Quick Hits (Details in individual
Week 13 Injury Report (available
- No more byes
- MIA MLB Thomas out, given OK to return; SLB Seau placed on IR
- DAL LB Nguyen to IR, may retire; team signs Mike Barrow
- CAR MLB Morgan inactive
- BUF MLB Fletcher is again a tackle-machine
- OAK DE Burgess and IND DE Mathis lead league with 11 sacks
- TEN DE Vanden Bosch remains hot
- STL MLB Claiborne benched
- MIN DT Kevin Williams has sprained MCL
- BAL S Demps has torn ACL
- SD ILB Edwards goes over 100 tackles again for season
- DEN CB Bailey sets career highs in picks and TDs
- CIN CB O'Neal and MIN S Sharper lead league in picks
- CHI DE Brown on a tear, DE Ogunleye benefits from it
- KC FS Wesley grabs three picks
- NO MLB Watson has knee surgery
- ATL D bounces back with plenty of big individual efforts
- MIN D meshing and producing more big plays
- STL secondary decimated by injuries
No sacks, no turnovers, no significant injuries, another loss…not
much to discuss.
OLB Karlos Dansby returned after missing the previous week with
a groin injury. He had 7 tackles (3 solo). His return meant rookie
Darryl Blackstock was banished back to the limited duty, despite
a promising debut in his first career start in Dansby’s
place the previous week. MLB James Darling led the team with 10
tackles (7 solo).
After giving up 63 points in back-to-back losses and getting just
one sack in the last three games, the defense returned to form
against a struggling Detroit offense. The forced five turnovers,
making it 22 straight games they’ve forced at least one,
and had five sacks, as well as getting great play from a front
four that has struggled through injuries recently. CB DeAngelo
Hall set the tone with a pick on Detroit’s first offensive
series after DET WR Roy Williams fell. On Detroit’s next
series, DT Antwan Lake forced a fumble that was recovered by DE
Chauncey Davis. Davis backed up Jonathan Babineaux, who replaced
Brady Smith at RDE. Smith missed his fourth straight game with
a broken toe. Lake replaced Chad Lavalais, who returned to the
starting lineup after missing the previous game, but aggravated
his foot injury and had to leave. Lake had a career game, in addition
to the forced fumble, he had 5 tackles (3 solo), a solo sack,
and shared another with DT Rod Coleman. Coleman got back on track
on Thursday, as well. He had not had a sack in November, until
the one he shared with Lake in the second quarter. Coleman also
ended the Lions hopes of making the final score more respectable
by getting a solo sack and forcing a fumble with less than a minute
to go and Detroit at the Atlanta 3-yard line. OLB Demorrio Williams
recovered the fumble. Williams also had 6 solo tackles. Coleman
leads the team with 8.5 sacks. DE Patrick Kerney also had a big
day, his best game of the season, highlighted by getting a sack
on back-to-back plays. He had a solo sack in the second quarter
on which he forced a fumble that DET QB Joey Harrington was able
to recover. On the next play, Kerney shared a sack with MLB Keith
Brooking. Kerney also batted down a pass and had 6 tackles (3
solo). Brooking also had 6 tackles (4 solo).
FS Keion Carpenter had to leave the game in the second quarter
with a knee injury, but returned in time to be a part of Detroit’s
only highlight. After DET WR Roy Williams tipped a pass up near
the end zone, Carpenter couldn’t grab it and it bounced
back into Williams’ hand for a TD, the only score the Falcons
gave up. CB Jason Webster also had a pick, as well as breaking
up another pass and leading the team with 7 tackles (6 solo).
Despite practicing last week, SS Ed Reed (ankle) remained inactive.
The secondary lost their other starting safety Sunday when Will
Demps tore his right ACL in the second quarter. He was put on
the IR this week. Chad Williams, already replacing Reed at SS,
moved to FS and B.J. Ward saw a lot of work at SS after Demps
went down, posting 3 tackles (2 solo) and a fumble recovery. OLB
Adalius Thomas showed his Julian Petersonesque athletic flexibility,
as he saw work at S, as well. Reed remains questionable to return
this week. CBs Samari Rolle (concussion) and Chris McAlister (upper
leg) started despite missing some practice last week due to their
injuries. However, McAlister aggravated his leg in the second
quarter and left the game. Veterans Deion Sanders and Dale Carter
saw more work as a result of the injuries, and showed their age
in taking the additional snaps. Sanders had his first pick of
the season, but both took a beating, including on TDs.
MLB Ray Lewis (hamstring) remained inactive. Tommy Polley led
the team with 9 tackles (8 solo) replacing him in the middle.
More is expected to be known on the status of Lewis and Reed for
this week on Wednesday.
Coy Wire replaced Lawyer Milloy in the fourth quarter and lost
CAR TE Michael Gaines on play action for the decisive TD. Milloy
left earlier in the drive after injuring his right foot and didn’t
return. X-rays were negative, but Milloy was walking around in
a boot on Monday and his status for this week is uncertain, but
the injury is not believed to be serious. Milloy had 9 tackles
(7 solo) before leaving.
