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IDP Notes
Week 15

Quick Hits (Details in individual team notes)
  • No more byes
  • Thursday game this week: NO@CHI
  • Federal judge blocks StarCaps suspensionsÖfor now
  • Porter, Ware, and Harrison chase sack title
  • CLE ILB Jackson takes on TEN by himself, leads league in tackles
  • MIA OLB Porter reclaims league lead in sacks
  • NO MLB Vilma shows 2007 was a fluke
  • NYJ ILB Harris returns, DE Ellis arrested
  • IND MLB Brackett out with broken leg, Davis surprise replacement
  • KC LB Johnson moves to middleÖfor good?
  • Injury plagued Pats bring back familiar faces
  • IND ends Freeney and Mathis stay hot
  • BAL FS Reed dominates
  • DEN MLB Webster returns, sort of; Larsen will just play offense now
  • STL LB Draft returns from injury, moves to middle
  • OLBs finally show up in a game for SD
  • GB LB Bishop blows up in first start
  • SEA OLB Hill inactive
  • DEN plays musical chairs at safety
  • NO FS Kaesviharn done for season
Week 15 Injury Report (available Friday PM)

IDP Depth Chart
| DEN | DET | GB | HOU | IND | JAX | KC
PIT | STL | SD | SF | SEA | TB | TEN | WAS

ILB Gerald Hayes had his first big game since Week Three in what has been a down year in production for him. Hayes led the team with 11 tackles (eight solo) and forced STL RB Steven Jackson to fumble on consecutive drives in the third quarter. ILB Karlos Dansby recovered the first, then DE Darnell Dockett recovered the other in the end zone for a TD. He also shared a sack with SS Adrian Wilson. Wilson (five solo) and Dansby (six solo) each had eight tackles. Dansby leads the team in tackles on the season by a significant number and is closing in on his first 100+ tackle season.

Rookie CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie returned his team-leading third pick of the season 99 yards for a score in the fourth quarter. He also had five solo tackles. CB Rod Hood returned to the starting lineup after missing the previous game with a rib injury. CB Ralph Brown and S Aaron Francisco worked as the third DB.

WLB Keith Brooking led the team with ten tackles (six solo). It was just the second time this season he had more than eight tackles in a game. He has a string of six consecutive seasons with 100+ tackles that will go down to the wire to keep alive. Regardless, it looks to be his worst statistical production since his injury-shortened 2000 season. The team had no sacks and forced no turnovers.

FS Ed Reed is frustratingly inconsistent, seemingly a bit fragile, and has become allergic to tackling, but he showed Sunday night he remains one of the elite playmakers in the game. He has a dominating performance from the first series, when OLB Terrell Suggs hit WAS QB Jason Campbell as he was throwing and Reed picked it off. The offense converted a TD on the subsequent drive. Later in the first quarter, Reed stripped WAS RB Clinton Portis and recovered it himself, returning it 22 yards for a score. Reed would put the game away with his second INT with less than two minutes to play. He even had three solo tackles. After a frustrating slow, injury-plagued start to the season, he has four picks in the last three games and five on the year, along with three defensive TDs. Classic boom or bust play each week, but heís been paying off more than not as we head to the ff playoffs. Suggs would record a sack later in the game, giving him 6.5 on the season. After going almost an entire month without a sack, he has 1.5 in his last two games. MLB Ray Lewis led the tam with 13 tackles (ten solo), including his second sack of the season.

SS Donte Whitner returned from a separated shoulder, but the defense opted to Bryan Scott in the starting lineup in place of Ko Simpson to defend the run, challenging the Dolphins to beat them through the air. Scott had ten tackles (nine solo), including one for a loss. MLB Paul Posluszny led the team with 11 tackles (eight solo). Reserve DL Spencer Johnson had his second sack of the season, the only one by the Bills. They forced no turnovers.

CB Jabari Greer missed his third straight game with a knee sprain. First-round pick Leodis McKelvin started in place of Greer again, opposite Terrence McGee. Simpson was the nickel. DE Aaron Schobel missed his eighth game with a bone bruise and torn tendon on his toe. He continues to work out, but remains questionable this week. The DLine took another hit with rookie DE Chris Ellis joining the IR with an ankle injury.

