Quick Hits (Details in individual
Week 13 Injury Report (available
- No byes Week 13, set lineups for early (Thursday) game
- MLB Ray Lewis returns for sack party by D
- MIA MLB Thomas continues remarkable, and remarkably consistent, production
- GB MLB Barnett inactive with broken hand, rookie Hodge has standout debut
- CIN LB Miller emerges as new MLB
- ATL DE Abraham and MLB Hartwell return
- PIT SS Polamalu has MCL sprain
- DAL SS Roy Williams back to being a playmaker
- CHI LB Briggs has dominant day
- SD OLB Phillips rolls on and OLB Merriman set to return
- NE LB Seau season, and likely career, over
- Injuries and a rookie mistake kill NYG D
- CIN SS Kaesviharn born-again playmaker in increased role
- TB DE Rice done for season, and likely as a Buc
- KC OLB Johnson returns, plays little
- TEN CB Jones makes headlines for right reasons
- NE CB Samuel has pick party against CHI QB Grossman
- STL rookie DE Adeyanju breaks arm
- WAS SS Archuleta sits in favor of Fox with Vincent out
- DET DT Shaun Cody done for year
- MIN CB Smoot demoted, rookie starts
IDP Depth Chart
OLB Karlos Dansby continues to frustrate owners who are trying to
figure out when to start the sporadic performer. After posting just
3 solo tackles and 1 pass defensed in his previous game, he led
the team with 10 tackles (7 solo) and had 2 sacks to tie his career
best of five for a season.
Wilson had 9 tackles (7 solo) and pulled his team back in
the game in the fourth quarter when he picked up a fumble by MIN
RB Chester Taylor and returned it 99 yards for a TD. MLB Gerald
Hayes (7 solo) and CB Antrel
Rolle (8 solo) each had 9 tackles, as well.
As expected, Antonio Smith started at RDE in place of Bertrand
Berry, who went on the IR last week. Smith had 4 tackles (3 solo).
Former first round pick Calvin Pace has moved back to DE from
LB, where he converted to in the preseason, to provide depth.
The return of DE John
Abraham and MLB Edgerton
Hartwell wasn’t enough to stop NO QB Drew Brees from getting
his fifth consecutive 300-yard game and the Saints from embarrassing
the Falcons at home. Abraham was a non-factor in his return, failing
to show up in the box score. Abraham started on the right side
with Chauncey Davis staying in the starting lineup with Patrick
Kearney done for the year. The defense frequently went small to
try to apply pressure faster on Brees, without success. Pass rush
Mallard was replacing Grady
Jackson and SLB Michael
Boley replaced Davis at end. The Saints reacted well to the
change, exploiting it with the running game.
Hartwell resumed his starting spot in the middle, sending Demorrio
Williams back to the bench. Hartwell had 7 tackles (4 solo), including
his first sack of the season. Keith Brooking returned to WLB and
led the team with 8 tackles (6 solo), including a sack.
Webster (torn groin) remained inactive as expected and rookie
CB Jimmy Williams (LB,
continues to be unable to capitalize on the opening as he missed
another game with an ankle sprain despite practicing most of last
Rossum continued to start opposite CB DeAngelo
Hall. Reserve CB Derrick
Johnson broke his arm Sunday in the third quarter and is done
for the season.
The Ravens tied a franchise record with nine sacks as they shutout
the Steelers and all but eliminated their chances of making the
playoffs, much less repeating. DEs Terrell
Suggs and Trevor
Pryce led the way with two sacks each. Pryce temporarily left
the game with an apparent leg injury in the fourth quarter, but
returned to the game. After six games without a sack, Suggs has
three in his last two games. Suggs also tied Ray
Lewis for the team lead in tackles with 6 solo each. OLB Bart
Scott returned being a playmaker, posting 4 tackles (3 solo)
including a sack and a half, and got his second pick of the year.
Scott temporarily knocked PIT QB Ben Roethlisberger out of the
game on his sack. It was the first time since October 1st Scott
had a sack or pick. Lewis returned after missing two games with
a back injury. He had his second sack of the season.
