Quick Hits (Details in individual
Week 9 Injury Report (available
- Week Nine Bye: ATL, GB, JAX, TEN
- CAR LB Dan Morgan injured
- CHI LB Urlacher: report of demise exaggerated
- NYJ DE John Abraham en fuego
- PIT LB Joey Porter sighting!
- WAS FS Sean Taylor arrested, inactive Sunday
- NE CB Ty Law injured, possibly serious
- DEN FS John Lynch out 2-4 weeks
- WAS LB mess: Arrington regresses, Barrow still out
- DET DE Robert Porcher retires
- TEN DLine improving after changes
- CAR DLine continues to struggle, can't get to QB
- NYJ continue to shuffle safeties
After upsetting Seattle a week before, the Cardinals forgot to
bring their momentum with them to a wet and windy Buffalo against
a struggling Bills team. Posting no sacks and forcing no turnovers,
the defense couldn't come up with a big play, including allowing
4 TD in 5 red zone trips by the Bills.
LB James Darling led the team with 13 tackles (11 solo). SS Adrian
Wilson had 10 (8 solo) and leads the team on the season. Wilson
appeared to have tweaked his knee during the game.
CB Renaldo Hill left the game with a hamstring injury and did
A week after being dismantled by the Chiefs running game, the
Falcons defense stepped up and looked more like the number one
rushing defense they were before Kansas City ran wild on them.
They brought breakout RB of the year Reuben Droughns back to earth,
limiting him to 49 yards on 15 carries and holding the Broncos
to a season-low 68 total yards rushing. Despite allowing almost
500 through the air (499, the most in the league this season),
they had 3 interceptions to complete the derailment of the Broncos
offense. LB Keith Brooking had 7 tackles (5 solo) and an INT.
DE Patrick Kerney did not have a sack for the fourth straight
game, after having 7 in three games, but he had 3 tackles (2 solo)
and an INT. Kevin Mathis had the other INT, returned 66 yards
for a TD, his second INT for a TD of the year. Mathis produced
well despite being limited to nickel and dime packages. In addition
to the pick, Mathis had 4 solo tackles and 2 other passes defensed.
Mathis was bumped for 1st round pick DeAngelo Hall, who started
his first game in his only his second back from injury. Hall had
won the starting job in preseason before a hip fracture had him
miss the first 6 games. Hall finished with 4 solo tackles.
SS Bryan Scott led the team with 7 solo tackles. Chris Draft
returned to MLB after missing 2 games and had 5 tackles (3 solo).
FS Cory Hall was out again with a back injury and Kevin McCadam
continues to start in his place. McCadam had 3 solo tackles. Reserve
CB Aaron Beasley was also inactive, thinning out the secondary
depth and giving return specialist Allen Rossum more work as a
DB. Rossum had 4 solo tackles.
DT Rod Coleman also missed his third game, still recovering from
knee and shoulder injuries from a car accident. Coleman is expected
to miss at least this week's game, as well.
For all the help on the field Deion Sanders has brought the Raven,
I think he's made Ray Lewis soft. Whereas his pregame dancing
and such previously seemed to come from a more angry, more primal
place, it seems like just histrionics these days. He lacks the
barbaric attitude that perhaps is eased by too much time around
new best friend Sanders talking, and thinking, about business
and religion. A few years ago, would a just out-of-jail and beat-a-murder-rap
Ray Lewis let Terrell Owens mock his pregame ritual? More importantly
for fantasy, it shows statistically. Halfway through the season,
he is on track for lower than expected tackle numbers and has
turned in only one big play, a sack. Lewis led the team Sunday
with a ho-hum 9 tackles (6 solo) and a pass defended.
DE Anthony Weaver had a sack for the second straight game, his
third of the season. SS Ed Reed had a sack, as well. Speaking
of sacks, LB Peter Boulware will not go on the IR and is expected
to return to full practice this week with no limitations. If he
is active Sunday, he'll likely be eased in and limited to passing
packages. However, if sacks score big and you're desperate at
LB, now might be the time to pick him up and stash him on your
In his second game of the season, SS Lawyer Milloy had 10 tackles
(3 solo) and broke up 2 passes. MLB London Fletcher led the team
with a game-high 14 tackles (6 solo). He is second in the NFL
with 76 on the season.
CB Nate Clements had 9 tackles (7 solo) and a sack. He also returned
5 punts for 82 yards, including a 40-yard return with 15 more
tacked on for a face mask that took the Bills to the Arizona 11
yard-line and set up a TD. Terrence McGee continues to start at
CB with Troy Vincent still inactive after minor knee surgery.
McGee only had 2 assists on defense, but returned a kick 87 yards
for a TD.
