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IDP Notes
Week 5

Quick Hits (Details in individual team notes)
  • Week Five byes: CIN, MIN, OAK, PHI
  • TB MLB Ruud and IND CB Jackson lead NFL in tackles
  • MIA MLB Thomas misses game, Crowder sprains ankle
  • CHI missing Briggs, entire starting secondary
  • CAR MLB Morgan has minor Achilles' tear
  • CIN LB groups a mess
  • OAK LB duo continue to produce well
  • SEA OLB Peterson has 3 sacks
  • DAL OLB Ellis returns, logs 1.5 sacks
  • AZ DL Dockett has 3 sacks, second in league with 5.5
  • IND S Sanders bruises ribs, LB Morris tears ACL
  • Injuries pile up on STL D
  • Darius gets start at S for MIA
  • BUF S Leonhard expected to miss at least week
  • DAL CB Newman still dinged, CB Henry sprains ankle
  • CLE OLB Willie McGinest returns
  • TB CB Kelly out with groin injury
  • ATL CB Hall fined $100K and benched for a quarter
  • GB secondary hurting
  • MIA DT Holliday fractures ankle
Week 5 Injury Report (available Friday PM)

IDP Depth Chart

Three sacks by DE Darnell Dockett and two key picks led the way to victory, as the defense held PIT RB Willie Parker to 37 rushing yards and the Steelers to 77 rushing yards overall. After a turnover gave PIT the ball at the AZ four-yard line in the late in the third quarter, SS Adrian Wilson had his first pick of the season on third-and-two in the end zone to preserve the 7-7 tie. Reserve CB Ralph Brown had a pick in the final seconds of the game to prevent the Steelers from a chance to tie the game. Dockett was a consistent visitor to the backfield, finishing with 6 tackles (5 solo) and forcing a fumble on one of his three sacks. He now has 5.5 on the season, a new career best and second in the NFL. Dockett plays a tweener position, end in their base 3-4, but also DT when Bert Berry lines up with his hand on the ground. If considered a DT in your league, and you are required to play DTs, he has a lot more value. Most sources list him as a DT, including the depth charts at and the Cardinals’ official website, as well as MFL. DE Antonio Smith also had a sack and has 2.5 this season, well on his way to a new a career best.

SLB Calvin Pace led the team with 8 tackles (5 solo). WLB Karlos Dansby had 5 solo tackles and broke up a pass, but also suffered a shoulder injury that HC Ken Whisenhunt termed as a “sprain or minor separation”. Dansby is expected to play this week.

Rookie DT Alan Branch (broken hand) remained inactive and reserve CB Antrel Rolle left with a finger injury, but returned to the game.

CB DeAngelo Hall was benched the first quarter as punishment for his tirade last week. He was also fined $100K by the team. Yahoo! says Hall has requested a trade and ESPN reported this thinly-veiled criticism of HC Bobby Petrino when Hall was asked if he could play for Petrino long term, “…some guys are made for college. Some guys are made for the NFL. If he wants respect given to him, he must give respect back". Amazing. Hall apparently forgot HE is the one whose lack of discipline and maturity created the mess he is being punished for, and may have cost his team a win. Talk about being made for college but not the NFL… Anyway, rookie CB Chris Houston started in Hall’s place Sunday and the Texans went after him. On the second drive, HOU WR Andre’ Davis beat Houston and FS Chris Crocker on a deep pass, but Houston appeared to have position under the ball as both went up. Davis wrestled it away and for the TD. Houston had 2 solo tackles in the game, Hall had one, and Crocker had six. CB Lewis Sanders, the other starting corner, had 7 solo tackles. An x-ray last week revealed a chip bone in his upper right arm, but it is not expected to impact him this season.

DE John Abraham had 3 solo tackles, including a sack on which he forced a fumble that was recovered by reserve DE Chauncey Davis. Abraham has four sacks on the season. Despite optimism he could return to practice last week, DT Rod Coleman’s knee remains swollen and he remained inactive. He is recovering from a torn right quad injury in spring and work on is right knee to clean it up this summer. The surgeons had to go through the knee to operate on the quad, which was the reason the knee surgery was needed. DT Jonathan Babineaux had been playing well in Coleman’s place, but he strained a knee in practice last week and was inactive, as well. Rookie sixth-round pick Trey Lewis got his first start and posted 2 solo tackles. Babineaux is expected to miss another game or two.

