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Scarlet Knights in the NFL - Week 14: Turnover City highlights a week of Defense

Gause makes NFL debut, defensive alums record 3 turnovers, even offensive players make tackles.

NFL: Baltimore Ravens at New England Patriots
Devin McCourty’s electrifying interception return was the most impressive play of the day.
Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

For the second week in a row no Knights played in Thursday night’s matchup. However, the Raiders who were defeated by the Chiefs 21-13 are the subject of our Knights in the Pros flashback below back in 1985.

The first game Sunday had a little extra excitement as Jason McCourty and his Titans squad hosted the defending champion Broncos who activated former Knight Quentin Gause. It was Gause’s NFL debut, the road to which was covered well by Brian McGuire earlier today. Quentin saw action on special teams (15 plays), but did not record any stats as his team was defeated by the upstart Titans led of course by McCourty. Not only did Jason lead his team in tackles yet again with 8 (all solo), he also recovered a fumble one-handed in Denver territory that reduced Denver’s confidence in their running game so much, they only ran the ball 8 times in the last 3.5 quarters of the game! It allowed the Titans to parlay their previous TD drive into a 10-0 lead on a long field goal, a lead they would never relinquish in the 13-10 victory.

Next up in the Sunday early games Leonte Carroo and the Dolphins hosted Marcus Cooper’s Cardinals. Cooper recovered from surrendering an initial touchdown (where his safety never helped him out) by responding with a win in likely the best tug of war of the day. The resulting interception was not enough in the end, as Arizona could never quite get close enough, falling 26-23. Carroo did not see much offensive action as Miami kept it on the ground in wet conditions with a steady lead.

Clark Harris and Tyler Kroft of Cincinnati’s playoff hopes were on life support. Lucky for them, they traveled to their winless cross-state rivals, the Cleveland Browns. Kroft did play 41% of the team’s offensive snaps but was not targeted in the passing game as this one was never in doubt. He did record a special teams tackle. Harris and the kicking game had a rough day in the inclement conditions as Mike Nugent missed an XP and FG while Kevin Huber punted twice for touchbacks. Luckily it didn’t matter as the Bengals kept the Browns out of the win column, 23-10.

The Lions’ Michael Burton recorded no stats, but his team won again. This time it was against their arch rival Chicago Bears 20-17. The 9-4 Lions could clinch the division this weekend with a win and some help.

Army v Rutgers
Sanu broke Britt’s single season reception mark in 2011, toppling the Big East record in the process during this game against Army.
Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

While tailgating for the Jets-49ers snoozefest (ultimately won by the Jets in overtime) I discovered Mohamed Sanu was ruled out officially for Atlanta’s game in L.A. This was expected earlier in the week, but I was hoping that the Knights top two single season pass catchers and receiving yardage leaders would meet on the same field. Kenny Britt did his part leading his team with 7 catches for 82 yards, but the Falcons offense didn’t miss a beat jumping out to a 42-0 lead cruising to their 8th win.

With such a big lead Atlanta couldn’t help scoreboard watching as Andrew DePaola and his Bucs tried to keep pace against New Orleans. Brandon Coleman was the recipient of extra snaps and targets (8) doing his best (5 catches, 47 yards) to replace the injured Thomas. Brees had confidence to target Brandon on a key 3rd and 1 with the Saints driving into Bucs territory in the 4th quarter, but safety Keith Tandy jumped the route completely. Coleman quickly had the presence of mind to jar the ball loose from Tandy preventing a pick 6, but Brent Grimes caught the ricochet for an interception. Grimes himself might have had a big return but Coleman was able to spin around completely and simply shove him down with his ridiculous wingspan. As a result, the Saints got another chance but Brees uncharacteristically threw another interception on a 4th and 1 to Snead when the replay shows that Coleman was open streaking down the left sideline. The victorious Bucs remained tied with Atlanta atop the NFC South while DePaola was involved in a ridiculous downed punt. Trust me, it’s worth watching.

For another week, no one who finished their career on the banks participated in Sunday Night Football. It was a classic game won in New Jersey by the Giants who are the only team to beat Dallas this season, and have now done it twice.

Monday Night football definitely lived up to the hype. Jeremy Zuttah’s Ravens traveled up to Foxborough to take on the Patriots. The Pats DBs saw plenty of action as the Ravens with a late comeback attempt passed the ball 52 times to only 14 runs while surrendering only two sacks as the Flacco/Zuttah combination continues to call out good protections. As a result Logan Ryan led the Pats with 5 solo tackles (7 total) and Duron Harmon chipped in 4 himself. Devin McCourty had 4 tackles as well, but also added an interception (pictured above) he zig-zag returned for 40 yards! The Pats lead the AFC at 11-2 after a 30-23 win.

NOTES: Injured Reserve tracker (Freeny, Wright, Johnson). Practice squad (Longa)

BILL PICKEL JETS
Pickel finished his career with the local Jets, pictured here against his former squad, the Raiders with a free shot at Jeff Hostetler.

Knights in the pros FLASHBACK, 1985 Week 14.

Bill Pickel and the Raiders were looking for their 3rd straight win, facing off with the Falcons in Atlanta. The game was tight with the NFL’s bad boys ultimately pulling out a 10 point win on the strength of THREE sacks from the former Scarlet Knight. Pickel had recorded sacks in his 5 previous games, none of which were as impressive as this performance. He ended up with 12.5 sacks on the year. The then L.A. Raiders kept the momentum going, winning 3 more in a row to close the regular season on a six game win streak and secure the top seed in the AFC playoffs.

A second round pick in the 1983 draft, he would win a Super Bowl in his rookie season. Over a 12 year NFL career he played in 174 games across the defensive line with the Raiders before returning home to the Jets. In those games he recorded 570 tackles, 56 sacks, and recovered 12 fumbles. The Milford Academy and Rutgers product was an NFL First Team All-Pro in 1986.