Kick-returner Dwayne Harris has been named NFC Special Teams Player of the Week for his starring role in Sunday's New York Giants victory over the Dallas Cowboys. This is Harris' fourth time winning such an award, but his first as a member of the Giants.
Clearly, Harris achieved this distinction through his 100-yard kickoff return touchdown that put New York ahead immediately after Matt Cassel found Devin Street for a touchdown which drew the game level in the fourth quarter. For those who believe in such things, Street's miraculous scoring catch was a huge momentum boost for the slumping Cowboys, and in the fourth quarter with the game on the line, Harris' return didn't allow another Giants game to slip away in the dying minutes.
Many criticized the signing of Harris in the off-season as a high-priced luxury item for a team with some glaring needs elsewhere on the roster. With holes at safety and along the defensive line, the Giants allocated $17 million early in free-agency to steal a kick returner away from the division rival Dallas.
While problems at other positions have played out for better or worse, Harris has flourished. As I wrote in today's 'Blue Data' column, Harris is averaging 36 yards per attempted kickoff return and that number is the best in the league right now. In addition to this, the fifth year player has been moonlighting as a slot-receiver in Victor Cruz' absence, catching 15 passes for 184 yards and a touchdown. With Cruz' injury lingering further and further into the season, the Harris signing has looked like a smarter business move with each passing day.