 60-yard scoring drive as the Colts took possession at their own 20-yard line following a Ravens punt with 2:22 remaining in the game, trailing 20-19.

Vanderjagt, a fifth-year player from West Virginia, is the most accurate kicker in NFL history (.873, 124-142).

"Mike tells me all the time he's the most accurate kicker in the league and we never need to worry while he's kicking the ball," said Indianapolis head coach TONY DUNGY. "He told us to get him close and he would put it through. We all felt good about it on the sideline. Once we got close enough, we let him do it."

"As soon as they punted (with 2:37 left in the game), I knew we were going to win the game," Vanderjagt said.

This marks the third AFC Special Teams Player of the Week distinction of Vanderjagt's career.

Other nominees for AFC Offensive Player of Week 6 were:

  • Pittsburgh running back JEROME BETTIS, who rushed for 109 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries in a 34-7 Steelers win at Cincinnati. Bettis also registered a 41-yard run, the fifth longest of his career.
  • San Diego quarterback DREW BREES, who completed 28 of 41 attempts for 319 yards with two touchdowns in the Chargers’ 35-34 victory over Kansas City.
  • Tennessee running back EDDIE GEORGE, who had 31 carries for 113 yards and one touchdown in a 23-14 Titans win over Jacksonville. George added three receptions for 27 yards and a receiving touchdown.
  • Indianapolis wide receiver MARVIN HARRISON, who caught 12 passes for 150 yards. It marked the third time in Harrison's seven-year career that he has had at least 100 receiving yards in four consecutive games.
  • Kansas City running back PRIEST HOLMES, who had 96 receiving yards on seven receptions and 23 carries for 63 yards and a touchdown.
  • Indianapolis quarterback PEYTON MANNING, who was 30-of-40 passing for 284 yards and one touchdown. Manning was 18 of 21 in the second half, including one spiked pass to stop the clock on the game-winning drive.

The other nominee for AFC Defensive Player of Week 6 was:

  • Pittsburgh safety LEE FLOWERS, who recorded a career-high two interceptions for 31 return yards and registered five tackles, all solos.

Other nominees for AFC Special Teams Player of Week 6 were:

  • Denver kicker JASON ELAM, who was five-for-five in field-goal tries, including a 55-yard kick to give Denver a one-point lead with 45 seconds remaining. Elam's other four kicks were good from 33, 52, 23 and 40 yards.
  • Miami kicker OLINDO MARE, who kicked the winning 53-yard field goal with six seconds left in the game.
  • Pittsburgh rookie kick returner ANTWAAN RANDLE EL, who returned a kickoff 99 yards for his first NFL touchdown. Randle El's return was the second longest in Steelers history (DON MC CALL, 101-yard touchdown, 11/23/69 at Minnesota).


Offense Defense Special Teams
Wk 1
QB Tom Brady, New England - DE Carlos Hall, Tennessee - KR Chad Morton, New York
Wk 2 QB Drew Bledsoe, Buffalo - LB Joey Porter, Pittsburgh K Mike Hollis, Buffalo
Wk 3 QB Tim Couch, Cleveland - DE Marcellus Wiley, San Diego LB Larry Izzo, New England
Wk 4 QB Trent Green, Kansas City - LB Ray Lewis, Baltimore CB-PR Chris McAlister, Baltimore
RB LaDainian Tomlinson, S.D.
Wk 5 RB Priest Holmes, Kansas City - CB Phillip Buchanon, Oakland PR Bobby Shaw, Jacksonville
Wk 6 RB Travis Henry, Buffalo - DE Jason Taylor, Miami K Mike Vanderjagt, Indianapolis

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