SLB Michael Boley led the team in tackles again. He posted 9 solo, including forcing a fumble on a pass in the flat that rookie LB Stephen Nicholas fell on. Nicholas also had 4 solo tackles as he and Demorrio Williams continue to split time at WLB. Williams had a solo tackles.

A tipped pass by MLB Ray Lewis that FS Ed Reed grabbed for his second pick of the season and returned an exciting 20 yards was one of the few highlights for the Ravens. It was the only turnover they forced and they had no sacks. Reed also had 3 solo tackles and Lewis had 6 tackles (4 solo). Lewis was battling a sore ankle.

DE Trevor Pryce (broken wrist) and CB Samari Rolle (illness) were both inactive again. The team still hasn’t disclosed what the illness is, but Rolle reported the side effects of the medicine to treat it were now the problem. They make him tired and affect his balance and coordination. The team hopes he can play this week. Dwan Edwards had a solo tackle starting in place of Pryce and Corey Ivy had 2 solo tackles starting in place of Rolle.

CB Terrence McGee returned after missing the previous week with sore ribs. McGee sealed the victory with his first pick of the season in the waning seconds of the game as the Jets were in Buffalo territory looking for at least a FG to tie. McGee also broke up another pass and had 3 solo tackles. He also returned to his KO return duties. It wouldn’t be a Bills game without an injury on defense. CB Ashton Youboty left in the first quarter with an ankle injury. Jabari Greer replaced him and also had his first career interception in the fourth quarter, setting up a TD. Youboty is doubtful this week, so Greer could get a start. With all the injuries at LB, Buffalo ran a lot of nickel, resulting in CB Kiwaukee Thomas posting 10 tackles (6 solo). FS Jim Leonhard suffered a calf injury during the game that he was concerned about, saying he heard something “pop”. Leonhard is expected to miss this week, giving former Falcon starter Bryan Scott his first start with the Bills.

As expected, John DiGiorgio started in the middle with rookie Paul Posluszny done for the season. DiGiorgio had 7 tackles (2 solo). The Bills started in nickel, with DiGiorgio and Crowell as the two LBs in the package. Crowell stayed at SLB in the base 4-3 and led the team with 11 tackles (8 solo). Leon Joe was signed last week to fill the Poz’s roster spot, and was surprising expected to start at WLB. However, he didn’t have a tackled on defense, but Mario Haggan had 2 solo tackles. Keith Ellison (high ankle sprain) and Coy Wire (torn MCL) were both inactive. With a bye in Week Six, both players are likely to miss at least one more game.

DE Chris Kelsay had his first solo sack of the season and another solo tackles. DE Aaron Schobel had 6 tackles (3 solo) and a QB hurry. DE Ryan Denney remained inactive with a broken foot. He has not played this year after the injury occurred in the preseason and should miss this week to get another week to rehab with the bye Week Six.

MLB Dan Morgan was inactive after reporting shoulder, leg, and foot problems after the previous game. On Monday, it was revealed he has a partially torn right Achilles’ tendon and is out indefinitely, but the tear is minor and he could even practice this week. Even if he practices Wednesday, he would be an extremely risky play. Sunday was the 100th game of Morgan’s career and he has now missed 41% of them. Back-up MLB Adam Seward was out with a calf injury, so James Anderson got the start at MLB. Anderson had 7 tackles (5 solo), but struggled a bit with calling plays as he learns on the fly. If Seward is healthy, he could also be in the running to start in the middle this week. First-round pick Jon Beason, expected to be the future at MLB, looks like he’ll remain at WLB, where he has played well, for now. Beason led the team with 10 tackles (8 solo, including 1 on special teams).

A defense that once prided itself on the pressure the front four could bring had no sacks. They have just two this season. They had just one turnover, a fumble forced by CB Chris Gamble that SLB Thomas Davis recovered.

Rookie DE Charles Johnson remains inactive, he has yet to play this year. Reserve DE Stanley McClover played for the first time this season and had a solo tackle. DE Otis Grigsby was inactive, as he was bumped from the rotation with McClover returning.

Already having lost FS Mike Brown for the season, the Bears were down four other key defenders on Sunday: WLB Lance Briggs, CB Charles Tillman, CB Nathan Vasher, and SS Adam Archuleta. They were without their whole starting Week One secondary against the NFL’s top passing offense. They held strong through three quarters, but tired as the offense gave them little support and they were unable to rotate much. The Lions scored 34 points in the fourth quarter, an NFL-record for the last frame.

