OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Doug Martin / RB / Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Martin, the 31st overall pick in this year’s draft, had gained more than 100 yards from scrimmage in each of the previous two games heading into Week Eight. He took things to another level vs. Minnesota, though, gaining a career-high 214 yards (135 rushing, 79 receiving) and recording the first multi-touchdown game of his career in Tampa Bay’s 36-17 win. Martin rushed 29 times, including a one-yard TD run to finish the Vikings off in the fourth quarter, in his first career 100-yard game as a rusher and gained 4.7 yards per carry. He added three catches, and no play was more impressive than his 64-yard score off a screen pass 1:21 into the second half. The comparisons to Ravens RB Ray Rice are in full bloom, and seem appropriate, following Martin’s breakout game.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Tim Jennings / CB / Chicago Bears
The Bears were badly in need of a big play to regain the lead Sunday against the Panthers, and Jennings obliged with a 25-yard interception return — his second pick of the day — for a touchdown to put the Bears ahead, 20-19, with 6:44 left in the game. Jennings was unable to keep Panthers WR Steve Smith, who had seven catches for 118 yards, quiet, but he did prevent him from scoring a TD. Smith actually slipped and fell on the play that resulted in Jennings’ pick-six. Carolina countered that TD with a field goal, but the Bears’ offense responded with a game-winning field goal in the final seconds, and head coach Lovie Smith credited Jennings with energizing the offense after the game. “Today, the big play by Tim definitely did,” Smith said. “It got everyone going.”
SPECIAL-TEAMS PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Olivier Vernon / DE / Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins were hanging on to a 3-0 lead when Vernon recovered teammate Jimmy Wilson’s blocked punt in the endzone for a touchdown with 3:59 left in the first quarter. The block and Vernon’s recovery blew the game wide open. It was all Dolphins from that point on, as Miami marched out to a 20-0 lead before the Jets scored for the first time. The Dolphins didn’t relent on their way to a 30-9 win over their AFC East rivals, and neither did Vernon. A third-round pick in this year’s draft, Vernon also blocked Jets PK Nick Folk’s 35-yard field-goal attempt late in the second quarter, ensuring the Dolphins would go into halftime with a shutout still intact. “Our special teams put us in great a situation to win this, but we were ready as soon as we stepped off the bus,” Dolphins QB Matt Moore said.