OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Aaron Rodgers / QB / Green Bay Packers
Some suggested a bye in Week Eight might disrupt the defending champions' momentum, but Rodgers and the Packers kept rolling in a Week Nine win over the Chargers. Rodgers was as sharp as ever, completing 21-of-26 passes for 247 yards. He fired four touchdown passes to four different receivers, and Green Bay needed every one of them in its 45-38 victory. He was sacked four times but didn't fumble and also did not throw an interception. Rodgers, who leads the league in TD passes (24), showed his versatility, too, rushing for 52 yards on eight carries. "I think Aaron has a lot of strengths," Packers head coach Mike McCarthy said. "His decision making is clearly the highest level that I have personally been a part of." Halfway through the season, the Packers have yet to lose and Rodgers is the front-runner in the MVP race.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
James Harrison / OLB / Pittsburgh Steelers
It wasn't enough to save Pittsburgh from falling to the division-rival Ravens for the second time this season, but Harrison made his presence felt, much to the dismay of QB Joe Flacco. With LBs James Farrior and LaMarr Woodley sidelined by injuries, Harrison returned after a four-game absence with a vengeance and had his first three-sack performance since the Steelers' win over the Ravens in the divisional round of last season's playoffs. A fractured orbital bone around his right eye kept Harrison out for a month, but he wasn't rusty, making eight tackles, hitting Flacco six times and forcing a fumble in Baltimore's win Sunday night. Despite the pounding provided by Harrison, Flacco endured and threw the game-winning touchdown pass to WR Torrey Smith with eight seconds left in the game.
SPECIAL-TEAMS PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Patrick Peterson / CB-PR / Arizona Cardinals
With the Cardinals and Rams tied at 13 in overtime, St. Louis brought out its punt team on 4th-and-7 and Donnie Jones booted a 54-yard punt that Peterson fielded at Arizona's 1-yard line. Then the rookie went to work. He found a seam to his right, broke a few arm tackles and pulled off a smooth spin move, running 99 yards for a game-winning touchdown to end the Cardinals' six-game losing streak. It was the second-longest punt return in NFL history and it's only the second time in NFL history that an overtime game ended with a punt-return touchdown. Peterson is the first player in NFL history with three punt-return touchdowns in the first eight games of his career. "He's a special young man," Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt said. "I'm glad that we have him on our football team — my new son."