DE Julius Peppers had a solo sack and shared another with third DE Charles Johnson. Peppers has 3.5 in his last two games and is up to 12.5, one short of his career high, on the season. DE Tyler Brayton had his second sack of the season and nickel CB Richard Marshall had a nice sack on a corner blitz when he avoided a poor attempt at a block by veteran TB RB Warrick Dunn. Marshall had ten solo tackles, including one on special teams. WLB Thomas Davis led the defense with ten tackles (seven solo).

Nickel CB Danieal Manning grabbed his first pick of the season on the opening drive and returned it 42 yards to set up a quick TD for the offense. With DT Dusty Dvoracek out for the season, Anthony Adams got the start in his place next to Tommie Harris inside. Adams, FS Mike Brown, and CB Charles Tillman led the team with eight tackles (six solo) each. MLB Brian Urlacher (five solo) also had eight tackles. Tillman also forced a fumble and broke up a pass. Utility DL Israel Idonije, who subbed for Adams in pass package, had a career game. Idonije had a solo sack and shared another with DE Adewale Ogunleye. Idonije had five tackles (three solo, including one on special teams) and batted down a third-down pass. Ogunleye played despite a sore shoulder. Adams and Idonije saw plenty of work since Tommie Harris tweaked his troublesome left knee during the game. Harris sat most of the second half, but is expected to play this week. Third DE Mark Anderson had his first sack of the season. He has been a major disappointment since registering 12 sacks his rookie year in 2006. He had just five after being promoted to a starter last year, and has been a non-factor most of this season.

DE Antwan Odom (shoulder) missed his fourth straight game, while SS Chinedum Ndukwe (torn plantar fascia) and CB David Jones (knee) remained inactive, and FS Marvin White when on the IR last week. Chris Crocker, who started at SS last week, moved to FS to replace White and Kyries Hebert got his first career (NFL) start at SS. Hebert came undrafted out of Louisiana-Lafayette in 2002 and has spent his time bouncing between practice squads and the CFL before settling in as a special teamer with the Bengals this year. Jones should be back this week, while Odom and Ndukwe will give it a try, but their status is uncertain. This week it was Darryl Blackstock who got the start at RDE for Odom. He has five tackles (four solo). Jonathan Fanene started at LDE, allowing John Thornton to rotated back to DT. CB Jamar Fletcher continues to replace Jones.

After getting assailed in this column last week for his poor second half production, MLB Dhani Jones led the team with nine tackles (seven solo), including two for losses. Jones now has 17 tackles (ten solo) in the last two games. He still can only be counted on for mediocre to solid tackle numbers as a starter. WLB Brandon Johnson had one solo tackle after stellar production in the previous game. SLB Rashad Jeanty forced a fumble that CB Leon Hall recovered for the only turnover by the team. Both players had 7 tackles (six solo). The team also brought in Victor Hobson for depth at LB. To help with depth at safety, the team signed Mike Doss this week. The Colts former second-round pick hasnít played in the league this year. He was last seen with the Vikings as a back-up dealing with bad knees in 2007.

ILB DíQwell Jackson led the team with a season-high 15 tackles (12 solo) and grabbed two picks Ė talk about a heck of an individual effort. Both picks set up field goals. Jackson has put up career numbers across the board and leads the league with 130 tackles on the season. DT Shaun Rogers left in the third quarter with an apparent leg injury, but returned and finished with eight tackles (five solo). DE Corey Williams forced a fumble the ball-hawk CB Eric Wright recovered. It was the second consecutive game with a fumble recovery for Wright. The entire front three: Rogers (shoulder, primarily), Williams (foot), and DE Shaun Smith (calf) continue to play through injury. All three are expected to start this week. Louis Leonard continues to see significant time as the top back-up at end.