OLB/DE/DT/S Adalius Thomas had his team-leading ninth sack of
the season among his 4 tackles (2 solo) and recovered a fumble
he returned for a TD. Peter King of SI had a great look at the
multi-talented, multi-positional Thomas in an online
article this week:
After being active for the first time in his career the previous
week, reserve DE/OLB Dan Cody left with a torn PCL in his knee
in the first quarter. He could be done for the season.
After a slow start in which he failed to make the impact expected
in the front four when signed as a free agent, DT Larry Tripplett
has produced some big plays the last two weeks. He had a sack
and a half on Sunday among his 4 tackles (2 solo) and forced a
fumble. He has had a sack in two straight games. DE Aaron Schobel
shared the half-sack with Tripplett, giving him a team-high 8.5
for the season. Reserve DE Tony Hargrove, acquired in a trade
with St. Louis earlier this year, had his first sack as a Bill.
MLB London Fletcher led the team with 11 tackles (6 solo).
MLB Chris Draft (7 solo) and OLB Thomas Davis (6 solo) led the
team with 7 tackles. Draft also had a sack, giving him 2.5 in
his last two games, and forced a fumble.
CB Ken Lucas was active, but did not play with a lingering thigh
injury. Rookie Richard Marshall started in his place, posting
4 solo tackles, a forced fumble, and grabbing his team-high third
INT of the season.
Briggs might have earned himself a few more million on Sunday
afternoon, as he was a one-man wrecking crew. He forced two fumbles
and recovered one, all inside the red zone. After a long drive
by the Bears offense that resulted in a blocked FG, the Pats quickly
drove down the field and with first-and-ten at the Chicago 11-yard
line, it was not looking good for the Bears. As NE rookie RB Laurence
Maroney took a handoff up the middle, Briggs wrestled the ball
away from him before he went down. Early in the second half, NE
TE Ben Watson took a pass deep in to Chicago territory when Briggs
caught him from behind and popped the ball out. NE WR Reche Caldwell
recovered it, but FS Danieal
Manning stripped it and recovered the fumble. Briggs also
led the team with 13 tackles (7 solo). Manning had 5 tackles (4
solo) and also forced another fumble. In total, the Bears defense
forced five turnovers, but it wasn’t enough as their QB struggled
and their own offense turned it over four times.
In addition to another bad day by QB Rex Grossman, the absence
of a pass rush was an equally bad problem. The team had no sacks
and the closest they got was when rookie DE Mark
Anderson forced a Tom Brady pass to misfire.
MLB Brian Urlacher was dinged early in the game, but returned
and finished the game, posting 11 tackles (7 solo). The injury
of most concern was a sprained right ankle by SS Todd Johnson
in the first half. He left the game and did not return. Chris
Harris replaced him and had 7 solo tackles. Johnson’s status
for this week is uncertain, but HC Lovie Smith seemed confident
it wasn’t too bad (reading between the lines, probably not
the dreaded “high” ankle sprain). Johnson had a huge
hit on NE TE Ben Watson that jarred the ball loose and straight
up in to the air. CB Charles Tillman came down with it for his
first of two picks on the day. Tillman is tied with nickel CB
Ricky Manning Jr. for the team lead with four. Manning did not
play as he served his one-game suspension for a legal incident
in the off-season. The vital cog in the secondary is expected
back this week.
Thanks to five turnovers, the Cinci D notched their first shutout
since 1989. S Kevin Kaesviharn led the way with 3 tackles (2 solo),
including a sack, and two picks. SS Dexter Jackson returned from
his Achilles’ tendon injury, but Kaesviharn still played
extensively and is now the primary SS on passing downs. After
missing two games, Kaesviharn is on a tear the last two games
since he returned. He has 14 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and 3 INTs in
his last two games. He has six picks on the season and a share
of the NFL lead.
The other player capitalizing on his increased playing time is
Miller. Rookie Ahmad
Brooks, who started five games in the middle, was active after
missing the previous game with a groin and shoulder injuries,
but Miller has replaced him as the starting MLB and had a huge
game. Miller led the team with 10 tackles (6 solo), including
his first career sack. Miller now leads the team in tackles on
the season. Everyone who rushed out to pick up Brooks can replace
him with Miller in redraft leagues and may want to take a look
at who else they can drop to pick up Miller in dynasty leagues.