MLB London Fletcher continues to be on a tackle-tear, leading
the team with 17 (11 solo). He has an incredible 53 (39 solo)
in his last three games. He went over 100 tackles for the sixth
consecutive season, something that seemed unlikely just last month.
DE Aaron Schobel showed consistency bouncing back from an unproductive
fantasy game the previous week. He had his team-leading eighth
sack among his 5 tackles (4 solo). He also forced a fumble on
the sack recovered by DE Chris Kelsay that led to a FG giving
Buffalo a 6-3 lead heading in to halftime. It was the only turnover
of the game forced by the Bills.
After trying to return last week, CB Terrence McGee was inactive
again, bothered by a lingering hamstring injury. Jabari Greer
started in his place again, and had 7 tackles (4 solo). DT Sam
Adams was inactive again, according to HC Mike Mularkey, for injury-related
reasons. Adams returned in Week Eleven from a knee injury and
then left in the first half with a sprained ankle. He was limited
in practice last week and Adams’ agent claims him being
inactive has more to do with Mularkey having a personal dislike
for Adams. This can’t possibly end well.
CB Chris Gamble sealed the victory with his fifth pick, which
leads the team. He also broke up another pass and had 4 solo tackles.
A full season remains too much to ask from MLB Dan Morgan. After
suffering a sprained ankle in Week Eleven and leaving early in
the game, he missed practice all week and was inactive on Sunday.
Chris Draft replaced him and led the team with 7 tackles (5 solo).
OLB Will Witherspoon, usually very productive in Morgan absences,
had just 3 solo tackles and a pass defensed.
DE Julius Peppers had a sack among his 4 tackles (2 solo) and
batted down a pass. Peppers is tied with fellow DE Mike Rucker
for the team lead with 6.5 sacks for the season. FS Mike Minter
had his first sack of the season among his 5 tackles (2 solo).
DE Alex Brown remained hot, setting up a quick early lead for
the Bears by knocking the ball out of TB QB Chris Simms’
hand for a sack and forced fumble in the end zone in on the Buccaneers’
first drive. DT Tommie Harris recovered it at the TB 1-yard line
and the Bears scored a TD on the next play. Brown also was reading
Simms perfectly all day, batting down three passes, almost grabbing
one of those for a pick, and even defending a pass in coverage.
Brown had another sack later in the game when the pocket collapsed
and Simms spun right into him. He now has 2 sacks in back-to-back
games after having only one in his first nine games. In the last
two games he has 5 solo tackles, 4 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, and
5 passes defended. Early in the game, TB blocking scheme was not
focused on Brown, he ran right by TB TE Anthony Becht trying to
block him alone on his first sack. As his performance drew more
attention, it freed up DE Adewale Ogunleye on the other side,
who had both of his sacks in the second half. He has 5 sacks in
his last two games and leads the team with nine, benefiting from
Brown’s great production the last two weeks.
CB Charles Tillman was beaten regularly by TB WR Joey Galloway,
which gave him a lot of tackle opportunities. He led the team
with 10 (9 solo).
CB Deltha O’Neal remained in a tie for the league-lead in
picks with his seventh on Sunday. SS Ifeanyi Ohalete had his first
INT of the season, and first since 2003. Both picks were converted
into TDs by the offense.
After a couple of quiet games, rookie MLB Odell Thurman got back
to creating turnovers, forcing a fumble recovered by fellow rookie
back-up OLB David Pollack. Bengal fans and Thurman owners watching
the game collectively held their breath when Thurman left the
field with a bit of a limp, but he was smiling and it was just
leg cramps. He returned shortly and in addition to the forced
fumble, had 8 tackles (6 solo) and broke up a pass. Pollack, seeing
time again after a knee injury in Week Seven, also had 3 tackles
(1 solo). Landon Johnson remained the starter at OLB opposite
Brian Simmons and Johnson led the team with 10 tackles (7 solo,
including 1 on special teams).
Former starting MLB Nate Webster was activated from the PUP this
week. He poses no threat to any of the starters and just provides
depth in the middle.
DE Orpheus Roye had his second sack of the season and batted away
two passes. The 10-year veteran is having a nice revival this
season back at end in a 3-4 defense. He has set a career-high
in tackles already, going over 60 for the first time in his career.
ILB Andra Davis led the team in tackles with 9 (5 solo). SS Chris
Crocker had a pick, the only turnover forced by the Browns, and
4 solo tackles.