You knew it was too good to last all season. The words Dan Morgan
owners have been dreading to hear during his breakout season:
he is injured again. Morgan sustained a head injury in Sunday's
loss at Seattle. He posted just 4 tackles (3 solo), but it was
enough to move him into the NFC lead with Derrick Brooks on a
bye. Vinny Ciurciu replaced him in the middle and finished with
11 tackles (8 solo). HC John Fox said Morgan is still going through
tests and it hasn't been determined if he suffered a concussion
yet, but they expect to have the full results in the next few
days and will update his condition on Wednesday.
DT Brentson Buckner had the only sack of the game, giving him
a team-high 2.5 on the season. DE Julius Peppers had 3 solo tackles,
and is on pace for a career year in that department, but his inability
to get to the QB is a problem. He has only 2 sacks on the season,
and registered both in Week 2. More disappointing is DE Mike Rucker.
After having getting a full-time job in 2001, he was consistently
one of the better pass rushing ends in the league, posting 9,
10, and 12 sacks the last three seasons. Halfway through this
year, he has just a half-sack. Carolina is last in the league
with only 9 sacks on the season.
Problems in the front four continued as DT Kindal Moorehead,
starting in place of Kris Jenkins who is on the IR, had to leave
with a bruised shoulder, but is expected to be OK. Shaun Alexander
was able to breeze through the depleted and struggling Panther
front seven, resulting in CB Chris Gamble leading the team with
11 solo tackles.
With Travares Tillman inactive, Colin Branch at least temporarily
regains his starting job at FS, playing through a broken thumb.
Depth is a problem in the secondary after reserve S and special
team ace Jarrod Cooper was released last week after a warrant
for his arrest was brought to the attention of the Panthers. Cooper
carried some baggage from previous legal problems and this was
apparently strike three with the team.
MLB Brian Urlacher was much-maligned despite big tackle numbers
and another Pro Bowl appearance last year, for failing to turn
in enough big plays. Urlacher had a career-low 2.5 sacks and failed
to force or recover a turnover in 2003. Then there is concern
his hamstring is still bothering him this year, but he didn't
play like it was Sunday night. He was all over the field, finishing
with 6 tackles (5 solo), 2 sacks, and breaking up a pass that
he nearly intercepted with an athletic play. For the season, despite
missing 2 games with injury, he leads the team with 4 sacks and
has 2 forced fumbles. There appear to be rumors and innuendo,
propagated by Fox's Jay Glazer on Saturday, which said Urlacher's
other hamstring is now a problem and he could be headed to the
IR if it doesn't improve. Strong empirical evidence (e.g. his
play in Sunday night's game) suggests the previously injured right
hammy does not appear to be regressing and there is no obvious
new problem with the left hammy. HC Lovie Smith commented on this
in the Chicago media this week. He more or less confirmed Urlacher's
left hamstring is indeed sore, due to compensating for his injured
right, but they monitored it all week and as Sunday was the "best
game he had", it clearly was not a major concern. Urlacher
had no comment, as a gag order has been placed on the team regarding
discussing injuries in the media as Smith apparently hopes to
achieve Belichickian levels of secrecy regarding injury news.
CB Jerry Azumah has shown no ill effects of career-threatening
neck injury earlier this year. Azumah displayed his Pro Bowl return
form taking 4 kicks 159 yards, including a 73 yard return in the
second quarter after San Fran had taken a 13-10 lead. The return
set up a FG that tied the game going into halftime. Azumah also
had 5 solo tackles and a forced fumble that SS Mike Green recovered,
his second in as many games. HC Lovie Smith loves rookie nickel
corner Nathan Vasher's ball hawk skills despite his less than
ideal size and poor tackling ability. Vasher flashed his ability
with a 71-yard INT for a TD that sealed the victory late in the
4th quarter with the 49ers threatening. It was the first TD of
his career and Vasher is tied for the team lead with Mike Green.
LB Lance Briggs led the team with 8 tackles (7 solo) and leads
the team on the season, as well.
DE Adewale Ogunleye remains inactive with a mystery leg injury.
Ogunleye has called it a ligament tear, while HC Lovie Smith calls
it a muscle strain. The conflicting reports indicate Smith prefers
to hide the nature to keep opponents concerned about his possible
return, or publicly calling out Ogunleye for his slow recovery.
The Bengals D failed to carry the momentum with them to Nashville
that they built in an improbable victory over Denver the prior
SS Rogers Beckett dressed, back from concussion problems, but
Kevin Kaesviharn remained the starter, finishing with 9 tackles
(8 solo). Rookie Madieu Williams was staging an early Defensive
Rookie of the Year campaign, but has been lost in the mix the
last few weeks as veterans in the secondary have gotten healthy.
Back in a reserve role, he only had 1 solo tackle, but also returned
an INT 51-yards for a TD early in the second half.
LB Kevin Hardy led the team with 10 tackles (6 solo) and a sack.
Landon Johnson and Caleb Miller continue to share the job at MLB,
with Johnson getting the start Sunday, but only posting 2 tackles
(1 solo) to Miller's 7 (5 solo). Johnson was also dinged in the
game, so it looks like Miller gets the start this week.
