The defense was put in a hole early by two turnovers by the offense
that resulted in scores. They played well, although getting just
one sack and turnover forced, but the offense and kicking game couldnít
pull out the victory. SLB Calvin Pace had the best game of his career,
helping fill the gap left by the loss of Karlos Dansby by leading
the team with 10 tackles (9 solo, including one on special teams),
including his second sack of the season. Pace also had the first
pick of his career that led to the first score of the game for the
Cardinals, a TD right before halftime. The former first-round pick
will always be compared to BAL DE/OLB Terrell Suggs, the local hero
the team passed on to trade down, then taking Pace and WR Bryant
Johnson in the first round of the 2003 draft. While Pace doesnít
have the same ability as a pass rusher, he is having a solid season
after converting to an LB. Still not fantasy starting lineup material
in most leagues, but worth keeping an eye on as he progresses. Monty
Beisel replaced Dansby as the WLB and had 5 tackles (3 solo). Dansby
is expected to miss up to a month with a left knee sprain, but with
a bye this week, watch for updates next week.
SS Adrian Wilson was active as he continues to battle a hamstring
strain. He had 2 solo tackles. Wilson hasnít missed a game
since 2002. With a bye this week, he should be able to keep the
streak alive come Week Nine.
Rookie CB Chris
Houston got his first career start, moving ahead of Lewis
Sanders. Houston had 4 solo tackles and a pass defensed, while
Sanders was unable to bring down NO RB Reggie Bush on third down
as he bulled his way in the end zone on the decisive TD. CB DeAngelo
Hall had an interception late in the second quarter erased
by an offsides by DT Rod
Coleman. Later in the drive, the Falcons prevented a NO score
when WLB Demorrio
Williams picked it and got it to Hall on a lateral, who only
added a few more yards. Williams also had 7 tackles (4 solo) as
he saw most of the snaps with rookie LB Stephen
Nicholas remained sidelined with a high ankle sprain. With
a bye this week, the team is hopeful Nicholas returns. You can
probably drop Demorrio Williams if you are on the fence and need/want
to pick someone else up. Hall had 6 tackles (5 solo).
DT Grady Jackson has outgrown his usefulness in the ATL like
he has outgrown his pants. The team cut ties with him this week
and will reportedly go with rookie Trey Lewis next to Rod Coleman,
with Jonathan Babineaux sure to see more work, as well.
MLB Ray Lewis led the team with 13 tackles (8 solo) and broke
up a pass. It was his second straight game with double-digit tackles
and third of the season. He is fifth in the NFL in tackles. While
not the Ray Lewis of old, especially in terms of turning in big
scoring plays, he is still a solid starter. On the other hand,
WLB Bart Scott is not. He had 7 tackles (5 solo), but has just
one sack this season and no picks after his career-year last season.
OLB/DE Terrell Suggs had his second sack of the season and now
has one in back-to-back games after not getting one the first
five games. DE Trevor Pryce (broken wrist) remained inactive.
Justin Bannan got the start this week and split time with Dwan
Edwards, who had started all the other games Pryce missed. Bannan
(2 solo) and Edwards (3 solo) both had 5 tackles, with Edwards
also getting his first sack of the season among them.
CB Chris McAllister was inactive after suffering a right knee
injury in Week Six. There were conflicting reports leading up
to the game and the team has been quiet about the severity. There
were rumors he has told teammates he could miss a month with a
ligament tear. With a bye this week, it could be some time before
we learn more about McAllisterís status. Samari Rolle returned
to a starting with McAllister out and grabbed his first pick of
the season. It appeared he returned it 14 yards for a score, but
was reversed on replay challenge and he was ruled down with no
gain. Corey Ivy remains a starter, and a productive one, with
his continuing opportunity. He had 7 solo tackles.
SLB Angelo Crowell led the team with 9 tackles (6 solo) and was
credit with a forced fumble when he crashed in to BAL TE Quinn
Sypniewski who lost control of the ball as he went down deep in
BUF territory in the second quarter. MLB John DiGiorgio gathered
it just before it went out of bounds. DiGiorgio also had 5 tackles
(4 solo), including sharing the only sack in the game for the
Bills with third DE Tony Hargrove. Hargrove saw some additional
work as DE Chris Kelsay battled an ankle injury. Kelsay hurt the
ankle in the second quarter, but returned to the game after getting
x-rays. He had 3 solo tackles, as did DE Aaron Schobel. Despite
the team hoped heíd be ready coming off their bye, DE Ryan
Denney remained inactive as he recovers from a broken foot.
The Ravens helped the Bills seal the victory when after having
second-and-one near midfield at the two-minute warning, BAL made
the curious decision to pass on three plays. DT Larry Tripplett
deflected a pass on third down and BAL QB Kyle Boeller thew an
incomplete off his back foot on fourth down as Hargrove and Schobel
brought good pressure on the play.
FS Jim Leonhard (calf) remained inactive, giving George Wilson
another start. Leonhard sounds questionable again for this week.
