After resting over the bye week, LB Karlos Dansby (left knee sprain)
still wasn’t able to practice early this week. The team is
hopeful he will at some point, but he seems questionable to play
this week. SS Adrian Wilson is also recovering from a lingering
hamstring injury over the bye.
The divide between CB DeAngelo Hall and HC Bobby Petrino continued
to be a story over the bye week. Hall was fined $100,000 by the
team after engaging in a series of arguments on the sideline after
a costly penalty during a loss at Carolina earlier this season.
When DT Grady Jackson was released last, Hall was critical of
the move. Petrino and Hall met over the bye, with Hall, unfortunately
for us, declining to publicly comment. The team apparently was
willing to half his fine if he toed the company line, but after
his latest negative comments about the organization regarding
Jackson, the word is the fine remains the same.
Rookie LB Stephen Nicholas had yet to practice early in the week,
but did some running. He has been sidelined with an ankle sprain
and it sounds like he may miss one more game. As soon as Nicholas
returns, the value of WLB Demorrio Williams takes a hit, even
if Williams remains the starter. The team signed DE Kevin Huntley
to the practice squad over the bye. Huntley had a few nice games
with OAK last year and seemed to be competing for a starting role
in the preseason before he was a surprise cut. He’s likely
to be activated and see some action if anyone is hurt on their
CB Chris McAllister (right knee) rested over the bye and still
was not able to practice early this week. He did start running,
but sounds very questionable this week. DE Trevor Pryce (broken
wrist) has returned to practice and is expected to start this
week. Dwan Edwards and Justin Bannan get downgraded.
They got just three sacks, but brought plenty of good pressure
much of the game. DE Aaron Schobel had 3 QB pressures and one
sack. He forced two fumbles on two of his other tackles, one recovered
by DE Chris Kelsay, who played through a sore ankle. The team
ran a lot of nickel package against the Jets three-wide sets and
blitzed SLB Angelo Crowell out of it. Crowell got his first sack
of the season among his 8 tackles (7 solo). WLB Keith Ellison
saw less work because of the nickel package and finished with
just an assist. Downgrade Ellison as he doesn’t get any
work in pass packages. MLB John DiGiorgio led the team with 13
tackles (9 solo). DT Kyle Williams got his first career sack.
DE Ryan Denney (broken foot) remains inactive and is yet to play
a game this year. He is doubtful for this week too. FS Jim Leonhard
(calf) remained inactive, giving George Wilson his third start.
Wilson had 6 tackles (5 solo) and his second pick of the season.
Indications are Leonhard is probable for this week. CB Terrence
McGee also had a pick and knocked NYJ WR Laveranues Cole out of
the game with a solid hit from behind to break up a pass.
Morgan remained inactive, missing his fourth game with an
Achilles’ tendon injury. Rookie Jon
Beason remains in the middle and posted 5 tackles (2 solo),
as well as broke up 2 passes. He also had a forced fumble reversed
on replay as an incomplete pass. DE Mike
Rucker, shockingly, led the team with 7 solo tackles. He almost
doubled his tackle total for the season in the game. He still
has no sacks this season and the team continues to struggle to
get to the QB. WLB Na’il Diggs had a nice strip on IND TE Ben
Utecht among his 4 tackles (3 solo). SS Chris Harris recovered
the fumble and made a poor decision to try and lateral it. The
ball came loose and Diggs fell on it, so he also got credit for
a fumble recovery on the same play. Harris also had 6 solo tackles
and a pass defensed.
CB Ken Lucas took a beating up and down the field from Reggie
Wayne. Lucas finished with 5 solo tackles. Reserve CB Curtis Deloatch
injured his knee on the final play of the third quarter and left
the game for good after trying to return for the next series.
He tore his ACL and is done for the season.
A week after getting angered at media questions about whether
he had a lingering injury and then silencing critics with his
best game of the year, MLB Brian Urlacher confirmed after their
loss that he has “an arthritis type of thing”, dating
back to training camp, going on with his back. Urlacher played
the entire game, but had just 4 tackles (2 solo). I think too
much will be made of this as most veterans of several seasons
in the NFL are likely developing arthritis somewhere already.