They still got 6 sacks and forced 2 turnovers. One positive injury note was valuable DT Tommie Harris did play through a left MCL sprain and got his third sack of the season. DE Mark Anderson had 2 sacks and forced a fumble on one. He leads the team with four sacks this season. DE Adewale Ogunleye also had 2 sacks among his 6 tackles (5 solo). MLB Brian Urlacher led the team with 11 tackles (7 solo) and he broke up a pass.

Most impressive among the subs may have been Brandon McGowan, who started at SS in place of Adam Archuleta. Archuleta was expected to play with a cast on his broken right hand, but ended up inactive. McGowan had 10 tackles (8 solo) and recovered the fumble forced by Anderson. Rookie Trumaine McBride got his first career start opposite Ricky Manning Jr., as the duo replaced Tillman and Vasher. McBride had 4 tackles (3 solo) and forced a fumble. Manning had 2 solo tackles. Rookie S Kevin Payne left the game with a broken right arm and the Bears were challenged to play nickel defense and out of defensive backs for dime, which contributed to the late offensive outburst by Detroit. Payne was put on the IR and the Bears signed Josh Gattis off the practice squad for depth. Gattis was a fifth-round pick by the Jaguars who was cut. He can play both safety spots. Jamar Williams started at WLB in place of Briggs and had 3 tackles (2 solo), including his first career sack. He also recovered a fumble. Briggs, Tillman, Vasher, and Archuleta will all be evaluated this week and could all return. In order for Briggs to accept the one-year franchise tag tender this year from the Bears, the team agreed not to tag him again next year if he plays in 75% of the defensive snaps. This will be additional incentive for Briggs to come back as soon as possible.

The LB corps was thin heading in to the game and was in worse shape after. MLB Ahmad Brooks missed another game with a groin injury and Caleb Miller, who replaced Brooks in the previous game in the middle, was inactive with a lower back injury. This gave recently acquired former Jet Anthony Schlegel the start at MLB. He posted 5 tackles (1 solo). Brooks was expected to play Monday night, so with a bye this week, he will likely return for Week Six. Rashad Jeanty, expected to be the starting SLB, has yet to play this year because of a lower leg injury. Dhani Jones got the start again and had 4 tackles (2 solo). WLB Landon Johnson left in the second quarter after getting poked in the eye. Top back-up Lemar Marshall suffered a torn left Achilles’ on the first drive and is done for the season. Corey Mays was signed off waivers from the Pats to help their depth.

Rookie nickel CB Leon Hall had his second pick of the season on one of the few miscues by the New England offense. The Bengals had no other turnovers or sacks. FS Madieu Williams led the team with 9 tackles (8 solo), including an assist on special teams.

OLB Willie McGinest returned to the starting lineup bumping Antwan Peek back to a reserve role. Both had an assist in the game. The two will rotate, along with Chaun Thompson, who had a solo tackle, cannibalizing the fantasy value of all three. Peek is also playing through a foot injury. ILB D’Qwell Jackson had 7 solo tackles and broke up a pass. ILB Andra Davis and his back-up, Leon Williams, each had 5 tackles (4 solo) on defense. Williams also had a solo on special teams and Davis also broke up a pass.

Rookie CB Eric Wright led the team with 9 solo tackles. CB Leigh Bodden had the only turnover, a pick deep in Cleveland territory that he fumbled, but it went out of bounds so the Browns retained possession. They scored a 78-yard TD pass on the next play to go up 14-0. Bodden broke up another pass and had 7 solo tackles.

Gary Baxter continues to rehab, but isn’t ready to return from his knee problems. The Browns’ website says he will be eased back in as a safety before returning to corner. He isn’t expected back this week. Old, creaky knees, particularly his right one, kept DE Orpheus Roye from starting his 100th game as a Brown. Shaun Smith started in his place. Roye is expected back this week.

FS Ken Hamlin prevented any kind of late comeback attempt when he picked off STL QB Marc Bulger in the end zone late in the third quarter. Dallas would score a TD on the subsequent drive to ice the game and the ailing Bulger would be replaced by back-up Gus Frerotte on the next STL drive. Hamlin also had 3 solo tackles. CB Terence Newman added knee tendonitis to his plantar fascia tear in his right foot. Jacques Reeves continued to start opposite CB Anthony Henry. Reeves led the team with 6 tackles (5 solo). He also broke up 2 passes and forced a fumble. Newman was expected to be limited, but was needed more than expected when Henry suffered a high ankle sprain late in the first quarter and left the game. Newman finished with 4 solo tackles. Henry should miss at least the next game, while Newman reported no problems after the game. Reserve S Keith Davis was inactive with a pec injury.