I’d hang on to Brooks in dynasty leagues. Despite practicing all
week, SLB Brian
Simmons (neck) remained inactive, so Rashad
Jeanty remained the starting SLB. Jeanty had 6 tackles (5
solo), the same as WLB Landon
Johnson, who also had a sack among them and forced a fumble.
Simmons is questionable this week.
CB Tory James also had two picks in the game. James had been
showing his age, giving up big plays and failing to make them
himself. If not for the injury to CB Deltha O’Neal (shoulder),
first round pick Johnathan Joseph may have replaced James by now.
Instead, Joseph started in his place of O’Neal again and
James gets a temporary reprieve with the strong performance on
Sunday. O’Neal is questionable this week.
DE Robert Geathers had a sack, he leads the team with 8.5 this
DT John Thornton is doubtful this week with a knee injury. DT
Sam Adams, who has been battling knee problems, says he has felt
better recently and the improved Bengal run defense shows it.
As the Bengals dominated time of possession in their rout of Cleveland,
there were plenty of tackles opportunities. Rookie ILB D’Qwell
Jackson led the team with 15 tackles (11 solo, including one on
special teams). SS Sean
Jones (9 solo) and ILB Andra
Davis (7 solo) each had 11 tackles.
Rookie OLB Kamerion Wimbley continues to be the edge pass rush
threat the team expected. He had 3 QB hurries and a sack among
his 4 tackles (2 solo). He has had at least one sack in the last
four games and leads the team with 7.5 on the season. On the other
side, Willie McGinest had 2 sacks, giving him three in the last
two games and five on the year.
CB Leigh Bodden remained inactive with a high ankle sprain and
Brodney Pool continued to start in his place.
DE Orpheus Roye left in the second quarter with a knee sprain.
Simon Fraser and Nick Eason saw more work in his absence. Roye
will have an MRI this week.
Although on pace for a career-low in tackles, SS Roy
Williams had returned to turning in the big plays he did as
a rookie. He got his fifth pick on the season on Thanksgiving,
tying the most he has had in a season, which was as a rookie in
2002. Also with two fumble recoveries on the season, he leads
the league in takeaways. Williams also had two assisted tackles
on defense and a solo tackle on special teams.
ILB Akin Ayodele had his second pick of the season on a tipped
pass. ILB Bradie James led the team in tackles with 8 (2 solo)
and leads the team for the season in tackles. Al Singleton and
first round pick Bobby Carpenter continue to rotate in place of
OLB Greg Ellis, who went on the IR last week.
CB Darrent Williams continued his strong play, leading the team
in tackles with 9 solo and grabbed his third pick of the season.
DE Ebenezer Ekuban had 7 tackles (6 solo) including a sack to
increase his team lead to 4.5 on the season. However, Ekuban made
a costly mistake in the second quarter when he drew a roughing
the passer call on a failed third-and-four by the Chiefs deep
in Bronco territory. KC went on to score their only TD of the
game with new life from the penalty.
Cumrome Cox replaced Nick Ferguson at SS with Ferguson out for
the rest of the season with a knee injury. Cox had 3 solo tackles.
Quentin Harris was signed to add depth at safety.
Kennedy was an unexpected scratch after suffering an ankle
injury in practice last Wednesday. Kennedy returned to practice
on Monday. Rookie Daniel
Bullocks got the start and posted 11 solo tackles and forced
a fumble. Fellow rookie OLB Ernie
Sims (10 solo) shared the team lead with 11 tackles. Sims
also shared his first career sack with DT Cory
Redding. The rookie leads the team in tackles by a landslide
so far this season. Redding remained at DT as Shaun
Rogers was inactive. Rogers came off the suspended list on
last Monday, but has not sufficiently recovered from surgery on
his right knee he had while serving his four-game suspension for
violating the league’s substance abuse policy. Redding will continue
to see time inside and Marcus
Bell will remain involved more as the team put DT Shaun
Cody on the IR last week.
CB Fernando Bryant, who recovered the fumble forced by Bullocks,
suffered a concussion in the game, but was able to finish the
game. FS Terrence Holt had 7 tackles (6 solo) and an INT. He leads
the team on the year with three picks.