Unless some more definitive and detrimental information comes
out, the bottom line is he seems to be battling more back pain
this year than a guy colliding with people on every play would
normally have and it will sporadically affect him the rest of
the season. At 29 he should still have a few more seasons of peak
production left, so he becomes a nice buy-low acquisition target
in dynasty leagues if you find his current owner panicking over
the combination of his sub-par game and this news.
The Bears got to the QB with four sacks, and while the offense
failed to support them, they also failed to come up with a big
play in several key situations. One time they did not was after
a three-and-out by the offense deep in Chicago territory early
in the fourth quarter which left the Lions with their best starting
field position of the game. With a nine-point lead, DET looked
to eat some clock with a run on the first play. As CB Charles
Tillman forced the end run back inside, SS Adam
Archuleta caught up to DET RB Kevin Jones from behind and
popped the ball out. SLB Hunter
Hillenmeyer recovered it. It was the first takeaway for the
defense in the last three games, not good for a squad that thrives
and prides itself on turnovers. Earlier in the game, Hillenmeyer
deflected a pass at the line of scrimmage straight up in the air,
but couldn’t come down with it for what likely would have been
a long TD return. Tillman dropped an interception on the first
play of the game and FS Danieal
Manning also misjudged an overthrow he should have picked.
Manning and Archuleta also combined for a brutal 47-yard pass
interference on third-and-15 late in the first quarter that kept
alive a drive that resulted in the first score for DET. Archuleta
(6 solo) and Tillman (4 solo) had 6 tackles in the game. WLB Lance
Briggs had 7 tackles (5 solo) and his second sack of the season.
DT Tommie Harris had his team-leading seventh sack of the season
and played another all-around very good game. Third DE Alex Brown
had his second sack of the year among his 3 solo tackles. The
former starter is seeing more snaps as Mark Anderson, who replaced
Brown on the first-string after his break-out rookie season, continues
to get to have miscues on running plays. Anderson, who had just
a solo tackle in the game, frequently over pursues down the line
when unblocked, exposing the team on counters and reverses, and
gets too deep with a pass rush-first mentality on running plays
that opens his hole. After going three games without one, DE Adewale
Ogunleye got his fourth sack of the season among his 4 solo tackles.
DT Darwin Walker returned from a knee sprain, but did not start
or play much.
CB Nathan Vasher (groin) missed his fifth-straight game. He practiced
last week, but with the bye this week, he rested another game
and is expected back in Week Ten. Rookie Trumaine McBride got
another start and led the team with 8 solo tackles. Nickel CB
Ricky Manning Jr. had 8 tackles (6 solo).
Brooks (groin) missed his fifth straight game and LB Caleb
Miller (back) missed his fourth straight game. Neither practiced
last week, despite Miller being expected to. Anthony
Schlegel continued to under whelm with another start in the
middle. He had 5 tackles (2 solo). Converted DE Robert
Geathers continues to start at SLB and rotate with Dhani
Jeanty saw some work on defense in his second game of the
season, but it looks like he won’t regain his starting job. WLB
Landon Johnson had 6 tackles (3 solo) and remains the only CIN
LB with any fantasy value. He leads the team in tackles on the
CB Deltha O’Neal had 6 solo tackles and broke up 2 passes,
including grabbing his first pick of the season. DE Justin Smith (DE, LB)
led the team in tackles for the second-straight week. He had 10
tackles (8 solo). DT Domata Peko had the only sack in the game,
his first of the season. Rookie reserve DB Chinedum “Nedu”
Ndukwe remains the team leader in sacks with two. Pathetic.
They had to overcome 14 penalties for 102 yards (seven by the
defense) and it took two big plays at the end of the game, but
Browns literally held on by their fingertips to win in St. Louis.
Coming out of the two minute warning with a fourth-and-one, SS
held on to STL RB Brian Leonard to stop him for no gain. After
a three-and-out by the offense, rookie CB Eric Wright kept hope
alive for the Rams when he drew a 20-yard PI call on fourth down
with less than a minute to play. An offsides by OLB Willie
McGinest on the next play put STL five yards closer, but CB
preserved the victory with a pick, the lone turnover the defense
forced in the game. Bodden broke up another pass and led the defense
with 8 solo tackles, but also had two penalties. He leads the
team in interceptions with four, a new career high. Jones had
4 tackles (3 solo) and FS Brodney
Pool had 4 solo tackles, but both continue to struggle in
pass coverage. The team signed S Nick
Sorensen to fill the roster spot opened when CB Gary
Baxter went on the IR. However, Sorensen, a six-year vet cut
by the Jaguars in preseason, has little upside and is primarily
a special teams player.