With DT Tony Williams done for the season, Langston Moore got
his first career start and finished with 3 solo tackles, but also
was responsible for 3 offsides penalties.
Earl Little is not taking his demotion quietly during the bye
week. He tossed some criticism on teammate Chris Crocker's coverage
skills to the media, noting a play against Philadelphia Crocker
was beat on. He was also defensive about the perception that he
lost job, inferring rather Crocker was given it because he was
a third round pick in 2003, and Little was upset Crocker said
he brought more athleticism than Little to the starting job. Crocker
replaced Little as the starting FS in Week 7 and had 1 solo tackle,
while Little had 3 as a reserve.
After 10 picks his rookie year in 2001, CB Anthony Henry had
only 3 his last two seasons. This year, he has returned to being
a ball hawk and leads the team with 3 halfway through the season.
However, playing the ball more has also resulted in giving up
the big play more, he has been beaten for four long TD passes
this season. Overall, the team has given up 13 passes of 30 yards
or more, one of the reasons Little was replaced at FS.
Desperately thin at CB already, Tyrone Williams left the game
with a hamstring injury on the first drive of the game and did
not return. Rookie Nathan Jones, a 7th round draft pick, replaced
him and finished with 5 solo tackles and a sack. Undrafted FA
rookie Lance Frazier, added off the Ravens' practice squad a few
weeks ago due to the mounting injuries in the defensive backfield,
saw time due to the injury and had an INT in his first NFL game.
It was the only turnover for the day forced by Dallas and came
with less than 2 minutes left, sealing the victory. It was the
first INT in five games for the 'Boys. Frazier also returned a
punt 55 yards.
FS Roy Williams led the team with 8 tackles (7 solo) and players
knocked into next week (1 - Tai Streets).
While Denver's OLine is noted for their mobility, that facet
of their DLine was exposed by Michael Vick, who ran for 115 yards
and handed Denver their second straight loss. SS Kennoy Kennedy
and MLB Al Wilson led the team with 8 tackles. Wilson also forced
a fumble on T.J. Duckett that DE Reggie Hayward recovered for
the Broncos only turnover. They also failed to get much pressure
on the elusive Vick when he stayed home to throw, totaling only
1 sack for the second straight game.
FS John Lynch left the game in the first half after being laid
out by WR Brian Finneran. A week after the team faced criticism
for a cut block by OT George Foster that ended Cincinnati DT Tony
Williams's season, the players were complaining to the refs and
media that Finneran's block was illegal. Lynch suffered a broken
tailbone on the brutal hit and will miss 2-4 weeks. Nick Ferguson
replaced him Sunday and will remain the starter while Lynch is
out. CB Lenny Walls was back in his nickel corner role after missing
last week with his second dislocated shoulder of the season.
DE Trevor Pryce had originally set Sunday as his potential return
after surgery for a herniated disc on 9/22/04. Now it looks like
he will not return until after the team's 11/14/04 bye, at the
Pro Bowl CB Dre' Bly finally returned to being a playmaker, but
it wasn't enough as the secondary gave up 3 TDs in the loss. Bly
picked two, returning one 55 yards for a TD, the third of his
career. CB Chris Cash started again in place of Fernando Bryant,
who missed his second straight game with an ankle sprain. Cash
turned in the big play the previous week, but gave it up on Sunday.
After a huge INT by FS Brock Marion deep in Lions territory to
end the first half tied 14-14, the Cowboys regained the momentum
the first play from scrimmage in the second half. Badly fooled
on a flea-flicker, Cash ran into Keyshawn Johnson for pass interference,
putting the ball at the three yard-line. Testeverde ran it in
the next play, giving Dallas their first lead, one they never
A defensive front four that has been a key to the Lions success
on defense took the day off Sunday, not getting a sack on the
DL for only the second game this season and allowing a Eddie George
to run for 99 yards, allowing Dallas to control the clock. It
was a season-high for a struggling George and the most they've
allowed an individual to rush for against them this year. Rookie
LB Alex Lewis, who has been impressive as a back-up, had the only
sack of the game and 3 other solo tackles.
After meeting with HC Steve Mariucci and understanding he'd have
a reduced role, Robert Porcher agreed to restructure his contract
in the off-season. However, being inactive for every game this
season was not what the Lions all-time sack leader envisioned
as his "reduced role", especially after Mariucci told
the media before the season Porcher was "still a part of
the rotation". On Monday, a tearful Porcher announced he
was retiring. Mariucci doesn't come out looking too forthright
on this one, and it could impact the team down the road when other
veterans are asked to restructure.
