Patriots players of the week

Posted Jan. 02, 2011 @ 7:24 p.m.
Posted By Kevin Fishbain

The Patriots' offensive, defensive and special-teams players of the game from their Week 17 win over the Dolphins.

Offense: TE Rob Gronkowski
With top WRs Wes Welker and Deion Branch and fellow rookie TE Aaron Hernandez all inactive, Gronkowski had another big game, catching six passes for 102 yards and his 10th touchdown of the season — a Patriots rookie record. The Dolphins couldn't cover the athletic rookie who continues to pose matchup problems. Honorable mention to Tom Brady, who tossed two TD passes and had a 145.6 passer rating in limited action.

Defense: OLB Rob Ninkovich
One of the rags-to-riches stories on that Patriots defense, Ninkovich picked up two sacks and three tackles for loss in Sunday's win. He had three QB hits and a fumble recovery. In his first year starting, Ninkovich finished tied for second on the team with nine QB hits. Honorable mention to three of the team's Pro Bowlers: NT Vince Wilfork had two sacks, ILB Jerod Mayo had a sack and added another tackle for loss and CB Devin McCourty picked off his seventh pass of the season.

Special Teams: WR Julian Edelman
Edelman fielded a punt at the Patriots' six-yard line and took it 94 yards for his first career punt-return touchdown. Edelman almost took a punt back against the Bears, and could be a big weapon in the playoffs. On the receiving end, Edelman caught three balls for 72 yards. P Zoltan Mesko had two booming punts and WR Matthew Slater added a couple special-teams tackles.