Defensive ends don’t normally win NFL awards, especially as members of special teams. But 6-foot-4, 325-pound Red Bryant won one Thursday — NFC Special Teams Player of the Week — for his role in starting the biggest play in Seattle’s 42-13 rout of the San Francisco 49ers last Sunday at CenturyLink Field.
With the Seahawks leading 14-0 early in the second quarter, 49ers kicker David Akers lined up to kick an almost automatic 21-yard field goal. But Bryant swatted away Akers’ attempt. Richard Sherman immediately scooped up the ball and returned it 90 yards for a touchdown and a 21-0 Seattle lead that took away whatever steam San Francisco had left.
Sherman’s score, Seattle’s first blocked field goal for a touchdown since Shawn Springs returned one 61 yards against Green Bay in 1999, was the third-longest in NFL history.
The blocked kick was also the fifth of Bryant’s career. They include four blocked field goals and one blocked extra point. The four blocked field goals are the most in franchise history. In a game against Washington Nov. 27, 2011, Bryant had a blocked field goal and a blocked PAT.
Bryant becomes the fourth Seahawk to earn a player of the week accolade this season. Sherman was named Defensive Player of the Week following Week 10, KR Leon Washington Special Teams Player of the Week following Week 12, and quarterback Russell Wilson Offensive Player of the Week following Week 13.