Rookie reserve S Brodney Pool was inactive again with an ankle
SS Roy Williams was hitting people, leading the team in tackles
with 7 (6 solo) and taking over the team lead thus far this season
with 61. He also forced a fumble that was recovered by CB Terence
Newman on the first play of the fourth quarter. Three plays later,
the Cowboys tied the game at 21, before eventually losing in OT
after a 55 yard run by DEN RB Ron Dayne, who FS Keith Davies couldn’t
catch and who carried Newman with him a few yards before going
down. In addition to the fumble recovery, Newman had a pick, broke
up another pass, a likely pick for a TD he dropped, and had 4
solo tackles. Newman moved in to a tie with CB Anthony Henry for
the team-lead with 3 INTs. Henry was a surprise inactive after
returning last week from a groin injury that cost him a game.
Aaron Glenn started in his place across from Newman.
DE Greg Ellis had a sack for the fourth straight game and leads
the team with eight. He had 2 other solo tackles and batted down
LB Scott Shanle was inactive due to an ankle sprain that occurred
in Week Eleven. Ryan Fowler got the start inside in his place
and had 2 solo tackles.
Unable to overcome neck and knee problems, ILB Dat Nguyen was
placed on the IR this week and HC Bill Parcells indicated the
eight-year vet is considering retirement. To replace him on the
roster, the Cowboys signed Michael Barrow. Barrow was a tackle-machine
in the middle for years with several teams, before age and injuries
caught up with him in Washington. He was released this off-season
by the Redskins, another Daniel Snyder bust, after being unable
to overcome knee tendonitis. He had a 100-tackle season as recently
as 2003, his last with the Giants. Parcells says he believes Barrow
is healthy, but it is hard to picture him being ready for more
than limited duty the rest of the season. The value of Scott Shanle,
as well as Ryan Fowler until Shanle’s ankle is healthy,
improves, as does that of Bradie James. Rookie Kevin Burnett could
also end up benefiting, if they give him some work inside.
A play after a defensive holding on 3rd-and-8 gave Dallas a first
down, CB Champ Bailey atoned by grabbing a pick and returning
it 65 yards for a TD. His sixth pick and second returned for a
TD set career highs, and temporarily put him in a tie for the
league-lead in INTs. He also broke up 2 other passes, and had
6 solo tackles, including a crunching hit that flipped DAL WR
Terry Glenn and a key TFL on DAL RB Marion Barber on a 3rd-and-2.
SS Nick Ferguson also had a good day with 6 tackles (4 solo) and
DL Trevor Pryce had the only sack for Denver and leads the team
with three for the year. LB D.J. Williams led the team in tackles
with 8 (7 solo).
There is fear back-up LB Keith Burns, the special teams captain,
tore his MCL in the game. He’ll undergo further tests to
determine the extent of the injury.
CB Lenny Walls was finally waived from the IR.
CB Dre’ Bly returned after missing several games with a
dislocated right wrist. He was limited to certain packages, as
Andre Goodman and R.W. McQuarters remained the starters. Bly probably
could have had two picks if not for the cast he still needed to
wear, which turned them into just two passes defended. In other
news, he also “threw Joey Harrington under the bus and rolled
back over him” (to paraphrase davebg’s post on the
fftoday football forum) with some very pointed comments about
responsibility for the teams’ lack of success. Back-up LB
Nate Wayne had the team’s only pick, the second straight
week he’s forced a turnover.
The injury news was a mixed bag in the LB corps. Boss Bailey
returned from an ankle injury that cost him a game, finishing
with 6 tackles (2 solo). MLB Earl Holmes was inactive again with
a knee injury and Donte’ Curry started, but suffered a quad
injury during the game, so Wali Rainer also saw work.
FS Terrence Holt returned to the starting lineup after missing
Week Eleven with a back injury, but he left Thursday’s game
with an elbow injury. Jon McGraw replaced him. HC Steve Mariucci
commented that Holt’s elbow injury could be bad. McGraw
should continue to replace him if Holt misses time. SS Kennoy
Kennedy led the team with 10 tackles (8 solo, including 1 on special
SLB Na’il Diggs (7 solo) and MLB Nick Barnett (6 solo) led
the team with 7 tackles. Barnett also had a sack and Diggs recovered
a fumble forced by DE Aaron Kampman, who also had 6 solo tackles.
Kampman is hot, posting 13 tackles (10 solo), 2 sacks, 2 forced
fumbles, and a pass defensed in his last two games. Opposite him,
Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila once again played like he is allergic to
LB Robert Thomas remained inactive with a quad injury, giving
Paris Lenon another start. However, Lenon had to leave the game
with a hand injury, giving rookie Brady Poppinga some work. Lenon
is expected to be fine for this week.
A week after getting his first pick, FS Nick Collins got his
first sack. He had 5 other solo tackles and broke up a pass.
ILB DaShon Polk couldn’t have expected the worst thing he
could do on Sunday was knock STL QB Jamie Martin out of the game.
However, that was the result after Polk did that late in the first
quarter and STL third-string rookie QB Ryan Fitzpatrick ruined
a game that looked to be one of the few highlights of a dismal
season for Houston. Every time the D did something beneficial,
it seemed to backfire. After grabbing a pick in the third quarter,
FS Marcus Coleman fumbled it on the return, giving the Rams a
new set of downs and they scored three plays later. Polk’s
sack that knocked out Martin was one of a career-high 2.5 for
him, and a Houston-record seven for a game. Polk now leads the
team with 3.5 for the season. Fellow ILB Morlon Greenwood also
had a career-high 2 sacks among his game-high 14 tackles (9 solo).
