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Kevin Smith, Chris Clemons, Kealoha Pilares win NFC honors

Carolina Panthers v Detroit Lions

DETROIT, MI - NOVEMBER 20: Kevin Smith #30 of the Detroit Lions gets in for a second quarter touchdown past Cletis Gordon #25 and Sherrod Martin #23 of the Carolina Panthers at Ford Field on November 20, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

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Lions running back Kevin Smith, Seahawks defensive end Chris Clemons and Panthers return man Kealoha Pilares have been named the NFC players of the week.

Smith was named the offensive player of the week after a sensational outing in his first extensive game action in more than a year. Smith, who had played with the Lions the last three years but didn’t receive any offers in free agency this year, returned to the team this month and had a huge game against the Panthers: Smith had 140 rushing yards and two touchdowns, and added 61 yards and another touchdown receiving. It’s pretty amazing that this guy was available for anyone to pick up at any time, and no one did until midway through the season.

Clemons was named defensive player of the week after he had three sacks and two forced fumbles in the Seahawks’ win over the Rams. Seattle’s defense held the Rams to seven points and 185 yards. This is Clemons’ second career player of the week award; he also won it in the final week of the 2008 season.

Pilares got the special teams player of the week award for his performance in a losing effort at Detroit. Pilares had a 101-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, the first kickoff return touchdown the Panthers have had since Rod “He Hate Me” Smart got one in 2003. This is the second week in a row that a return man who played against the Lions won the NFC special teams player of the week award -- the Bears’ Devin Hester got the honor for running through the Lions’ porous special teams coverage last week.