With FS Darren Sharper inactive with a torn PCL, Bhawoh Jue made
his first start since 2001. Assisted by LB Na'il Diggs pressuring
QB Mark Brunell and hitting his arm while passing, Jue grabbed
his first INT since 2001. Jue also had 6 solo tackles and another
INT, on a nice over-the-shoulder grab in the end zone, taken away
on a holding call. Diggs led the team with 7 tackles (6 solo).
However, the defensive backfield was sporadic, with mistakes
Washington often capitalized on, keeping the game close and allowing
a struggling Brunell one of his better days this season. Jue had
a face mask that helped Washington on their last desperation drive,
but they came up empty. Rookie CB Ahmad Carroll, in just his second
start, had 3 solo tackles and a sack, but also had the holding
penalty nullifying an INT. CB Al Harris, playing with a torn MCL,
had a momentum-shifting INT in the 3rd quarter after the Redskins
closed the lead to 20-14 and then had intercepted Favre on the
next drive. However, Harris was beaten by Gardner on 2 TDs. Reserve
DB Curtis Fuller, added last week due to injuries, was forced
to hold Clinton Portis to prevent a TD after being fooled in the
Packers' red zone. SS Mark Roman had only 1 solo tackle.
The run defense was solid with, assisted by a season-low 17 carries
for Clinton Portis. Cullen Jenkins, who moved back to a reserve
role when Grady Jackson returned last week, got the start this
week at DE over KGB. He responded with a sack in his second straight
game. Aaron Kampman and KGB also had a sack each.
Despite lingering knee problems, Eric Brown returned to his starting
SS role, with rookie Glenn Earl (hip) and Jason Simmons (concussion)
inactive. The injuries a S meant a larger role for nickel CB Demarcus
Faggins, who posted a season-high 7 solo tackles and prevented
another 4th quarter comeback for Jags QB Byron Leftwich when he
picked him and returned his second career interception 43 yards
for a TD.
LB Jamie Sharper led the team with a game-high 13 tackles (9
solo) and a forced fumble.
SS Mike Doss had a big game in what was primarily an offensive
display. He had a game-high 10 tackles (9 solo), including one
on special teams, a sack, and 2 forced fumbles. He did most of
his damage in the second half, before leaving with a groin injury.
He forced the fumbles on the Chiefs first two drives, but the
Colts failed to recover either one. With injury-prone Joseph Jefferson
was inactive again and Donald Strickland on the IR, rookie Bob
Sanders saw his first significant action when Doss went down,
after being out until last week with his own injury problems.
Sanders had 9 tackles (8 solo) and recovered a fumble on a mishandled
FG attempt. Doss is expected to miss this week, so Sanders would
get his first career start. With Jefferson out, rookie Jason David
remained the starter at CB opposite Nick Harper. David had 5 solo
tackles, but failed to grab an INT in his third straight game.
The combination of youth and injuries in the secondary will be
one reason, despite their offense, the Colts won't be playing
in the Super Bowl.
After 2 sacks last week, Dwight Freeney returned to ineffectiveness
in rushing the passer against a strong Chief OLine. He had 3 solo
tackles on the day.
DE Brandon Green was placed on the IR last week, joining ends
Paul Spicer and Lionel Barnes. The deluge of injuries to their
edge linemen forced the conversion of LB Greg Favors to DE and
the addition of FA Jason Gildon, who played this week with his
hand down, as well. However, Favors only had 3 assists Sunday,
failing to tally a sack in his third straight game since moving
to end. Gildon had 3 solo tackles. The whole team failed to apply
much pressure, finishing with no sacks or interceptions on the
DTs John Henderson and Marcus Stroud are the strength of this
defense, but both made costly mistakes in a close game. After
Houston missed a 53 yard FG before the half, Stroud was flagged
for trying to climb the pile and the Texans converted from closer
range given a second chance. Then in the 4th quarter, holder Chad
Stanley converted a first down on a fake FG in the 4th quarter
and the Texans got some more yards tacked on when John Henderson
drew a personal foul for knocking Stanley down after the play
was over. Houston converted a FG a few plays later. Henderson
finished with 6 tackles (5 solo) and Stroud had 3 (1 solo).
SS Donovin Darius recovered a fumble for the second straight
game and had 10 tackles (8 solo). MLB Mike Peterson led the team
with 12 tackles (8 solo).
As expected in a meeting of two top offensives, defense was on
the back burner, as the Chiefs and Colts combined for over 1,000
yards of offense. However, it was SS Greg Wesley's interception
of Peyton Manning, who had already thrown 5 TDs, in the Chief's
end zone that sealed the win. Wesley also had 6 solo tackles.
CB Eric Warfield, is tied for the NFL lead with 4 picks, didn't
have one Sunday, but broke up 2 passes, led the team with 8 tackles
(7 solo) and forced a fumble.
With MLB Monty Beisel inactive with a calf injury, Kawika Mitchell
started in the middle and posted 6 solo tackles.