ILB Leon Williams led the team with 9 solo tackles, including
2 on special teams, and broke up a pass. Back-up Andra Davis had
5 tackles (4 solo). He saw more work than usual, now that he’s
backing up Williams, when ILB D’Qwell Jackson left in the
first quarter with a left ankle injury. Davis is also battling
an ankle injury. Jackson, the team’s leading tackler, had
3 solo tackles before leaving. It sounds like he is pretty questionable
for this. Davis gets a temporary bump if he returns to the starting
lineup. LB Kris Griffin, a special team standout who is also Jackson’s
back-up, suffered an Achilles’ tendon injury and had to
be helped off the field in the first quarter, as well.
NT Ethan Kelley had his first sack of the season. He continues
to start with Ted Washington back as an inactive this week. Shaun
Smith continues to start at DE in place of Orpheus Roye, who was
active but still struggling to recover from knee surgery.
CB Anthony Henry is expected to return from a high ankle sprain
following the bye.
CB Champ Bailey played through a strained left quad and CB Dre’
Bly played with a slight shoulder separation. Both were burned
on long TDs. Bailey broke up 3 passes and shared the team lead
in tackles with 8 (7 solo). MLB D.J. Williams also had 8 tackles
DE Simeon Rice was active, but did not start. He was the most
productive lineman with 4 tackles (2 solo). The team had no individual
sacks credited, just one team sack. Rookie DE Jarvis Moss was
a healthy scratch.
FS John Lynch suffered a pinched nerve in his neck in the first
quarter and did not return. The team started Domonique Foxworth
as a deep SS against the GB three-wide set before he returned
to nickel CB and Nick Ferguson resumed his SS job. Foxworth and
Curome Cox saw more time with Lynch out.
The frequently criticized DET secondary came up with four picks,
including three in the end zone, to secure a victory on Sunday.
Smith did a nice job keeping the ball from hitting the ground
on his team-leading third interception of the season. Smith has
made a season out of playing CHI QB Brian Griese. In their last
meeting, Smith returned a pick for a TD. CB Fernando
Bryant and rookie FS Gerald
Alexander each had their second pick of the season in the
end zone. Alexander’s fell in his hands in the back of the end
zone after being tipped around. Bryant also had 6 solo tackles.
SS Kennoy Kennedy got his first pick of the season in the end
zone and made a poor decision to try and run it out, but was lucky
to make it to the seven-yard line. CB Travis Fisher, who recently
Wilson in the starting lineup, left the game in the third
quarter with a hip/lower back bruise.
MLB Paris Lenon led the team with 10 tackles (9 solo). Teddy Lehman
continues to see a series or two calling the plays in the middle,
as well. DT Shaun Rogers left the game during the first series
with an injury. He got his right elbow wrapped on the sidelines,
but appeared OK when he returned the next series and got his second
sack of the season. DE Dewayne White followed up his three-sack
game the previous week with another on Sunday. He leads the team
with 5.5 on the season, four in his last two games. DE Kalimba
Edwards (knee) was inactive, despite hoping to play as he already
missed two games earlier this year with an ankle injury. He is
day-to-day. Jared DeVries started in his place.
With second-and-goal from the Green Bay one-yard line on the first
play of the second quarter, DEN QB Jay Cutler muffed the exchange.
Barnett fell on it and shifted the momentum of the game back
to GB. Barnett led the team in tackles with 9 (6 solo). DE Aaron
Kampman brought good pressure all day, getting three sacks.
He leads the team with 8 sacks, tied for second in the league
SS Atari Bigby had a rough game, drawing four penalties, including
two to help Denver’s TD scoring drive in the first quarter.
DE Mario Williams had his fourth sack of the season, tying him
with rookie DT Amobi Okoye for the team lead. MLB DeMeco Ryans
had his two-game streak of double-digit tackle games snapped.
He still led the team with 8 (7 solo). And that is really all
there is to talk about this team for this week.
