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IDP Notes
Week 11
11/17/04

Quick Hits (Details in individual team notes)
  • No more byes
  • CHI LB Urlacher out 4-6 weeks
  • AZ DE Bert Berry has career-high 4 sacks
  • CAR MLB Dan Morgan's return to health brief…again
  • PHI Jeremiah Trotter regains starting MLB job
  • ATL DT Coleman returns, DE Kerney gets to QB
  • CAR DE Peppers finally finds way to QB again…twice
  • CHI DEs thrive, LB Briggs tackle machine
  • IND DE/LB Robert Mathis breaking out as a reserve
  • CIN CB Tory James gets NFL-leading 6th pick
  • Both TB safeties dinged, sign Dexter Jackson
  • NE "Replacements" at CB getting job done
  • KC LB shuffle, with Shawn Barber to IR
  • SF secondary a mess
  • TEN hit with more injuries
  • More problems with dumbness for WAS FS Taylor
Week 11 Injury Report (available Wednesday PM)

Arizona

RDE Bert Berry definitely must have seen something he could expose on the film of the Giants previous game. As you may recall, Bears RDE Alex Brown recorded 4 sacks against the Giants the previous week, and it was déjà vu for Luke Petitgout and the left side of the Giants offensive line, as Berry did the same, as well as totaling 7 solo tackles. Berry now leads the NFL with 9 sacks for the season. Rookie LB Karlos Dansby had a big game, as well. He registered 4 solo tackles, 2 sacks, and sealed the victory deflecting a fourth down pass on the Giants last drive.

A week after trying something new in the secondary, HC Denny Green went back to Ifeanyi Ohalete at FS, where he had 5 tackles (4 solo) and 2 passes defended, including a nice diving attempt for an interception where he just missed it by landing out of bounds. Renaldo Hill returned to his familiar starting CB role opposite David Macklin. Macklin led the team with 9 solo tackles. Finally, Duane Starks was moved back to the third corner role. The previous regime paid big money to bring him here as a starter, but apparently HC Denny Green feels he's too fragile for a full-time role and he has been doing well in nickel and dime packages.

Atlanta

After the Falcons got out to a 17-0 lead in the 2nd quarter, Tampa Bay got back in and was only down by 3 early in the 4th quarter. Michael Pittman took the ball on a 3rd-and-one in Atlanta territory, and was stopped by a pack led by LB Matt Stewart, while the ball stripped away by DE Travis Hall. MLB Chris Draft picked the ball off the turf, fell down, then got back up and ran 62 yards for a TD that would have moved the Falcons, as well as IDP owners of Draft, closer to victory. Both parties were robbed of their stroke of luck, as Bucs HC Jon Gruden threw the red flag onto the field as the Falcons lined up for their extra point. Not only was the TD reversed on challenge, but the ruling was Pittman's forward progress was stopped, so the fumble never happened. Energized by the reversal of fortune, Gruden decided to go for it on 4th-and-1, but the Falcons, again led by Stewart, stopped Pittman for a loss. The offense then capitalized with a TD three plays later, putting the game out of reach for the Bucs.

Those weren't the only two plays Stewart was active on, as he had a huge day, leading the team with 9 solo tackles and getting 2 sacks. Plenty of Falcons were in Bucs backfield Sunday afternoon, as the team exploded for 7 sacks. DT Rod Coleman crashed into Brian Griese for 2 sacks, giving him 6 on the season. Coleman missed the last several weeks after being injured in a car accident. DE Patrick Kerney flourished with the return of Coleman, which allowed Kerney to work exclusively outside. He registered his team-leading 8th sack, good for second in the NFC, as well as 7 solo tackles. LB Keith Brooking got his first sack of the season and reserve rookie LB Demorrio Williams, a beast at pressuring the QB in college at Nebraska, got his first career sack. Look for Williams to continue to be involved, mostly at the expense of Chris Draft, who has battled injury and asthma problems, but just plain has not taken well to the MLB role. Brooking could be moved back there and Williams installed on the weakside.

CB Kevin Mathis returned to the starting lineup, after being bumped by rookie DeAngelo Hall, due to Jason Webster being inactive with a chest injury.

Baltimore

A week after SS Ed Reed recorded the longest INT return in history, it looked like he another big one. With the Ravens down 14-0 in the final minutes of the first half, he grabbed an ill-advised halfback option pass from Lamont Jordan and returned it 104 yards for an apparent TD. However, FS Will Demps was called for holding on the return, and it was brought back. It still sparked a team that was dragging, as the offense turned the turnover into 7. Instead of being down three scores at the half, the Ravens went in down 7, and thanks to a little help from clock mismanagement by the Jets, eventually won the game in OT. Reed also had 8 tackles (7 solo). MLB Ray Lewis led the team with 14 tackles (11 solo).