Back-up LB Jason Babin didn’t have a sack, and still has
none on the year, but he had 4 tackles (3 solo) for the second
straight game and forced a fumble. He saw extensive action with
OLB Antwan Peek battling a hip injury.
DE Gary Walker left the game in the first half. He took a hit
to the head and dinged his knee. His status for this week is uncertain.
Phillip Buchanon’s immensely disappointing season mercifully
came to an end, as he was placed on the IR after suffering a high
ankle sprain in the previous game. With questions needing to be
asked from top to bottom in the organization this off-season,
not many should get more attention than why GM Charlie Casserly
part with a second and third round pick for Buchanon. As CB Demarcus
Faggins remained inactive with a hamstring injury, Lewis Sanders
got the start. Jason Bell filled Sanders’ nickel role and
had 6 solo tackles, a forced fumble, and broke up 3 passes.
Two weeks after having his eight-game sack string snapped, DE
Robert Mathis now has sacks in back-to-back games, keeping pace
with OAK DE Derrick Burgress for the NFL lead with eleven. Suffocated
by double teams most of the game, DE Dwight Freeney was held sack-less
in back-to-back games for the first time this season. It wasn’t
for lack of trying, he came close a couple of times. He had 2
solo tackles in the game. DT Montae Reagor also had a sack, setting
a new career-high with 5.5 for the season. He is another beneficiary
of playing with Freeney.
FS Bo Sanders led the team with 9 solo tackles. CB Nick Harper
strained his groin in the game and will undergo an MRI.
Reserve DT Rob Meier remains a key playmaker, out-producing starter
Marcus Stround, who Meier shares time with as Stroud is hampered
by lingering injuries. He recorded his fourth sack of the season
and recovered a fumble forced by OLB Akin Ayodele on a sack. It
was just the second sack of the season for Ayodele, matching his
total from 2004 and one shy of his career-high. He has never developed
into the pass rush threat he was expected to be and it’s
probably time to stop thinking he has a much higher ceiling while
in this defense. Nickel CB Terry Cousin, who drew a couple of
personal fouls for repeated incidents with AZ WR Anquan Boldin,
also had a sack.
FS Deon Grant led the team with 9 tackles (7 solo) and had the
only pick of the day for Jax, as well as breaking up another pass.
Reserve LB Jamie Winborn was inactive with a knee injury and
was placed on the IR this week.
FS Greg Wesley grabbed three picks and SS Sammy Knight got a fourth
off a ball tipped by NE WR Tim Dwight in a sound beating of the
defending champion Patriots. It was the second time in his career
Wesley had three picks in a game and he leads the team, and tied
a career-high, with six INTs. He also had 4 tackles (3 solo).
Knight also broke up 2 other passes and had 6 solo tackles, including
a sack, despite turning an ankle during the game.
A Kendrell Bell sighting! The disappointing free agent addition
had his first solo sack since 2003. It was the only stat he tallied
in the game. DE Jared Allen had his team-leading eighth sack of
the season. Shawn Barber was active for the first time in a year,
but saw little work and was limited to special teams.
CB Patrick Surtain started despite battling a sprained ankle.
He had 5 solo tackles. CB Eric Warfield led the team with 10 tackles
Lionel Dalton started at DT, as usual, despite being jailed Friday
on domestic abuse charges after an alleged altercation with his
estranged wife. Although continuing to practice last week, DT
Ryan Sims remained in active. DL Carlos Hall strained a hamstring
in the game.
Vonnie Holliday has enjoyed a resurgent year lining up next to
DE Jason Taylor and it finally showed up on the stat sheet on
Sunday when he had three sacks. It was the first multi-sack game
for Holliday since his first game with the Chiefs in 2003, when
he also had three. Brought in to help a high-scoring KC team that
couldn’t be stopped on offense, but couldn’t stop
anyone on defense, he was a major free agent bust there the last
two years. An afterthought brought in for depth under new HC Nick
Saban this year, he took to the switch to DT and like many players
before him, has benefit from playing on the same line as Taylor
and all the attention he demands. Holliday also totaled 6 tackles
(4 solo), batted down a pass, and forced a fumble on his third
sack that Taylor recovered. Taylor also had three sacks, and his
best game of a year he has struggled with a torn plantar fascia
in his foot. One of Taylor’s sacks went for a safety and
he forced a fumble on another, as well as posting 3 other solo
tackles. Taylor dislocated a finger during the game, but the injury
The defense needed a big game from the front four, because the
LB group is decimated by injuries. MLB Zach Thomas was inactive,
as expected, with a separated right shoulder, torn labrum, and
high ankle sprain. Thomas says he is more concerned about the
ankle injury, as he feels he can be back next week with a harness
for the shoulder. He went to see Dr. James Andrews last week and
was give clearance to resume playing. Thomas wants to return because
he believes the Dolphins still have a playoff chance. Rookie Channing
Crowder moved from his starting WLB spot to his natural MLB position
to replace Thomas. He had just 3 tackles (2 solo) and broke up
a pass. Crowder went down near the end of the game and looked
to be in serious pain, but he eventually left the field under
his own power. He reportedly suffered a stinger and will be evaluated
this week, but the injury isn’t believed to be serious.