Other than Sims, the Lions linebackers were a non-factor in the
game. None posted more than a solo tackle. Boss Bailey started
at SLB and rotated with Alex Lewis. Lenon remained the starter
in the middle and rotated with Teddy Lehman.
Barnett was inactive Monday night after breaking his hand
in the previous game. Rookie Abdul
Hodge started in his place and didn’t disappoint. Hodge had
6 tackles (5 solo) and broke up 2 passes, but his biggest play
came when DE Kabeer
Gbaja-Biamila knocked the ball out of SEA QB Matt Hasselbeck’s
hand as he was trying to throw. Hodge picked it up and returned
it 29 yards for a TD. It was the second sack in as many games
for KGB, who has his sack total up to just five. KGB had to leave
the game due to dehydration, but got the IV in the locker room
and returned in the third quarter.
First round pick WLB A.J. Hawk led the team with 15 tackles (10
CB Charles Woodson had two picks in the game and just missed
a third. He has four on the year, the most he’s had since
2000. Woodson injured his forearm in the game, but returned. He
has been questionable for the last few weeks, but has played,
and mostly very well, so expect the same this week.
FS Nick Collins had to leave with a hamstring injury. He is questionable
this week. Rookie Tyrone Culver replaced him.
A much-anticipated face-off with NYJ first round pick OT D’Brickashaw
Ferguson by first overall pick DE Mario Williams was a one-sided
affair as Williams continues to battle plantar fasciitis. Williams
posted just 3 tackles (1 solo). Meanwhile, rookie DeMeco Ryans
continued to make his case for DROY as he led the team with 14
tackles (13 solo).
OLB Morlon Greenwood had 9 solo tackles and CB Dunta Robinson
had 6 tackles (3 solo), forced a fumble, and had 2 passes defensed.
Gary Brackett returned from a hamstring injury and resumed his
MLB role. He led the team with 8 tackles (6 solo), as well as
breaking up a pass.
DE Robert Mathis had two sacks, forcing a fumble on each, and
recovering one of them.
SS Antoine Bethea left late in the first half with a shoulder
bruise and did not return to the game. Dexter Reid replaced him.
The Colts are already desperately thin at safety with Mike Doss
on the IR and Bo Sanders inactive for the third straight game,
and eight of the season, with ongoing knee problems. Marlin Jackson
started at FS in place of Sanders and had 3 solo tackles. Bethea
had 4 tackles (3 solo) before leaving. Bethea is expected to play
this week, but Sanders is still an uncertainty.
CB Nick Harper played through a hip injury. Harper grabbed his
team-leading third pick on an ill-advised throw by rookie WR Hank
Baskett off a double-pass trick play. SLB Gilbert Gardner was
unable to play through a rib injury. Rocky Boiman started in his
After sweeping through the front seven, injury problems have caught
up to the secondary and made a difference in Sunday’s loss. They
lost SS Donovin
Darius to the IR with a broken leg, and then they had CB Brian
Williams (hamstring) and third corner Terry Cousin (groin)
both inactive on Sunday. The result was rookie Dee Webb got his
first career start at CB. He was beaten multiple times by BUF
WR Lee Evans, drew a PI penalty, and after a rare good play, his
first career pick in the first quarter, gave the ball back with
a fumble on the return. Webb was benched in the second half and
replaced by second-year reserve CB Scott
Starks, who was beaten on a long pass that set up the game-winning
FG for Buffalo. Gerald
Sensabaugh started at SS in place of Darius and posted 4 tackles
(2 solo). He should remain the starter there the rest of the season.
Rookie WLB Clint Ingram led the team with 6 tackles (3 solo)
for the second consecutive week.
With DEN QB Jake Plummer’s job in trouble, he got off to a bad
start when he couldn’t connect with TE Stephen Alexander on the
first drive and a pass was tipped to CB Ty
Law for his third pick of the year. Law also broke up another
pass, forced a fumble and shared the team lead in tackles with
OLB Keyaron Fox. Each had 7 tackles (6 solo). Fox remained a starter,
although Derrick Johnson was active. Johnson played sparingly
on third downs after missing two games with an ankle injury. Johnson
is expected to be active and see his role increase to his normal
number of snaps this week.