After overcoming a dislocated right elbow, WLB Freddie Keiaho
suffered a concussion in Week Four against Denver. He sat out
Week Five, then had a bye, before he was cleared to play, and
did, in Week Seven. However, he is now dealing with post-concussion
syndrome and missed the game on Sunday. Tyjuan Hagler, who took
over the starting SLB last week, slid back to the weak-side in
place of Keiaho and posted 10 tackles (8 solo). Rocky Boiman,
who Hagler replaced last week, got another start at SLB and had
4 tackles (2 solo). With Keiaho out and the team disappointed
in Boiman’s performance, they signed LB Brandon Archer from
the practice squad last week. Archer saw significant action, posting
4 tackles (3 solo). MLB Gary Brackett led the team with 12 tackles
CB Marlin Jackson left the game in the third quarter after injuring
his neck during a tackle. It didn’t sound serious as HC
Tony Dungy indicated he was hopeful Jackson could play this week.
Rookie Daymeion (who now apparently wants to go by his middle
name, Dante) Hughes replaced Jackson. SS Bob Sanders had 6 tackles
(4 solo) and recovered a fumble. With the team down by four early,
FS Antoine Bethea grabbed his team-leading second pick of the
season to prevent a bigger deficit.
DE Dwight Freeney was held without a sack for the first time in
three games. The team had none in the game.
Williams strained his hamstring in practice last week, giving
cagey veteran Aaron
Glenn his first start this season on Sunday. Glenn paid immediate
dividends when he took the first interception thrown by TB QB
Jeff Garcia back 28 yards for a score. It was the sixth pick-six
of Glenn’s career and his first since 2002. In the third quarter,
moments before he was destroyed by DT John
Henderson, Garcia dumped a ball off that SS Sammy
Knight grabbed for his second pick of the season. Knight also
led the defense with 6 tackles (5 solo). FS Reggie
Nelson sealed the victory with second remaining when CB Rashean
Mathis deflected a pass straight up that Nelson grabbed. Glenn
tackled Nelson who briefly appeared to unwisely consider trying
to return the interception. Nelson also led the team with 8 solo
tackles, including 3 on special teams.
DL Rob Meier had a solo sack and shared another with DT Marcus
Stroud. MLB Mike Peterson had 5 solo tackles. The team signed
DT Grady Jackson, who was released by ATL last week.
DE Jared Allen lost his league lead in sacks over the bye. Reserve
LB Keyaron Fox (hamstring) returned to practice, but reserve LB
Johnny Baldwin (knee) will still be out this week.
MLB Zach Thomas didn’t make the trip across the Atlantic
as did end up injured in his car accident after their Week Seven
game. The first concern was he suffered another concussion, but
it looks like that was not the case. He reportedly has whiplash
and that neck injury was the reason given for him being advised
not to attend the trip and not active. Channing Crowder started
in the middle in place of Thomas and led the team with 8 tackles
(6 solo). Derrick Pope replaced Crowder on the weak-side and had
4 tackles (3 solo).
It was mostly a positive result in the first NFL start at FS for
former first round pick Jason
Allen. He had 5 solo tackles, and another erased by penalty,
most as the much-needed last line of defense against NYG RB Brandon
Jacobs, who ran all over the Dolphins. Still, Allen (and the brutal
field) helped limit Jacobs to no run longer than 15 yards and
forced him to fumble one. The fumble was a couple plays after
Allen had his first career pick erased by a holding penalty by
Taylor. Allen also drew an unnecessary roughness personal
foul. The much-maligned secondary held the Giants to just eight
completions, but that had more to do with the London weather and
field condition than a sudden vast improvement by MIA. DE Matt
Roth had the only sack of the game among his 6 solo tackles.
He forced a fumble on the sack that Taylor recovered, the only
turnover the defense forced. After a 26-foot robot version of
Taylor paraded through London as part of the hype leading to the
game, he failed to amaze the crowd at Wembley with just a QB hurry
to go with the fumble recovery as the only plays he put up on
Cameron Worrell remained the starter at SS. Recently acquired
S Lance Schulters was active for the game, but DNP. It appears
he’ll just be depth as Travares Tillman missed his fifth-straight
game after arthroscopic surgery on his knee that was only suppose
to keep him out for a month. DT Vonnie Holliday missed another
game with a slight fracture in his right ankle. He expects to
return to practice after their bye this week. DE Quentin Moses,
who was also signed last week for depth, was inactive.