OLB Greg Ellis returned from his Achilles’ injury and got a solo sack and shared one with DE Marcus Spears. Anthony Spencer still started, but had just one solo tackles as Ellis saw significant work as a pass rusher. Ellis reported the Achilles’ was sore after the game, but expects to play this week. After getting shut out the first two games, OLB Demarcus Ware had his team-leading third sack, all of them in the last two games.

The Colts were exactly the team the Broncos had in mind when they signed DE Simeon Rice. They hoped if they saved him for specific spots, he could provide the playmaking ability they lacked on the edge. So, after easing him in to their defense the first three games and not pushing a lingering shoulder problem, they put him in the starting lineup at RDE. However, after the game, the 33 year old Rice was still looking for his 122nd career sack, and first as a Bronco. IND rookie LT Tony Ugoh handled Rice throughout the game, mostly one-on-one. Rice finished the game with 1 solo tackle and a QB hurry. Rice wasn’t the only change aimed specifically at the Colts. Elvis Dumervil remained in the starting lineup, moving to LDE, and rookie ends Jarvis Moss and Tim Crowder started on the interior to, conceptually, give them speed up front to disrupt the Colts. DTs Sam Adams and Amon Gordon weren’t even active for the game. Moss also moved around, giving them a 3-4 look at times. In the end, it was a failure. The Colts rushed for over 200 yards, despite losing starting RB Joseph Addai during the game, and IND QB Peyton Manning was extremely efficient and successful. The team had no sacks and forced no turnovers. DE John Engelberger injured his shoulder during the game and rookie DT Marcus Thomas bruised his knee, but neither injury sound serious.

SS John Lynch was inactive due to a groin injury in Week Three. Nick Ferguson moved to SS and Dominique Foxworth got the start at FS. Ferguson had 11 tackles (7 solo). MLB D.J. Williams led the team with 13 tackles (11 solo).

With starting DE Kalimba Edwards (ankle) still inactive, Jared DeVries was in the right place at the right time for a number of miscues by the Bears on Sunday. He had a career-high 3 sacks among his 5 solo tackles, forcing a fumble on two of the sacks. DT Shaun Rogers was consistently applying pressure and netted a sack among his 5 tackles (4 solo). He also got his big paws on a FG attempt. It was the 11th he has blocked in his career, the most among active players.

WLB Ernie Sims led the team with 11 tackles (8 solo), forcing a fumble on one of them. He also took a pass through CHI WR Bernard Berrian’s hands at the goalline for an interception. MLB Paris Lenon continues to produce well. Lenon had his second sack in as many games among his 10 tackles (8 solo, including 1 on special teams).

CB Fernando Bryant had his first pick as a Lion, and first since 2003. After one pick in his first three years as a Lion, Kevin Smith had his second this season. He returned it 64-yards for his first career TD and gave the Lions the lead for the first time in the game, in the fourth quarter. Smith turned his ankle during the game.

Green Bay
With DE Cullen Jenkins battling rib soreness, Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila was back in the starting lineup and has now put up back-to-back multi-sack games. He also forced a fumble on one and had another solo tackle. Jenkins had 3 tackles (1 solo) and batted away 2 passes. DE Aaron Kampman had another sack of the year and DT Ryan Pickett had his first. Kampman gained a half-sack from KGB last week on a statistical adjustment. He now has 2.5 and KGB leads the team with 3.5.

CB Charles Woodson, playing through a sore left foot, had 7 tackles (5 solo) and a pass defensed. He also had an interception returned for a TD called back by an illegal contact penalty on him. On the next play, SS Atari Bigby forced a fumble the rookie DT Johnny Jolly picked up and rumbled 19 yards with. This set up QB Brett Favre’s record-breaking TD pass. After a turnover by GB while trying to run out the clock for the victory, Bigby also preserved the win with his first career pick off a ball tipped by MIN WR Troy Williamson. CB Al Harris left the game in the third quarter. Already playing through back pain and a hyperextended elbow, his left hand was bashed up in the game. He is unlikely to practice much, if at all, this week and is probably a game-time decision. FS Nick Collins left the game in the second quarter with a knee injury, but did return to finish the game.

First-round pick DT Amobi Okoye had another sack, his fourth in three games, and another solo tackle. After a big first game, former first-round pick DE Mario Williams continues to have little fantasy impact. He had 3 solo tackles. Reserve DT Cedric Killings was able to walk out of the hospital when he was released last week. He was put on the IR and his future in football is still in question, but some good news about the young man.

