NFC West High Energy Player of the Week

A look at a player who gave his team a significant boost in Week 14.

Arizona Cardinals holder Ben Graham placed the football on the ground with 4:08 showing on the game clock in the first half.

Kicker Jay Feely stepped once toward the ball as if intending to kick it, then darted around to his right and took the pitch from Graham near the left hash at the Denver Broncos' 15-yard line.

The race was on.

Jason Hunter, a 270-pound outside linebacker, picked up the chase from between the hashes at the 9-yard line. An NFL scout I know listed Hunter's 40-yard time at 4.52 seconds when the linebacker was a 250-pounder coming out of Appalachian State five years ago.

Feely, speaking by phone Tuesday, said he ran the 40 in about 4.6 seconds as a soccer forward in college. That was more than a decade ago, but no matter. Feely, 34, outran Hunter to the pylon and was pulling away as he crossed the goal line.

"It's fun as a kicker to get a chance to show off your athleticism a little bit," Feely said.

The highlight for Feely: sharing the moment with his 7-year-old son, Jace, who accompanied him onto the field after the game and at a postgame interview session.

"It was one of the coolest moments of my career," Feely said. "I have been wanting and hoping to play long enough for him to be old enough to truly appreciate it. It was special for Dad and for son."

Feely scored 25 points in the Cardinals' 43-13 victory. That included the only 22 points scored in the game across two-plus quarters, making Feely the first player since Paul Hornung in 1961 to accomplish the feat.

Feely also made a tackle during a kickoff return. All that was missing, at least from a kicker's perspective, was a game-winning kick at the end. Given the Cardinals' recent struggles, however, Feely said he preferred seeing his team play well enough to put away the game more comfortably.

The rushing touchdown alone separated Feely as I considered several worthy candidates -- notably Brian Westbrook, Alex Smith, Dashon Goldson, Adrian Wilson and Tim Hightower -- for the weekly High Energy award. How many times does a kicker qualify, anyway?

"We had been waiting for a long time to run that fake," Feely said. "We had wanted to run it 3-4 times in the season, but something would always happen."

Several factors go into the decision to run a fake. Once the head coach decides to consider the call, the kicker must alert teammates already on the field without tipping off the defense. The kicker then must make sure the defense is aligned in a manner conducive to the fake.

All factors came together Sunday.

Feely's first career rushing touchdown gave him as many this season as established NFL backs DeAngelo Williams, Donald Brown and Pierre Thomas.

"For me, getting the tackle is the cherry on top of it," Feely said.