Jared Allen, an undrafted FA who leads the team with 4 sacks,
got his first career start. He managed only 1 solo tackle. The
moved pushed Vonnie Holliday to the bench, where he joined DT
Ryan Sims as a reserve.
A defense that did not allow a 100-yard rusher in 2003 reached
a new low Monday night. After allowing four through seven games,
including one already to Curtis Martin, they allowed two Jets
(Martin and Lamont Jordan) to rush for 100 yards on them Monday
night. One reason has been the absence of space-eating DT Time
Bowens most of the season. After failed comeback attempts from
a herniated disc in his back, Bowens was placed on the IR last
week, with fear the injury is career-threatening. Bryan Robinson
has replaced him in the starting lineup.
All this running has been a boon to the fantasy production of
MLB Zach Thomas. He again led the team with 12 tackles (7 solo)
and is the NFL leader for the season. SS Sammy Knight had his
second consecutive decent fantasy game, posting 9 tackles (6 solo).
FS Antuan Edwards returned to the starting lineup after missing
last week. LB Junior Seau started after suffering a groin injury
the previous week, posting 4 tackles (3 solo). However, he was
unable to finish the game when a chest and shoulder injury left
him with no feeling in his right arm. If Seau can't go, Eddie
Moore would likely get the start.
The last two games the Vikings broke out of their interception
slump and were finally creating turnovers. Sunday their early
season struggles returned, as they failed to take the ball away.
The front four sacked Kurt Warner 5 times, helping limit the pass
game, but were exposed in the run game, surrendering 168 yards
and 4 TDs on the ground. Pass rush specialist Lance Johnstone
led the way with 2 sacks, as well as a forced fumble, to go with
5 tackles (4 solo). Starting DEs Kenny Mixon and rookie Kenechi
Udeze each had a sack. Mixon had his best fantasy game since returning
from a two-game suspension to start the season. In addition to
the sack, he had 6 tackles (4 solo). DT Kevin Williams had 5 solo
tackles and a sack. Williams and Johnstone are tied for the team
lead on the season with 5 sacks. Tice's 2004 whipping boy, DT
Chris Hovan, was the only one left out of the sack party up front.
No doubt he'll shoulder a good amount of blame for the Giants
success running, as well.
MLB E.J. Henderson had a game-high 11 tackles (8 solo) and a
pass defended. Chris Claiborne missed another game and Raonall
Smith again started on the weakside. Claiborne is expected to
miss this week, as well. Smith suffered his second concussion
of the year and will undergo tests this week. Rookie LB Dontarrious
Thomas continues to be bounced around, literally and figuratively.
After losing his starting weakside job, he had a tremendous performance
against Chicago when injuries necessitated his return. Then he
performed well in the middle while Henderson was out. When Henderson
returned, HC Mike Tice said Thomas would still see work in the
middle in passing packages, but this seems to be more Tice misinformation,
as Thomas was primarily limited to work on special teams Sunday.
The coaches seem to be happy with Keith Newman on the strongside,
so the continuing injury problems on the weakside appear to be
his only shot of seeing significant work in the short-term. If
Claiborne and Smith cannot go this week, he'd be the logical starter.
Regardless, he remains a risky start week-to-week as Tice continues
to flip-flop on utilizing him, and to what extent.
The last time the Patriots didn't force a turnover, was the last
time they lost. After 21 straight wins since 9/28/03 (a game in
which they also recorded a takeaway, so the turnover streak was
actually 22 games), they failed to force a turnover at Pittsburgh
Sunday, and lost. However, the bigger problem was injuries. On
the offense, the top RB and WR were missing and their LT was lost
during the game. On defense, starting CB Tyrone Poole was inactive,
but the loss of their other starter, Pro Bowl CB Ty Law, turned
the game. He checked Hines Ward off the line on a play late in
the first quarter, then appeared to injure his left leg turning
into his zone for coverage after the bumping Ward. He immediately
limped off the field after the play. Undrafted rookie FA Randall
Gay replaced him, and the Steelers immediately went to work on
him, with Plaxico Burress beating him for a 47-yard TD two plays
later. It swung the momentum and gave the Steelers their first
lead, one they never relinquished. Gay also dinged his foot at
one point in the second half, forcing FS Eugene Wilson to move
to CB, but Gay later returned. Asante Samuel started in place
Poole again, who missed his second consecutive game, and three
of the last four, with a knee injury.
Law's foot injury appears to be serious. He was walking on crutches
with a cast on his lower left foot and ankle after the game. The
Patriots are notoriously ambiguous regarding injuries, so not
much is known at this time, but when asked if Law would play again
this month, HC Bill Belichick reportedly said he did not know.
Unsubstantiated reports say it is a broken bone in the ankle and
he will miss 4-6 weeks. With Poole injured, the loss of Law could
force Eugene Wilson to play corner and possibly enlist WR Troy
Brown for depth at CB. Brown got some exposure to the position
in the preseason. Regardless, they will likely be looking to add
depth in the secondary of the practice squad or via free agents
LB Ted Johnson had his second straight double-digit tackle game.
