NFL week 6 was another exciting one especially in the Sunday early games.
Devin McCourty and Duron Harmon traveled to New Jersey for a matchup with the division rival Jets and the winner would take hold of first place in the AFC East over the idle Buffalo Bills. The much maligned Patriots defense put the team in an early 14-0 hole, but settled in as the Pats were able to score 24 unanswered points. The Jets appeared to have closed it to a one score game during a play Harmon was in the middle (or should I say endzone sideline of). After ruling a touchdown on the field, it the call was reversed and it was ruled that Harmon forced a fumble that was then a touchback since the Jets Austin Sefarian-Jenkins recovered his own “fumble” out of bounds of the endzone. This call will be heavily scrutinized in the coming days because Jenkins never dropped the ball on the ground. The Jets did trim the deficit to 24-17 and had the ball again inside 2 minutes. Harmon (3 tackles) made a potentially gave saving tackle on Robbie Anderson who got loose in the middle of the field and then knocked away a potential over the shoulder tying touchdown intended for Jenkins in the closing seconds. Good for Devin (who added 5 tackles and an interception) and Duron, but the Scarlet Knight faithful who follow the Jets all feel like they were robbed. You can see Harmon (#30) in the tweet below.
Mohamed Sanu (Falcons) took on Leonte Carroo’s Dolphins. Sanu is still out with injury but Julio Jones returned and Atlanta jumped out to a 17-0 halftime advantage. Miami opened it up in the second half as Carroo was targeted three times, but did not record a catch. The Dolphins ended up winning 20-17 to a stunned Atlanta crowd. Though his production may not be what some expected after a big free agent deal, the Falcons are a much better team with Sanu on the field than not.
Steve Longa and George Johnson were getting blown out after two early Matthew Stafford turnovers. Things got wild against Brandon Coleman (2 catches, 23 yards) and the Saints let a 45-10 lead halfway through the 3rd quarter drop down to a 45-38 advantage with more than six minutes left in the game. Unlike the Jets and Falcons, New Orleans was able to eventually hang on, 52-38 in a shootout.
Jonathan Freeny caught on with the Baltimore Ravens this week and he got to host some other former Knights, Michael Burton, Marcus Cooper, and Andrew DePaola. This was yet another close game and it went to overtime. Ultimately DePaola’s kicking unit connected on the game winning field goal for a 27-24 Chicago win. Burton made one catch for 8 yards as the Bears look to give rookie quarterback Mitch Trubisky as much protection as possible. Cooper and Freeny recorded no stats, though both were active in this game.
Every other early game came down to the wire, but Jason McCourty and Kenny Britt in Cleveland took it in the teeth against the Houston Texans. Houston held a 33-3 lead when Jason took an interception 56 yards for the Browns’ first TD early in the 4th. They would only close the gap to the 33-17 final with 1:03 to go. Britt, the team’s top wideout, continues to nurse an injury. McCourty only had one tackle and a pass breakup to go along with his first career pick 6 (though he had scored two touchdowns on fumble returns).
Logan Ryan’s Titans played Monday Night in a battle for AFC South position with Indianapolis. Ryan himself was featured in the national TV segment before the game about his and now wife Ashley’s cause of rescuing dogs, (OTB covered this previously). The game itself features the two teams leading the NFL in three and outs heading into the week, yet there were no punts or turnovers in the first half which Indy closed with a 13-9 edge heading into the locker room. In the second half, the Titans held a 29-22 advantage under 3 minutes to play when Logan Ryan became the Duron Harmon of this game when he forced a Jack Doyle fumble and recovered it. The play went to review and was ultimately ruled incomplete keeping the ball with Indy, but a 4th and short play resulted in a sack near the line of scrimmage ended the final threat even after another review. Ryan (2 tackles, 1 TFL, 2 PD) at times drew the assignment of one of the NFL’s fastest players, T.Y. Hilton (1 catch, 19 yards) but neither he nor his team ever really got it going, as Indy finished with less than 300 total yards. With the 36-22 win (Titans 72 yard TD when they should have fallen down past the 1st down marker then took a knee), the Titans are now in a three way tie for the division lead, with Jacksonville and Houston all 3-3.
Bye: Bengals (Clark Harris and Tyler Kroft)
Local scores: Giants 23, Broncos 10. Eagles 28, Panthers 23 (Thursday).
Practice squads: Andre Patton (Chargers), Carlton Agudosi (Cardinals)
Knights in the Pros flashback ... 2004.
L.J. Smith was drafted in the second round to an Eagles squad in the midst of several NFC Championship games without breaking through to a Super Bowl. 2004 seemed like it was finally Philly’s year because the Birds added the NFL’s most explosive receiver, Terrell Owens. Philly came into the game 5-0 against a surprising Browns squad that was more than halfway to their 3 win total from the year prior.
The Eagles took a 21-10 lead on the second long McNabb to Owens TD of the day, but the Browns answered with back to back TDs to grab a 24-21 advantage. On the second play of the 4th quarter, Smith made his second grab of the game for a touchdown that after the extra point, put Philly back to a 28-24 edge. The Eagles added a field goal, but Cleveland’s TD with 30 seconds to go sent the game to an extra stanza. David Akers kicked a 50 yard field goal and Philly was 6-0. The Eagles ended up 11-0 before Owens broke his leg. They re-grouped and reached the Super Bowl where despite Owens’s miraculous recovery and performance, fell short against the Patriots despite a TD from L.J.
L.J. went from Highland Park High School to Rutgers, where he started for four seasons. He was named All-Big East his final two before making the short trip down to begin his NFL career in Philly. He played seven years in the NFL, six in the city of Brotherly love and one with Baltimore. He had 18 career regular season and one Super Bowl touchdown in his career. That was the Rutgers record for NFL TDs (since broken by Britt and Rice).