DT James Reed suffered a groin injury during the game and had
to leave. Former first round pick Ryan Sims replaced him. Reed
is expected to miss this week.
After going four games without a sack, first round pick DE Tamba
Hali had his first two-sack game. He forced a fumble on one of
the sacks and finished with 6 tackles (4 solo).
Joey Harrington’s teammates on defense did their best to help
the former Lion get redemption in his first return to Detroit.
They piled up eight sacks on DET QB Jon Kitna, including two each
for MLB Zach
Thomas, DT Vonnie
Holliday, and the first two of the season DE Matt
Roth. Holliday recovered a fumble forced by Roth on one of
his sacks. DE Kevin
Carter and David
Bowens each had one sack. DE Jason
Taylor, who leads the AFC with nine sacks, was shut out of
the box score as the Detroit OLine focused on him.
Thomas, who led the league in tackles coming in to the game,
had six solo tackles in the game and went over 100 in a season
for the tenth time. He has only failed to do so one season (99
in 2000) in his 11-year career, despite playing only 16 games
four times. His two sacks in a game were also the most in a game
for Thomas, who already matched his career high for sack in a
season with three this year.
DT Keith Traylor returned from a knee injury, sending Jeff Zgonina
back to the bench.
For the second straight game, FS Renaldo
Hill had a game-breaking play. He grabbed a tipped pass and
returned to the Detroit nine-yard line late in the second quarter.
Three plays later, Miami had their first lead of the game. Hill
broke up two other passes and had two solo tackles. CB Will
Allen was out with a groin injury suffered in the previous
game, so Travis Daniel returned to the starting lineup. Daniels
led the team with 7 solo tackles and also broke up a pass. Depth
is a huge problem in the secondary. CB Michael
Lehan, who stepped in to the nickel role with Daniels in the
starting lineup, was forced out in the second quarter when he
reinjured a broken nose. Surgery is likely necessary, but he may
not miss time with the long break until their next game. Backup
Tillman was inactive after surgery on a hand he broke in the
previous game. Norman
LeJeune was activated off the practice squad to provide depth.
After a furious fourth quarter comeback attempt by the Cardinals,
the game ended on an interception by FS Dwight Smith in the end
zone. He had another earlier in the game and has three on the
season. He also 6 tackles (2 solo) in the game. Smith suffered
a shoulder sprain in the game, but the injury is not believed
to be serious.
Battling a groin injury and the death of his brother, CB Fred
Smoot was replaced by rookie Cedric Griffin in the starting lineup.
As the Vikings started in their nickel package on Sunday, both
were technically starters, but Griffin ran with the first team
in their base package. Griffin had 7 tackles (6 solo, including
1 on special teams) and broke up a pass as he played through neck
and shoulder injuries. Griffin also had to leave to get a dislocated
finger popped back in to place. Smoot had 4 solo tackles and recovered
a fumble, but had to leave late in the fourth quarter with a shoulder
bruise. CB Antoine Winfield led the team with 12 solo tackles
and also had a pass defensed.
Rookie third DE Ray Edwards had his third sack of the season.
SLB Ben Leber had 2 solo tackles in the game and forced a fumble
Among the all the positives of the victory over the Bears, came
one big negative, the loss of ILB Junior Seau. Seau, who was leading
the team in tackles heading in to the game, suffered a horrific-looking
injury to his right arm early in the game. The Pats, as usual,
failed to provide details, but it is believed he broke both bones
in the forearm. He was placed on the IR and his career is probably
over, for the second time in one year. Mike Vrabel moved inside
to replace Seau and Tully Banta-Cain replaced Vrabel at OLB with
the base D. Expect the Pats to add a veteran street free agent
CB Asante Samuel was the hero as CHI QB Rex Grossman continually
tested him and lost more than he won. Samuel had three picks in
the game, including the game-clincher on an ill-advised deep pass
right after the Bears got the ball back for a last chance to win.
Samuel, who moved in to a tie for the league-lead with six picks,
also led the team in tackles with 9 solo.