So did Rodney Harrison, who had a career-high 21 tackles (13 solo),
including 3 on special teams.
No definitive word on what prompted HC Jim Haslett to demote rookie
LB Courtney Watson. After a hot start, Watson missed Week 5 with
an injury, then returned to the starting lineup Week 6. Sometime
between that game and Sunday morning of Week 7, Haslett has apparently
soured on his play. Orlando Ruff started and led the team with
a game-high 10 tackles, while Watson contributed on 1 solo as
a reserve. In his comments during the bye this week, Haslett discussed
the LB corps and did not mention Watson. He said Ruff has played
well in the last two games he's started. The inference seems to
be Ruff remains the starter. Speculation is Haslett feels Ruff
provides better run support and Watson's flexibility is better
suited for a reserve role at this point.
Along with Ruff, CB Fakhir Brown impressed in Ashley Amborse's
absence due to injury. Brown has passed Fred Thomas and could
remain the starter opposite Mike McKenzie when Ambrose returns.
DE Darren Howard had minor knee surgery prior to the bye in hopes
he'd be ready for Week 9, but he didn't practice Tuesday and is
New York Giants
After their 10/24 home loss to the Lions, Michael Strahan called
himself "overrated" and "horrible". The all-time
sack leader (since they've been tracking the stat) may have been
a little harsh on himself, but his three games without a sack
was his longest streak since 2002. He added a fourth game without
a sack Sunday, as no Giant got to Culpepper, but the road win
probably had him feeling a little better about himself and his
team. It was the second time the team was held without a sack,
and they've won both games (the other at Green Bay). Strahan posted
4 tackles (3 solo).
The Gibril Wilson for Defensive Rookie of the Year campaign likely
gained votes in Minnesota, as he led the team in tackles (tied)
with 6 (5 solo) and grabbed his third INT of the season. His interception
and 39 yard return set up a TD that increased the Giants lead
to 17-0. He leads the team in tackles and interceptions, despite
not starting the first few games.
MLB Kevin Lewis had his first big statistical day the prior week,
but on Sunday, a fumble recovery was his only appearance in the
box score. However, the lack of fantasy production doesn't appear
to hurt his job security, as lone stat was a big one, drawing
praise from his teammates and the coaching staff. On the Vikings
first drive of the game, a pass through Mewelde Moore's hands
was incomplete, but as it was behind the line, so it was a lateral
and live ball. While players on both teams assumed the play was
over, Lewis picked up the ball and rumbled 16 yards deeper in
Minnesota territory. It was challenged, but upheld, and later
converted to a Giant FG, the first score of the game. Lewis spoke
of the team being made aware of the bubble screen, and he drew
compliments for not only sniffing it out, but turning in a big
LB Barrett Green returned from exile to his starting weakside
spot, however sprained his knee and ankle on the first drive,
and after returning briefly, sat out the rest of the game. Nick
Greisen replaced him and finished with 5 solo tackles. Greisen
was already slated to work more there Sunday in the nickel, and
could be on his way to taking over the job.
New York Jets
While the offense ran wild, the defense was in QB Jay Fielder's
face all day, totaling four sacks. DT Jason Ferguson led the way
with a solo sack in the first half and one shared with MLB Jonathan
Vilma in the second. Vilma also led the team with 9 tackles (7
solo). DE John Abraham had one, to give him the NFL lead with
8.5. He had another sack taken away due to an offsides penalty.
Abraham also had 3 solo tackles and a forced fumble. He has had
at least half a sack in every game he's played this year, including
five straight. DT Dewayne Robertson shared a sack with LB Eric
Barton. The Jets are tied for third in the NFL with 20 sacks.
LB Sam Cowart was still inactive, but could return next week.
In what role remains a question.
With the coaching staff concerned with deficiencies in all three
of their top safeties, particularly in giving up the big play,
they plan to continue rotating them. Giving up a big play wasn't
a problem against a struggling Miami O, and all three had a good
game. Reggie Tongue started at SS and posted 3 tackles (2 solo),
as well as breaking up a pass and forcing, then recovering, a
fumble. Rookie Erik Coleman started at FS, finishing with 5 tackles
(4 solo), including 2 on special teams, and defended 3 passes.
Jon McGraw came off the bench, but may have had the best day.
He had 11 tackles (10 solo), including 3 on special teams, picked
off one pass and broke up another.
CB Charles Woodson started after being questionable due to a
hip pointer and posted 6 tackles (4 solo) and a forced fumble
in the first half. He aggravated the injury in the second quarter
and sat out the second half. Nnamdi Asomugha took over for him
and finished with 7 tackles (6 solo). SS Marques Anderson continues
to be one of the fantasy bright spots. He led the team with 9
tackles (8 solo) and recovered the fumble Woodson forced, the
only turnover of the game.