Wilson had 3 tackles (1 solo) and was unable to stop a long TD
run by BAL RB Willis McGahee when McGahee threw him down with
The team cut former third-round pick DT Tim Anderson. The emergence
of former first-round pick John McCargo, after missing most of
his rookie year with a broken foot, allowed the move. McCargo
leveled BAL RB Willis McGahee for a five-yard loss during the
Coming off their bye week, MLB Dan Morgan will have his Achillesí
tendon tested this week. Rookie Jon Beason was a team player last
week in saying he expects to move back to the weakside when Morgan
is healthy. Regardless of how the situation plays out, Beason
will continue to have value this season and Morgan is a high risk
After getting upset with the local media questioning if he had
an injury, inferring it may explain his recent decline in performance,
MLB Brian Urlacher went out and silenced critics. In real football
terms, it was his best game of the year, and he put up good tackle
numbers too. He led the team with a season-high 12 tackles (8
solo) and broke up a pass. The team must have added some new looks
last week, because WLB Lance Briggs looked lost a few times. He
had just 5 tackles (3 solo).
CB Nathan Vasher (groin) missed his fourth consecutive game and,
at this point, with a bye coming up in Week Nine, it seems unlikely
Vasher plays this week. Danieal Manning remained back at FS with
rookie Trumaine Bride getting another start at corner. McBride
played well, not letting anything get behind him and tackling
well. He had 8 tackles (5 solo) and broke up a pass. Brandon McGowan
has played his way out of the starting lineup with his pass coverage
deficiencies and now adds to the teamís injury problems
after spraining his right elbow in the game. SS Adam Archuleta
still had a cast, but played better, getting a sack among his
7 tackles (5 solo).
DT Tommie Harris had his second two-sack game of the season, giving
him a new career high with six sacks. The team hoped DT Darwin
Walker would be back, but he missed another game recovering from
a knee sprain.
Brooks (groin) missed his fourth straight game and LB Caleb
Miller (back) missed his third straight game. On Monday, HC
Marvin Lewis said Brooks remained the ďfarthestĒ possibility of
returning this week, but Miller could. Rashad
Jeanty played for the first time this season, but was limited
to special teams, where he posted a tackle and an assist. Converted
DE Robert Geathers got the start at SLB, rotating with Dhani
Jones. Anthony Schlegel got his third start at MLB for Brooks.
All of them had four tackles or less. WLB Landon
Johnson had 5 tackles (3 solo). DE Justin
Smith led the team with 8 tackles (2 solo).
CB Johnathan Joseph returned from his one-game suspension with
a game-breaking interception returned 42 yards for a TD. SS Dexter
Jackson left the game in the fourth quarter with what appeared
to be an ankle injury, but Lewis indicated it was a hip injury
and that he expects heíll play this week. Rookie Chinedum
Ndukwe saw some time again and a sack for his second straight
CB Gary Baxter was unable to come back from is knee problems and
was placed on the IR over the bye week.
The defense contained the NFLís leading rusher entering the game,
MIN rookie RB Adrian Peterson, after his huge performance in Week
Six. They were helped by the offense dominating the time of possession,
but were assisted by MIN HC Brad Childress continuing to split
carries with RB Chester Taylor. Taylor was productive with his
ten carries (4.7), but he is not the same big play threat when
he touches the ball that Peterson is. ILB Bradie
James had his best game of the season, leading the team in
tackles with 9 (6 solo), including his second sack of the season.
James leads the team in tackles on the season. He also recovered
a fumble forced by Jason
Hatcher, who punched the ball out of Petersonís arm in the
fourth quarter, and Peterson didnít get another touch the rest
of the game. It was the second straight game with a big play for
their third DE, as Hatcher returned a fumble for a TD in Week
Six. He wasnít the only DE with a big play, as Chris Canty blocked
a FG that led to a decisive TD in the third quarter. Reserve S
wrestled away the jump ball after Canty blocked the kick and returned
it 68 yards for a TD.
OLB Greg Ellis returned to the starting lineup, pushing rookie
Anthony Spencer to the bench after he started the first six games.
Ellis rewarded HC Wade Phillips with two sacks. Ellis has been
back for four games and has 4.5 sacks in them.
CB Anthony Henry remained inactive, still battling a high ankle
sprain. Jacques Reeves continues to start at corner opposite Terence
Newman with Henry out. The team is hopeful Henry will return after
the bye this week. The league ruled not to reduce the eight-game
suspension of DT Tank Johnson, but he has been allowed to resume
practicing with the team.
DE Simeon Rice was inactive for the second straight game, but
changed his tune and says his left shoulder is now ď100
percentĒ, while HC Mike Shanahan disagrees. He says Rice
is improving, but needs to show more in practice. The win on Sunday
night temporarily buries the teamís struggles so far this
season, but the seeds of discontent appear sown in Rice. He aborted
toeing the company line with some comments to the media last week,
so this situation could turn ugly soon. Back in the game, most
of the other DEs had a good week. RDE Elvis had his third two-sack
game of the year, giving him a team-leading six on the season.
On his first in the second quarter, Dumervil forced a fumble that
rookie DE Tim Crowder recovered and raced 50 yards for his first
career TD. Dumervil prevented the Steelers from responding on
the subsequent drive with his second, which helped wrap up the
half. LDE John Engelberger had his first sack of the season. The
team ran more blitzes than usual to try to compensate for the
absence of CB Champ Bailey.
