Holliday gets player of week award

Defensive end Vonnie Holliday of the Green Bay Packers Thursday was named NFC defensive player of the week for games played last weekend, the National Football League announced.<p>

Holliday earned defensive honors for his play in the Packers' 10-0 shutout of the Buffalo Bills, who entered the game with the NFL's third-ranked offense, averaging 363.0 yards per game. Holliday totaled seven tackles, a club-record five sacks and three forced fumbles in the win. His five sacks broke Bryce Paup's club record of 4.5, set on September 15, 1991, and were the most in the NFL since Derrick Thomas had six for the Kansas City Chiefs on Sept. 6, 1998.

With the Packers' holding a 3-0 lead midway through the fourth quarter, Holliday sacked Bills quarterback Drew Bledsoe, forcing a fumble that was recovered by Green Bay defensive end Jamal Reynolds. The Packers took over at the Bills' 39 yard-line, and four plays later, quarterback Brett Favre connected with wide receiver Donald Driver on an 11-yard touchdown pass for a 10-0 lead.

"I can't say enough about my teammates and the way they played today," Holliday said. "We had great coverage from our defensive backs all day long and they really made Bledsoe hold the ball. All the factors that help us defensive linemen get sacks were happening today, and I'm very fortunate."

In his fifth season from North Carolina, this Holliday's first Player of the Week Award.

Quarterback Kerry Collins of the New York Giants, and kicker Gary Anderson of the Minnesota Vikings received the NFC Offensive and Special Teams Players of the Week for games played December 21-23.

Collins passed for a "perfect game" in the Giants' 44-27 road win over the Indianapolis Colts, completing 23 of 29 attempts for 366 yards, a career-high four touchdowns and no interceptions for a 158.3 passer rating, the highest possible rating a passer can achieve.

Collins' previous best was a 134.1 rating (17 of 29, 341 yards, three touchdowns, no interceptions) in a 41-28 win over the New York Jets on Dec. 5, 1999.

With the Giants needing a win to bolster their postseason chances, Collins was at his best. After helping stake New York to a 10-3 halftime advantage, he led the team to a 34-point second half, tossing four touchdown passes, including an 82-yard scoring strike to wide receiver Amani Toomer on the first play from scrimmage in the third quarter.

The Giants' 44 points were the team's most since a 45-29 win over the New Orleans Saints on Sept. 24, 1995.

"We have shown glimpses of this kind of potential throughout the year," Collins said. "We have a lot of guys who can play, and the pieces are all there. Today, it came together."

In his eighth season from Penn State, this is Collins' fourth Player of the Week Award and second in 2002 (Week 2).

Anderson earned special teams honors for his role in helping the Vikings to a 20-17 win over the visiting Miami Dolphins.

The veteran kicker connected on two of two field-goal attempts, including the game-winning 53-yarder with 17 seconds left. It was his first 50-yard field goal since booting a 53-yarder against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Dec. 20, 1998.

Anderson's game-winner tied Pro Football Hall of Famer Jan Stenerud for the longest game-winning field goal in club history. Stenerud connected on a 53-yarder to beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 27-24 on November 4, 1984.

Anderson has connected on 17 of 21 field goals this season.

"As soon as I hit it, I felt it had the distance," Anderson said. "When it was about halfway there, I was getting concerned about it, but then it came back just enough, and we got the win."

In his 21st season from Syracuse, this is Anderson's sixth Player of the Week Award.

Other nominees for NFC Offensive Player of Week 16 included Green Bay running back Ahman Green, who rushed for 116 yards on 26 carries, averaging 4.5 yards per carry, and added two receptions for 17 yards.


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