OLB DeMarcus Ware was active and got his 16th sack of the season, a half-sack behind MIA OLB Joey Porter for the league lead. It was one of five tackles (three solo) for Ware. ILB Bradie James remained a tackle machine, racking up a team-high 11 tackles (five solo). He has 24 tackles (17 solo) and two sacks in the last two games. He also recovered a fumble and forced another that FS Ken Hamlin recovered. Hamlin suffered a right ankle sprain in the game, and although he was able to finish, he is questionable this week. SS Keith Davis was also banged up, leaving after spraining his left knee. CB Anthony Henry saw time at safety, apparently a plan regardless of the injuries because of the return of Pacman Jones, but now he could be starting there this week. Jones suffered a shoulder stinger after muffing a punt in the first quarter, but returned to the game and saw work in the nickel and dime. He had a solo tackles and broke up a pass on defense, plus was credited with a fumble recovery when he covered his own muffed punt. Depth in the secondary is a problem, overall, with first-round pick Mike Jenkins missing another game with a hamstring injury. He could be back this week, but rookie Orlando Scandrick will continue to have a significant role. Scandrick got his first career sack on Monday and has been more valuable than Jenkins in real and fantasy terms this season.

MLB Nate Webster returned after missing three games with a sprained left MCL. He was eased back in, rotating with Mario Haggan. Webster posted just an assist and Haggan had two solo tackles, one on special teams, before leaving with a right knee MCL sprain of his own. However, his sprain isnít as severe as Websterís was. Haggan could play this week, but Webster should see more work, regardless. Spencer Larsen is back to just playing offense now that Webster has returned. WLB D.J. Williams missed his fifth game with a torn MCL, but has been practicing fully and could return this week. The team has no need to rush him, however, because back-up UDFA rookie Wesley Woodyard has been on a tear in his place. Woodyard led the team with ten tackles (nine solo, including two on special teams), with two for losses. He has 44 tackles (40 solo) in the five games he has started in place of Williams. However, Williams is a captain and one of the best players on the defense, so he should be back when he is fully healthy, perhaps this week. After not having a sack in the second half of the season, until the previous game, DE Elvis Dumervil has had sacks in back-to-back games. He has five on the season. It was the only sack of the game for DEN, they forced no turnovers.

FS Vernon Fox stuck as the starter for two games in a rowÖa rarity in recent weeks at FS on DEN. SS Marlon McCree missed his fifth game with a bad ankle sprain. Marquand Manuel continues to start in his place, but Josh Barrett saw significant work last week, particularly in running situations, and should continue to rotate in. Barrett, a seventh-round pick with LB size, is Shanahanís new flavor of the week. He was a tackle-machine in the preseason, but has mostly been on the practice squad this year. Safety is a mess in DEN. One thing is clear, Calvin Lowry is out of the picture. The team waived him after he failed to impress in a couple starting opportunities. CB Champ Bailey missed his sixth game with a groin injury, despite expecting to play the last two games. Rookie Josh Bell started in his place and had six tackles (five solo). I would ignore all reports during the week and not start Bailey until he plays a game or there is reliable pregame confirmation he will be active.

MIN RB Adrian Peterson put the ball on the carpet three times, but the Lions failed to recover even one as they continue to chase perfection. MLB Paris Lenon led the team in tackles with ten (six solo), forced two fumbles, and nearly another as he hit MIN replacement QB Tavaris Jackson in third quarter, as well as shared a sack with DT Chuck Darby. However, Lenon had to leave late in the game with a chest injury. Rookie Jordon Dizon replaced him and had two tackles, including one for a loss on third down, on MIN RB Adrian Peterson on the final MIN drive. Lenon passed WLB Ernie Sims, who had five tackles (four solo), for the team lead in tackles. Lenon is expected to play this week. Sims continues to play through knee and shoulder problems.

RDE Dewayne White missed his fourth straight game with a calf injury and this time it was rookie Cliff Avril who got his first career start in his place, but Corey Smith saw most of the work in the base defense and on run downs. Smith had five tackles (three solo) and got his first career interception. Avril had a sack for the third straight game. DE Ikaika Alama-Francis got the start on the other side and rotated with second-round pick Andre Fluellen, who was playing with a bad back. Kalvin Pearson and Daniel Bullocks started at safety, with Dwight Smith rotating in and seeing significant work. Nickel CB Travis Fisher bumped Brian Kelly as a starter during the game, but Fisher left in the fourth quarter after getting hit in the throat. Ramzee Robinson, not Kelly, went back in opposite Leigh Bodden with the first team when Fisher came out. Fisher is expected to play this week. Meanwhile Kelly, a starter on a Super Bowl champion just a few years ago, was dumped after the game by the worst team in the league (ever?). They signed CB Dexter Wynn to take his place. OLB Alex Lewis was placed on the IR and Darnell Bing was signed to fill his spot for depth. Lewis lost his starting SLB job to Ryan Nece earlier this season.