The defensive went after QB Quincy Carter in his first start as a Jet, recording 5 sacks. DE Marques Douglas and NT Kelly Gregg shared one, and each had one of their own. LB Adalius Thomas and reserve DB Chad Williams also had a sack each. Williams saw a good deal of work helping replace CB Chris McAllister, who left the game in the 2nd quarter with a neck stinger and did not return. The team was already short-handed in the secondary with Deion Sanders inactive, battling a toe injury The team believes McAllister will be back next week.

Buffalo

SS Lawyer Milloy remains hot since returning from a broken arm. He led the team with 15 tackles (10 solo). LBs London Fletcher and Takeo Spikes each had 11 tackles.

DE Aaron Schobel remains streaky. He went his first three games without a sack. Then he had 5.5 sacks in the next three games. Now he's gone three games in a row without a sack. If you are into statistical trends, he might be a good start next week. He did post 9 tackles (4 solo), so he gave owners something Sunday.

Carolina

MLB Dan Morgan returned after being inactive the previous week, but had to leave the game early due to a hit to the head, costing him most of the game. HC John Fox wasn't sure if it was another concussion or post-concussion syndrome triggered by the hit. Either way, Morgan's fantasy owners have to be disappointed, but not surprised, by this turning into another injury-plagued season for Morgan. Morgan is expected to miss this week, and possibly longer. He finished Sunday with 3 solo tackles before leaving, while his replacement, Vinny Ciurciu posted 5 (4 solo). LB Will Witherspoon again thrived in Morgan's absence, posting 8 tackles (6 solo), a sack on which he forced a fumble, an INT, and 2 other passes defended. On the other side, LB Mark Fields had his best game since returning from Hodgkin's Disease this season. He has battled injury problems, but stepped up Sunday and posted 5 tackles (3 solo) and an INT. His pick was the first of back-to-back big plays in the 3rd quarter that sparked a rally. After appearing to have stripped Kevan Barlow and returned the fumble for a TD, SF challenged and Barlow was ruled down. On the next play, he picked the ball of and returned it to the 1-yard line, setting up a short TD for the offense.

DE Julius Peppers appears to be turning his season around, as well. He had 2 sacks for the second consecutive game and has 9 tackles (8 solo), 4 sacks, and a pass defended in the last two games.

SS Mike Minter led the team with 9 tackles (7 solo), as well as a sack and forced fumble.

DT Kindal Moorehead returned to the starting lineup and 1st round pick CB Chris Gamble was OK after spraining his knee the previous week. Gamble had 7 tackles (6 solo), including 2 on special teams, and grabbed his second INT of his career.

Chicago

While the offense floundered, defense and special teams came through and for only the second time in NFL history, a team won on a safety in OT.

After winning the toss and receiving, the Bears offense once again did little on the first drive of OT. However, P Brad Maynard pinned the Titans at their own 9-yard line, his fourth punt of the day inside the 20. After DT Ian Scott batted away a pass on 1st down, LB Hunter Hillenmeyer got his arms on Billy Volek in the end zone, but couldn't bring him down. Volek stumbled out of the end zone, falling at the five, giving Hillenmeyer a sack, but no safety. On the next play, DEs Alex Brown and Adewale Ogunleye converged on Volek in the end zone. Brown knocked the ball out, and Ogunleye was unable to pick it up, but when Titan OT Fred Miller fell on it while in contact with Ogunleye, the game was over. Ogunleye was credited with the safety, while Brown got the sack and forced fumble. It was the second forced fumble Brown forced that day, as he early stripped Chris Brown while he was being tackled, and then Brown recovered that fumble, as well. Both Brown and Ogunleye had 7 tackles (4 solo), as well. In the last two games, Brown has 15 tackles (10 solo), 5 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, and 1 fumble recovered, while Ogunleye has sacks in back-to-back games since returning from injury.

The third DE in their rotation, Michael Haynes, also had a huge contribution. With his playing time becoming less with the return of Ogunleye from injury and the emergence of Brown, Haynes still made his presence felt. After the Bears offense turned it over around mid-field with less than a minute left in the first half and already down 7-0, the Titans decided to try to move into FG range. A completion on first down put them in Bears territory, so the next play they started to set up a screen. Haynes sniffed it out, shed his block, jumped and tipped the pass to himself. He then took the INT and returned it 45 yards for a TD, hurdling a diving Volek, the last Titan with a shot at him, to get there.