Bailey (left hamstring) wasnít ready coming off the bye
and sat out. It was just the third game heís missed in his
nine year career. There is cautious optimism heíll be back
this week. Domonique Foxworth started in his place and led the
team with 10 tackles (7 solo) and broke up a pass. CB Dreí
Bly grabbed his second pick of the season in the first quarter,
but suffered a slight shoulder separation on it. He remained in
the game and is expected to play this week.
MLB D.J. Williams had a very good game, posting 9 tackles (7 solo)
and breaking up two passes, including grabbing one for his first
pick since his rookie season in 2004.
On a day when the offense didnít air it out as usual, the
defense took advantage when opportunities for key plays occurred.
After a sack and forced fumble by MLB Paris Lenon was erased and
ruled an incomplete pass on replay, DE Dewayne White got his first
of three sacks on the next play in a career day against his former
team. That forced a punt blocked by reserve DE Corey Smith, another
former Buc. This led to a DET FG for the first score of the game.
After a 1.5 sacks in his first two games, White had not gotten
to the QB the last three games, until his outburst on Sunday.
The three sacks were among 8 tackles (7 solo) on the day for White.
He leads the team with 4.5 on the season. On the next TB drive,
DT Shaun Rogers came bursting through the middle as TB QB Jeff
Garcia muffed a handoff. The ball bounced right to the big boy,
who looked like he took the handoff himself in the other direction.
Rogers lost the handle, but the big boy fell on it for the first
of two unforced fumble recoveries by him on the day. The team
would cash in on a final critical miscue by TB. With the Lions
up by nine early in the fourth quarter, TB had a first-and-goal
at the DET one yard-line. Garcia would abort a snap this time
and reserve DE Jared Devries, who continues to be in the right
place at the right time this year, would recover it. DET would
drive for the eventual game-winning TD off that turnover. The
ability of the defense to take advantage of their opportunities
has been rare, but crucial to their success this year. They did
it against the Bears and again on Sunday, but need to do it more
often to continue winning. The Lions lead the league by far in
forced fumbles with 21, but have recovered just 7 (which includes
unforced errors, like the three they recovered on Sunday).
WLB Ernie Sims let TB know what it used to be like to face Derrick
Brooks, as he was all over the field, leading the team with 13
tackles (8 solo). As TB dominated the time of possession, the
Lions were worn down in the fourth quarter. Sims, Rogers, Fisher,
Lenon, FS Gerald Alexander, and DE Kalimba Edwards were all were
shaken up during the final frame. Only Edwards left the game and
none have been reported as injuries of concern so far this week.
Reserve S Idrees Bashir hurt his ribs in the first half and did
Despite coming off the bye, the secondary remains banged up. CB
Stanley Wilson was inactive as he continues to battle a groin
injury. Travis Fisher started in his place opposite Fragile Fernando
Bryant. CB Keith Smith was active, but has a lingering ankle injury
and was limited. Former Titan Tony Beckham, signed at the beginning
of the month, was the nickel corner. With depth a problem at CB,
former Viking Dovante Edwards was signed late last week. However,
he was inactive due to not being ready in time for the game. The
also released rookie S Eric Frampton, a fifth-round pick by the
Raiders, to make room for 2007 Mr. Irrelevant CB Ramzee Robinson,
who was called up from the practice squad. He had 2 tackles on
special teams. His stay wasnít long, as the team waived
him on Monday.
Those who have been disappointed with MLB DeMeco
Ryans not on pace for the same type of numbers he put up last
year were rewarded on Sunday if they stuck with him. On a blitz
up the middle in the first quarter, Ryans destroyed TEN QB Kerry
Collins, forcing a fumble on the sack. Ryans popped up, recovered
the fumble, and returned it 26 yards for a TD. Ryans also had
his second double-digit tackle game of the season, posting 11
(9 solo) and recovered another fumble. Despite being off his totals
last year, Ryans is still leads the league in solo tackles and
is tied for third overall. WLB Morlon
Greenwood led the team with 12 tackles (10 solo) on Sunday.
After another slow start to the season facing double- and triple-teams,
DE Dwight Freeney had his best game of the season on Monday night.
He had two sacks, including a safety, forcing a fumble on one
sack and another on one of his two other solo tackles. Freeney
has all of his 3.5 sacks in the last three games. Rookie DT Ed
Johnson got his first sack of the season.
S Bob Sanders returned off the bye got his first pick of the season
and had 5 tackles (4 solo). WLB Freddie Keiaho was back, as well,
posting 7 tackles (5 solo). CB Kelvin Hayden broke up four passes,
including grabbing his first pick of the season in the fourth
quarter to snuff a scoring threat. Hayden now leads the team in
solo tackles, while CB Marlin Jackson and MLB Gary Brackett led
in overall tackles.
MLB Mike Peterson had his first double-digit tackle game of the
season, leading the team with 10 (9 solo). DE Paul Spicer had
his first double-digit sack game of the season. He leads the team
with five on the season.
