NFL week 14 kicked off with a huge matchup between the Saints and Falcons featuring two former Scarlet Knights. Mohamed Sanu and the Falcons were upended by the Vikings at home 14-9 in Week 13, but bounced back with a gutty 20-17 win over Brandon Coleman and the Saints 20-17.
Sanu had they key tying touchdown on a 3rd down (above) early in the 4th quarter, one of his team leading 6 receptions for 83 yards. Coleman had two catches for 32 yards in the loss after a similar performance (2 for 28) the week prior in a win over Carolina. The three teams are in what has become the most competitive division in the NFL with New Orleans and Carolina tied at 9-4, with Atlanta one game back at 8-5. If the playoffs started today, all three would be in because Atlanta has the tiebreaker over Seattle for the 6th spot in the NFC.
This week, the Saints signed former Knight George Johnson.
The first game to kick off Sunday had no former Scarlet Knights, but Colts-Bills was the talk of the league even before it went to overtime. Seriously, if you haven’t seen the images, you have to check them out.
Next up was Michael Burton, Marcus Cooper, and Andrew DePaola looking to shake off a 15-14 last second loss against lowly San Francisco in Week 13. The Bears came to play and annihilated the Bengals by a score of 33-7. Clark Harris and Tyler Kroft may have been those still trying to shake off their loss against the Steelers on the previous Monday night, a game the Bengals were in total control of seemingly until late in the 4th.
The Bears in this game smartly blanketed Kroft who did not even get targeted despite playing 45 of 54 offensive snaps in the contest. Despite the whooping, the Bengals still maintain the best punting unit in the league as Kevin Huber averaged over 50 yards per punt on the day. DePaola was busier on the other side as he snapped for six placekicks and three punts on the day. Marcus Cooper added two tackles in the win, while Michael Burton got one carry.
The Browns decided to let their high priced free agent receiver Kenny Britt go during the week. His replacement Josh Gordon actually played, and actually scored a TD to fuel the Browns surge. Cleveland had a two touchdown lead in the 4th quarter, but their first win was not in the cards as they fell to a Green Bay squad clinging to playoff hope, 27-21 in overtime. Not only that, Aaron Rodgers was cleared medically to resume playing so don’t count out Green Bay. The Browns defense led by Jason McCourty’s 10 tackles initially confused backup Brett Hundley. Hundley eventually figured it out, just in time to likely be forced back to his place on the bench. I don’t think this is a Drew Bledsoe - Tom Brady situation. The Browns wish they had either one, and their fans are getting big on the “Suck for Sam” train.
The Lions’ Steve Longa traveled to Tampa Bay. Detroit held off a furious fourth quarter rally to hang on for a 24-21 win. The Lions are now 7-6, one game back from 6th place in the NFC playoff race.
Kevin Snyder and the Broncos were probably the worst team in football for a few weeks, having lost 8 in a row, and had not reached 20 points in a game for 10 consecutive contests. And yet they embarrassed the New York Jets 23-0, all but officially ending the Jets longshot playoff hopes. The Jets ironically did not adjust very well to the altitude and added injury to insult when veteran quarterback Josh McCown was lost for the year with a broken hand. Denver’s season will still be considered a disappointment as they sit at 4-9 even after this victory.
Logan Ryan (Titans) had a rare interconference matchup with Carlton Agudosi and the Cardinals. Ryan’s 7 tackles led a strong defensive effort, but the Cardinals tallied two field goals in the 3rd and two more in the 4th for an ugly 12-7 win. The Titans continue to be one of the most perplexing teams in the NFL. They are now one game back of Jacksonville in the AFC South but still hold a wild card spot at 8-5.
Devin McCourty and Duron Harmon were re-joined by former teammate Jonathan Freeny last week. This move made so much sense for so long before finally happening, but the Pats freight train was abruptly halted by Leonte Carroo’s squad in Miami. Freeny had two tackles, but the Pats could not contain Kenyan Drake in a 27-20 defeat that was not as close as the final score indicates. Harmon had one tackle, Freeny added two, and McCourty totaled seven tackles (all solo) including a sack but the Patriots had no answer for Drake (114 rushing yards).
Then the Pats today released Freeny yet again after reports that they will sign Kenny Britt. They still control their own destiny, one game back of Pittsburgh for the #1 seed in the AFC playoffs with a huge head to head matchup this weekend.
Practice squads: Andre Patton (Chargers)
Knights in the Pros flashback: Week 14, 2011.
You may not remember Joe Young at Rutgers, but you probably do remember Joe Lefeged. For those diehards, you know that is in fact the same person. Lefeged (as he was known at RU) joined the Indianapolis Colts as an undrafted free agent in 2011 hoping to follow two former Knights who began in Indy, Eric Foster and Gary Brackett. The Colts lost their star quarterback Peyton Manning for the season and with his future in doubt, fans started the now infamous “Suck for Luck” campaign. This type of rallying cry has been copied several times since, like the aforementioned cry of the Cleveland faithful right now.
And just like the 2017 Browns, the 2011 Colts headed into Week 14 with a record of 0-12. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on whether you believe in tanking), the Colts were on the wrong side of this game against Baltimore, but it was not for lack of effort on behalf of Lefeged. He was all over the field, he returned one punt and four kickoffs, one of which went for 51 yards to set up the Colts first points. Then he registered a solo tackle that saved a touchdown at the end of the third quarter. The safety then ended the Ravens scoring chance with an interception of Joe Flacco in the end zone just four plays later. The Colts ended up finally scoring their first touchdown as time expired in a 24-10 defeat.
The Maryland native was one of the few bright spots, earning second team All-Big East, in an otherwise completely forgettable 2010 Scarlet Knights season. Joe would play another three seasons in the NFL, two with Indianapolis and one with Jacksonville. It was between these two stops he started going by his father’s surname instead of his mother’s.