Green Bay
WLB Brandon Chillar was inactive with a groin injury and Desmond Bishop took advantage of his first career start. Bishop led the team with 12 tackles (eight solo), including an assist on special teams. He had his first career sack, the only by the team in the game, and forced a fumble that CB Tramon Williams recovered. On the next CAR drive, Williams grabbed his fifth pick of the season. He also had six tackles (five solo). Chillarís status is in question again this week. DE Mike Montgomery forced a fumble the DT Johnny Jolly finally collected. Depth was thin at end with Jeremy Thompson inactive battling groin and left ankle problems.

Charles Woodson got another start at SS and the team indicated he would start there the rest of the season. Aaron Rouse was back from an ankle sprain and saw some work behind both Woodson and FS Nick Collins. Atari Bigby was inactive with a shoulder sprain and lingering ankle problem. He is expected to miss this week, as well. Collins suffered a left thigh injury in the game, but returned until he injured the same shin late in the game. He is expected to play this week.

MLB DeMeco Ryans led the team with nine tackles (seven solo), including his first sack of the season. After battling some injuries mid-season, he is still the teamís leading tackler on the season and about to exceed 100 tackles for the third straight season to start his career. DE Mario Williams had a couple pressures, but posted just one solo tackle. SS Nick Ferguson was inactive with a knee injury and his status this week is uncertain. Brandon Harrison returned to the starting lineup in place of Ferguson and posted six tackles (four solo). CB Dunta Robinson had his second pick of the season.

DEs Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis continue to wreak havoc on their opponentís backfield, as the duo combined for four of the teamís five sacks. Mathis shared one with Freeney and had two more of his own among his six tackles (five solo). He also forced a fumble. Mathis has 6.5 sacks in his last three games and at least two in each. He has tied his career high with a team-leading 11.5 sacks this season. Freeney had a solo, in addition to the shared sack, and has 9.5 so far this season. CB Kelvin Hayden was responsible for two scores. He grabbed his second pick of the season late in the first half and returned it deep in CIN territory to set up a quick TD by the offense and 14-3 lead at the half. Late in the second half he returned his third pick of the season 85 yards for a TD. Fourth-corner Dante Hughes had his first career pick on the last play of the game.

MLB Gary Brackett was out, as expected, with a cracked fibula. What was not expected was James ďBusterĒ Davis getting the start in the middle. A 2007 third-round pick by AZ out of FSU, he didnít even make it to opening day with the Cards and then spent most of last year on the DET practice squad. The undersized Davis joined the Colts just before this season started and was only active twice before getting his first career start on Sunday. He had just three assists, with UDFA Jordan Senn seeing work with the LBs, as depth was thin with Tyjuan Hagler also inactive with a knee injury. Instead of moving to the middle, Freddy Keiaho remained at WLB and had seven solo tackles. Clint Session remained at SLB. Brackett is expected to miss 2-4 weeks, so it is unlikely he plays again during the regular season. It looks like Davis will be rotating and things could change when Hagler returns, so Davis is unlikely to be a late-season hidden gem. SS Bob Sanders returned after missing three games with swelling complications in his surgically-repaired right knee. Sanders led the team with eight tackles (six solo).

CB Rashean Mathis was placed on the IR, as expected, after a right MCL sprain in the previous game. Drayton Florence returned to the starting lineup in place of Mathis across from Brian Williams. Williams led the team with ten tackles (eight solo). MLB Darryl Smith had seven solo tackles. SLB Justin Durant had five tackles (four solo) and broke up two passes, including a potential TD with a nice leap in his zone to deflect the pass. Mike Peterson continues to work in for WLB Clint Ingram in pass packages. DT John Henderson was credited with his team-leading third sack of the season when he fell on CHI QB Kyle Orton after DE Paul Spicer flushed him and forced him down as he collapsed the pocket.