Derrick Pope took over at WLB and led the team with 7 solo tackles.
A further blow to the LB corps came when SLB Junior Seau was placed
on the IR last week with a lingering calf and Achilles’
tendon injury he aggravated last week and was never able to recover
from after missing three games earlier in the season. Donnie Spragan
replaced him and had 5 tackles (4 solo), as well as 2 passes defensed.
Zeke Moreno, recently released by the Eagles, was signed to replace
Seau on the roster. Moreno, like Seau, attended USC and backed
Seau up his first two years in the league. Unless Thomas returns,
Crowder should remain the starter in the middle, flanked by Pope
and Spragan, the rest of the season. If and when Thomas returns,
Crowder likely moves back to WLB and Pope is the odd man out.
T.J. Hollowell, who was claimed off waivers from the Jets last
week, was promptly released this week, indicating Thomas may well
SS Travares Tillman had a pick for the third straight game and
FS Lance Schulters had one, as well. The two lead the team with
three on the season.
The defense failed to score a TD for the first time in three games
and lost All-Pro DT Kevin Williams early in the game, but still
forced five turnovers, three that led to TDs, and had a season-high
five sacks. Williams sprained his right knee on Cleveland’s
first offensive series, left the game and did not return. The
injury has been reported as a sprained MCL, which is likely to
cost him at least 2 weeks. Williams has struggled to keep his
weight down and has been a fantasy disappointment this season,
after establishing himself as one of the top DLinemen in the league
last year. Rookie C.J. Mosley replaced Williams and more than
doubled his season tackle total with a very productive showing
in his first significant NFL action. Mosley had 2 sacks among
his 7 tackles (5 solo) and forced a fumble on one in the second
quarter that was recovered by DE Darrion Scott. Scott had a sack
himself, as well. Mosley cashing in on the opportunity was serendipitous,
as he was the only other DT active on the roster. It was a last
minute decision to keep him active, as reserve DL Spencer Johnson
was ready after missing a few games with a knee injury, but the
coaching staff opted for Mosley and left Johnson inactive. Mosley
should get the chance to continue replacing Williams while he
is out. Pass rush specialist DE Lance Johnstone had a sack and
leads the team with 5.5 on the season.
FS Darren Sharper had 2 INTs to move into a tie for the league-lead
in picks. He also broke up 2 other passes and had a solo tackle.
Sharper has 265 return yards this season on interceptions, setting
a Viking team record.
SLB Keith Newman had 5 tackles (3 solo) and also forced a fumble
on a sack, which was recovered by WLB E.J. Henderson. Henderson
also had 2 tackles (1 solo). MLB Sam Cowart had 6 solo tackles.
CB Fred Smoot returned to practice last week, but remained inactive
with a small fracture in his collarbone. A CT scan this week will
confirm if the injury is fully healed and he can play, or if he’ll
need another week. Brian Williams continued to start in his place.
Sticking with a base 4-3 and allowing players to finally know
their role, as well as all the free agent and rookie additions
finally starting to mesh, has turned this defense around. Sharper
remains the only fantasy lock to play each week, but a variety
of players are beginning to make contributions and worth taking
a look at to fill holes in your lineup. After starting the season
2-5, the Vikings are on a four-game winning streak and the defensive
stats demonstrate the difference. They have 11 picks (including
6 by Sharper), four fumble recoveries, and 13 sacks in their last
four games. In their first seven, they had 6 picks, four fumble
recoveries, and 10 sacks.
The patchwork Pats’ secondary was sparred losing CB Asante
Samuel, who played through a deep thigh bruise, but was still
exploited. Rookie Ellis Hobbs started opposite Samuel and broke
up one of only two passes the Pats defensed. Recent addition Artrell
Hawkins started at SS and split time with Michael Stone, who had
been starting there. Rodney Harrison had surgery on his major
knee injury last week and remains optimistic about returning next
season, despite his age (33 in a few weeks) and the severity of
OLB Rosey Colvin had his first sack in November and quietly moved
into a tie with fellow OLB Willie McGinest for the team lead with
3.5. DE Ty Warren also had a sack among his 7 tackles (6 solo)
and recovered a KC RB Larry Johnson fumble forced by DE Richard
ILB Tedy Bruschi led the team in tackles with 9 (8 solo).