That swung the momentum and in the second half, the defense kept playing tough while the special teams took over. CB R.W. McQuarters returned a punt 75 yards for a TD following the Titans first drive of the 3rd quarter. After another stop the next drive, McQuarters took the punt to the house again, but it was called back for a questionable illegal block that was no where near the play. The nullified 85-yard return would have been a club record that coincidentally is held by Titans HC Jeff Fisher. McQuarters also had 2 solo tackles and a fumble recovered. CB Jerry Azumah played extremely well most of the game, coming up with some excellent tackles on 3rd downs just short of the marker. However, he also was burned by Derrick Mason on the Titans first TD. Azumah finished with 9 tackles (8 solo) and a pass defensed.

LB Lance Briggs led the team with 14 tackles (12 solo) and leads the team for the season. He moved up to second in the NFC with 71 this season. Brian Urlacher had an interception that he knocked out of his hand by his own knee while stumbling after making it. The Bears fell on it before it went out of bounds, but it was ruled an incomplete pass. Replay showed he indeed had possession and it should have been an INT. Urlacher finished with 6 tackles (2 solo) and a pass defended, instead of an INT. Enjoyment of the Bears three-game winning streak came to a halt early Monday morning, as bad news came in regarding Urlacher. He was kicked in the calf late in the game, but continued playing and believed the injury was minor. Late Sunday night the calf started to swell and he went to the hospital, where he had to have surgery to relieve the pressure of internal bleeding. He is expected to miss 4-6 weeks, but HC Lovie Smith said he does not plan to put him on the IR. Hunter Hillenmeyer will move to MLB and Joe Odom will replace him at SLB.

If he can't reclaim a place on offensive, then maybe the defense, and definitely the special teams, can use 6'8" Marc Colombo. The former 1st round pick at OT saw game action for the first time in 2 years and blocked a 52-yard potential game winning FG as time expired.

Cincinnati

In a game with a lot of strong IDP efforts for the Bengals, Tory James led the way with 7 solo tackles and his league-leading 6th interception. Kim Herring returned to the starting lineup at SS, posting 3 solo tackles and an INT. Standout rookie Madieu Williams seems to have finally stopped bouncing around, as he started at FS for the second consecutive game. He was outstanding in run support, containing Clinton Portis from breaking big runs a few times. He finished with 7 tackles (6 solo).

With Caleb Miller inactive due to a sprained ankle, the revolving door at MLB remained on fellow rookie Landon Johnson. Johnson turned in the biggest day of his short career, leading the team with 9 tackles (8 solo) and registering his first career sack. LB Brian Simmons had 2 solo tackles and a pick. With the Redskins utilizing a lot of three WR sets, Kevin Hardy only saw about 25 snaps and didn't register a stat. S Kevin Kaesviharn lined up in the SLB spot a lot in his place.

After getting his first career sack last week, rookie Robert Geathers moved into the starting lineup at DT and got another sack. DEs Justin Miller and Duane Clemons, as well as reserve DT Langston Moore, also each had a sack.

Cleveland

There will be no suspension or fine for DT Gerard Warren, much less Ben Roethlisberger's head mounted above his fireplace. In fact, all he had to take home from his self-proclaimed hunt for Big Ben was a solo tackle and a loss. MLB Andra Davis led the team with 10 tackles (7 solo) and CB Daylon McCutcheon had an INT, the only turnover of the day for Cleveland.

Physically-gifted, but raw, LB Chaun Thompson has struggled since joining the starting lineup. However, he had his best game Sunday, with his first sack of the season and a career-high 6 tackles. Chris Crocker also had a sack. While Earl Little was nominally the starter at FS again Sunday, Crocker saw most of the work and had the bigger day, with 6 tackles (5 solo), including the sack. Little had 1 solo tackle.

Dallas

The team gave up the most points they ever have at home. Not much else needs to be said after the team hit rock bottom in a blowout loss to Philly and a defense that looked good last year continues to crumble.

DE Greg Ellis shared a sack with reserve DL Leonardo Carson. It was the first time Ellis got to the QB since Week 6, but he still leads the team with 6.5 on the season. He's likely to surpass his career-high of 8 he established last year, but he isn't looking like he'll get the elusive Pro Bowl invite he'd been seeking, as he hasn't had any other big plays and the team is struggling. The addition of Marcellus Wiley hasn't diverted attention from the Cowboys premier pass rusher, as Wiley has basically been a bust. In fact, Wiley was replaced in the starting lineup at LDE by Eric Ogbogu. Ogbogu had 1 solo tackle.