Kansas City
A week after returning a fumbled snap on a FG for a TD, UDFA rookie nickel Maurice Leggett returned his first career INT 27 yards for a TD to give the Chiefs a 10-0 lead in the first quarter they would eventually squander. Leggett broke up another pass and had three tackles (one solo). He also hurt his shoulder in the game and his status is uncertain for this week. LBs Pat Thomas (hamstring) and LB Donnie Edwards (knee and hamstring) remained inactive. This week, Derrick Johnson moved to the middle and Rocky Boiman bounced outside with Demorrio Williams. Johnson had six solo tackles and broke up a pass. Johnson will remain there the rest of the season and the move could be permanent. He is the only LB with a future on this team and the rest are back-up material, as Donnie Edwards appears done at age 35. This could be a huge boost to Johnsonís value. He has been sporadic as a playmaker on the outside, as the team has struggled to figure out how to use him. He has the talent to be a top tackle producer in the middle and could turn in some big plays if they ever get any other talent in the front seven to draw attention away from him. The team had no sacks and forced no turnovers.

Instead of a December game in Buffalo, the warm-weather Dolphins enjoyed facing the Bills indoors at the Rogers Centre in Toronto. OLB Joey Porter racked up two more sacks, giving him a league-leading 16.5 on the season. Reserve OLB Charlie Anderson had a sack among his five solo tackles, including two on special teams, and forced two fumbles. ILB Channing Crowder and Yeremiah Bell each had five solo tackles, as well. Third safety Jason Allen returned after missing the previous game with a broken bone in his hand. He saw limited work as Nate Jones handled the nickel, bumping Joey Thomas after he was picked on replacing Allen in the previous game.

A federal judge blocked the suspensions of the players suspended in the StarCaps scandal, so the Williams Wall was in effect Sunday afternoon. They helped free up DE Jared Allen for a pair of sacks to set a new single-season record for the Vikings with 12.5 on the season. He also had three other solo tackles and forced a fumble on one of his sacks. Both sacks came in the second half after Allen left in the second quarter with a hyperextended left knee. Allen got cut by DET rookie OT Gosder Cherilus and limped after him, upset about the play, before going to the sidelines in apparent pain. However, he returned in the second half with a brace, racked up his sacks, and should be fine this week. The bad blood spilled over to the next play when MLB Napoleon Harris was jawing with DET FB Moran Norris and Norris got ejected for taking a swing at Harris. Allen continues to play through a sprained AC joint in his right shoulder, but is at the top of his game with 4.5 sacks in the last two games. He had half a sack taken away in a scoring change last week and it was awarded to third DE Brian Robison. Robison was inactive after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right knee. He is expected to miss this week, as well. DE Ray Edwards helped preserve the win when he got credit for his third sack of the season when he stripped DET QB Daunte Culpepper on the third-to-last play of the game. Culpepper spiked the ball to stop the clock on the next play, and then left with a shoulder injury. Drew Henson replaced Culpepper and reserve DT Ellis Wyms sacked him to end the game. SS Darren Sharper led the team with eight solo tackles.

Kevin and Pat Williams hired Michael Vickís lawyer, Peter Ginsberg, to file for a restraining order on their suspensions immediately after the four-game sentence was handed down. They were successful and on the heels of that, the NFLPA filed in Minneapolisí federal court to block the suspension of five of the six players involved, which was granted. All the players are expected to hear the next step in their fate this week, so this is not over and if the federal judge rules against them, the team could be without them for their first playoff game, if they make it. As discussed last week, if Kevin and Pat are suspended, journeyman Wyms, who hasnít started a game since 2006, replaces Kevin Williams as the pass rushing under, or three-technique, tackle and Fred Evans, who has never started a game, will replace Pat Williams as the space-eating nose tackle. The team also signed former STL first-round pick Jimmy Kennedy for depth at DT.