CB Antoine Winfield had another busy day, he led the team 12 tackles
(10 solo, including one on special teams) and broke up 3 passes.
MLB E.J. Henderson had his third-straight game with double-digit
tackles posting 10 (9 solo).
DE Kenechi Udeze had a sack for the second-consecutive game, taking
over the team lead with four for the season. SLB Ben Leber had
his second sack of the season. DE Erasmus James (shoulder) remained
Smith remained inactive with a lingering hamstring injury.
got another start in his place. Smith is expected back this week.
After a brief benching in the previous game, rookie nickel CB
lost his nickel role to Charles Gordon. Gordon had 2 tackles (1
solo) and McCauley was limited to mostly special teams. Although
Gordon didn’t give up any big plays, it didn’t help the defense
much as PHI QB Donovan McNabb dissected them the whole game.
The (at least) annual Mike Vrabel TD pass has joined death and
taxes as the rare certainties in life. With a seven-point lead
and second-and-goal from the two-yard line in the second quarter,
Vrabel and ILB Junior Seau checked in as eligible. The Redskins
totally ignored Vrabel releasing on the right side of the line
and he caught his tenth career reception (8 regular season, 2
postseason). All have been for touchdowns. Vrabel pretty much
had a career day on the defensive side of the ball, as well. He
led the team with 13 tackles (11 solo) with 3 sacks, all of which
he forced fumbles on. The first came on the WAS drive following
his TD catch. Sandwiched by a WAS drive on which CB Asante Samuel
grabbed a pick, Vrabel got another sack and forced fumble. Both
those fumbles were recovered by DE Ty Warren. The second quarter
mercifully ended for the Redskins, but Vrabel was right back at
it in the third quarter. On his final sack, OLB Rosevelt Colvin
picked up the fumble and trotted 11 yards for a TD. Vrabel now
leads the team with 7.5 sacks. Samuel leads the team with four
picks, tied with a crowd for second in the league.
DE Richard Seymour (knee) was activated from the PUP and saw limited
action on Sunday. The team has no reason to rush Seymour, but
he’ll impact the value of DE Jarvis Green, what little he
currently has, at some point. After a fast start to the season
with three sacks in the first four games, Green hasn’t done
much from a fantasy perspective for weeks. FS Eugene Wilson (ankle)
was inactive. Wilson was displaced as a starter recently by James
Sanders anyway, so he currently has little value anyway.
DE Charles Grant sprained his left ankle in the first quarter,
but returned and played most of the rest of the way, including
sharing a sack with DE Will Smith at the end of the first half.
DT Brian Young had a sack for the third consecutive game, he leads
the team with three on the season. Young set a career high with
5.5 sacks last year and is continues to be a very solid interior
pass-rushing lineman this year.
WLB Scott Shanle left the game in the second half with a hamstring
injury and was replaced by Troy Evans. SLB Scott Fujita led the
defense with 6 solo tackles and SS Roman Harper led the team with
7 tackles (4 solo), including one on special teams.
CB Jason David returned from a broken left forearm and took back
his starting job.
New York Giants
IDPs on both sides capitalized on unforced errors caused by the
weather and short grass for a slicker pitch in London’s Wembley
Stadium. DE Michael
Strahan recovered a fumble when MIA QB Cleo Lemon dropped
back for a pass and the ball popped out of his hands late in the
second half. Strahan also had 4 solo tackles in the game. He had
some hip pain and an ab strain during the second half, which caused
him to miss some time, but neither injury appears to be a serious
problem and he finished the game. On the other side, DE Osi
Umenyiora was unable to have a big game in the city he was
born, finishing with just 2 solo tackles. WLB Kawika
Mitchell was robbed of a sack when Lemon muffed a snap, counting
as a fumble, so when Mitchell tackled him for a loss while Lemon
was dropping back to throw, it was only counted as 1 of his 4
solo tackles. Mitchell also forced a fumble and broke up a pass.
SS James Butler (hamstring) was inactive, giving rookie Michael
Johnson his first career start. Johnson had 4 solo tackles. CB
Corey Webster also saw some more work in pass packages because
nickel CB Kevin Dockery missed the second half with a shoulder
injury he suffered on kick coverage. CB Sam Madison led the team
with 6 solo tackles and had a nice pass defense in the end zone.