With RE Charles Grant struggling, Will Smith got the start and
looked terrific. Smith had 5 solo tackles and the only sack of
the game for the Saints. He lost another sack when it was nullified
by a defensive holding penalty. For the season, Smith leads the
team with 6.5 sacks. For the second straight game, a bad penalty
was a problem. With the Jets stopped in their own territory in
the third quarter, Smith ran into the punter on 4th-and-2, giving
New York a fresh set of downs they used to score a go-ahead TD
and take a 16-14 lead into the fourth quarter. However, the offense
bailed him out and the rest of the defense held on for the eventual
SS Dwight Smith dropped two potential picks, leaving him with
just two passes defended. He also had 5 tackles (4 solo). FS Josh
Bullocks and OLB Sedrick Hodge led the team with 10 tackles (6
Courtney Watson remained inactive with a sprained MCL and Ronald
McKinnon remained the MLB, posting 7 solo tackles. Watson reportedly
had surgery and could now go on the IR. It would make sense for
rookie Alfred Fincher to get more of a look now, but then again
Jim Haslett is the HC.
New York Giants
DE Osi Umenyiora may have had the game that officially marks his
arrival as one of the top young ends. Facing elite SEA LT Walter
Jones, he had two sacks, forcing a fumble on one that Jones recovered,
and posted 8 tackles (7 solo), including several stops of SEA
RB Shaun Alexander for little or no gain. Umenyiora leads the
NFC with 10 sacks.
MLB Antonio Pierce also had a sack among his 5 solo tackles.
He also broke up a pass and forced a Shaun Alexander fumble that
Seattle was able to recover. Rookie CB Corey Webster led the team
with 10 solo tackles.
DT William Joseph (dislocated elbow) and CB Will Peterson (back)
remained inactive, as expected.
New York Jets
A thoroughly uninspired effort by the defense, unable to defend
a pass or force a turnover, they also had just 1 sack, but back-up
S Rashad Washington. FS Erik Coleman continued to rotate with
Oliver Celestin. Rookie SS Kerry Rhodes had 7 tackles (6 solo).
MLB Jonathan Vilma led the team with 8 tackles (5 solo).
Rookie Justin Miller started against as CB as David Barrett missed
his third game due to an eye injury. DE John Abraham had just
1 solo tackle, playing through a shoulder injury.
A torn rotator cuff ended a resurgent season for Warren Sapp,
who was comfortable again back at his familiar DT role in a 4-3.
He was placed on the IR Sunday. Ed Jasper replaced him in the
starting lineup, while Terdell Sands and tweener Tommy Kelly saw
action inside, as well. Kelly shared a sack with SS Jarrod Cooper,
but it was DE Derrick Burgess who continues to bring the pressure.
Kelly also suffered a rib injury, but returned to the game, and
had a heated exchange with DT Ted Washington on the sideline,
on which neither commented. Burgess had his fifth multi-sack game
of the season, posting two for the second consecutive game. He
assumed the NFL lead in sacks with eleven.
FS Stuart Schweigert had the best game of his young career. After
forcing a fumble on MIA RB Ronnie Brown, he recovered it himself.
On the next Dolphin drive, he grabbed his first career interception.
He also had 6 tackles (5 solo). Schweigert was dinged at the end
of the game in a scrum for another Ronnie Brown fumble, forced
by Cooper and recovered by rookie LB Kirk Morrison. He twisted
his knee, but is said to be OK. Reserve S Reggie Tongue became
the latest casualty in the Raider secondary as he tore his ACL
in the game and is done for the season, and possibly his career.
Nickel CB Renaldo Hill led the team with 11 tackles (9 solo,
including 1 on special teams). CB Lenny Walls was claimed off
waivers from the Broncos. HC Norv Turner said he is uncertain
CB Charles Woodson (broken leg) will return this season.
Rookie DE Trent Cole remained a starter, but was held sack-less
for the first time in three games, as was DE Jevon Kearse, coming
off his best game of the year the previous week. However, Kearse
did lead the team with 9 tackles (8 solo). DT Mike Patterson had
the only sack of the day for the team.
As expected, Roderick Hood replaced Lito Sheppard as a starter
at CB, as Sheppard was placed on the IR with an ankle injury.
With Hood on the first team, reserve S Quintin Mikell and reserve
CB Matt Ware saw a lot of work as the extra DBs in pass packages.
Ware left the game with a knee strain. GB QB Brett Favre struggled
all afternoon, and alligator arms on some of his receivers did
little to help. Hood appeared to have sealed the victory with
an easy pick on a desperation heave by Favre under pressure with
less than two minutes to play, but a questionable roughing the
passer penalty on Cole gave the Packers another chance. A few
plays later, Hood picked Favre off again, and this time it counted.
SS Michael Lewis also had a pick and broke up 2 other passes,
as well as posting 8 tackles (7 solo).