OLB Morlon Greenwood led the team with 11 solo tackles. MLB DeMeco Ryans had 6 solo tackles, including his first sack of the season.
CB Dunta Robinson left in the first half with a hand injury. He returned in the second half to have an amazing FG block. He finished with 5 solo tackles. CB DeMarcus Faggins was brutal. When he wasn’t getting beaten, he was cheating to stop the ATL WRs. He drew five defensive holding or PI penalties, both on the same play once. Rookie CB Fred Bennett, who was inactive with a hamstring injury, could start in place of Faggins if he is healthy. C.C. Brown at SS and Von Hutchins at FS appear to be set as the starting tandem until further notice. Will Demps and Michael Boulware, who drew a PI call Sunday, are back-ups. N.D. Kalu was inactive with a hand injury and likely to miss this week, as well.

DE Dwight Freeney had his best game of the season, totaling 3 solo tackles, including his first sack of the season, and forcing two fumbles. CB Marlin Jackson recovered one of the fumbles, as well as grabbed his first pick of the season, and posted 7 tackles (6 solo). Jackson is one of the breakout stories of the season, in fantasy and real football. Jackson is tied with TB MLB Barrett Ruud for the league lead in tackles with 40.

As the Colts coasted to an easy win, injuries were the biggest concern in the game. SS Bob Sanders injured his ribs during the first half and didn’t play in the second half. Matt Giordano, who HC Tony Dungy called one of the most improved players in the preseason, replaced Sanders. Giordano had 2 tackles (1 solo) and a pass defensed. The early report is Sanders is not expected to play this week, so Giordano would get the start. SLB Rob Morris suffered a torn ACL in his left knee just before halftime and is done for the year. Rocky Boiman replaced him and figures to remain the starter. Rookie WLB Freddie Keiaho looked like his dislocated right elbow is fine now. He led the team with 11 tackles (9 solo).

With a bye Week 4, DT John Henderson had time to recover from a concussion in Week Two and OLB Clint Ingram to rehab his ankle sprain. Ingram has yet to play this season. The team hopes both players will be ready to go this week. SS Sammy Knight had another week to learn more about the defense and should be locked in as the starter, making him a viable waiver pick-up the rest of the season.

Kansas City
Pass coverage was a strength of SLB Derrick Johnson coming in to the league. He had 10 picks in his collegiate career at Texas, but didn’t have any in his first two seasons with the Chiefs. He finally got his first on Sunday, and also forced a fumble on a sack in the fourth quarter to help seal the victory. Rookie UDFA Tyron Brackenridge grabbed it and returned it 50 yards for a TD…although it appeared he dropped it celebrating before crossing the goalline. DE Jared Allen picked it up, but Brackenridge was still credited with the TD. Brackenridge was playing the nickel with Benny Sapp out with an ankle injury. Johnson has been putting up great numbers this year and is on pace for career highs across the board. CB Ty Law also had his first pick of the season.

The lightning that delayed the game ended too soon for the Dolphins. The Raiders ran all over them and beat Miami for the first time in six games, going back 12 years. MLB Zach Thomas remained inactive due to a concussion for the second game as the medical staff recommended he sit out. He is expected to hit in practice this week. If he does, Thomas should play. Channing Crowder started in his place in the middle again, but sprained his left ankle in the first half and left the game. Crowder had 3 tackles (2 solo) before leaving. Donnie Spragan replaced him and had 3 solo tackles. Derrick Pope got the start at WLB, in place of Crowder, and posted 8 tackles (5 solo). He just missed a sack and had another solo tackles erased by penalty. Pope also broke up a pass and recovered a fumble on a punt that would lead to a TD drive by the Dolphins to pull within four at the end of the third quarter.

Shuffling continued in the secondary as Donovin Darius got his first start as a Dolphin. He lined up at safety with Renaldo Hill, bumping Travis Daniels back out of the starting lineup. Travares Tillman was inactive due to a sore knee. Darius did his best to lock up the job, as he led the team with 9 solo tackles. Darius is worth a flyer if you need help at safety, but don’t expect more than tackles and one bad game could have him back on the bench.