The safety tandem of Eugene Wilson (hamstring) and Rodney Harrison
(broken shoulder blade) remained inactive. Artell Hawkins (FS)
and James Sanders (SS) continued to replace them. Wilson remains
questionable this week and Harrison will still be out. CB Chad
Scott (groin) also missed the game.
Seymour blocked a FG, the first miss of the season for CHI
K Robbie Gould, and also had the only sack of the game.
They forced no turnovers and allowed 281 yards rushing, most of
that was due to ATL QB Mike Vick running for 166 yards, but held
tough on third downs and only allowed one TD.
CB Fred Thomas was inactive with a broken thumb. He underwent
surgery last week and is expected back to return with a cast this
week. Jason Craft started in his place and had 7 solo tackles,
tying OLB Scott Fujita for the team lead. Reserve CB Dejuan Groce
sprained his neck and injured his jaw blocking on a punt return.
X-rays were negative.
DE Will Smith had 2 sacks, forcing a fumble on one, among his
5 solo tackles. He leads the team with 8.5 sacks this season.
Smith has five sacks in four November games. Smith had to be helped
up a couple of times and was replaced regularly by Willie Whitehead,
but no injury was reported after the game. On the other side,
DE Charles Grant had his fifth sack of the season.
New York Giants
Once again the Giants were without three of their top four ends.
First round pick Mathias Kiwanuka continued to start in place
of Osi Umenyiora (hip flexor) and DT William Joseph once again
slid over to DE to start for Michael Strahan (Lisfranc foot sprain)
at LE in the base package. Strahan has already been ruled out
for this week and Umenyiora’s status is still in question,
but he may return to practice this week. DE Justin Tuck had foot
surgery and was placed on the IR, so the depth for the rest of
the year still takes a hit whenever Strahan and Umenyiora return.
DT Fred Robbins has been the biggest beneficiary of the increased
reps required to compensate across the rest of the DLine. He had
another sack giving him 5.5 on the season, almost tripling his
previous career high for a season.
After shutting out the Titans for three quarters, the Giants
defense was unable to stop a furious comeback led by TEN rookie
QB Vince Young. Kiwanuka had the chance to end it, but a combination
rookie mistake/impact of the league’s overprotection of quarterbacks
made him the goat instead of the hero. With Tennessee still down
seven and less than three minutes to go, it was fourth-and-ten
deep in their own territory. Kiwanuka got through and wrapped
up Young for what should have been a sack, but let him go and
Young sprinted for a first down. The Titans would tie it up that
drive and, after an interception, win it with a FG. Kiwanuka said
after the game he thought he felt Young complete his throwing
motion, he could not see with his head down in Young’s body, and
didn’t want to draw a roughing the passer penalty, figuring the
pass was off.
In addition to their two starting ends, the Giants were missing
their two starting corners. Sam Madison missed another game with
his lingering hamstring injury, while Corey Webster was a game-time
scratch due to a toe injury. Nickel CB R.W. McQuarters started
in place of Madison and Frank Walker got his first start of the
season in place of Webster.
Brandon Short (quad) missed his fourth straight game, despite
practicing most of last week. Carlos Emmons remained the starter
at WBL with Reggie Tobor at SLB again. Short is likely to return
to WLB and Emmons move back to SLB when Short returns, probably
this week. MLB Antonio Pierce had 8 tackles (5 solo), including
his first sack of the season.
FS Will Demps (5 solo) and SS Gibril Wilson (6 solo) led the
team with 10 tackles each. An assist for Wilson came on special
New York Jets
SS Kerry Rhodes (8 solo) led the team with 12 tackles, including
an assist on special teams. Rhodes continues to be one of the
top playmaking DBs as he also grabbed his third pick of the season.
OLB Victor Hobson had 11 tackles (7 solo).
DE Shaun Ellis had a sack and a half among his 5 tackles (3 solo).
OLB/DE Bryan Thomas had two sacks and took over the team lead
with five for the season.
CB Andre Dyson started despite a neck injury and finished with
7 solo tackles.
DE Derrick Burgess and DT Tommy Kelly shared a sack, the only
one on the day for Oakland. Burgess upped his team-leading total
to 8.5 on the season.