ILB James Farrior returned from a sprained MCL and led the team
with 9 tackles (6 solo). OLB Joey Porter had a nice sack from
behind IND QB Peyton Manning on which Porter forced a fumble,
but the Colts were able to recover. Porter moves into a tie with
OLB Clark Haggans for the team lead in sacks with six. Porter
also had 2 other solo tackles, while Haggans had 7 tackles (4
solo). CB Deshea Townshend also had a sack. He had to leave the
game early with a leg injury, but returned.
FS Mike Furrey, a converted WR with all of five career starts
on defense under his belt, was the dean of the St. Louis secondary
on Sunday as injuries forced three youngsters with one career
start between them into the first team. Houston attacked them
from the start, and the results were not good, as the Texans got
out to a 24-3 halftime lead before third-string STL rookie QB
Ryan Fitzpatrick brought on a revival of the Greatest Show on
Turf in the second half. CB Travis Fisher missed his second straight
game with a groin injury, giving rookie Ronald Bartell his second
career start. Bartell had 6 solo tackles. Chris Johnson, a former
seventh-round pick of the Packers in his third year, got his first
career start replacing CB Dejuan Groce. Johnson had 9 solo tackles
and 2 passes defended. Groce was out due to a concusion and neck
injuries after a collision with SS Adam Archuleta in the previous
game. Archuleta was also inactive due to a concusion from the
incident and was replaced by rookie Jerome Carter. Carter led
the team in tackles with 11 (9 solo). Archuleta and Groce are
expected back this week, but Fisher’s status is still uncertain.
Another lineup change for the Rams was due to ineptness, not
injury. MLB Chris Claiborne, a big free agent signing for St.
Louis prior to the season, was benched and former undrafted free
agent Trev Faulk was given another shot in the starting lineup.
Adding insult to, well, insult, Claiborne was active, but did
not play. It was the first time in his career he’s been
healthy for a game and didn’t see a play. Faulk had 7 tackles
(4 solo, including 1 on special teams). It will be interesting
to see how Claiborne responds, because Faulk isn’t a long-term
solution at MLB. Claiborne should return to the starting lineup
shortly because the team has to see if he can turn it around to
figure out what to do for next year, particularly in regard to
the financial investment they have in him. LB Pisa Tinoisamoa
had his first pick of the year. He hasn’t had one since
his rookie year in 2003, when he had three. He leads the team
with 63 tackles for the season.
DE Anthony Hargove returned to the starting lineup a week after
being benched, despite solid play from Brandon Green the previous
game. Hargrove had 6 tackles (5 solo), while Green had just 1
solo in limited work. DE Leonard Little started despite an ankle
injury that had him miss some practice and required a cortisone
shot last week. Little, who missed a couple of games while going
through the tragedy of losing a brother earlier this year, had
just 4 solo tackles and hasn’t had a solo sack since September.
He still leads the team with four.
OLB Steve Foley returned after missing three games with an abdomen
injury and strained groin. He looked more like the 2004 version
than the one that had struggled while injured earlier this year.
Foley had a sack among his 5 tackles (4 solo). Shaun Phillips,
who returned to a pass rush specialist role with Foley back in
the starting lineup, had a sack for the third straight game, during
which he has four of his six on the season. Reserve OLB Ben Leber,
who lost his starting job to 1st round pick Shawne Merriman, was
inactive. He has likely played his last game as a Charger, as
he is expected to undergo season-ending foot surgery and is a
free agent after this season. Merriman was held without a sack
for the first time in four games and had his worst game since
becoming a starter, posting just 1 solo tackle and a pass defensed.
ILBs Randall Godfrey (7 solo) and Donnie Edwards (6 solo) led
the team with 8 tackles. Edwards leads the team in tackles by
more than 50 over Godfrey (the next closest) for the season, and
went over 100 for the ninth-straight season. Edwards also forced
a fumble in the game.
DE Bryant Young was inactive, as expected, with Anthony Adams
moving from NT to LE, opposite Marques Douglas, to replace him.
Isaac Sopoaga took over NT for his first career start. The team
had no sacks and Adams was the most productive DLineman, posting
6 tackles (2 solo). The prognosis for Young remains the same,
out 3-6 weeks with a torn MCL and meniscus in his right knee and
a sprained ankle on the same leg.
Despite missing practice last week due to a sprained ankle, CB
Shawntae Spencer started and had the best game of his young career.
He gave the 49ers on the board at the end of the first half when
TEN WR Brandon Jones fell and he picked off the pass, returning
it 61 yards for a TD. Spencer also broke up 4 other passes and
had 6 tackles (4 solo). He leads the team with three INTs. CB
Ahmed Plummer (ankle) returned to practice last week and was active,
but did not play. Bruce Thornton remains the starter opposite
Spencer and is expected to continue to do so even when Plummer
OLB Julian Peterson had 10 tackles (9 solo), but missed a crucial
one when TEN RB Chris Brown took a short pass 41 yards for a TD
in the third quarter. ILB Brandon Moore led the team with 11 tackles
Rookie Ben Emanuel remains the starter at SS and had 4 solo tackles.