HC Bill Parcells is giving Lynn Scott some more work at SS. Tony Dixon remains the starter, but hasn't been the playmaker he was early in the season. In the first three weeks he had 13 tackles, 3 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles. Since then he's had just 15 tackles and his pass coverage has consistently been a weakness. As both are FA's after this year, it should be an audition to see which will remain or if the position needs to be addressed in the off-season, as Darren Woodson is likely done as a Cowboy after this year, if he even returns this season.

The team placed CB Tyrone Williams on the waived/injured reserve list Saturday. If he clears waivers, he will placed on the IR. He has been inactive since suffering a hamstring injury two weeks ago. Undrafted FA rookie Lance Frazier looks like he will remain the starter and the team will call up Lenny Williams or Jeff Sanchez from the practice squad to add sorely needed depth in the secondary.

Denver

FS John Lynch is expected to return this week. DE Trevor Pryce is still not close to returning.

Detroit

The defense finally started getting to the QB again, but it wasn't enough to fluster David Garrard in just his second career start for Jacksonville. After two games without a sack, DE James Hall got one, increasing his team-lead to 6.5. He also had 5 tackles (4 solo). SS Bracy Walker also had a sack, while DT Dan Wilkinson and LB James Davis shared one.

FS Brock Marion led the team with 8 tackles (5 solo). MLB Earl Holmes, who leads the team on the season, had 6 (4 solo). He doesn't turn in any big plays, but Holmes remains a stout run-stopper and is on pace for his best tackle numbers since 2002.

Green Bay

The good news on FS Darren Sharper is he was active, the bad news is he played only 20 snaps and as opposed to reporting the knee felt fine after the game, he said it felt "no worse". After missing a game with a torn PCL, he had a bye to rest and rehab, but the knee apparently is still bothering him. Bhawoh Jue started and played most of the game, leading the team with 9 tackles (7 solo).

LB Na'il Diggs left the game with sprained calf and did not return. He is expected to play this week.

The front four did a rare good job of pressuring the QB, beating a strong . DE Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila led the way with 3 solo tackles and 2 sacks. He is heating up after a slow starting, posting 6 solo tackles and 3 sacks in his last two games and now leading the team with 4.5. Reserve DL Cullen Jenkins has been a pleasant surprise this season. The former undrafted FA who was propelled into a starting role while Grady Jackson was out had another sack. He has all 2.5 of his sacks in the last three games. Reserve DT James Lee had his first sack of the season.

Houston

Powerless to stop the Colts passing game, the Texans only saw 20 runs, providing thin tackle numbers. LB Jamie Sharper led the team with 7 solo tackles. LB Kaliee Wong had the only sack of the game for Houston. He sacked Peyton Manning and forced a fumble, but the Colts recovered. However, they were forced to punt the next play. Wong is having a nice season, contributing big plays and leading the team with 4.5 sacks.

Despite a 35 point lead, the Colts continued to pass in the second half, as Manning chases the single-season TD mark. This allowed INTs by reserve LB Antwan Peek and CB Aaron Glenn, both resulting in the Texans only two scores of the day.

Rookie Glenn Earl got his first career start (SS) and finished with 4 solo tackles. Eric Brown was active, but continues to nurse a knee injury. Jason Simmons was inactive, still recovering from a concussion.

Indianapolis

Lost in Peyton Manning's chase of the single season TD record is the effect on the defense. As Manning continues to sling away, the defense gets little time to rest. Despite establishing a dominating 35-0 early in the 3rd quarter, the Colts only rushed 6 times in the second half, resulting in the time of possession actually 10 minutes greater for the Texans. Manning also handicapped the defense twice by throwing an interception deep in Colts territory in the second half, both resulted in the Texans only two TDs of the day. From a fantasy perspective, while this can hurt the Colts team defense (as far as points allowed), but for IDP, the more the players are on the field, the better numbers they are likely to post.

Robert Mathis has benefited the most this season. Already breaking out this season, he had a career-game Sunday, registering 3 sacks, including 2 on back-to-back plays, and forcing a fumble each time. Mathis was a small school project when he was drafted out of Alabama A&M in the 5th round last year. A tweener that is too light for an every down DE in the NFL, he has excelled as a pass rush specialist, lining up as both a DE and a LB. He leads the team with 8 sacks, second-most in the AFC. Starting DE Raheem Brock, the man Mathis frequently rotates with, had a nice game with 9 tackles (7 solo) and a sack. On the right side of the line, Dwight Freeney continues to be frustratingly inconsistent. As his team piled up sacks, he was in on none, finishing the day with 3 tackles (2 solo). However, he almost got there early in the game, nailing QB David Carr right after he released the ball.

LB Cato June led the team with a game-high 13 tackles (11 solo). Back-up LBs Jim Nelson and Gary Brackett each had an INT, as well as reserve DB Von Hutchins, who returned his 77 yards for a TD.