DE Jared Allen continues his torrid pace after missing the first
two games of the season due to a suspension. He led the team in
tackles with 9 (8 solo) and had the ninth multi-sack game of his
career. His two sacks bring his season total to eight, moving
him in to a tie for the league-lead with NYG DE Osi Umenyiora,
who had one sack on Sunday. The Chiefs had just one turnover,
but it was a big one. As the Raiders tried to move in for a game-winning
FG late in the fourth quarter, FS Jarrad Page grabbed his team-leading
second pick of the season to secure the victory. They had no other
turnovers on defense, but reserve S Jon McGraw recovered a muffed
punt when SS Bernard Pollard caused a collision with OAK CB Nnamdi
Asomugha and returner Chris Carr. KC turned that in to a FG.
One key in the strong start by their defense this season (theyíve
held all their opponents to 20 points or less) has been the health
of their starters. They need to rely on particularly at LB, where
injuries have depleted their depth. Keyaron Fix missed his fourth
straight game with a hamstring injury and Johnny Baldwin suffered
a knee sprain on Sunday. With a bye this week, it sounds like
they expect Fox to be ready by Week Nine, but not as optimistic
Worrell replaced the recently cut Donovin
Darius at safety and was posterized twice by NE WR Randy Moss
on long TD catches. Worrell lost the jump ball twice, once with
Allen and another time with fellow S Renaldo
Hill. Injury was added to insult for Hill, when he came down
awkwardly on his right knee and tore his ACL. He is done for the
season, which is a hit to a secondary that is banged up, but even
worse because he was their best DB. Worrell had 7 tackles (6 solo)
and the team has little choice but to leave him as a starter.
Former first round pick Jason
Allen will replace Hill and now get another chance to shake
the bust label as he gets another starting job by default. With
a struggling front seven, the safety starters in MIA arenít bad
plays because of the tackle opportunities. Worrell and Hill are
second and third on the team in tackles. One of the two could
be bumped by Travares
Tillman when he returns. Tillman missed his fourth game after
an arthroscopic knee procedure and remains out indefinitely, but
was originally expected to not miss more than a month. Rookie
reserve S Courtney Bryan was also hurt in the game and left with
a quad injury. He is expected to play this week. Already having
burned through veterans Donovin Darius and Lamont
Thompson, the Dolphins will now give Lance
Schulters a try. The team signed him this week and he will
head to London with them. Schulters was a standout for the Titans,
started for Miami in 2005, was last seen in Atlanta, and hasnít
played this year. DT Vonnie Holliday missed another game with
the slight fracture in his right ankle. The team signed former
Oakland fourth-round pick Quentin Moses, who has already burned
through AZ, as well.
MLB Zach Thomas led the team with 8 tackles (7 solo) and his bad
day didnít end at the office. He was rear-ended on the way
home, as well. Thomas was in a car accident after the game, but
there were no injuries. There was a Joey Porter sighting. He finally
got his first sack as a Dolphin among his 4 solo tackles. DE Jason
Taylor provided the sole highlight for the defense. With the game
appearing in hand in the fourth quarter, NE turned the reigns
over to back-up QB Matt Cassel. Cassel locked in on his receiver
and never saw Taylor crossing the field after dropping back in
coverage. Taylor cut in front of the passes and took it 36 yards
for a pick six. It was the eighth career TD by Taylor, breaking
a record for defensive linemen he had shared with former NYG George
The Dolphins are 0-7 for the first time in their history and headed
to London to meet the Giants this week. Trying to remain an optimist,
Jason Taylor summed it up after the game as, ďWe canít
win in America, maybe we can win overseasĒ.
Henderson led the team with 11 tackles (8 solo) and has put
together double-digit tackles in back-to-back games. On pace to
eclipse last yearís career-best tackle and sack numbers, Henderson
continues to prove it was no fluke and he wasnít used well by
former HC Mike Tice. WLB Chad
Greenway had 8 tackles (5 solo) and SLB Ben
Leber had 6 (4 solo), as well as a fumble recovery that was
the defensive highlight of the day for MIN. CB Antoine
Winfield lit up DAL WR Patrick Clayton after a catch, jarring
the ball loose. The ball bounced to Leber who began to take it
up field. As DAL WR Terrell Owens was dragging him down, Leber
pitched it to CB Cedric
Griffin. Griffin took it down the sideline, but lost his handle
on the ball nine yards in to the run. A fortuitous bounce got
the ball back to Griffin in stride. He finished it for a 28-yard
TD. The fumble was a benefit to his fantasy owners for not only
the extra addition of a fumble recovery for him, but made the
play officially a fumble return and therefore avoided problems
in any leagues with ambiguity on ruling for types of TD returns.
Griffin also had 5 tackles (3 solo) and Winfieldís hit to force
the fumble was one of his 8 tackles (6 solo). Rookie nickel CB
has been putting up some decent numbers, mostly because every
team is targeting him. He was benched in the third quarter for
Charles Gordon, but after Gordon gave up a long pass, McCauley
returned to the nickel package.
