Tampa Bay starting quarterback Brad Johnson wasn't even sure if he'd be able to play against Minnesota last Sunday due to broken ribs he had suffered against Philadelphia in Week 7. Not only did Johnson play, but he completed 24-of-31 passes for 313 yards and tossed a career-high five touchdown passes in Tampa Bay's 38-24 win over Minnesota. For his efforts, Johnson was named NFC Offensive Player of the Week on Wednesday.
"As a quarterback, you're about as good as the players around you," Johnson said of the award. "We had a lot of guys step up and we had some protection back there. Some guys made some plays downfield. I felt good about it, but in this league, a pat on the back and slap in the face are about six inches away. So, you've got to let it go and move on. We've got a tough stretch coming up, especially against Carolina."
Not only did Johnson complete 77 percent of his passes against Minnesota, but he didn't throw any interceptions and finished the game with a quarterback rating of 148.3. His five touchdown passes tied the club record held by Steve DeBerg against Atlanta on Sept. 13, 1987.
"It's a well-deserved honor," said Bucs head coach Jon Gruden. "Anytime you throw five touchdown passes and complete about 80 percent of your balls, I think that puts you right on schedule with those kind of awards. I'm happy for him and really happy for our team."
Johnson, who is ranked third in the NFC in passing, threw two touchdown passes to wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson and completed the other three to WR Karl Williams, tailback Mike Alstott and tight end Rickey Dudley. Johnson's 15-yard throw to Williams was his 100th career touchdown pass.
Johnson's award marks the first time a Tampa Bay player has won the offensive player of the week award since RB Warrick Dunn earned it for his performance against Dallas on Dec. 3, 2000.
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