New York Jets
We now know the ILB Jonathan
Vilma was indeed hurting, as he was put on the IR. The team
and Vilma have not commented on the nature or severity of the
injury. His agent has said it isn’t career-threatening. The NY
Daily News speculated he was favoring his right knee and say he
entered the draft with osteochondritis dessicans, a bone condition
that apparently causes instability in the knee, but must not be
considered serious as they indicate the team knew about it when
they drafted him. Again, this is all speculation, the team has
not confirmed anything. Vilma was inherited by HC Eric Mangini
and it is possible he’s not back next year as he has struggled
to fit in the 3-4. If he goes somewhere else, assuming the knee
is OK, he becomes a great value pick next year. On the other hand,
rookie ILB David
Harris looks like a great fit for Mangini’s defense after
replacing Vilma. In his first career start, Harris led the team
with 17 tackles (10 solo), including his first career sack, the
only one in the game for the Jets. He immediately becomes the
hottest IDP waiver wire pick this week and a big mid-season boost
for deep and/or dynasty league owners who are already sitting
on him. Fellow rookie CB Darrelle Revis also continues to put
up good fantasy numbers. Revis had 6 tackles (5 solo) and leads
the team on the season. He also had 3 QB hurries and 3 passes
defensed, including one picked for his first career interception,
the only turnover for the Jets in the game. He also missed his
second career pick late in the fourth quarter. Revis seemed to
be coming down with the ball over BUF WR Lee Evans when FS Abram
Elam crashed in to Revis. Evans eluded the collision and took
the pass 85 yards to put the game away. Elam’s stupid personal
foul last week apparently wasn’t enough for him to lose the job.
He had his second career start and posted 7 tackles (3 solo).
The Raiders killed themselves with 14 penalties for 100 yards,
but these weren’t the overaggressive, borderline criminal Raider
penalties of old on defense. In fact, the defense had just one,
an innocent offsides for five yards. DE Derrick
Burgess appears to have made significant progress with his
right calf injury, finally getting his first sack of the season
on a third down in the third quarter. He flustered TEN QB Vince
Young with his post-sack pose, as Young threw the ball away and
took a delay of game penalty for it. Young had a rough day in
his first game back from a hamstring injury, but up until then,
he kept his cool. DT Warren
Sapp tried to break him, jawing all day and sacking Young
once. It was his second sack of the season, and in as many games,
for Sapp. DE Tommy
Kelly stopped Young for no gain once, just missing getting
a sack. Young managed just 11 yards on seven carries. Kelly had
5 tackles (4 solo) overall before leaving minutes in to the third
quarter with a right knee injury. Kelly’s was sorely missed in
their run defense. After the Raiders held the Titans to 61 yards
rushing in the first half, TEN rushed for 131 yards in the second
half. The Raiders had slightly more time of possession in the
second half and four more minutes in the first half, so it shouldn’t
have been because they were getting worn down. Jay
Richardson replaced Kelly in the second half, with tweener
seeing some more work, as well. Kelly has a torn ACL and is done
for the season. DT Gerard
Warren (thigh) missed his third-straight game, giving Terdell
Sands another start.
MLB Kirk Morrison led the team with 12 tackles (8 solo). SLB Sam
Williams (shoulder) missed his third-straight game and Robert
Thomas started in his place again. Former Ram Jon Alston even
saw a few snaps on defense.
It is all about Trent Cole on the PHI D. The DE led the team with
8 tackles (7 solo), including 2 sacks for his second multi-sack
game of the year. Cole takes over the league lead with 9 sacks,
including 4 in his last 3 games. DE Jevon Kearse had a sack, giving
him 3.5 for the season, and DE Juqua Thomas had his fourth sack
of the season. After being active for the first time this year
in the previous game, rookie DE Victor Abiamiri was a healthy
scratch again Sunday.
FS Brian Dawkins missed his fifth game. The Eagles website reports
he is expected to return this week, but split time with Quintin
Mikell. Dawkins was already a risky play until something is confirmed,
but the news he will be sharing work makes him even less appealing
to rush back in your lineup. Nickel CB Will James has a plantar
fasciitis strain, but is expected to play through the pain.