On the series before Griffinís TD, the Vikings had another fumble
return for a TD erased by penalty. After a sack by DE Kenechi
Udeze deep in MIN territory, DT Kevin
Williams returned it 84 yards for an apparent TD, but the
return was erased on a holding call against DE Ray
Edwards after the recovery. Williams returned a fumble 54
yards for a TD earlier this year. The sack was the third of the
year for Udeze. While not necessarily living up to his first round
status, or that of a fantasy starter in most leagues, a healthy
Udeze is playing well and on track for a career year. Williams
also had a sack in the game, his second of the season. Rookie
Robison saw his lowest number of snaps this season the previous
game during Week Six, due to the return of Erasmus James. Robison
had been working at both left and right DE, but was focused at
left DE when James came back. With James out again, Robisonís
snaps were back up on Sunday at a homecoming for the former University
of Texas star. He notched his team-leading fourth sack of the
The return of DE Erasmus James didnít last long. After being
active for the first time in Week Six, he was inactive again due
to a shoulder injury that came out of his fight with RB Chester
Taylor before their Week Six game. FS Dwight Smith was inactive
with a lingering hamstring injury. Tank Williams got his first
start as a Viking in Smithís place. Williams had 5 tackles
Thanks to quick strikes by the offense and good running by the
Dolphins, the defense had plenty of tackle opportunities. After
a slow start to the season, ILB Tedy Bruschi, has picked it up.
He led the team with 12 tackles (10 solo). Over the last three
games he has 25 tackles, 2 sacks, and a forced fumble. It is still
a risk starting him any week, but you canít deny his recent
production. ILB Adalius Thomas had 7 solo tackles and third ILB
Junior Seau continues to produce. Seau had 5 tackles (4 solo),
including his first sack of the season.
SS Rodney Harrison had 8 tackles (7 solo), including a sack for
the second straight game. He is the first member of a new 30/30
Club, the first player in NFL history with 30 sacks (currently
30.5) and 30 interceptions (currently 32) in his career. James
Sanders started again in the jumbo safety package for the Pats.
He saw the majority of the snaps and appears to be phasing out
Eugene Wilson. Wilson, a converted corner, is the superior pass
defender, so he will still see work, but has no fantasy value.
CB Asante Samuel injured his right arm or shoulder late in the
first quarter and missed a few plays. He returned and finished
the game with a solo tackle and 3 passes defensed, including a
nice break-up of a deep pass to MIA WR Marty Booker in the second
quarter. CB Willie Andrews doesnít see much time on defense,
but the second-year player showed his value on special teams.
The up-man on the kick return team, he took a short kick after
Miamiís first score and returned it 77 yards for his first
career TD. Later in the game he downed a punt at the MIA one-yard
line. CB Ellis Hobbs, the primary kick returner, brought one back
for a TD earlier this year. Hobbs struggles a bit in coverage,
but posted 5 solo tackles. Nickel CB Randall Gay got his second
pick of the season.
DE Richard Seymour did not practice last week and is not yet activated.
The team has two more weeks before they must activate him or put
him on the IR.
For the second straight week, the pressure in the front four was
excellent, and this week it net them three sacks. DE Charles Grant
had his second sack in as many weeks, forcing a fumble on it.
Grant had 4 other solo tackles. DE Will Smith came up short a
few times, including forcing a long incompletion by ATL QB Byron
Leftwich in the third quarter. He hit Leftwich right after he
released the ball and knocked him out of the game with a right
leg injury on the play. It is a little disappointing Smith couldnít
actually get to the QB, considering he was already facing a second-string
OT in Renardo Foster and then their third-string OT Quinn Ojinnaka
on the final drive in the fourth quarter when Foster left with
SS Roman Harper led the team with 6 solo tackles. MLB Mark Simoneau
(5 solo) and WLB Scott Shale (3 solo) also had 6 tackles. Harper
and SLB Scott Fujita are tied for the overall team lead for the
CB Jason David, coming back from a broken left forearm, returned
to limited participation in practice last week. He was still inactive,
giving Jason Craft another start.
New York Giants
Blitz-happy DC Steve Spagnuolo kept the pressure on again Sunday
as the team added to their NFL-leading total with six more sacks.
Strahan led the way with 2 solo and another sack shared with
Tuck, who also had another solo. Tuck is putting up great
numbers despite not starting, a la IND DE Robert Mathias before
he moved in to the starting lineup a few years ago. Strahan was
assisted by SF QB Trent Dilfer tripping over himself and falling
down on one of them. It had been almost a year since Strahan had
his last multi-sack game and the most heís had in one game since
2003. It was the fourth of the season for Strahan and seventh
for Tuck, who is tied with a crowd for third in the league. SLB
Kiwanuka just missed a sack on an inside blitz when Dilfer
ducked away from him and scrambled for a first down. Kiwanuka
did have 7 tackles (4 solo) and broke up a pass. DE Osi Umenyiora
had another huge game. He recovered a handoff muffed by SF RB
Frank Gore and then crushed Dilfer from the blindside, forcing
a fumble he picked up and returned 75 yards for a TD. Umenyiora
maintained a share of the NFL lead in sacks with eight, as KC
DE Jared Allen had two to move in to a tie on Sunday.
SS James Butler suffered a hamstring injury in the first half
and did not return. Michael Johnson replaced him, with Corey Webster
seeing more work than usual, as well. Rookie CB Aaron Ross continues
to play well. He led the team in tackles with 8 (6 solo), including
his first solo sack. The way the NYG defense and Ross are playing
right now, he is a must-start in leagues that segregate DBs.
