Atlanta Falcons wide receiver/kick returner Eric Weems was named NFC Special Teams Player of the Week after his franchise-record 102-yard kickoff return sparked the Falcons to a 28-24 come-from-behind win at Tampa Bay.
In Atlanta's key Week 13 meeting with NFC South rival Tampa Bay, the Falcons trailed 24-14 with 10:30 remaining in the game. After a Bucs touchdown pushed Tampa's lead to 10, Weems took the ensuing kickoff 102 yards for a touchdown, sparking the Falcons to 14 unanswered points and a comeback victory. Weems set a franchise record with his 102-yard kickoff return, breaking the previous club best of 100 yards, which was held by Darrick Vaughn (2000), Deion Sanders (1991), and Dennis Pearson (1978).
The last time the Falcons had a kickoff return for a touchdown was Dec. 15, 2002 when KR Allen Rossum ran a kick back 91 yards for a score against Seattle. Additionally, Weems ranks second in the NFL in kickoff returns with a 28.1 yards per return average.
Originally signed as an undrafted free agent out of Bethune-Cookman University, Weems is having one of the best seasons of his career as he is on pace for a career-high 1,313 return yards. Weems is the fourth Falcon to earn Player of the Week honors this season and he joins K Matt Bryant as the second Falcon to take Special Teams Player of the Week honors, with Bryant winning the award with game-winning field goals in Week 4 and Week 12.