The team released LB Matt McCoy this week. A bad roughing the
kicker penalty on a punt in Sunday’s game may have been
the final straw for the former second-round pick who has been
relegated to special teams work after being unable to hold on
to a starting job last year.
Despite missing two starters and another key player, the defense
helped keep QB Ben Rothlisberger undefeated (9-0) in his home
state of Ohio. DE Aaron
Smith (sprained left MCL), FS Ryan
Clark (inflamed spleen), and nickel CB Bryant
McFadden (high ankle sprain) were inactive, as expected. It
was the first game since he was a rookie in 1999 that Smith has
missed. He was replaced by Nick Eason, who had 3 tackles (1 solo).
Clark, who problems came after dehydration and the high altitude
in Denver the previous week, was replaced at FS by Anthony
Smith. Smith led the team 10 tackles (9 solo, including 2
on special teams). Neither (Aaron) Smith nor Clark practiced last
week and both remain questionable this week. Although he returned
to some phases of practice last week, McFadden missed his third
game. Reserve S Tyrone
Carter saw most of the work in nickel packages, forcing a
fumble on his only tackle.
Harrison continues to come up with big plays in his first
season as a full-time starter. He had 5 tackles (3 solo), including
catching CIN RB Kenny Watson from behind on a screen and ripping
the ball out. Challenge on replay confirmed the fumble and recovery
for Harrison, despite it appearing fairly questionable. Harrison
leads the team in tackles for the season.
The team released 2004 second-round pick Ricardo Colclough and
brought back DB Anthony Madison. Colclough was a small school
prospect who had a good showing at the Combine, but never panned
out as a punt returner or DB.
The offense was finally able to score a bit, but they couldn’t
finish two drives in to CLE territory at the end of the game and
defense forced no turnovers to help them. MLB Will Witherspoon
did his part, leading the team in tackles with 9 (8 solo), including
his second sack of the season as the team used some blitzes to
try to compensate for the loss of DE Leonard Little and lack of
pass rush in the front four even with Little in this season. Little
was inactive with a torn ligament connecting his left big toe.
He’ll see a specialist over the bye this week, so look for
more information next week on his status for the rest of the season.
Victor Adeyanju started in place of Little, but didn’t appear
in the box score. DL Trevor Johnson saw more snaps with Little
out, as well. Rookie DT Adam Carriker got his first career sack.
Nickel CB Antonio
Cromartie had a career game in second season he’s unlikely
to ever duplicate or surpass. It started in the first quarter
when the snap on a punt was launched in to the end zone and HOU
P Matt Turk made the worst attempt to try to recover the ball
in the history of football. Cromartie was first on the scene and
got it easily for his first career TD. In the second quarter,
he grabbed a pick and returned it 70 yards for another TD. On
the next drive, he made a nice leap to get his second interception
of the game and returned it 21 yards. He also broke up another
pass and had 2 solo tackles. Cromartie is tied with FS Marlon
McCree for the team lead in interception with three. On the
second pick, CB Drayton
Florence leveled HOU QB Matt Schaub, knocking him out of the
game. Those weren’t the only DBs of note. SS Clinton
Hart led the team with 10 tackles (5 solo). Rookie third S
had 4 tackles (3 solo) and his first career pick. CB Quentin
Jammer strained his hamstring in the second half, giving Cletis
Gordon some work in the last series or two. Jammer is expected
to play this week.
WILB Matt Wilhelm had 8 tackles (6 solo) and SILB Stephen Cooper
had 7 tackles (5 solo), as well as his first pick of the year,
second of his career, and first since 2003. Wilhelm twisted his
ankle during the game, but is expected to play this week. OLB
Shawne Merriman had 7 tackles (6 solo), a QB hurry, and tipped
two passes. OLB Shaun Phillips left the game in the second quarter
with a groin injury and didn’t return. After the game he
was confident he’d be back this week, but the HC Norv Turner
is currently calling him a dreaded game-time decision. Marques
Harris replaced Phillips and shared a sack with DE Luis Castillo.
NT Jamal Williams had minor surgery on both knees before the bye
and was expected back this week, but apparently had a setback
and was inactive on Sunday. He is expected to be back this week.
San Francisco Parys Haralson started at OLB again. Tully Banta-Cain’s
ankle is better, but he still saw limited duty because the 49ers
ran a lot of nickel packages against NO’s three-wide sets.