The Giants are off to London to meet the Dolphins this week.
New York Jets
HC Eric Mangini decided to make some changes on defense, but the
results werenít good. CB Hank
Poteat waited nine years to get his first career interception
and then had one for his second consecutive game. Poteat got the
start opposite rookie CB Darrelle Revis, sending David
Barrett to the nickel role and Andre
Dyson was a healthy scratch after giving up big play the last
two game. Revis had two pass interference penalties on third downs
that extended drives resulting in TDs. The changes went further
in the secondary, with both normal starting FS Erik
Coleman and formerly second-string Eric Smith benched in favor
of giving second-year player Abram
Elam his first career start. Elam was off to a great start,
he led the team in the tackles with 8 (7 solo). However, in the
fourth quarter with the team down by one, his game took a horribly
bad turn that will probably prevent him from getting another start
soon. After trying to strip CIN RB Kenny Watson as he was being
tackled, Elam through a punch at Watson in frustration. He was
flagged for a personal foul and immediately pulled from the game
by Mangini in favor of Coleman.
While his numbers have been disappointing this year, it was a
surprised to see ILB Jonathan Vilma on the bench to start the
second half. Eric Barton and rookie David Harris rotated with
Vilma the rest of the game. After the game, Mangini indicated
Vilma had ďsome injury issuesÖthat dramatically affected
his playĒ. The injuries werenít disclosed and Vilma
refuted Manginiís comments on the radio Tuesday, saying
it ďdefinitelyĒ wasnít because he was injured.
This is definitely a situation to keep an eye on that is a bit
worrisome to Vilma owners. Of course by now he is probably not
starting in most fantasy lineups that have a remotely better option
SS Kerry Rhodes and OLB Bryan Thomas are two other defenders producing
disappointing fantasy numbers this season. Rhodes got hot recently,
but had just 6 tackles (3 solo) on Sunday. Thomas had his first
solo sack of the season, giving him just 1.5 almost halfway through
the season after posting a career-best 8.5 last year.
They briefly led the division after four games, but the Raiders
are sinking again as they lost their NFL-record 17th consecutive
divisional game to the Chiefs. CB Nnamdi
Asomugha was a big reason why. With OAK up 7-6 in the fourth
quarter, he was beaten on a 58-yard pass that led to the eventual
game-winning TD for KC. DT Warren
Sapp just missed a sack when his first contact with KC QB
Damon Huard was on the facemask, so he let him go and Huard eluded
the pressure to complete the pass right before MLB Kirk Morrison
got to him. On the previous play, Morrison appeared to have an
interception, but couldnít hang on to the ball. Sapp got his first
sack of the season earlier in the game. The other miscue wasnít
as much Asomughaís fault, as earlier in the game he was forced
in to a collision with returner Chris Carr, resulting in a muffed
punt that KC recovered. At the other corner, Standord Routt had
a better day, grabbing his third pick of the season.
DE Derrick Burgess (right calf) saw more snaps this week, and
posted 5 tackles (4 solo), but is still searching for his first
sack of the season. DT Gerard Warren missed his second game with
a thigh injury. Rookie Jay Richardson started and worked mostly
at DE, while Tommy Kelly and Terdell Sands continued to replace
Warren on the interior.
Howard broke up a pass, but didnít get a pick, ending a string
of four straight games with one. He did lead the team in tackles
with 8 (6 solo). SLB Sam
Williams (shoulder) missed his second game and Robert Thomas
started in place of him again. LB tweener Chris
Clemons got his second sack of the season in an increased
role, as well.
The prevent defense prevented them from winning, but DE Trent
Cole remains on a role. He had 7 solo tackles, including his seventh
sack of the season, putting him a tie for third in the league.
Rookie DE Victor Abiamiri was active for the first time this year
and had a solo tackle.
The reports keep coming that he is improving and will play again
this season, but FS Brian Dawkins missed his fourth game.
SS Troy Polamalu (ribs) and NT Casey Hampton (hamstring) both
returned to the starting lineup off the bye, but the team left
the game with a couple new casualties. DE Aaron Smith left in
the first quarter with a sprained MCL and appears doubtful for
this week. FS Ryan Clark didnít leave Denver with team as
he was hospitalized for an inflamed spleen due to the high altitude
and dehydration. He is expected to play this week, as is nickel
CB Bryant McFadden, who missed his second game with a high ankle
OLB James Harrison led the team with 9 solo tackles, including
his third sack, tying a career high. Harrison leads the team in
tackles and has been extremely productive in his first season
as a full-time starter. ILB Larry Foote had 6 tackles (5 solo),
forcing a fumble and grabbing his first pick of the season. Rookie
pass rush specialist LaMarr Woodley got his third sack of the
Considering their offense turned the ball over five times and
one TD was scored on special teams, the defense didnít play
too bad. They allowed a sustained TD drive early, but held the
Seahawks to a FG or less after many turnovers, before giving up
another TD in the fourth quarter after a turnover deep in their
own territory. MLB Will Witherspoon led the team with 13 tackles
(12 solo) and leads the team by a significant margin for the season.
They forced only one turnover, the first pick of the season by
nickel CB Ronald Bartell. The offense quickly squandered that
opportunity losing 17 yards on sacks and going three-and-out.
