Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Devin Hester has been named the NFC Special Teams Player of the Week and quarterback Matt Ryan has been named NFC Offensive Player of the Week for their performances in Atlanta's 56-14 win over Tampa Bay in Week 3.
Hester broke Pro Football Hall of Famer and former Atlanta Falcon CB Deion Sanders' NFL record for return touchdowns with a 62-yard punt return touchdown in the second quarter against the Buccaneers. Hester has returned 14 punts, five kickoffs, and one missed field goal for touchdowns. His 14 punt returns are also an NFL record. Hester also became the second player in NFL history to have a rushing, receiving, kick return, punt return, and missed field goal return touchdowns in his career, joining Timmy Brown (1959-68).
Thursday night's win marked Hester's fourth career multi-touchdown game as he also added a 20-yard rushing touchdown. He scored receiving and punt return touchdowns against the Minnesota Vikings in 2007 and again in 2010. Hester also scored on a punt return and kickoff return against the Denver Broncos in 2007. Hester has earned Special Teams Player of the Week honors 14 times in his career, the most by a returner in NFL history and the second most all-time behind K Adam Vinatieri (15).
Ryan had a record breaking night against the Buccaneers completing 21 of 24 passes for 286 yards with three touchdowns and a career high 155.9 passer rating. Ryan's 87.5 completion percentage and his 155.9 quarterback rating set new single-game franchise records. Ryan previously shared the club record for completion percentage with QB Steve Bartkowski at 85.7. He broke QB Wade Wilson's single game QB rating mark of 154.5. Ryan tossed three touchdowns for the 21st time in his career, leading the Falcons to a 20-1 record when he accomplishes that feat. The Falcons also improved to 36-2 when he records a passer rating of 100-or-higher.
This is the sixth time in his career, and the second time this season, that Ryan has earned player of the week honors. Ryan has been named player of the week more than any player in team history. He was named NFC Offensive Player of the Week in Week 9 of the 2008 season, Week 14 of the 2011 season, Week 16 of the 2012 season, and Week 7 of the 2013 season.