New England
ILB Tedy Bruschi left with a knee injury in the second quarter and Junior Seau stepped in to replace him. Seau joined the team just two days earlier, coming out of retirement yet again. Bruschiís status for this week is unknown. Seau was the second familiar face back last week, as the team also signed Rosevelt Colvin with Pierre Woods inactive with a jaw injury, as they finally gave up hope for a return by Adalius Thomas and put the OLB on the IR with a broken left forearm. UDFA rookie Gary Guyton got the start outside opposite Mike Vrabel in place of Woods, but was benched in favor of Colvin before the game was over. Colvin and Seau could be starting this week if Woods and Bruschi canít go. Vrabel and rookie ILB Jerod Mayo led the team with seven tackles (six solo) each. Mayo hit triple-digit tackles in the game.

The team dealt continues to deal with several other injuries, old and new. With DE Ty Warren inactive for the second straight game with a groin, NT Vince Wilfork left in the first quarter with a shoulder injury. Mike Wright started in place of Warren again and Kevin Smith replaced Wilfork in the middle. DE Richard Seymour recovered a fumble forced by FS Brandon Meriweather on his first career sack with less than two minutes to play to seal the victory, after the offense gave the team their first lead of the game on the previous drive. It was the only sack and turnover of the game for the Patriots. Meriweather five other solo tackles.

Rookie Jonathan Wilhite joined the starting lineup at LCB opposite Ellis Hobbs, who is playing with a bum shoulder. Wilhite bumped former starter Deltha OíNeal to fourth corner, as Lewis Sanders remained the nickel. SS James Sanders left the game in the third quarter with a rib injury.

New Orleans
A federal judge blocked the suspensions of the players suspended in the StarCaps scandal, so DE Will Smith continues to play until further notice. He had six tackles (four solo), including one for a loss. This could actually turn out to be a negative for DE Charles Grant, as it was reported he could serve his suspension while on the IR; he just would not have been paid. If the issue now lingers to next season, he could miss more games. The team had no sacks and forced no turnovers. MLB Jonathan Vilma led the team with ten tackles (six solo) and broke triple-digits for tackles on the season. He is edging out DAL ILB Zach Thomas and CAR DE Julius Peppers for IDP Comeback Player of the Year. FS Kevin Kaesviharn was put on the IR with a neck injury, so Josh Bullocks returns to the starting lineup for the rest of the season. Three quarters of the NO first-team secondary is now on the IR. Terrence Holt was signed for depth at safety. More bad news in the secondary as CB Randall Gay, who starts opposite Jason David, left early with a concussion. Nickel Usama Young replaced him and Leigh Torrence took over the nickel. Gay practiced Tuesday, so he should play this week.

New York Giants
MLB Antonio Pierce put his part of the Plaxico Burress mess behind and posted a season-high 15 tackles (12 solo) to lead the team. The book isnít closed on his involvement, but it seems unlikely any action will be taken against him this season while the legal process plays out. DE Justin Tuck had the only sack for the Giants among his six tackles (three solo), giving him 12.5 on the season. He has four sacks in the last three games. Tuck also blocked a FG on the last play of the first half that fourth corner Kevin Dockery returned 71 yards for a TD. Rookie nickel CB Terrell Thomas also blocked a FG in the game.

CB Aaron Ross left the game in the second quarter with an ankle injury. Dockery replaced him opposite Corey Webster, who is playing with a bad back. Ross is expected to play this week, but hasnít practiced yet. DT Fred Robbins returned after missing the previous game with a shoulder injury.

New York Jets
ILB David Harris returned with a bang after missing five games due to groin surgery. He led the team with 13 tackles (eight solo) and shared a sack with reserve DT Mike Devito. David Bowens returned to a reserve role, but managed to grab the first pick of his 11-year career in the game. It was revealed last week that DE Shaun Ellis was arrested and charged with marijuana possession on 11/29/08, but he continues to play. He had eight tackles (seven solo), including his team-leading eighth sack of the season and a forced fumble. His eight sacks are the most heís had since 2004. Ellisí case is still under review by the league, so a suspension is still a possibility. HC Eric Mangini said Ellis has already been ďdisciplined internallyĒ, so clearly the team isnít going to take any real action on their own here, not with the division on the line.