SS Corey Chavous returned from a strained left pec and CB Tye
Hill was back in the starting lineup, making this the first week
the Rams had all of their expected starting secondary starting
for the first time this season. CB Fahkir Brown was suspended
the first four games and Hill missed a month with lower back fractures
before coming off the bench last week. Now the biggest injury
concern is the left big toe of DE Leonard Little. In Week Six,
Little aggravated what had been indicated as a lingering sprained
toe after getting his first sack of the season. He started on
Sunday, but saw limited time, posting just one solo tackle. Victor
Adeyanju was solid in place of Little, finishing with 5 tackles
(4 solo), including two for a lose. However, Adeyanju lacks anything
remotely close to Littleís ability as a pass rusher when
healthy. More information came out this week indicating the injury
is now a torn ligament (perhaps of the Lisfranc variety?) and
Little will eventually need surgery. Except in the deepest or
keeper/dynasty leagues, you can probably give up on Little for
the season. The injury is impacting his pass rush ability, which
drives his value. Even if he plays out the season, it appears
unlikely heíll consistently produce starter-quality fantasy
numbers. Adeyanju was solid, but unspectacular, in nine starts
last year. He has some value if Little opts for surgery, but he
isnít much of a pass rusher. DT LaRoi Glover had his first
sack of the season, the only one in the game for the Rams.
The biggest news of the week over the bye is the wildfires burning
in southern California. The Chargers are scheduled at home this
week, but Qualcomm is currently a refuge center.
The team shook up their LB corps coming off the bye. They waived
OLB Hannibal Naives, who was battling a knee injury, because they
needed depth at FB. Naives had joined the starting lineup just
a couple weeks ago when OLB Manny Lawson was lost for the season.
Brandon Moore returned to the starting lineup in place of Naives
and had 6 tackles (4 solo), including the only sack of the game
for the 49ers. However, he also struggled in pass coverage and
after a third-down stop in the fourth quarter, drew a roughing
the passer call that extended the drive and resulted in a TD.
Parys Haralson started at SOLB with Tully Banta-Cain limited by
an ankle injury. Haralson had 5 tackles (3 solo), including a
solo and assist on special teams. Banta-Cain had 2 tackles (1
solo). Derek Smith and rookie Patrick Willis remained the stalwarts
inside. Smith had 7 tackles (4 solo) and grabbed his first pick
since 2005, only the fourth of his eleven-year career. It was
the only turnover the defense forced. Willis continues to be a
tackle-machine. He led the team with 13 (11 solo) and has at least
12 tackles in his last three games to move in to second in the
league. His only other fantasy stats this year are a couple of
pass defensed and one forced fumble, but keep starting him for
the tackles and the big plays will come. He is the real deal.
The team worked out LB Colby Bockwoldt, briefly a starter with
the Saints previously, last week. However, they brought back Naives
on Monday, creating a LBBC mess at OLB with three players they
are all unsatisfied to some degree with.
After getting three sacks in the first half, DE Darryl Tapp tied
a team record with his fourth with a giant club cast on his right
hand after breaking it in the second quarter. These didnít
come in garbage time, either. With just a seven-point lead in
the second quarter, the Seahawks had their only turnover of the
game. On the subsequent drive by STL, Tapp had two of his sacks
to force a three-and-out. He also forced a fumble on one and had
another solo tackle. Tapp now leads the team with 5.5 sacks for
the season. I expected double-digit sacks from Tapp, who appeared
to have the potential to be a poor manís Dwight Freeney,
when he moved in to the starting lineup before the season. However,
he had just 1.5 through the first six games before breaking out
on Sunday. The rush to pick him up may be tempered by the teamís
bye this week and the fact he broke his hand. However, the initial
reports are even if needs surgery, he could be back after the
bye with a smaller cast.
DE Patrick Kerney (3.5 on season), OLB Leroy Hill (first), and
OLB Julian Peterson (team-leading 7 for year) each had a sack,
as well. Lost in frenzy over Tappís big game is Peterson
continuing his huge year. In addition to his sack, he had three
other solo tackles and his first pick of the year. SS Deon Grant
had his second interception and CB Marcus Trufant had his team-leading
third, as well.
DT Jovan Haye continues his breakout season with his team-leading
fourth sack among his 4 tackles (2 solo). He is worth starting
over many DEs in leagues that donít differentiate and a
must-start in leagues that require DTs. WLB Derrick Brooks led
the team with 8 tackles (6 solo). MLB Barrett Ruud didnít
produce double-digit tackles for just the second time this season.
He had 4 (2 solo), but still leads the league in total tackles.
While TB did dominate the time of possession, leaving less opportunities
for plays, Ruud appears to still be battling a knee problem. His
angles on pursuit were poor a few times, indicating he may not
be compensating for a loss of speed and explosion. Definitely
no need to panic, as Ruud produce just fine in the previous game
while the knee was dinged. He remains a must-start in all leagues,
but if he strings together a few more poor performances, it might
be more worrisome.
Rookie FS Tanard Jackson was denied his first career TD after
apparently returning a fumble 79 yards on the first drive by DET.
The play was ruled an incompletion after challenge. Jackson had
2 solo tackles in the game.