DT Vonnie Holliday suffered a slight right ankle fracture in the first half and did not return. Rodrique Wright played in place of Holliday and had 4 tackles (3 solo). He should get the start in place of Holliday, who is expected to miss two weeks. Jason Taylor continues to struggle, collecting several penalties and 4 solo tackles. DE Matt Roth had his first sack of the season, the only one for the team. DT Keith Traylor had a sack erased by a Taylor penalty. The team forced no turnovers.

With 4 solo tackles (one on special teams) and a fumble recovery, WLB Chad Greenway had a solid, but unspectacular day. However, the more you watch him, the more you see the upside he has for big plays with his speed and awareness. He just missed a pick in the second quarter on a pass defensed he wasn’t credited for. On a questionable call in the fourth quarter, CB Antoine Winfield lit up GB FB Korey Hall on a reception, appearing to cause a fumble that Greenway recovered and had a chance to return for a TD. Finally, with the Packers trying to run out the clock for the win, GB RB Ryan Grant muffed the handoff and Greenway was the first on the scene to fall on it. He has mostly produced just tackles so far, but the big plays will start registering for Greenway and move his fantasy production up. Those weren’t the only big plays the Vikings missed out on. An interception for SS Darren Sharper was nullified by an illegal contact penalty by Winfield on the Packers’ first play from scrimmage. Sharper finished with just 2 solo tackles against his old team. Winfield led the team with 10 solo tackles and had 2 passes defended. Another missed opportunity was a strip by MLB E.J. Henderson on a tackle of GB RB Vernand Morency with CB Cedric Griffin. The ball went out of bounds and GB kept possession. In addition to the forced fumble, Henderson finished with 9 tackles (5 solo) and a pass defensed.

There Vikings did have some plays go there way. After a reception near the end zone by GB TE Donald Lee in the second quarter, FS Dwight Smith literally ripped the ball out of his arms and Griffin was able to grab it in the air. The Vikings turned that in to a FG for their first points in the game. Smith also broke up a pass and had 5 solo tackles playing with a tender hamstring. The bye this week should help him get healthy.

RDE Ray Edwards was hurt in the second quarter and eventually left the game in the fourth with a bruised hip. With a bye this week, Edwards should be ready to go in Week Six. If he isn’t, it remains a mystery if Erasmus James is yet. HC Brad Childress has said he still considers James a starter. James has been inactive every game despite practicing regularly. He is recovering from a torn ACL and MCL in his left knee at the beginning of last season. Rookie situation pass rush DE Brian Robison had the only sack in the game. He leads the team with three. After his big game in Week Three, LDE Kenechi Udeze had just 2 assists.

New England
CB Asante Samuel returned to the starting lineup and has his second pick in as many games. LB Adalius Thomas led the team with 5 tackles (4 solo), including the only sack for the Pats. LB Mike Vrabel caught his ninth career TD pass. He has seven receptions in the regular season, two in the playoff, all for TDs.

SS Rodney Harrison returns from his four-game suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. James Sanders should return to the bench this week.

New Orleans
OLB Scott Fujita rested his sore right ankle over the Week Four bye and should be able to play this week. Watch to see if he practices from Wednesday on if you are counting on him. FS Josh Bullocks led the team in tackles the two weeks prior to the bye.

New York Giants
DE Osi Umenyiora had no sacks through the first three games. On Monday morning, he was leading the league with 6 sacks. With PHI LT William Thomas out, Umenyiora put on a clinic against back-up Winston Justice on his way to a career night, as Umenyiora set a franchise record and the Giants racked up 12 sacks to tie an NFL record. SLB Mathias Kiwanuka had 3 sacks and pass rush specialist DE Justin Tuck had 2 sacks. DE Michael Strahan had his first sack of the season. It set another record, as Strahan passed LT for the Giants’ career sack record with 133.5 (although they didn’t track sacks Taylor’s rookie year, so it is estimated he has about 10 more unofficial sacks).

SLB Kawika Mitchell put a cherry on top of a dominating night for the D when he recovered an aborted snap and returned it for his first career TD late in the third quarter. Rookie CB Aaron Ross remained the starter opposite Sam Madison. Corey Webster, who Ross replaced, was demoted all the way down to dime packages, as Kevin Dockery remains the nickel.

