Brandon Meriweather's big performance on Sunday served as more than a breakthrough -- It also got him a nice piece of hardware.
The Patriots safety was named AFC Defensive Player of the Week for the first time in his three-year career. Meriweather got New England's rout of Tampa Bay started, picking off Josh Johnson and going 31 yards for a touchdown on the Buccaneers' first offensive possession. He also registered another first-half pick as New England really put Tampa in the rear-view mirror.
"The difference today is I was playing within the defense," Meriweather said on Sunday. "I was being myself, but I was playing within the defense. The d-line got a great rush, and he happened to throw the ball like that, and I happened to have a good break on the ball."
Meriweather's two picks were half as many as he had in the first 38 games of his career, and started to show how he's learning to cash in on opportunities, by playing faster, as he said, "within the defense."
"I feel like close isn't good enough," he said. "We were close to doing a lot of things. But if youíre not doing it, itís not good enough. So I donít feel like I was close. I just wasnít reading stuff right and I had to do a lot of stuff faster."
And as the award would attest, that's what he's starting to do now.