Rookie DE Gaines Adams was active, but limited by a chest injury
suffered in practice last week. Pass specialist Patrick Chukwurah
(left shoulder) and CB Brian Kelly (groin) were both inactive.
Phillip Buchanon continues to start in place of Kelly, who has
missed four games, including the last two. Chukwurah and Kelly
both sound likely to miss this week, as well.
Although they let the Texans back in the game, the defense forced
six turnovers to contribute to the victory. CB Nick Harper led
the way, doing a lot of everything. He led the team with 8 solo
tackles, picked off each HOU QB once for his first two picks as
a Titan, and recovered 2 fumbles. One fumble picked up his teammate,
WLB Keith Bulluck, who fumbled after he grabbed his team-leading
fourth pick. Bulluck also had 4 solo tackles and recovered a fumble,
as well, on an aborted snap. SLB David Thornton forced the fumble
Harper recovered on one of his 5 tackles (4 solo). Harper leads
the team in solo tackles and Thornton does overall.
Bulluckís tackle production hasnít been up to expectations
of his fantasy owners, as he was rated among the top IDPs overall
once again heading in to this season. A player usually among the
league leaders each year is on pace to have less than 100 for
the first time since becoming a starter. At just age 30, such
a precipitous decline is unreasonable to explain happening so
quickly. If there is an injury involved, it hasnít been
disclosed. Bulluck hasnít been on an injury report this
season. The reason Bulluck offered in The Tennessean last week
was he is not counted on, nor does he have to, make all the tackles
he did in other years because of the improvement of the defense
up front in stopping the run from getting to the second level.
This explanation has a lot of flaws. Other than DT Albert Haynesworth,
no DLineman is really putting up numbers on pace for significant
career highs. Also, Bulluck has been on some very good defenses
in the past and still put up great numbers. You do have SLB David
Thornton on pace for a career year in tackles, so that emergence
is definitely a contributing factor. With some young players in
the secondary, he may be being asked to do more in pass coverage,
this would explain why he doesnít have a sack (although
that decline started last year) and why he has a career-best four
picks (although three of those came in one game). Assuming no
injury is involved, I think the primary reason to look at (giving
those other factors relative weight in the equation) is the team
is dominating time of possession against their opponents, leaving
fewer opportunities on defense. They are second with over 34 minutes
per game and second from last in the league in tackles as a team.
CB Cortland Finnegan had his first sack of the season and DE Kyle
Vanden Bosch got his team-leading third.
The team got two earlier picks off banged up AZ QB Kurt Warner,
converting both for TDs, to jump out to a 14-0 lead, then came
up with a other huge plays to hold off the Cardinals. FS Sean
Taylor started it off with a pick in WAS territory in the first
quarter that led to a TD run by RB Clinton
Portis. It was the fifth pick this year for Taylor, all in
the last four games, to take over the NFL lead. In the second
quarter, MLB London Fletcher cut in front of a Warner pass for
his second pick of the year and took in 27 yards for a TD. Fletcher
jumped over a convoy destroying Warner at the goalline for the
score. It was Fletcherís best game of the season, as he was all
over the field. He broke up another pass and led the team in tackles
with 13 (10 solo). After a turnover by the offense led to a TD
for AZ late in the first half, DT Keith Golston had blocked the
XP, which would figure prominently in the victory. The team had
just one sack, but it was a huge one. Up by eight in the fourth
quarter, AZ had driven to the WAS five-yard line. After a delay
of game on the offense, DE Andre
Carter got to Warner and forced a fumble on the sack recovered
by DE Phillip
Daniels. Carter leads the team with five sacks this season.
After another late push by AZ, they scored a TD to make it 21-19.
The blocked XP by Golston now figured in huge, as the Cardinals
had to go for a two-point conversion. Forced to unconventional
methods by Warnerís injury, AZ ran a direct snap to WR Antuan
Boldin, who rolled right. His loft in to the end zone was snagged
by SS LaRon
Landry to save the lead. Unfortunately for his fantasy owners,
officially, that counts as neither a pick nor even a pass defensed.
However, Landry did contribute 9 tackles (6 solo) in the game.
CB Shawn Springs returned to the team Saturday morning after spending
the most of the week in a Dallas hospital with his father, who
is in a coma, and family. As he was behind on learning the AZ
offense, DC Gregg Williams planned to limit Springs to nickel
and dime packages. Fred Smoot and Carlos Rogers started, but Springs
was quickly pressed back to full duty when Smoot left in the first
half with a hamstring strain. Springs finished with 7 solo tackles
and a pass defensed. Rogers also suffered an injury, a mild knee
sprain, during the game. The early word is neither injury is serious.
Both Smoot and Rogers are expected to play this week. Rogers also
drew the ire of AZ K Neil Rackers when Rogers threw an unnecessary
block after an XP was Rackers was blocked before halftime. They
wrestled each other down by the face mask, drawing offsetting
McIntosh had 9 tackles (8 solo). He leads the team in solo
tackles, while Fletcher has one more than him overall. SLB Marcus
Washington missed his second game with a left hamstring injury.
Godfrey got another start, posting 4 tackles (3 solo) and
forcing a fumble.