AFC East High Energy Player of the Week

October, 5, 2010
10/05/10
3:00
PM ET
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A look at a player who gave his team a significant boost in Week 4.

Never in a bazillion years did Dolfans think they ever would gaze onto the Sun Life Stadium field and wonder "Man, why did we cut Rob Ninkovich?"

The Miami Dolphins, in fact, waived Ninkovich twice in 2008. He landed with the New England Patriots last year as a role player at outside linebacker.

He played a huge role Monday night, enjoying the greatest game of his career against a former team. Relatively speaking, his game almost was bigger than his entire career to date.

Rob Ninkovich
Marc Serota/Getty ImagesRob Ninkovich produced a pair of interceptions and a sack against his former team Monday night.
Ninkovich, a fifth-year pro who'd never started a game until this year, recorded his first two NFL interceptions and added a sack in New England's 41-14 blowout at Miami.

Ninkovich caught more balls than Randy Moss did.

"Yeah, if we ever have injuries at receiver or tight end or need guys there I guess we can call on Rob," Patriots receiver Wes Welker said. "He has great hands. He had a great game, and everything that was in the air he pounced on."

How rare is it for any player to have a pair of interceptions and a sack in a game? Ninkovich was the first to do it this year.

Green Bay Packers cornerback Charles Woodson was the only one to do it last year, and he was the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year while Ninkovich was compiling a grand total of 10 tackles for the season.

A two-interception, one-sack game has been recorded once before in Patriots history: by Otis Smith in 2002.

And here's another reason the Dolphins could've used Ninkovich on Monday night. He's a solid special-teams performer. In case you hadn't heard, the Dolphins had problems on kickoffs, punts and field goals Monday night.

"You know, I was here as a practice-squad guy," Ninkovich said. "Now that I'm here playing against them, it feels pretty good."

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