OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Robert Griffin III / QB / Washington Redskins
On a day when a record five rookie quarterbacks made their NFL debuts, Griffin was the only one who led his team to a victory. The Redskins pulled off a stunning upset on the road against the Saints, and their rookie quarterback did not allow a raucous Superdome crowd to rattle him in his first career start. RG3, who also rushed for 42 yards, became the only player in NFL history to pass for at least 300 yards and two touchdowns without throwing an interception in his league debut. “I’ve won a high school state championship and a bowl game in college, but to play in the NFL, the pinnacle of it all, and win your first game against a Hall of Famer in Drew Brees, it’s at the top,” Griffin told reporters. “After the game, (Brees) told me he was proud of me. That’s big for him to say after he just lost the game.”
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Tracy Porter / CB / Denver Broncos
He was far from the most acclaimed player making his Broncos debut at Mile High on Sunday night, but Porter certainly made a strong first impression in Denver’s 31-19 win over the Steelers. With the Broncos clinging to a six-point lead and a little more than two minutes remaining in regulation, Porter, a Saints Super Bowl hero a few seasons ago, sealed the victory with the big play the Broncos badly needed. He picked off Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger’s pass intended for WR Emmanuel Sanders and sprinted toward the endzone, returning it 43 yards for a touchdown. It was only one of his game-high five passes defensed. Porter, who signed a one-year deal with the Broncos as a free agent in the offseason, was also credited with eight solo tackles, including one for loss.
SPECIAL-TEAMS PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Blair Walsh / PK / Minnesota Vikings
On a day when 49ers PK David Akers tied the NFL record for longest field goal made with a 63-yard boot in Green Bay, it was a rookie sixth-round pick that stole the show on special teams with a gutsy performance. Walsh, a Georgia product, delivered in the clutch in his NFL debut to help Minnesota open the season with a victory. All four of his field-goal attempts came after the start of the fourth quarter. He made kicks of 20 and 42 yards before banging a 55-yarder through the uprights to tie the game at the end of regulation. He was up to the task in overtime, too, making a game-winning 38-yarder. Walsh scored the Vikings’ last 13 points in their 23-20 win over the Jaguars. His fellow Vikings rookie, OT Matt Kalil, chipped in on special teams, too, blocking a point-after try.