NFL Nation: 2010 Week 3 High Energy NFC

NFC West High Energy Player of the Week

September, 28, 2010
9/28/10
3:02
PM ET
NFC High Energy: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

A look at a player who gave his team a significant boost in Week 3.

The Seattle Seahawks saw little risk in sending the 139th choice in the 2010 NFL draft to the New York Jets for injured running back Leon Washington.

[+] EnlargeSeattle running back Leon Washington
Jason O. Watson/US PresswireSeattle running back Leon Washington had two kickoff returns for touchdowns last Sunday.
They could have drafted a running back -- the Jets used the choice in question for fullback John Conner -- or they could take their chances on Washington's recovery from career-threatening compound leg fractures.

They took their chances and Washington rewarded them with 101- and 99-yard kickoff returns for touchdowns during a 27-20 victory over the San Diego Chargers in Week 3.

Washington needed only three games to rank first in Seahawks history for most touchdowns on kickoff returns (Josh Wilson, Nate Burleson, Maurice Morris, Charlie Rogers, Steve Broussard, Jon Vaughn, James Jefferson and Zachary Dixon had one apiece). Washington already owned the Jets' record for most kickoffs returned for touchdowns. He's the only player to hold that record for two franchises, according to Elias Sports Bureau.

The Seahawks have made more roster moves than any NFL team since last season. Coach Pete Carroll reflected on this one Monday.

"The obvious guy that shows up as a touchdown maker is Leon coming on board through the trade," he said.
NFC High Energy: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

A look at a player who gave his team a significant boost in Week 3.

He is 34 years old, but you never would guess that if you saw what Atlanta tight end Tony Gonzalez did Sunday against the New Orleans Saints at the Superdome.

Gonzalez
Gonzalez
Gonzalez caught eight passes for 110 yards and a touchdown as the Falcons defeated the Saints, 27-24, in overtime. A week after the Falcons held “Tony Gonzalez Day’’ to honor Gonzalez for becoming the first tight end to make 1,000 catches, he showed he has a lot more catches in him.

Drawing coverage from linebackers, safeties and cornerbacks, Gonzalez got open consistently as the Falcons recorded one of their more significant wins in recent years by beating the defending Super Bowl champions.

Seven of his catches resulted in first downs and Gonzalez also drew a key pass interference penalty by safety Roman Harper that gave the Falcons 25 yards.
NFC High Energy: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

A look at a player who gave his team a significant boost in Week 3.

Adrian Peterson ran for 160 yards in the Minnesota Vikings' 24-10 victory over the Detroit Lions. Devin Hester jump-started the Chicago Bears' special teams for the first time in three years. But close observers would agree that veteran cornerback Tim Jennings gave the Bears a huge boost in their 20-17 victory over the Green Bay Packers.

[+] EnlargeTim Jennings
Jonathan Daniel/Getty ImagesTim Jennings' fourth-quarter fumble recovery put the Bears in position to win Monday night.
Jennings had been the Bears' fourth cornerback over the first two weeks of the season, having lost a competition for the nickel job with D.J. Moore. But after the Packers moved the ball at will in the first half in building a 10-0 lead, Bears coach Lovie Smith yanked No. 1 cornerback Zack Bowman and inserted Jennings.

The Packers managed only seven points over the final 34 minutes, 41 seconds of the game -- in part because Jennings was an aggressive and sure tackler against Green Bay's short passing game.

Jennings finished with seven tackles and, more importantly, made an athletic play to recover a James Jones fumble while keeping his body in bounds along the sideline late in the fourth quarter. When you watch the replay, you see Jennings actually hop away from the sideline to ensure he didn't touch it.

The recovery set up the Bears' winning drive. I'm not sure if the Bears know what the future holds for the position, but on Monday night at least, Jennings was an impactful and high-energy player.

NFC East High Energy Player of the Week

September, 28, 2010
9/28/10
3:01
PM ET
NFC High Energy: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

A look at a player who gave his team a significant boost in Week 3.

Since his arrival during the '08 season, no Dallas Cowboys player has taken as much heat as wide receiver Roy Williams. And the criticism has been deserved, I might add.

[+] EnlargeRoy Williams
Kirk Sides/Icon SMIRoy Williams found the end zone twice in Sunday's win.
But on a Sunday when the Cowboys needed a win to keep their 2010 season alive, Williams turned in one of the best performances of his career. It was only his second 100-yard game with the Cowboys, and this time it led to a win. We'll never know exactly why quarterback Tony Romo and Williams have had such a difficult time finding chemistry, but they teamed to overwhelm a young Texans secondary in the Cowboys' 27-13 win.

Williams had five catches for 117 yards and two touchdowns. He caught passes in traffic and used his powerful frame to beat jams at the line of scrimmage. Williams was plagued by drops last season, but he's caught everything thrown his way this season. To his credit, he's handled all the criticism with a lot of class.

There's a decent chance Dez Bryant will overtake Williams as No. 2 receiver at some point this season, but it's not going to happen after Sunday's game. Williams' willingness to work the middle of the field and take big hits over the past couple of weeks has given this offense much-needed energy. And if a team's going to sell out to stop Miles Austin, Williams will continue to get opportunities.

We've been quick to criticize Williams for his play since the '08 season, so it's only appropriate that he receive recognition this week. He told a Houston radio station Monday that he's been inspired by Hall of Famer Michael Irvin saying the Cowboys were playing "10 vs. 11" because of Williams' presence on the field. And if that's the type of motivation he needs, I'm sure Jerry Jones will encourage Irvin to keep up the good work.

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