MLB Kirk Morrison led the team with 12 tackles (11 solo). He is third in the league with 113 and it was his fourth double-digit tackle game of the season. SS Gibril Wilson had four tackles (two solo), and hit the triple-digit tackle mark on the season for the third time in his career. Jon Alston played through a turned ankle to continue starting at SLB. Ricky Brown remained out with a groin injury and is expected to miss this week. The team had no sacks and forced no turnovers.

MLB Stewart Bradley (seven solo) and SS Quintin Mikell (five solo) led the team with nine tackles. They are one and two, respectively, in tackles on the team for the season. FS Brian Dawkins tied the teamís all-time INT record in the previous game and tied the teamís record of games played on Sunday. His next of each give him sole possession of each record. CB Asante Samuel returned after missing the previous game with a neck stinger, but turned his ankle on Sunday. He is expected to play this week. The team had no sacks or turnovers.

If you went to the bathroom after the Steelers tied the score in the fourth quarter after the Steelers tied the score, you might have missed CB Deshea Townsend return his second INT of the year 25 yards for the game-winning score. It was the third time PIT intercepted DAL QB Tony Romo. SS Troy Polamalu extended his league lead with his career-high seventh INT. CB Ike Taylor grabbed his first pick of the season. Polamalu also had nine tackles (seven solo). Townsend worked the nickel, while William Gay remained the starter, at least for this week, opposite Taylor. Bryant McFadden returned from his broken arm and was eased back in, but he should take his starting job back from Gay as soon as this week.

OLB James Harrison tied the team record with his 15th sack of the season. He forced a fumble on it that DE Travis Kirschke recovered. Harrison leads the league with seven forced fumbles this season. He finished with nine tackles (six solo, including one on special teams). Kirschke continues to start for Brett Keisel, who missed his second game with a right knee MCL sprain. He remains questionable this week. ILB James Farrior hit 100 tackles on the season, as he led the team with 12 (six solo), including a sack.

St. Louis
The fifteen minutes were up for Mr. Irrelevant, as Chris Draft returned after missing four games with a broken foot and replaced David Vorba as the starter in the middle. Draft at MLB, left Quinton Culberson to remain as the starting SLB. Draft had just one solo tackles as Will Witherspoon rotated in on pass packages. Witherspoon is battling torn labrums in each shoulder and continues to have his snaps limited. MLB is a black hole on STL right now. WLB Pisa Tinoisamoa led the team with nine solo tackles.

DE Victor Adeyanju started opposite rookie RDE Chris Long, but Leonard Little had the only sack for the team in his limited snaps. Little continues to play through a torn hamstring. It was the fist sack for Little since Week Seven. He has 5.5 on the season to lead the team. CB Ronald Bartell had his first pick of the season. CB Fakhir Brown twisted his ankle, but expects to play this week. No more weekly (non-)updates on former first-round pick CB Tye Hill. He was finally placed on the IR with torn cartilage in his knee.

San Diego
On the third play from scrimmage for the Raiders deep in their own territory, OLB Shaun Phillips emerged from heavy pressure to sack OAK QB JaMarcus Russell. He forced a fumble that OLB Jyles Tucker gathered in at the 12-yard line. LT2 punched it in three plays later and another rout of the Raiders was on. Phillips would post a second solo sack and team with Tucker for another. Phillips leads the team with just 6.5 sacks on the season, a disappointing effort, until he got to pad his stats against OAK Thursday night. Tucker has also disappointed filling in for Shawne Merriman. After Tucker impressed in a limited opportunity last season and early in the year with three sacks in the first four games, he pulled a hamstring in Week Five and hasnít done much since. Tucker tweaked his hamstring in the game, but is expected to play this week with the long rest. Depth was thin at LB with Marquis Harris out with a hamstring injury and Anthony Waters suffering a hamstring injury in the game. Harris is uncertain, while Waters is expected to miss this week.

