OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Andre Johnson / WR / Houston Texans
Even at 31 years old, Johnson, who some say has lost at least half a step, has been telling people for weeks that he feels great. “Maybe you guys will believe me after that,” Johnson said to reporters following his 14-catch performance in the Texans’ thrilling, 43-37 overtime win over the Jaguars. He had a career-high 273 yards in the game — a franchise record — and found himself wide open for the game-winning touchdown catch and run that covered 48 yards in overtime. “When I caught the ball, and I saw how open I was, I was looking around like, ‘Where are the defenders at?’” Johnson said. “I took off running, I kept looking. I thought the cornerback would come from the outside, but he wasn’t there. It was just the safety, so I was just saying to myself, ‘I can’t let him tackle me.’ ”
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Aldon Smith / OLB / San Francisco 49ers
After 49ers defenders swarmed him all evening, QB Jason Campbell, who filled in for Jay Cutler (concussion), stepped to the podium for his postgame press conference and said the game was the Bears’ “worst nightmare.” He can thank Smith for the bad dreams. Aside from the offensive linemen he pushed backward over and over again, no player spent more time around Campbell than Smith, who was credited with a career high 5½ of the 49ers’ six sacks. It was only a week ago that the Bears kept J.J. Watt and the Texans from recording any sacks. Smith made sure Chicago’s O-line took a big step backward. He had seven of the 49ers’ 11 QB hits and he forced the only two fumbles of the game. Smith passed Von Miller, Watt and DeMarcus Ware to become the league leader in sacks with 15.
SPECIAL-TEAMS PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Julian Edelman / WR / New England Patriots
The Patriots pulled away for a lopsided win over the Colts, but they were actually trailing 14-7 in the second quarter when the Colts’ Pat McAfee set up to punt. McAfee kicked a 47-yard line drive and Edelman broke free for a 68-yard touchdown return, sparking the Patriots. “I’ll tell you right now, we’ve been working real hard as a unit to get that done and create an explosion play on the punt-return unit,” Edelman said, per reports. “Those guys, they’ve been working their tails off and they executed what they had to do — held up their guys — we got the gunners and as a punt returner you have to make one miss — and finish blocks — and we did that. So, it was a good overall execution of a play.” Edelman, who had 222 all-purpose yards, including a 47-yard run and a two-yard TD catch, also had a forced fumble.