With SS Mike Doss still inactive, rookie Bob Sanders continues to flourish. He had 10 tackles (8 solo) and recovered one of the fumbles Mathis forced, returning it 37 yards for his first career TD. It's looking more obvious Sanders needs to remain in the starting lineup when Doss returns, but both are better in run support than coverage, and at only 5'8", Sanders will be exposed in that facet if moved to FS.

Injuries continue to hamper the secondary. In addition to Doss's lingering hamstring problems, Joseph Jefferson remains active, but restricted in contributing due to a nagging knee injury. CB Nick Harper is playing through shoulder problems, while rookie CB Jason David, who has impressed after being needed due to injuries, is dinged up too.

Jacksonville

MLB Mike Peterson added to his team-lead in tackles with 5 (4 solo) and also had a sack, moving him into a tie for the team-lead at 3 with DT Marcus Stroud. Stroud had 2 tackles (1 solo) before leaving the game in the 4th quarter with a strained knee. Stroud's interior partner, John Henderson, had a sack and 2 other solo tackles. Akin Ayodele led the team with 8 tackles (6 solo).

CB Rashean Mathis had an INT, the only turnover they forced, and broke up 4 other passes, as well as posted 3 solo tackles.

With rookie LB Daryl Smith inactive with a partially torn MCL, the Jags played a lot of nickel, making reserve DB Kiwaukee Thomas his de facto replacement, while LB Tommy Hendricks saw work, as well.

Kansas City

With LB Shawn Barber placed on the IR last week, Monty Beisel returned from missing two games with a calf injury and moved to OLB. However, he aggravated the calf and left the game early. Quinton Caver replaced him and finished with 5 solo tackles. With Beisel at OLB, Kawika Mitchell continued to start in the middle. He finished with 5 solo tackles. At the other OLB, Scott Fujita led the team with 7 tackles (5 solo) and 2 sacks. Fujita has 3 sacks in the last 2 games, giving him 4 for the season, tying the team lead and his career-high. DE Eric Hicks and FS Jerome Woods also had sacks. SS Greg Wesley grabbed his third INT of the season, the only turnover of the game.

CB Dexter McCleon remained inactive with a tender hamstring.

Miami

In a relatively surprising move, S Antuan Edwards was released last week. Edwards beat out Arturo Freeman in the pre-season, but suffered a groin injury that forced him out of Week 7 and has plagued him since his return. Apparently interim coach Jim Bates, the former DC, is a bigger fan of Freeman than former HC Dave Wannstedt and Bates also wants a look at rookie Yeremiah Bell. Bates will continue as DC with LB coach Bob Sanders making the calls from the sidelines during the game.

Minnesota

Despite an offense that kept coming back, the Vikings D once again couldn't stop Brett Favre and Ahmad Green and came up just short. Inability to create turnovers has been a key problem for this defense, and not getting a controversial one near the end of the game cost them. After knotting the game at 31 with less than two minutes to play, Robert Ferguson was hit by Antoine Winfield on the kick-off and fumbled. Reserve CB Derek Ross looked like he recovered it, but the Packers were awarded the ball when the pile cleared. Favre then led GB on a game-winning FG drive.

FS Brian Russell and MLB E.J. Henderson led the team with 8 tackles. SS Corey Chavous had 7 tackles (4 solo) and forced a fumble that rookie DE Darrion Scott recovered. LB Chris Claiborne returned from a calf injury and had 5 tackles (4 solo).

New England

With CBs Ty Law and Tyrone Poole out as expected, CB Asante Samuel dressed, but did not play, nursing a shoulder injury. However, they were not needed, as despite the Pats missing their top three CBs, the replacements were enough to shut out the Bills offense. Randall Gay and Earthwind Moreland started at the corners, while WR Troy Brown again had dual-duty as the nickel corner. He may not remind anyone of Deion Sanders in his prime, but he was good enough to grab his first career interception. LB Mike Vrabel didn't catch a TD, but he did lead the team (tied) with 6 tackles (4 solo).

Reserve LB Tully Banta-Cain, a converted college DE, had his best game of his young career, getting a solo sack and sharing one with LB Rosevelt Colvin, as well as making his first career INT. LB Willie McGinest had a sack, giving him one in consecutive games and increasing his team lead on the season to 5.5.

New Orleans

Priest Holmes was out of the lineup, but Derrick Blaylock did his best impersonation and the Saints had no answer for him, until late in the game. Down by 7 with the 4th quarter winding down, Chiefs drove to the Saints 17-yard line, but the victory was preserved when a pass to Blaylock bounced off his hands to MLB Orlando Ruff. Blaylock running wild allowed a lot of tackles numbers for the Saints, including 10 (6 solo) for Ruff. SS Jay Bellamy had a game-high 13 (9 solo) and a fumble recovery, while Derrick Rodgers was the third Saint with double-digit tackle numbers, finishing with 11 (7 solo).