After registering a sack in his first career game the previous
week, undrafted FA Tommy Kelly saw more time Sunday and had his
LB Travian Smith is still inactive, battling a knee injury. LB
Danny Clark had 9 tackles (7 solo) and continues to lead the team
on the season. He suffered a strained knee and will have a MRI
Not surprisingly, legally-troubled former Carolina Panther special
team ace Jarrod Cooper found a home in Oakland, who signed him
after the Panthers released him last week, despite being in the
midst of more legal problems.
DE Jevon Kearse had 2 sacks, forcing a fumble on one on the third
play of the game. DE Jerome McDougle returned after being inactive
the prior game due an irregular heartbeat. Mark Simoneau was back
at MLB after missing a week with a foot sprain. He finished with
5 solo tackles. Despite a strong performance in Simoneau's place
the prior week, Jeremiah Trotter was completely back to his reserve
role, contributing only a tackle on special teams.
FS Brian Dawkins led the team with 9 tackles (8 solo) and had
a forced fumble. SS Michael Lewis had 7 tackles (6 solo) and grabbed
his first INT of the season.
While rookie QB Ben Roethlisberger got the glory, the defense
did their part in taking down the Patriot Juggernaut. They had
4 sacks, forced 4 turnovers, and held the Patriots to -1 yard
on 4 rushing attempts.
LB Joey Porter led the way with 8 tackles (5 solo), 2 forced
fumbles, broke up a pass and had 3 sacks. It was his first multi-sack
game in almost exactly a year, since Week 8 of 2003. His first
sack started a domino effect that buried New England early in
the game. On the Pats first play from scrimmage after Pittsburgh
scored their first TD in the first quarter, Porter sacked QB Tom
Brady, knocking the ball free for DT Kimo von Oehoffen to fall
on at the Patriots 27 yard-line. The offense scored another TD
a few plays later, and Pittsburgh was up 14-3. CB DeShea Townsend
prevented the momentum from changing hands on the very next New
England play from scrimmage. He intercepted Brady and returned
it 39 yards for a TD and 21-3 lead. The next possession after
that, Porter through the Patriots into further disarray. After
a false start, he helped tackle Kevin Faulk for a loss. The next
play he registered his second sack of the game, giving the Pats
a 3rd-and-27 they had to punt from a play later.
DE Aaron Smith had his fifth sack of the year, leading the team
for the season. Smith is quietly returning to form as one of the
more valuable 3-4 fantasy DEs, after a disappointing 2003.
With the team 6-1, coming off ending the Pats historic winning
streak and with an exciting rookie QB, the injury situation with
LB Kendrell Bell is extremely minor to them. However, for the
fantasy players for which it is not, here's the update. He was
still inactive after going through a second week of practice and
is probable for this week, but unlikely to start if he's active.
Coming of the bye, the Rams are once again tinkering with their
LBs. Robert Smith returned to practice Monday after missing two
games with an ankle injury to find out he had been replaced by
Trev Faulk in the starting lineup. With Thomas out and rookie
Brandon Chillar injured during Week 7, Faulk came off the bench
and impressed coaches with 8 tackles (4 solo). The former undrafted
FA is already a journeyman just three seasons into his career
after being an All-American LB at LSU. Despite excellent collegiate
production, questionable measurables and off-field baggage prevented
him from being drafted.
DT Jimmy Kennedy is likely to make his season debut this week,
after breaking his foot in the preseason.
LB Steve Foley had his second straight poor fantasy performance,
totaling only 2 solos. LB Donnie Edwards led the team with 10
tackles (7 solo) and also had a forced fumble that LB Shaun Phillips
With Drayton Florence inactive, Sammy Davis regained his starting
CB role and had an excellent game. He posted 6 tackles (4 solo)
and had an interception in the Chargers own end zone.
After a 3-and-out for the 49ers on the first drive, the defense
allowed rookie QB Craig Krenzel to lead a quick TD drive in his
first start. After another 3-and-out by the offense, the Bears
were deep in San Fran territory again, threatening to go up by
two scores, when reserve LB Brandon Moore knocked the ball out
of Krenzel's hands. Reserve S Dwaine Carpenter picked it up and
returned it 80-yards for a TD. The next drive, FS Ronnie Heard
picked one off that set up a FG drive and the 49ers first lead.
However, offensive struggles after that continually hampered the
LB Derek Smith returned from an ankle injury to his starting
ILB role and had 9 solo tackles. Jeff Ulbrich moved to the weakside
with Smith's return, bumping Brandon Moore to a reserve role.
Jamie Winborn is a versatile player in the Julian Peterson mold,
and displayed Peterson's big play ability Sunday night, posting
5 solo tackles and 2 sacks. Winborn leads the team with 4 sacks
for the seaosn. Injury-prone LB Saleem Rasheed and rookie LB Richard
Seigler both dressed, but did not play, due to knee injuries.
