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Falcons' Bryant wins NFC Special Teams Player of the Week award

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Matt Bryant was rewarded for his clutch performance against the San Francisco 49ers.

Bryant blasted the game-winning 43-yard field goal through the uprights with two ticks remaining in the Atlanta Falcons’ 16-14 win over the Niners on Sunday. He also converted on two other field goals in the week, which was enough to win the NFC’s Special Teams Player of the Week award.

It was the second time in as many weeks that Bryant has connected on a game-winning field goal. His 46-yard overtime kick in Week 3 lead the Dirty Birds to a 27-24 upset of the defending Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints.

Bryant leads the league in scoring with 39 points and is tied for the lead with 10 field goals.

“In the kicker spot, in one minute you’re in the penthouse and in the next minute, you are in the outhouse,” Bryant said moments after knocking through the game-winner against the 49ers. “You’re as good as your last kick. I get to go back to the penthouse for another week. I’m liking it pretty good. The bed is more comfortable and the drinks are colder.”

Apparently, they give out awards in the penthouse, too.

Bryant beat out three other players for the honor, including New Orleans kicker John Carney. Carney replaced Saints kicker Garrett Hartley, who was demoted to the outhouse after he missed a 29-yard field goal in the Saints’ Week 3 loss to the Falcons. Carney had three field goals in New Orleans’ 16-14 win over the Carolina Panthers in Week 4.

Detroit Lions kicker Jason Hanson, who had 14 points and four field goals in the Lions’ 26-24 loss to the Green Bay Packers and San Francisco safety Taylor Mays were also nominated for the award. Mays used his athleticism to recover a blocked punt in the end zone in San Francisco’s loss to Atlanta.

On the mend: For the first time all season, all 53 active Falcons players participated in a practice. Linebackers Curtis Lofton (knee) and Sean Weatherspoon (ankle) were limited in participation as was wideout Michael Jenkins (shoulder). Jenkins, who has been sidelined since sustaining the injury in Atlanta’s Friday Night Lights game at North Gwinnett High School on August 6, is expected to play against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.

James Back: Linebacker Robert James returned to the Falcons' nest. One day after he was placed on waivers, the Falcons signed the former Arizona State linebacker to the team's practice squad. James, a 2008 fifth-round pick of Atlanta was suspended by the league for the first four games of the year for violating the NFL's performance enhancing drug program.

Running back Shawnbrey McNeal was released from the practice squad to make room for James.

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