After Ruff's INT, the Chiefs had one last chance for a Hail Mary with 8 seconds left, but DE Darren Howard hit the trifecta, sacking Trent Green, forcing the fumble, and recovering it. Howard had his best game of the year, in addition to that play, he finished with 7 tackles (6 solo). He has missed a few games due to injury, but Howard has at least a half sack in every game he's played, giving him 5.5 on the season. 1st round pick reserve DE Will Smith also had a sack. However, DE Charles Grant failed to get to the QB for the third straight game, posting just 2 solo tackles.

Rookie LB Courtney Watson was inactive, continuing to battle knee problems. CB Mike McKenzie had his first INT of the year and as a Saint. Howard Green continues to start at DT in front of former 1st round pick Jonathan Sullivan, who was benched this week for missing meetings. Sullivan has been in HC Jim Haslett's doghouse due to poor play and weight issues, with the lack of professionalism being the latest irritation. Forget about him this year, but it's too early to give up on Sullivan overall. Haslett is clueless and has repeatedly lost players on his team over the years. It's easy to imagine Sullivan thriving when he gets to play for a real NFL coach.

New York Giants

Penalties really hurt the team, especially the defense. They had at least one penalty on each of the Cardinals three scoring drives. CB Will Peterson was the worst offender, with 2 penalties, including a 22-yard pass interference that set up a go-ahead TD for Arizona before the half. Peterson and rookie S sensation Gibril Wilson led the team with 7 solo tackles. Wilson was shaken up on a tackle in the 2nd quarter and left the game, but returned.

As expected, Usi Umenyiora and Lance Legree were the new starting DEs for New York, with Michael Strahan and Keith Washington done for the year. Both had solid games, with each registering a sack and Umenyiora forcing a fumble on his. Rookie LB Reggie Tobor, a converted college DE with good potential as a pass rush specialist, also saw more work with the Giants needing to find new ways to apply pressure. He didn't get to the QB, but he had 6 tackles (5 solo) and a forced fumble. DT Fred Robbins continues to be very active. He had 7 tackles (3 solo).

Barrett Green remains inactive with problems in his left knee, so Nick Greisen continues to start. Green may elect to have surgery to clean the knee up, which would cost him a couple more weeks. If he continues to just rehab, he's expected to miss at least this week, as well. Either way, he was not in HC Tom Coughlin's good graces before the injury, so Greisen may retain the starting WLB job. Greisen had 7 tackles (4 solo).

New York Jets

After not getting to the QB the prior week for the first game he played in this year, DE John Abraham not only had a sack, but led the team with 9 tackles (6 solo). With Shaun Ellis inactive due to a groin injury the previous week, disappointing former 1st round pick Bryan Thomas got the start opposite Abraham. Thomas shared a sack with DT Dewayne Robertson and got another one himself. He finished with 6 tackles (3 solo) and 1.5 sacks, both game-highs for his career.

LB Sam Cowart was active, returning from knee injury after missing several weeks, but saw little action. 1st round pick Jonathan Vilma still started at MLB and recorded 7 tackles (6 solo).

Reggie Tongue and rookie Erik Coleman remained the starters at SS and FS, respectively. Jon McGraw was inactive with an abdominal injury. Tongue was second on the team with 8 tackles (6 solo).

Oakland

Coming out of the bye, undrafted FA rookie DE Tommy Kelly is one of the few bright spots on the defense. With a sack in each of his first three career games, already good enough to lead the team for the season, he's emerging as the Raiders best (only) consistent pass rush threat. However, he's primarily been limited to passing downs and was an unknown quantity to opposing teams. Before getting too excited about his future, the team will need to see how he can play the run and how he will handle double-teams and being schemed against by opposing offensive lines who will begin to take notice of his presence.

Philadelphia

Jeremiah Trotter returned to the starting MLB job and led the team (tied) with 8 tackles (6 solo). He also had the only sack of the day for the team. Mark Simoneau moved to the weakside, replacing Nate Wayne. Simoneau had 2 tackles, and a forced fumble that he recovered, but he also suffered a concussion in the game. Wayne is also limited by a sore hamstring, so the weakside spot will be a question mark next week.

Both corners had big days again, as Sheldon Brown led the team (tied) with 8 tackles (7 solo) and Lito Sheppard returned an INT 101 yards for a TD. It's the second pick he's returned for a score this year and he is tied for the NFC lead with 4 on the season.