Both are expected to practice this week.
The injury bug plaguing the 49ers bit DE Brandon Whiting, who
left the game late in the first half with a torn ACL and is done
for the season. Fortunately, DE Andre Carter, who has been battling
back problems, is set to return to practice this week. Old man
Bryant Young flashed back to his youth, leading the team with
a game-high 10 solo tackles, 2 sacks, and a fumble recovery.
CB Ahmed Plummer was inactive with a bulging disc in his neck.
He's expected to miss this week and there's growing concern the
injury is career-threatening. Even Plummer is concerned with his
After spraining an ankle last week, Isaiah Kacyvenski was active,
but returned to a reserve role, as LB Chad Brown returned from
a broken leg and had 6 tackles (3 solo). Tracy White continues
to start for Anthony Simmons, who is still inactive recovering
from shoulder surgery. Simmons could return this week.
CB Marcus Trufant has and interception, the only turnover of
the game for Seattle, and led the team with 6 solo tackles.
After a big start last week replacing the injured Grant Wistrom,
Antonio Cochran was held to 2 solo tackles and a pass defensed.
The entire team was held without a sack. Wistrom is expected to
miss this week, but hopes to return Week 10 to face his old team.
While the defense faces a huge challenge in the red hot KC offense,
the Bucs have a few things in their favor. HC Jon Gruden is 5-1
after a bye, with his only loss being the miraculous 4th quarter
comeback by the Colts on MNF last year. The defense is healthy,
with no serious injuries to starters. The team has won 2 of their
last 3 after a brutal start.
What does all that mean to those with IDPs? There's no interesting
storylines, coming off the bye, on the Bucs defensive players
to fill this space with.
The Titans may have finally found a combination on the front
four that works. Kevin Carter remained at LDE, sliding back there
from the interior last week as injuries and poor pressure necessitated
the change. Carter had 3 tackles (2 solo) and a sack. With Carlos
Hall out, Travis LaBoy, who successfully replaced Hall last week,
got his first career start. Hall had minor arthroscopic surgery
Monday after injuring the knee the previous week and the team
hoped he be back Sunday, but after the bye, should be ready to
return. LaBoy may prevent him from stepping right back into a
starting role. He shared a sack with fellow rookie Randy Starks,
who replaced Rien Long, who originally replaced Carter last week,
as a starting DT. LaBoy now has 2.5 sacks in 2 career games, tied
for the team lead with Carter. Starks had 2 other assisted tackles,
as well. Albert Haynesworth remained the staple of the front four
at DT, and had 3 solo tackles and a game-saving play. On first-and-goal
at Tennessee's 9 yard-line, the Bengals were only down by 7 with
less than three minutes to play. Haynesworth sacked QB Carson
Palmer, forcing a fumble that reserve DE Juqua Thomas recovered,
and sealing the victory.
LB Keith Bulluck had a game-high 13 tackles (7 solo) and a sack
for the second straight game. Rocky Calmus returned to practice
last week, but remained inactive and is not ready to play yet,
so Brad Kassell continues to start at MLB.
1st round pick Sean Taylor was arrested for a DUI early Thursday
morning and after skipping practice that day, was told he would
not play and to not comeback to the team until Monday. Under the
CBA, the Redskins can't punish Taylor for the arrest until he
admits it or is found guilty, but apparently they punitive action
is, at least in theory, for skipping practice. Andre Lott started
in place of Taylor at FS, but left the game with a torn pec and
did not return after posting just 1 solo tackle. With Lott at
FS, Ryan Clark started at SS and led the team (tied) with 8 tackles
(6 solo). Lott has been placed on the IR, so Clark will now have
to start and depth is thin. Not surprisingly, the team has already
said Taylor will be active this week. Not only are they limited
in their ability to take disciplinary action against him at this
time, they can't afford to if they could.
MLB Mike Barrow and LB Lavar Arrington remained inactive. There
is concern Barrow may be done for the season, but no final word.
Antonio Pierce continues to start for Barrow and had 8 tackles
(5 solo). The hoped Arrington could be back after the bye, but
he had a set back straining his injured knee in practice last
week and now the team thinks he'll need another month for a bone
bruise discovered on his surgically-repaired right knee to heal.
There will be more tests and the lingering possibility that both
he and Barrow are done. Lemar Marshall has been starting in Arrington's
place. DE Phillip Daniels returned to the starting lineup after
missing four weeks, posting 2 solo tackles and recovering a fumble
reserve CB Walt Harris forced on Javon Walker. LB Marcus Washington,
who was brought in to help a poor pash rush, finally had his first
solo sack of the season. He had 4 other solo tackles and a forced
Both CBs played well, benefiting from unforced errors by Favre.
Fred Smoot had an INT and Shawn Springs had two, to go with 6
tackles (3 solo). Springs now leads the team with three.