New York Jets
The offense failed to capitalize on several big plays by the defense early. OLB Victor Hobson had a sack on the Bills’ first drive. On Buffalo’s second offensive drive, ILB Jonathan Vilma and rookie CB Darrelle Revis combined on a tackle to force a fumble. Vilma was credited with the tackle and forced fumble, although I thought it looked like the second hit by Revis did it, and Hobson recovered it. With under two minutes left in the first half, nickel CB Andre Dyson had a pick in the end zone. Dyson also had 5 solo tackles playing through a sore foot. Vilma (7 solo) and Revis (6 solo) led the team with 8 tackles. Revis also broke up 2 passes, as the Bills picked on the rookie, targeting receivers he was covering eleven times (completing nine). The learning curve for the rookie Revis has been challenged by the team in asking him to start outside, but play inside on the slot in their nickel package. Most teams like to stick with a specialized nickel corner familiar with the confusing reads and dealing with shifts on their assignments. While the team is overloading him, at least it guarantees he’s on the field a lot from a fantasy perspective.

DE Shaun Ellis had his second sack of the season and in back-to-back games. Bryan Thomas had a breakout season last year as a pass rusher at OLB last year (8.5 sacks), but he is without a sack through four games this year.

MLB Kirk Morrison and WLB Thomas Howard led the team with 4 solo tackles on defense each. The Raiders literally ran over Miami, dominating the time of possession and not leaving many opportunities for defensive stats. Howard also had a pick, his third of the season, tying him with Morrison for the team lead. The duo are quickly becoming one of the best young LB tandems in both real and fantasy football terms.

DE Derrick Burgess missed his second straight game with a right calf injury. Once again, rookie Jay Richardson started in his place. Richardson had 2 solo tackles. With a bye this week, Burgess should be back in Week Six. On the other side, DE Tommy Kelly had a sack among his three solo tackles, as did DT Gerard Warren. It was the third sack in as many games for Warren, who is turning out like an old school Raiders reclamation project. He leads the team in sacks and is a good choice in leagues that require a DT.

CB Stanford Routt got his second pick. He has supplanted Fabian Washington in the starting lineup, moving Washington to the nickel corner, although Washington continues to see a significant number of snaps. Washington left the game early with a hamstring injury. SLB Sam William also left the game early with an undisclosed injury. The Raiders were thin at LB with top back-up Robert Thomas inactive with a hamstring injury.

FS Brian Dawkins (neck stinger) and CB Lito Sheppard (sprained right MCL) remained inactive. With a bye this week, the team is hopeful they can return for Week Six. On Sunday night, Quintin Mikell started in place of Dawkins and led the team with 11 tackles (7 solo, including one on special teams). Will James also started for Sheppard again.

DE Jevon Kearse had his first solo sack of the season, the only one for the Eagles in the game. MLB Omar Gaither turned in his first big play this season, as he grabbed an interception deep in Eagle territory and returned it 49 yards. He also had 10 tackles (7 solo, including one on special teams).

CB Ike Taylor led the team with 8 solo tackles forcing a fumble on one that was recovered by SS Troy Polamalu. Polamalu also forced a fumble on the second play from scrimmage, broke up a pass, and had 2 solo tackles before leaving in the third quarter with an ab strain. Anthony Smith replaced Polamalu and had 3 solo tackles. Also hurting the defense in the second half was NT Casey Hampton leaving in the third quarter with a hamstring injury and his back-up, Chris Hoke, left in the fourth quarter with a neck injury. The impact of the losses of Polamalu and Hampton can be seen as contributing to the Cardinals being shutout and completing under 50% of their passes in the first half, but completing 75% of their passes in the second half, including a TD. HC Mike Tomlin didn’t include Polamalu, Hampton, or Hoke on his injury report in his first presser of the week, so expect all to play in their next game. However, nickel CB Bryant McFadden, who also left in the second half, has a high ankle sprain and may miss some time.

ROLB James Harrison made an athletic play to scoop up an aborted snap and appear to hurl himself over AZ QB Kurt Warner to go untouched in to the end zone, but he ruled down by contact at the AZ four-yard line. It was a huge play that Harrison didn’t score, because the Steelers would throw an interception in the end zone on the ensuing drive. Harrison also had a pass defensed and 4 tackles (3 solo, including 1 on special teams). LOLB Clark Haggans, who was expected to lose more snaps in pass situations, had his team-leading third sack among his 3 solo tackles. DE Aaron Smith had his second sack of the season. The Steelers still have not allowed a 100-yard rusher since 2005.