Pittsburgh

Threats from Cleveland DT Gerard Warren about head-hunting Steeler QB Ben Roethlisberger last week seemed to incite both teams, as a pre-game confrontation between Browns RB William Green and LB Joey Porter resulted in Green spitting on Porter and Porter decking a helmet-less Green, as well as a few other Cleveland players who joined the fray. Both players were ejected before the game started. Porter was fined $10,000, but will not be suspended. Former undrafted FA James Harrison got his first career start in Porter's place. He made the most of the opportunity, finishing with a team-high 6 solo tackles and his first career sack. DT Chris Hoke and CB DeShea Townsend also had a sack each, with Townsend forcing a fumble and recovering it on his. The exclamation point on the victory was provided when DE Aaron Smith got to Jeff Garcia late in the game. Smith sacked him as he tried to scramble and throw, forcing a fumble that reserve DB Russell Stuvaints picked up and returned 24 yards for a TD.

SS Troy Polamalu had a big day with 4 solo tackles and 2 INTs. In addition to leading the team in tackles, he now leads them in interceptions, as well. Larry Foote continued to start at ILB, but Kendrell Bell saw significant work, finishing with 4 solo tackles.

St. Louis

A shoulder stinger continues to hamper Aeneas Williams, so HC Mike Martz is limiting him to key situations, similar to what he did with Adam Archuleta earlier this year. Once again, it is Rich Coady who is the beneficiary, getting the start at FS. Both Coady and Williams were part of the Rams biggest defensive play. With the Seahawks already mounting a 3rd quarter comeback, RB Shaun Alexander broke free for a long gain, looking like he had a chance to go all the way. Williams caught up to him from behind and popped the ball free, which Coady fell on. Both players also had 5 tackles. SS Adam Archuleta led the team with 7 tackles (6 solo).

Trev Faulk started his second game at MLB, finishing with 4 tackles (3 solo). Robert Thomas, who Faulk replaced, as again limited to special teams work, where he recorded 1 tackle.

It continues to be a rough season for CB Travis Fisher. After missing most of the year with a broken arm, Fisher returned the prior week and was knocked out of the game with two cracked teeth. He went through a painful procedure to have the mouth wired and special mouth piece fitted to play Sunday. While already playing with pain, Fisher had to leave in the 3rd quarter after another blow to the mouth. He is expected back next week, but will still be in some pain.

DE Leonard Little had 4 solo tackles and a sack. It was his team-leading fifth sack of the season.

The Rams claimed Antuan Edwards, released last week by the Dolphins, off waivers to provide depth at safety. He was inactive due to lingering problems with a groin injury suffered in Week 7.

San Diego

LB Steve Foley returned from a couple poor statistical outings to being back among the IDP fantasy surprises of 2004. He had a sack and a half, forcing a fumble on his solo sack, and 4 tackles (2 solo) on the day. Foley now has 42 tackles, 3 forced fumbles, an INT, and a team-leading 6 sacks, third in the AFC, on the season.

LB Donnie Edwards and SS Terrence Kiel both had a game-high 10 tackles. Edwards had 4 solo and Kiel had 7 solo.

San Francisco

An injury-plagued 49er team was desperately thin in the secondary Sunday. After suffering an ankle injury in practice last week, rookie CB Shawntae Spencer dressed, but did not play. CB Ahmed Plummer was still inactive with a bulging disk in his neck. He is expected to miss at least 2-3 more weeks. CB Jimmy Williams was also inactive. The team was forced to start reserve S Dwaine Carpenter at one corner and give former undrafted FA Joselio Hanson his first career start at the other. Carpenter finished with 4 solo tackles, tied for the team-high. Undrafted FA rookie Rayshun Reed saw his first career game action as the nickel.

LB Jamie Winborn led the team (tied) with 4 solo tackles and forced a fumble that SS Tony Parrish recovered. DE Andre Carter, in his second game back since missing most of the season with back problems, got to the QB for the first time this season, sharing a sack with DT Bryant Young.

Seattle

Terreal Bierra led the team in tackles, 8 (7 solo) and KOs, sending Torry Holt out of the game in the 1st quarter while breaking up a pass with a vicious hit. However, Holt's absence wasn't enough, as Marc Bulger still carved them up through the air and running game pounded them on the ground.

CB Ken Lucas was back in the starting lineup from a bruised a lung that knocked him out of the previous week's game and required a night in a hospital. He had 3 tackles (2 solo) and forced a rare fumble by Marshall Faulk, which he recovered. LB Anthony Simmons had 7 solo tackles, broke up a pass, and also forced a fumble.