ILB Stephen Cooper (four solo) and SS Steve Gregory (six solo) led the team with seven tackles. SS Clinton Hart was active, but did not play, as he is bothered by a neck stinger and his status for this week is uncertain. Gregory started in his place and saw his snaps at SS. Cooper also grabbed his first two picks of the season in the game. FS Eric Weddle had three solo tackles, putting him over 100 on the season. He leads the team on the season. CB Quentin Jammer had a quite game, just two solo tackles and two passes defensed, but he set a new career high in tackles and has been putting up numbers lately. With a big lead early, ILB Matt Wilhelm saw more work in pass defense than run-stopping starting ILB Tim Dobbins. Wilhelm had a pair of tackles and his first pick of the season. The two are splitting snaps about 50-50 and continue to wash out the value of the other.

San Francisco
CB Nate Clements missed the first game of his eight-year NFL career, after 124 straight games and 116 starts, with a broken right thumb. He had surgery last week to insert a pin and a couple of screws in the thumb. Clements is questionable this week. Donald Strickland started in his place. On the other side, CB Walt Harris sealed the victory with his third pick of the season just after the two minute warning. It was the only turnover the defense forced.

SS Michael Lewis played through an ab injury and led the team with seven tackles (five solo). ILB Patrick Willis tied a season low with just six tackles (three solo). He is second in the league in tackles. OLB Parys Haralson had a sack and shared another with pass rush specialist OLB Roderick Green. Haralson has 2.5 sacks in the last two games and leads the team with five on the season. DE/OLB Justin Smith had a sack, giving him one in back-to-back games. He has five on the season.

OLB Leroy Hill was inactive with a neck stinger suffered in the previous game. D.D. Lewis replaced him. Hill is likely to miss this week, as well. MLB Lofa Tatupu led the team with eight tackles (seven solo). He is closing in on Hill for the team lead with Hill missing time. Third DE Baraka Atkins had the first two sacks of his career in the game.

Tampa Bay
SS Jermaine Phillips had a highlight-reel INT as he was able to toss the ball back up inches from the ground, roll over in the process, locate the ball in the air, and secure it before it bounced off his helmet. It was the third pick of the season for Phillips, who also had six tackles (five solo). CB Ronde Barber also had his third pick of the game, all in the last three games. MLB Barrett Ruud led the team with eight tackles (six solo). He leads the team and broke triple-digits in tackles for the second straight season.

With DT Jovan Haye (knee) already inactive, DT Chris Hovan suffered a knee injury in the game, although he was able to finish. Ryan Sims started in place of Haye. Both Haye and Hovan are questionable this week, with Hovan looking likely to play and Haye being a bit more uncertain. DE Gaines Adams played through a hip pointer after being questionable. DE Kevin Carter had the only sack in the game.

Corners Nick Harper (ankle) and Cortland Finnegan (hamstring) were limited in practice last week, but both were active and in the starting lineup on Sunday. Harper and OLB David Thornton led the team with eight solo tackles. Thornton also forced a fumble. Finnegan had three tackles (two solo). Both Harper and Finnegan broke up a pass. FS Michael Griffin had the only pick of the game. He is tied with Finnegan for the team lead with five.

DE Kyle Vanden Bosch left early after slightly aggravating his groin injury. It sounds precautionary and he should play this week. Rookie DL Jason Jones returned after missing three games with a foot injury.

CB Shawn Springs was inactive after aggravating a lingering calf injury in the previous game. This gave DeAngelo Hall the start and opportunity to provide on of the few highlights for the Redskins on Sunday night. He recovered a fumble forced by FS LaRon Landry and returned it 13 yards, setting up the first TD in by WAS against BAL in 13 quarters. Hall also broke up a pass and had three tackles (two solo). Landry, playing through a calf injury of his own, also grabbed his second pick of the season. Springs remains questionable this week, but Hall will remain heavily involved, regardless, as Springs will work at safety, as well. SS Chris Horton suffered a stinger in the game, but is expected to play this week.

MLB London Fletcher was listed as questionable with a left foot sprain, but his start was no surprise after playing in the previous game and being a week further from the injury. He led the team with 12 tackles (ten solo) and is tied for fourth in the league for total tackles. It was also no surprise that SLB Marcus Washington (high ankle sprain) remained inactive. H.B Blades continues to start in his place. Washington is expected to miss this week, as well. DE Andre Carter continues to play through a plantar fascia sprain on his right foot. DT Kedric Golston missed hi second straight game, with Anthony Montgomery continuing to replace him.