Washington Football Team kicker Brian Johnson has been named the DC Touchdown Club Pro Football Player of the Week.
Johnson, a rookie who played at Gonzaga College High School and Virginia Tech, made his Washington debut most memorable as he kicked a 48-yard field goal with 37 seconds left to lift visiting Washington to a 17-15 victory over the Las Vegas Raiders.
“We put him in good position where it was right down his alley,” Washington Coach Ron Rivera said. “He hit that one pretty well.”
Johnson began the season on the Chicago Bears practice squad. He was signed by the New Orleans Saints on October 12 and played in four games, making all of his eight field goal attempts, including the go-ahead 33-yarder with 1:56 left in a 13-10 win over the Seattle Seahawks in Week 7, his New Orleans’ debut.
But Johnson also missed three point-after kicks, including two in a 23-21 loss to the Tennessee Titans in Week 10. He was cut by the Saints on November 18 and briefly returned to the Bears practice squad before Washington signed him on November 30.
Johnson became Washington’s fourth kicker this season, replacing fellow Virginia Tech alum Joey Slye, who pulled a hamstring in Washington’s previous game. Many of Washington’s players acknowledged they were unaware of their new kicker’s name before his game-winning heroics.
On Sunday, Johnson made both of his point-after kicks, but there was a lot more riding on the line when he walked onto the field to attempt his game-winning kick.
Johnson, who grew up in Bethesda, booted the game-winner, helping Washington win its fourth consecutive game.
“I actually grew up a Ravens fan,” Johnson said last week during a media availability after being signed. “Some of my family, they’re Washington fans, so I’ve already had a place in my heart for them too. It feels good to represent them.”
University of Alabama safety DeMarcco Hellams, who played at DeMatha Catholic High School in Hyattsville, has been named the DC Touchdown Club Washington Metro College Football Player of the Week.
Hellams, a junior, made a game-high nine tackles, intercepted one pass and broke up another as the Crimson Tide beat Georgia, 41-24, in the SEC championship game. With the victory, Alabama earned a berth in the College Football Playoff.
Hellams, who was the DC Touchdown Club 2019 Maryland High School Player of the Year, made his interception during a key moment of the game. Alabama led 31-17 midway through the third quarter as Georgia drove deep into the Crimson Tide’s territory. But Hellams stepped in from of the intended target and pulled in his third interception of the season.
“I saw the tight end coming across,” Hellams told the Tuscaloosa News. “I saw Will. He had good pressure on the quarterback. I knew he had to deliver the ball soon, and when the ball is in the air, I feel like it’s mine every time.”
Hellams ranks fourth in tackles for the Crimson Tide, with 74, helping Alabama limit opponents to 20.2 points per game. On Sunday, Hellams received Alabama’s Defensive Achievement Award, presented for playing a crucial role in the effectiveness of the unit.