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Special Peterson Earns NFC Honor

Posted Nov 29, 2011

Rookie punt returner wins award for second time after record-tying TD

Patrick Peterson mimics Deion Sanders' famous touchdown dance after Peterson scored on an 80-yard punt return Sunday in St. Louis.

The Rams have been stung by Patrick Peterson twice, and twice, the league has made sure they’ll remember.

The rookie punt returner, who was named NFC special teams player of the week after beating the Rams Nov. 6 with a 99-yard touchdown in overtime, scored again in the Cardinals-Rams rematch on Sunday on an 80-yard punt return. And again, Peterson’s work earned him the NFC special teams player of the week.

Peterson’s score was his fourth of the season, tying the NFL record shared by Hester (2007), Rick Upchurch (1978) and Jack Christiansen (1951).

“That’s amazing,” Peterson said after the game. “I want to thank God for putting me in this position and to continue to help me stay healthy, stay focused and have the will each and every Sunday to make plays for the Arizona Cardinals football team.”

In just 11 games in the NFL, he already is the franchise’s all-time leader in punt-return scores and owns the season record for most punt return yards (558, on 31 returns). Prior to Peterson’s arrival, the last Cardinal to have a punt return of 80 yards was Chuck Latourette in 1968. All four of Peterson’s TDs have been at least 80 yards: 89, 82, 99 and 80.

Peterson is second in the NFL in punt return average, with his 18 yards a return trailing only the 19.4 of Chicago’s Devin Hester.

It is the 20th time in team history that a Cardinal was selected as special teams player of the week and Peterson becomes just the fourth player (kickers Neil Rackers, Chris Jacke and Bill Gramatica) in team history to be selected for the award multiple times as a Cardinal.

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