Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Another week, another special NFC honor
By Mike Sando
Add David Akers' name to the list of special-teams players of the week from the NFC West.
The NFL honored Akers with the NFC award this week after the San Francisco 49ers kicker made four field goals against Seattle, including the game winner, while setting a league record for successful attempts in a season.
This marks the third consecutive week an NFC West player has won the award. Akers follows 49ers punter Andy Lee and Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin in winning it. Arizona's Patrick Peterson won it two weeks prior, giving the NFC West four of the past five winners.
There have been seven NFC West special-teams winners in 16 weeks: Ted Ginn Jr., Robert Quinn, Peterson (twice), Baldwin, Lee and Akers.
It was no surprise, then, when three-fourths of the NFC's special-teams Pro Bowl choices came from the West (Lee, Akers and Peterson).
Several NFC West players not appearing in the chart made sensational special-teams plays this season.
A few stand out in my mind:
- Seattle's Red Bryant blocked two field-goal attempts and an extra-point try. Update: Make that three blocked field-goal attempts and a blocked extra-point try.
- Arizona's Calais Campbell has blocked three field-goal attempts.
- Seattle's Heath Farwell blocked a punt to set up the Seahawks' go-ahead touchdown Saturday.
There have been others, including when the 49ers executed a successful fake punt against Arizona, only to learn a whistle had blown the play dead.