NFL week 5 saw some tremendous individual efforts, one came on Thursday from a Rutgers alum.
Devin McCourty and Duron Harmon participated on Thursday Night football against the Bucs. Harmon added a tackle and a pass defended, but Devin McCourty was on another level. The All-Pro tallied 11 tackles, all solo, and New England escaped with a 19-14 victory. It has been tumultuous, (spoiler alert) but the Patriots ended the weekend controlling their destiny in a tie atop the AFC East because ...
The Bengals Clark Harris and Tyler Kroft looked to stay hot after almost everyone game them up for dead after Week 2. And again after Week 3. Instead they surprised a first-place Buffalo team, winning 20-16 in Cinci. Kroft made 4 more catches for 38 yards in the victory. Harris and the Bengals kicking units continued to show why they are on the best in football, converting all four kicking attempts and their punter Kevin Huber dropping 3 of his 4 punts inside the 20 with a 46.8 average. The Bengals (along with Dallas) are 2-3 teams that will surely be spoilers at minimum the rest of the way.
The surprising New York Jets traveled to face Jason McCourty and Kenny Britt in Cleveland. Unfortunately for the Browns, their top wideout Britt was ruled out before the game. Their anemic offense put up zero points in the first half, missing the big target Britt most in the redzone. McCourty (5 tackles, 2 passes defended) and the defense were all over the Jet offense holding them to only 3 points in the first half before cracking just a little in the second half. When time expired, the scoreboard showed a 17-14 New York triumph.
Steve Longa and George Johnson (1 TFL) had a tough matchup against Carolina. This got exciting in the 4th thanks to the defense keeping Detroit in the game until a dormant Lion offense woke up, but Detroit still fell 27-24. The Lions are 3-2 but no reason to panic as both losses have come in close games against good teams.
Logan Ryan’s Titans were minus quarterback Marcus Mariota again and it showed against Leonte Carroo’s Dolphins. The defensive slugfest saw Ryan’s (3 tackles, 1.5 TFL) defensive unit hold Miami to just 78 net passing yards on top of an even 100 rushing. Without Mariota, Tennessee could only muster 10 yards of offense more than that themselves (188 total). A 4th quarter TD (with a missed extra point) won the game for the Fish 16-10. For the moment, Miami is still sticking with only their top 3 receivers, but Carroo is gaining ground per an article published earlier in the week.
Michael Burton, Marcus Cooper, and Andrew DePaola hosted division rival Minnesota on Monday Night Football. Unfortunately, Cooper was ruled out before the game. Burton (1 tackle) got some action to protect his rookie quarterback making his NFL debut, Mitch Trubisky.
For the second straight week, Scarlet Knights were at the center of perhaps the league-wide play of the week. DePaola and Burton participated in at least the game’s most exciting play as the Bears executed a fake punt that went for a 40 yard touchdown. On the play, the Bears punter threw a pass to a wide open slot back who took it the distance. For the play to be successful, Burton and DePaola needed to perform difficult reach blocks to their right allowing the back to then be free to release downfield. Burton threw another block near the end zone for good measure. The Bears fell just short 20-17.
Practice squads: Andre Patton (Chargers), Carlton Agudosi (Cardinals)
Knights in the Pros flashback ... Week 5 2007.
On October 7, 2007, most casual NFL fans may not have had their eyes on the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, Missouri. The team formerly occupying the city (the Cardinals) matched up against the then incarnation (Rams) and the game featured a then-rare, now more commonplace occurrence. The contest featured former Knight legend Brian Leonard (Rams) and his former teammate Mike Barr (Cardinals). If you read this post weekly, you know almost every week former Knights match up nowadays, but that was not the case as recent as 2007.
The game itself was a seesaw battle with three ties and five lead changes. Leonard had a key 31 yard run to set up the Rams first touchdown. On the day, Brian recorded 102 yards rushing while adding 5 catches for 33 yards. He also recorded a touchdown saving tackle on an interception by Adrian Wilson. Barr on the other side also did something similar after his 61 yard punt was returned 36 yards and he made the play on Dante Hall to avoid a possible TD. Barr’s other 3 punts flipped field position in favor of Arizona which was just enough for the Cardinals to eventually emerge victorious, 34-31.
Leonard is a Rutgers legend from Gouverneur, New York who famously pledged to the Scarlet Knights because they were the one school who honored his older brother Nate’s scholarship after a high school injury. Most of this is common knowledge, but check an OTB refresher here. Leonard set numerous records at RU before being drafted in the second round by the Rams. Brian would play seven seasons in the NFL, though the aforementioned was his only 100 yard rushing day. He is the gift that keeps on giving.
Like most specialists, Barr was not a scholarship player out of high school despite also playing linebacker and on the Brookville offensive line. He ended up graduating with the Rutgers record for punting average (now 4th) with the second highest total number of punts (1 shy of Jared Slovan) as the teams Special Teams MVP as a senior. Mike took a more circular approach to his first NFL game action as he was with the Redskins, Jets, and Steelers four different times, before excelling in NFL Europe. This got him the full-time gig with the Cards in 2007 in what would turn out to be his only as an NFL starter.
The Cardinals would finish 8-8, their first season .500 or better since 1998. They would win the NFC the following year. The Rams are still looking to stop a similar streak, having not recorded 8 wins since 2006.