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NFL Players of the Week: Michael Thomas, Jamaal Charles and Justin Tucker star in Week 15

Michael Thomas emerged from the depths if the 49ers practice squad to secure AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors for the Dolphins (!) during their upset win over the Patriots in Week 15.

Mike Ehrmann

The fact that Jamaal Charles and Justin Tucker were named the AFC's Offensive Player of the Week and Special Teams Player of the Week, respectively, should come as no surprise. Charles totaled 216 yards from scrimmage and five touchdowns to help the Kansas City Chiefs dismantle the Oakland Raiders, and Tucker scored every point in the Baltimore Ravens' 18-16 win over the Detroit Lions on Monday night, including a game-winning 61-yard field goal. Both had secured prominent roles on their teams well before Week 15.

The odds of Michael Thomas being named AFC Defensive Player of the Week heading into the week were near zero, however. In fact, Thomas was playing in the NFC until last Monday as a practice squad member for the San Francisco 49ers. He spent his prior night celebrating the Niners' win over the Seattle Seahawks, and slept in late Monday morning. When Thomas awoke, he had numerous messages from his agent telling him to call the Miami Dolphins immediately, and that Miami was prepared to add him to their active roster. By sleeping in, Thomas nearly missed the biggest break of his career.

Instead, Thomas got in touch with general manager Jeff Ireland, and proceeded to make the most of his opportunity during the Dolphins' upset win over the New England Patriots on Sunday. Thomas played extensively as a nickel back, and had two tackles and two passes defended. More importantly, he secured the game-clinching interception on 4th-and-5 from the 14-yard-line with seven seconds to play in regulation. Tom Brady's pass intended for Austin Collie didn't get past Thomas, who wisely cut in front of the pass at the goal-line knowing the Patriots needed to score.

In the NFC, another defensive back earned Defensive Player of the Week honors, though Richard Sherman should be a household name at this point. Against the New York Giants, he had two interceptions, three passes defended and two tackles during the Seahawks' shutout win.

Rookie running back Eddie Lacy was named the NFC Offensive Player of the Week for his efforts during the Green Bay Packers' comeback win over the Dallas Cowboys. Lacy recorded 171 yards from scrimmage, 141 of them on the ground, and one touchdown to help put the Packers back in control of their playoff destiny. Lacy has now rushed for more than 100 yards four times this season.

Jay Feely was named the NFC Special Teams Player of the Week after going 3-for-3 on field goal attempts to help the Arizona Cardinals beat the Tennessee Titans, 37-34, last Sunday. He won the game with a 41-yard field goal in overtime.

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