OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Drew Brees / QB / New Orleans Saints
The game was well in hand when the Saints took over on downs leading 38-16 with 5:08 remaining the in the fourth quarter of their Week 16 game against the Falcons. But Saints head coach Sean Payton wasn't about to dial up a few running plays and call it a night with QB Drew Brees on the verge of breaking Dan Marino's 27-year-old record for passing yards in a season. Brees, who finished 15 yards short of the record in 2008, finally surpassed Marino's mark of 5,084 yards on a nine-yard touchdown pass — his fourth TD toss of the night — to RB Darren Sproles with 2:51 left. Brees finished his historic performance with 307 yards, giving him 5,087 on the season with one game to go. He completed 23-of-39 passes (with two interceptions) as the Saints clinched the NFC South title in front of a fired-up home crowd.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Jerod Mayo / MLB / New England Patriots
It appeared the Patriots were headed for their first loss since Week Nine as they went to the locker room trailing 17-0 at halftime of their Week 16 game against the Dolphins. The defense tightened up and the offense snapped out of its funk in the third quarter, though, and Mayo, who signed a five-year contract extension earlier this month, spearheaded the defensive effort. He was credited with a team-high 13 tackles (four solo) and made two sacks, one of which came in the fourth quarter with the Patriots clinging to a three-point lead. Mayo brought down Dolphins QB Matt Moore for a loss of five on a 3rd-and-10 play with 8:09 remaining in the game, which brought out the punt team. The Patriots drove for the decisive score in the AFC East battle on the ensuing possession.
SPECIAL-TEAMS PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Richard Seymour / DT / Oakland Raiders
Seymour almost single-handedly kept the Raiders' playoff hopes alive in Week 16 vs. the Chiefs with his play on special teams. The six-time Pro Bowler blocked a 49-yard field-goal attempt by PK Ryan Succop on the final play of the fourth quarter, sending the game into overtime. Seymour also blocked a 49-yard attempt at the end of the first half. "The coaches saw something, and they put the block in this week," Seymour told reporters after the game. "I was just able to get a hand on the ball. It was a push — I had a linebacker pushing me, and I give both my linebackers credit. We had four guys pushing on two." LBs Aaron Curry and Quentin Groves provided the push, and the Raiders, who would have been eliminated from playoff contention with a loss, won the game with a field goal in overtime.