For his outstanding performance in his Tampa Bay Buccaneers' 16-13 win against the Atlanta Falcons last week, cornerback Ronde Barber earned NFC Player of the Week honors, the NFL announced today. It's the eighth such honor for Barber in his fifteen-year career.
Against Atlanta, Barber made four tackles, defensed five passes, recovered a fumble, and made an interception. Thanks in part to his brilliant work, Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan needed 47 pass attempts to tally 330 yards, and managed just one touchdown for a passer rating of 75.7.
The Bucs' website has an in-depth look at Barber's play against the Falcons, specifically as it relates to Tampa Bay's game plan:
Tampa Bay’s defensive game plan heading into the key divisional showdown was to bring extra defenders into the box near the line of scrimmage and focus on the dual goal of stopping running back Michael Turner and pressuring quarterback Matt Ryan. Those objectives were accomplished to the tune of four sacks of Ryan and a total of 30 Falcon rushing yards, 20 for Turner. On the back end, that strategy forced Barber and fellow cornerbacks Aqib Talib and E.J. Biggers into frequent one-on-one coverage situations, and they made it work by denying Atlanta entry into the end zone for more than three quarters.
The entire Buccaneers defense--not just its elder statesman--played spectacularly on Sunday afternoon, as Bucs Nation illustrates. Barber ought not get all the credit for Tampa Bay's defensive brilliance, but it's clear that his versatility and skill went a long way toward helping the Bucs execute their game plan to near-perfection.