CB Nnamdi Asomugha grabbed his fifth pick of the season. He also
broke up 2 other passes and had a solo tackle.
MLB Kirk Morrison led the team with 7 tackles (6 solo, including
1 on special teams).
Expecting IND QB Peyton Manning to attack them through the air,
the Eagles spent a lot of time in their nickel package and ended
up getting destroyed by IND rookie RB Joseph Addai. As they were
missing nickel LB Shawn
Barber, who was inactive with a knee injury, even the nickel
package wasn’t at full strength when Manning did pass.
MLB Jeremiah Trotter (8 solo) and SS Sean Considine (7 solo,
including 1 on special teams) led the team with 10 tackles. Trotter
left the game briefly in the second quarter, but returned and
finished the game. Rookie Omar Gaither replaced him in the middle
while he was on the sidelines.
DT Broderick Bunkley was inactive after missing the team flight.
He paid his own way to get there, but was suspended for the game
as a disciplinary action.
CB Lito Sheppard had his team-leading fourth pick in the game.
The team had no other turnovers and no sacks.
As their playoff hopes dwindled after being shutout by the Ravens,
the Steelers suffered more bad news when SS Troy Polamalu suffered
an MCL sprain in his left knee and he’ll miss at least this
week and likely two or three games. The injury occurred in the
third quarter and Polamalu still finished leading the team with
10 tackles (6 solo). Tyrone Carter is likely to start in his place.
The revolving door at CB continued as Bryant McFadden returned
to the starting lineup and Ike Taylor was demoted. Deshea Townsend,
back on a healthy ankle, started on the other side. McFadden had
9 solo tackles.
FS O.J. Atogwe sealed the victory that ended a five-game losing
streak with his third INT on the final play of the game. Atogwe
broke up two other passes and led the team with 9 tackles (5 solo).
CB Tye Hill got his third pick of the year, tops among rookies,
before leaving in the second half with a strained quad. Ronald
Bartell replaced him.
MLB Will Witherspoon had 4 solo tackles on defense and a fifth
on a punt in the second quarter on which he forced a fumble. The
Rams recovered and scored their first TD on the next play to go
Rookie DE Victor Adeyanju left the game in the first half with
a radius fracture in his right forearm. He is expected to miss
at least three weeks. This is a huge hit to DE for the Rams, as
they traded Tony Hargrove, who Adeyanju replaced as a started,
to Buffalo earlier this season. Brandon Green replaced Adeyanju
and will likely move in to the starting lineup.
OLB Shaun Phillips had a sack and a half among his 9 tackles (6
solo), leading a barrage of five sack against Oakland. Phillips
not only passed suspended teammate OLB Shawne Merriman for the
team lead, but leads the AFC with 9.5 sacks this season. After
missing just one game with a calf injury that was feared could
sideline him for a while, Phillips had 20 tackles and 3.5 sacks
in his last three games. Merriman’s four-game suspension
for violating the league’s substance abuse policy is now
over. He returned to the team on Monday and is expected to play
this week, sending Carlos Polk back to the bench and decreasing
the role of Marques Harris, who had his third sack in the game.
The team went 4-0 in Merriman’s absence.
ILB Randall Godfrey had his best game of the season. He led the
team with 13 tackles (12 solo), including three TFL and his second
sack of the season. Fellow ILB Donnie Edwards had 11 tackles (6
DE Luis Castillo remained inactive with a high ankle sprain.
Jacques Cesaire continued to replace him through an ankle injury
of his own. Castillo is doubtful to play this week. FS Marlon
McCree (calf) was inactive and Bhawoh Jue started in his place.
McCree should be back this week.
Rookie reserve CB Antonio Cromartie strengthened his case to
be the top kick returner with a 91-yard return that set up the
team’s first TD.
DE Igor Olshansky was fined, but not suspended, for punching
DEN C Tom Nalen after Nalen launched at Olshanky’s knees.
Nalen was fined more, but not suspended either.
Reserve CB Cletis Gordon was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving
on Monday. He is the sixth Chargers player to have a legal incident
since the spring.