DE Grant Wistrom was inactive for the fourth straight game. He had hoped to return to face his old team, and they could have used him, as the Seahawks had only one sack on the day, by reserve DE Brandon Mitchell. Chike Okeafor has been struggling through a neck problem and has not had a sack since Week 7. He still leads the team with 5.5 for the season.

Tampa Bay

The Buccaneers did a decent job of containing Mike Vick in the passing game, they couldn't stop the Falcons ground game. MLB Shelton Quarles tried, leading the team with 12 solo tackles and 2 sacks. With DT Anthony McFarland out with an injured triceps, Chidi Ahanotu started inside and had a sack. Ahanotu spent 8 years with the Bucs, then has spent the last 4 years on 4 different teams, last with Miami at the beginning of this year. He walked out on Miami, disappointed with his playing time, and was released. TB added him last week after McFarland was injured. Promising DE Dewayne White got his third sack of the season, as continues to make the most of his opportunities, including working inside with McFarland out. DE Simeon Rice continues to play better after a brutal start to the season. He had 3 solo tackles and a sack, his fourth in the last four games.

The Bucs secondary was hit hard up the middle with injuries. FS Jermaine Phillips suffered a fracture in his right forearm and will miss a few weeks. John Howell is expected to start in his place. SS Dwight Smith suffered a knee sprain. If he is unable to go, rookie Will Allen would likely get the start. To help their depth, the team signed Dexter Jackson. Jackson capitalized on his Super Bowl MVP with Tampa Bay to ink a big free agent contract with Arizona. However, after a good 2003 season, he battled injuries this year and HC Denny Green cut him a few weeks ago.

Tennessee

When a defense holds a team to just over 200 yards from scrimmage, forces three turnovers, and the only points they give up are a FG with less than a minute in the game, you would think the team would win the game. Thanks to breakdowns and errors on offense and special teams, that wasn't the case for Tennessee on Sunday.

In a frustrating and disappointing loss, LB Keith Bulluck led the team with 13 tackles (6 solo) and shared a sack with MLB Brad Kassell.

Kevin Carter is thriving back at DE, as he finished with 11 tackles (7 solo), 3 sacks, and a forced fumble. Opposite him, Travis LaBoy remains the other starter at DE, and while he didn't get to the QB for the first time in his three career games, he recovered the fumble forced on one of Carter's sacks and had 3 tackles. DT Randy Starks continues to impress. He had 3 tackles (2 solo), a sack, a pass defended, and a forced fumble. His emergence has allowed Carter to return to DE and solidified the whole front four.

Adding injury to insult with the loss, the Titans lost several players in the game. Opponents should beware of Anthony Thomas. Last week, Michael Strahan's season ended when he tore his shoulder trying to tackle him, and Sunday he was involved in two more serious injuries. With less than 3 minutes in regulation, Albert Haynesworth left after having his arm caught between Thomas and his own teammate, Randy Starks. The team is awaiting results of an MRI to determine the extent of damage to the elbow, but Haynesworth is expected to miss this week. While blitzing on the next play, SS Tank Williams had his knees cut by Thomas on a pass block. Williams had to be assisted off the field, unable to put pressure on his left leg. An MRI discovered he tore his ACL and is done for the season. Haynesworth, who has been playing like a Pro Bowler this year, had 5 tackles (3 solo) before departing, while Williams had 11 tackles (8 solo). A few plays later, CB Andre Dyson had to leave the game with cramps and did not return, after a career-high 2 INT game. On the positive injury front, LB Rocky Calmus should be, once again, practicing this week and likely to return. DE Carlos Hall, who has been out recovering from minor knee surgery, is expected back next week.

Washington

With injuries already devastating the defense, particularly front seven, DT Cornelius Griffin left in the first half with a lower back/hip injury. Griffin is expected to play this week. He has been having a career year, in addition to being a disruptive force on the interior line, he has been their best pass rusher.

Bengals WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh claimed 1st round pick FS Sean Taylor spit on him during a confrontation after an onside kick. Bengals HC Marvin Lewis wants the NFL to take action, while Washington HC Joe Gibbs claimed he was unaware of the incident. Taylor was arrested for a DUI last month and had several incidents involving questionable behavior in the preseason, including missing the mandatory rookie symposium, where, ironically, teaching these young kids how to be responsible professionals is the focus. Taylor had 8 tackles (7 solo) and an INT. On the other hand, SS Ryan Clark continues to make a good impression, as he led the team with 11 tackles (10 solo) for the second consecutive game. With all the injuries up front, Clark is a hot waiver wire pickup. Reserve CB Walt Harris had a pick, giving him one in back-to-back games.

MLB Mike Barrow and LB Lavar Arrington remained inactive.



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