Rookie MLB Lofa Tatupu kept his darkhorse Defensive Rookie of
the Year campaign alive, leading the team with 13 tackles (11
solo) and also breaking up a pass. He is pretty much a lock to
lead the team in tackles this year and become just the second
Seahawk rookie ever to do so. There was a nice write-up on him
and the Seattle defense in SI last week.
DT Rocky Bernard started again in place of an inactive Marcus
Tubbs (leg) and had another sack. He now leads the team with 8.5
and is one of the breakout fantasy players of 2005. Tubbs is expected
back this week, but Bernard seems unlikely to see his workload
decrease much on passing downs.
Rookie Leroy Hill remained in the starting lineup with Jamie
Sharper out indefinitely with a staph infection in his right knee.
Sharper has already been ruled out for this week. Hill had 5 tackles
(3 solo), but broke his streak of three straight games of getting
to the QB.
CB Kelly Herndon left the game with a sprained knee and is expected
to miss a couple of weeks. Andre Dyson returns to the starting
DE Simeon Rice tied a career-high with his sixth forced fumble
on his ninth sack of the season. The Bucs team record is seven.
Rice also had another solo tackle and batted down a pass. He has
only one multi-sack game this season and could have a career-low
in tackles, but he has been consistently solid in his production,
just not spectacular as he has been in the past. After a career-year
in 2004, DE Greg Spires continues to be a disappointment, posting
just 2 solo tackles. He has been playing through an AC joint sprain
in his left shoulder and his play is also impacted by off-field
issues, as his agent reports he is going through a “bitter
S Will Allen was inactive again due to a knee injury, but Dexter
Jackson returned after missing several games due to a hamstring
and started at FS. He had 4 assists and defended a pass.
OLB Derrick Brooks led the team with 15 tackles (10 solo) and
broke up a pass. MLB Shelton Quarles had 11 tackles (10 solo).
After not biting on a poorly-sold pump fake, CB Brian Kelly outran
CHI WR Justin Gage for an easy pick deep in Tampa Bay territory,
his team-leading fourth of the season.
DE Kyle Vanden Bosch remains on a tear, adding 2 more sacks to
post double-digit sacks for the first time in his injury-plagued
five year career. With seconds left and the 49ers trying for another
respectability score after recovering an onside kick, he ended
the threat by forcing a fumble on his second sack of the day that
was recovered by CB Andre Woolfolk. Vanden Bosch also had 6 tackles
(4 solo). DE Travis LaBoy got the start opposite Vanden Bosch
over Antwan Odom, but had to leave the game near the end with
a hyper-extended left elbow. His status for this week is uncertain.
The interesting first season for 1st round pick Pacman Jones
took another twist Sunday. In an effort to find a spark for a
team that had lost five in a row, Jones took some snaps on offense.
The change seemed to be an immediate success when Jones took a
reverse 19 yards for a TD in the first quarter, but it was nullified
on an offensive penalty. By his count, it is the third TD he has
had called back this year. Overall, he probably had his best game
yet, playing good coverage, jumping routes, and providing solid
returns. Jones had 4 tackles (3 solo) and broke up three passes,
but continues to look for his first NFL pick, admitting he has
missed five opportunities this season to get it. That is not a
problem for less-heralded rookie CB Reynaldo Hill. He had his
third INT on Sunday, all in his last four games, and leads the
team. He also had 7 tackles (6 solo). LB Keith Bulluck had his
second pick of the year, broke up another pass, and led the team
with 12 tackles (7 solo).
After holding SD RB Ladainian Tomlinson to just 37 yards in the
first half, the defense tired and Tomlinson ran for almost 150
yards after halftime. He had two runs over 30 yards, both for
TDs, including the game-winning run in OT. The Run D wasn’t
helped by injuries. DT Cornelius Griffin did not start, but was
active for the first time in three games, however, he left after
aggravating his hip injury in the first half. DT Joe Salave’a
aggravated a foot injury in the game and also had to leave. FS
Sean Taylor (ankle and shoulder) still isn’t 100% and was
completely blocked out on Tomlison’s decisive TD run. Taylor
had 3 solo tackles and broke up a pass. OLB Lavar Arrington started
and played despite thigh problems. He had 6 tackles (5 solo) and
a pass defended. He also had an interception nullified by replay.
With all the injury problems, CB Walt Harris (8 solo) and rookie
CB Carlos Rogers (7 solo) had a lot of tackle opportunities and
led the team with eight each. Both had a pick each too, as did
Shawn Springs, the other starting CB. It was the first INT of
the season for each, and they were first for any CB on the Redskins
this year. Harris was benched in favor of Rogers early in the
second quarter. It is likely to be a permanent move, as Harris
has frustrated coaches the last few weeks and Rogers developed
quickly after being given a chance to start due to injuries earlier
OLB Marcus Washington had a big game, posting a solo sack and
sharing another with SS Ryan Clark. Washington also had 7 tackles
(6 solo) and defensed 2 passes.