Rookie OLB Manny
Lawson flashed the athleticism that made him a first round
pick when he made a leaping interception at the sideline on a
pass intended for STL WR Torry Holt on the Rams first drive. It
was the first of Lawson’s career. He also had 3 solo tackles.
Lawson suffered a rib injury in the game, perhaps on the landing
after his pick, and was taken in for X-rays, but returned to the
game. On the next St. Louis drive, CB Walt Harris appear to have
forced a fumble after a Holt catch that he picked up and returned
for a TD. The call was reversed on a questionable decision after
replay. Harris broke up 2 passes and had 6 solo tackles in the
game. CB Shawntae
Spencer was inactive with an ankle sprain. Donald
Strickland started in his place.
FS Keith Lewis led the team with 9 tackles (7 solo). DE Bryant
Young had a sack and a half, giving him five for the season.
Tony Parrish was a healthy scratch for the second straight week.
Rookie CB Kelly Jennings got his first career pick among three
by the secondary. Kelly Herndon and Marcus Trufant each had one,
as well. OLB Julian Peterson led the team with 6 tackles (4 solo).
Rookie DE Darryl Tapp had his third sack.
DE Simeon Rice has probably played his last game as a Buc after
he was placed on the IR last week. Rice, who has been impaired
by shoulder problems most of the season, finished with just four
sacks. It is the first time since 2000, his last year as a Cardinal,
he didn’t have double-digit sacks. With a big cap number
for next year, the team in a rebuilding mode and the guy primed
to replace him, Dewayne White, an UFA, Rice should be somewhere
else next year. White remained the starter at RDE last Thursday
and should continue his audition the rest of the way. White had
just one solo tackle and a QB hurry in the game.
DT Ellis Wyms (ankle) and MLB Shelton Quarles (knee, ankle) were
both inactive for the third straight game. Both are questionable
again this week. DT Jon Bradley and LB Barrett Ruud continue to
replace them. Ruud (6 solo) tied FS Will Allen (7 solo) for the
team lead with 8 tackles.
DT Chris Hovan had his first sack as a Buc, the only one for
them in the game. The team forced no turnovers.
OLB Derrick Brooks started his 184th game as a Buc, a new team
record. He 4 tackles (3 solo) in the game.
The furious comeback in the fourth quarter would not have been
possible if not for two picks by CB Pacman Jones in that period.
The first set up the team’s first score and his second,
with less than a minute remaining, set up the game-winning FG.
Jones broke up another pass and had 3 solo tackles, as well. He
now had three INTs on the year.
With DE Travis LaBoy (concussion) and DE Antwan Odom (knee) already
set to be inactive, Josh Savage hurt his hamstring in practice
last week, so the team was forced to not only activate UDFA rookie
Sean Conover from the practice squad, but start him in his first
career game. Conover posted 4 tackles (2 solo) and a pass defensed.
LaBoy is likely to return this week, but Odom appears out for
OLB David Thornton continues to be limited by a torn supra-spinatus
tendon and rotator cuff in his right shoulder. Peter Sirmon got
the start in his place, with Thornton seeing limited work. Rookie
Stephen Tulloch continues to play well in the middle. He had 9
tackles (8 solo, including 1 on special teams).
SS Chris Hope led the team with 11 tackles (8 solo).
It was one thing when a cagey former Pro Bowl vet like Troy
Vincent replaced Adam
Archuleta at SS, even if it was after he was cut by another
team. However, with Vincent (hamstring) inactive on Sunday, it
was journeyman career back-up Vernon
Fox who started in place of the highest paid safety in NFL
history. Fox grabbed his first pick of the season, and first since
2002, on the Panthers first drive. He finished with 5 tackles
(3 solo). FS Sean
Taylor sealed the victory stopping CAR WR Drew Carter short
of a first down on a fourth down pass on the Panthers second-to-last
drive and picking off CAR QB Jake
Delhomme in the end zone on the Panthers final possession.
Taylor broke up another pass and finished with 5 tackles (4 solo).
MLB Lemar Marshall led the team with 8 tackles (4 solo). DE Phillip
Daniels had the only sack of the game, his third of the season,
among his 4 solo tackles. He also broke up a pass.