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Rivers, Byard, Godwin among NFL Players of the Week

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  • By Around The NFL staff
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It was a wild end to the regular season. Fans in Buffalo and Nashville celebrated, while those in Baltimore and Seattle saw their teams' seasons come to an abrupt end. Chargers fans also had to be disappointed, but they couldn't blame quarterback Philip Rivers. An outstanding performance from the veteran gunslinger wasn't enough to get his team into the playoffs, but it was good enough to earn him Player of the Week honors, the NFL announced on Wednesday.

Rivers was named the AFC Offensive Player of the Week. The 14-year veteran out of N.C. State completed 28 of 37 passes for 387 yards and three touchdowns in the Chargers' 30-10 win over the Oakland Raiders. Unfortunately, the Chargers needed some help to get to the postseason, and didn't receive it.

The AFC Defensive Player of the Week was Tennessee Titans safety Kevin Byard. Byard had two interceptions in the Titans' 15-10 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, the second coming with 10 seconds left to seal the win. The victory sent Tennessee into the playoffs for the first time since January 2009.

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver/kick returner JuJu Smith-Schuster was the AFC Special Teams Player of the Week. The rookie out of USC caught nine passes for 143 yards but it was his 96-yard kick return in the fourth quarter that broke a 21-all tie and kept the hapless Cleveland Browns winless.

In the NFC, Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Chris Godwin took home Offensive Player of the Week honors. Godwin caught a 39-yard touchdown pass from Jameis Winston with nine seconds remaining to lift the Bucs to a 31-24 win over the New Orleans Saints.

The NFC Defensive Player of the Week was Detroit Lions defensive end Ezekiel Ansah. Ansah was a thorn in Packers quarterback Brett Hundley's side all day, hitting him five times and registering three sacks in Detroit's 35-11 win.

Atlanta Falcons kicker Matt Bryant was the NFC Special Teams Player of the Week. Bryant was a perfect 5-for-5 on field goals -- including a 56-yarder -- in the Falcons' 22-10 victory over the Carolina Panthers. The win clinched a playoff spot for the 10-6 Falcons.

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