Brandon Moore was back to primarily special teams with Banta-Cain
healthy. ILB Patrick Willis led the team with 10 tackles (6 solo).
He remains second in the league in tackles.
CB Walt Harris left the game in the fourth quarter with a hyperextended
knee. Shawte Spencer replaced him. CB Donald Strickland had bumped
Spencer from the nickel job recently.
DE Darryl Tapp (broken finger) and DT Rocky Bernard (groin) are
expected to play this week. Tapp, coming off a team-record four
sacks against STL, had surgery over the bye week to insert six
screws in his right ring finger.
MLB Barrett Ruud bounced back from disappointing production in
the previous game to lead the team with 12 tackles (8 solo). WLB
Derrick Brooks had 10 tackles (7 solo).
Rookie DE Gaines Adams shared a sack with DL Greg White. Adams
has been frustrated at his lack of playing time, but HC Jon Gruden
seemed to hint at more PT for Adams in the near future when he
said Adams should be a “real big part” of the second
half. DE Greg Spires left the game earlier with a calf injury.
Pass specialist Patrick Chukwurah (left shoulder) and CB Brian
Kelly (groin) both remained inactive. Phillip Buchanon continues
to start in place of Kelly, who has missed five games, including
the last three. Kelly was limited in practice last week, but upgraded
to questionable before missing another game. Nickel CB Torrie
Cox left the game with a knee injury. It is reportedly a torn
ACL and he will miss the season. His presence will mostly be missed
on special teams.
The Titans had the top run defense in the league, and they kept
the Raiders under 100 yards rushing. However, they weren’t
generating much of a pass rush, until Sunday. Against OAK, they
broke out with five sacks, all by the front four. Third DE Travis
LaBoy had two and DE Kyle Vanden Bosch had one. Both forced fumbles
on sacks, while LaBoy also recovered his. Both now have four sacks
each to lead the team. DT Albert Haynesworth had his second sack
of the season on the final drive by OAK, helping preserve the
win. DE Antwan Odom had his third sack of the season, setting
a new career best.
SS Chris Hope has frustrated fantasy owners after a career year
in 2006, but he had his best game of the season on Sunday. He
grabbed his first pick of the year late in the fourth quarter
and had 6 tackles (5 solo). After the local media talking up rookie
Michael Griffin being on the verge of getting more playing time,
HC Jeff Fisher validated their prediction when Griffin got his
first career start at FS. He finished with 4 tackles (2 solo).
Both safeties now become second-half IDP sleepers if you are hurting
at DB. Calvin Lowry, who Griffin replaced on the first unit, was
sufficient as a starter, but lacks Griffin’s upside and
first-round draft status.
SLB David Thornton led the team with 12 tackles (9 solo). He leads
the team for the season. WLB Keith Bulluck disappointed fantasy
owners again, for reasons we took a look at in last week’s
column, posting 6 tackles (5 solo).
Not many highlights for a defense that was the latest, and worst,
victims of the NE offense. MLB London Fletcher led the defense
with 15 tackles (11 solo) and broke up a pass. Fletcher moved
up to fourth in the league in tackles. Rookie SS LaRon Landry
also had 15 tackles (11 solo, including one on special teams).
FS Sean Taylor had 6 tackles (3 solo) and still leads the league
in interceptions with five. The team had only one sack and one
turnover on the day. DE Phillip Daniels got his first solo sack
of the season, forcing a fumble that DE Andre Carter recovered.
Washington returned after missing two games with a left hamstring
injury. He worked solely as an edge rusher, as the team didn’t
want to further injure the hamstring by asking him to work in
pass coverage. WLB Rocky
McIntosh had to leave the game several times as problems with
pinched nerves in both his shoulders that bothered him earlier
this year returned. He had 5 tackles (3 solo). Rookie H.B.
Blades saw his first significant work of the season with both
OLBs hurting, but Blades also hurt his knee in the game. He returned
after coming out and finished with 4 tackles (3 solo). All three
are expected to be OK for this week.
CB Fred Smoot missed another game as he battles a lingering hamstring
injury. He will need to be better this week, because CB Carlos
Rogers was lost for the season, tearing his MCL and ACL. Leigh
Torrence replaced him and moves in to the starting lineup if Smoot
can’t heal soon.