NFC Players of the Week
Thursday, October 17, 2002
By David W. Unkle
Quarterback MARC BULGER of the St. Louis Rams, and defensive end DARREN HOWARD and return specialist MICHAEL LEWIS of the New Orleans Saints are the NFC 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.
Bulger led the Rams to their first win of the season, a 28-13 victory over the previously-undefeated Oakland Raiders. In his first NFL start, the Pittsburgh native completed 14 of 21 attempts for 186 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions for a 134.1 passer rating. He also added a one-yard touchdown run.
Bulger helped stake the Rams to a 14-3 halftime lead with a pair of touchdown passes a seven-yarder to wide receiver ISAAC BRUCE, followed by a 13-yard connection to wide receiver TORRY HOLT. Bulger spent the 2001 season as the Rams’ third quarterback after originally being drafted by the Saints out of West Virginia in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL Draft.
“It was a tremendous performance by Marc,” said Rams head coach MIKE MARTZ. “This is a young man that has not started, let alone played, in a regular-season game. He comes out of the blocks 14 of 21, three touchdowns, and rushes for one. He made some unbelievable throws under pressure with great accuracy and confidence and it was an overall outstanding job by Marc.”
Howard helped the Saints improve to 5-1 and earn a share of first place in the NFC South with a 43-27 road win over the Washington Redskins. Howard led the Saints’ defense with a career-high three sacks and added four tackles and a pass defensed.
His first sack came in the first quarter and forced the Redskins into a second-and-18 from the Washington four-yard line. Two plays later, safety JAY BELLAMY intercepted a pass and the Saints scored a touchdown on the ensuing possession for a 20-0 lead. Howard’s sacks accounted for a minus-24 yards for the Redskins.
“The thing I am impressed with most right now is that somebody new is stepping up every game and making a play," said Saints head coach JIM HASLETT. "That is what good football teams do."
In his third season from Kansas State, this is Howard’s first Player of the Week Award.
Lewis earned Special Teams honors for a record-tying performance, becoming the seventh player in NFL history and first since EDDIE PAYTON on December 12, 1977 to return a kickoff and punt for touchdowns in the same game.
Lewis returned a kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter, giving the Saints a 26-7 lead. Then, after the Redskins had narrowed their deficit to 29-21, Lewis ran back a punt 83 yards for a touchdown with 13:04 remaining in the third quarter, staking the Saints to a 36-21 advantage.
The New Orleans’ native also added 70 yards receiving, and his 356 combined net yards is the third-most in NFL history.
“Each week I've been just one play away from going all the way," Lewis said. "Today it just all came together."
Lewis earned a roster spot with the Saints after an impressive showing with the NFL Europe League’s Rhein Fire in the spring of 2001, leading the club with three touchdown receptions.
In his second season, this is Lewis' first Player of the Week Award.
Other nominees for NFC Offensive Player of Week 6 were:
Other nominees for NFC Defensive Player of Week 6 were:
Other nominees for NFC Special Teams Player of Week 6 were:
2002 NFC PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
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