New England Patriots safety Brandon Meriweather earned AFC Defensive player of the Week honors from the league for his performance in Sunday's win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He is the first Patriots defender to earn the honor since Asante Samuel won the award in Week 12 of the 2007 season.
Meriweather recorded a pair of interceptions in the first quarter of play against the Buccaneers, returning the first for a 39-yard touchdown to give New England an early lead. On the play, Tampa Bay quarterback Josh Johnson was aiming for rookie wideout Sammie Stroughter who appeared to fall down on the play. It was Tampa Bay's first drive of the game.
Meriweather also intercepted a Johnson pass on the Buccaneer's second drive of the game, thwarting a scoring opportunity by the Buccaneers by picking off the pass at the Patriots 15 yard line and returning it 31 yards to the Patriots 46.
Through seven games the 5-foot-11, 200-pound Miami product has 39 tackles (22 solo), five passes defended and two interceptions. Last year Meriweather recorded four interceptions and 9 passes defended. Meriweather shares the lead in team interceptions with rookie Darius Butler (2) who also recorded an interception in Sunday's 35-7 victory.
Meriweather's honor is the third weekly award earned by a Patriot this season. Tom Brady was named AFC Offensive Player of the Week in week's 1 and 6 this season.