The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' 24-20 comeback win over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday impressed a lot of observers. Now we'll see how much it impressed the overall NFL fan base.
If Buccaneers fans have their way – and especially if they get involved by voting on NFL.com – Tampa Bay players could walk away with as many as three weekly league awards as a result of the team's big victory in Minneapolis. Linebacker Mason Foster has been nominated for "NFL Rookie of the Week" while running back LeGarrette Blount is up for both the "Ground Player of the Week" award and "Never Say Never Moment" honors.
Rookie of the Week: Click here to cast your vote for Foster.
Ground Player of the Week: Click here to cast your vote for Blount.
Never Say Never Moment: Click here to cast your vote for Blount's game-winning touchdown run.
This is the first Rookie of the Week nomination for Foster and the first of the year for the Buccaneers, who had a young player in the running for that award on an almost weekly basis in 2010. Foster is the only one of this week's five nominees who plays defense, as he is pitted against Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton, Oakland wide receiver Denarius Moore, Carolina quarterback Cam Newton and Miami running back Daniel Thomas.
Foster played a huge role in the Buccaneers' rally to victory, helping Tampa Bay's defense almost completely shut down the Vikings' attack in the second half. Foster led all players with 13 tackles, recorded one of the team's two sacks, forced a fumble and added a tackle for loss. His touchdown-saving shoestring tackle of running back Adrian Peterson in the open field in the second quarter forced Minnesota to settle for a field goal instead of what appeared to be a breakaway score. The Vikings added just one more field goal after halftime as the visitors rallied from a 17-0 deficit to take the decision.
Blount sparked the Buccaneers' amazing rally with a 27-yard touchdown run early in the second half. That was the longest carry in his 71-yard outing, two-TD outing, but he topped it in terms of highlight potential just a few moments later. After Tampa Bay successfully executed an onside kick following his first score, Blount kick-started another scoring threat with a 13-yard run on which he pulled out his patented hurdle move on an unsuspecting Vikings defender. Tampa Bay would lose that threat to an interception, but the field position gain and a Minnesota punt would set them up for a field goal drive before the third quarter was over.
Blount averaged 5.5 yards per carry on his 13 runs. For the Ground Player of the Week award, he is pitted against Buffalo running back Fred Jackson and Atlanta running back Michael Turner.
Tampa Bay found the end zone twice more in the final period to complete the comeback, culminating in Blount's four-yard scoring run with 31 seconds left in regulation. That play gave Blount the second two-touchdown game of his career and put him in the running for the Never Say Never Moment award in Week Two. The other two moments nominated by the NFL are Buffalo quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick's game-winning touchdown pass against Oakland and Dallas quarterback Tony Romo's return from a cracked rib to lead the Cowboys to an overtime win in San Francisco.