St. Louis
Injuries were piled on to insult on Sunday. SS Corey Chavous left the game in the fourth quarter with an injured left pec/shoulder. The injury was called a strain, but Chavous fears it is more serious. He led the team with 7 tackles (6 solo), including a sack. Jerome Carter replaced Chavous. WLB Pisa Tinoisamoa returned from an ankle sprain that had kept him out since Week One. He had 5 tackles (2 solo) and had to leave the game briefly with an undisclosed injury, but returned and finished the game. Reserve LB Raonall Smith, primarily a special teams player, suffered a right knee sprain and left the game. Of greatest concern was DE Leonard Little leaving with a right knee injury in the fourth quarter. Victor Adeyanju replaced Little. After an MRI on his knee, Little is expected to play this week. DE James Hall also underwent an MRI on a pec injury he aggravated, but is also expected to play this week.

In the limited good news for the defense, FS O.J. Atogwe had an interception, the first of the year for the Rams. He also had 5 tackles (4 solo). CB Tye Hill is expected to miss at least another game with fractures in his lower back. CB Fahkir Brown should be reinstated this week after his four-game suspension for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy.

San Diego
WILB Matt Wilhelm remained inactive with a strained calf, but he is expected to be back this week. Once again, Stephen Cooper moved over to WILB for Wilhelm and Carlos Polk got the start at SILB. OLB Shawne Merriman led the team with 10 tackles (8 solo), including his third sack of the season. OLB Shaun Phillips had 4 tackles (3 solo), including a sack on which he forced a fumble. Phillips leads the team with 3.5 sacks.

SS Clinton Hart and FS Marlon McCree each had a pick. McCree injured his hand in the game, but returned. DE Luis Castillo played through a foot sprain from the previous game and had 7 tackles (3 solo). NT Jamal Williams had a sore knee after the game, but is expected to play this week.

San Francisco
DE Marques Douglas and OLB Tully Banta-Cain each had their second sack of the season. Rookie ILB Patrick Willis led the team with 12 tackles (10 solo). CB Nate Clements had his first pick as a 49er. Hannibal Naives continues to see most of the work in the base 3-4 with Manny Lawson done. Brandon Moore has not gotten many opportunities to redeem himself.

DT Rocky Bernard knocked SF QB Alex Smith out engulfing him with a sack on the third play from scrimmage and the Seahawks kept brining the pressure early, totaling all six sacks in the first half. OLB Julian Peterson had three sacks, forcing a fumble on two of them. He leads the team with five sacks. DEs Patrick Kerney and Darryl Tapp each had 3 tackles (2 solo) and a sack. Tapp forced a fumble on his sack.

CB Marcus Trufant broke up 4 passes and grabbed two of them for picks. After down numbers the last two years, Trufant now has as many picks as he had the last two years and his tackles numbers are on pace to be up. Rookie nickel CB Josh Wilson sprained his ankle in the game and will miss a game or two.

OLB LeRoy Hill led the team with 9 tackles (6 solo).

Tampa Bay
With the Bucs dominating time of possession, there weren’t many opportunities for defensive stats, so MLB Barrett Ruud returned to earth for a week. He didn’t have double-digit tackles for the first time this season, posting 5 solo tackles, as well as forcing a fumble. He is tied with IND CB Marlin Jackson for the league-lead in tackles with 40. Ruud has replaced WLB Derrick Brooks as the only LB who is in almost every package. SLB Cato June, whose strength was expected to be in coverage, rotates with Brooks in the nickel. June is also losing work in run packages to rookie Quincy Black.

The team is finding a replacement from Dewayne White in similarly versatile fifth-round pick reserve DT Greg Peterson. Primarily a DE in college, Peterson is succeeding as an interior pass rusher, getting his first solo sack on Sunday after sharing one the previous week, and injects energy when he’s in the game. DT Jovan Haye has also boosted the DLine. He had 4 solo tackles, including his second sack. He leads the team in sacks. First-round pick Gaines Adams continues to see a limited role. He had just a solo tackles Sunday. His snaps were further impacted by the return of tweener Patrick Chukwurah, who returned from an MCL injury that kept him out of the first three game. Chukwurah responded by bringing a good pass rush, including a sack. DT Jovan Haye CB Phillip Buchanon led the team in tackles with 6 solo and broke up 2 passes. Buchanon got the start with Brian Kelly inactive due to a strained groin that he believes will cost him more time. With Sabby Piscitelli done for the year, the team brought back Donte’ Nicholson to add depth at safety. Torrie Cox is eligible to return from suspension this week, but Sammy Davis is likely to remain at nickel corner with Buchanon starting while Kelly is out.

The Titans were pretty healthy heading in to their Week Four bye, so not much news there.

First-round pick CB Michael Griffin hasn’t had many opportunities on defense due to the solid play at corners, but he has been a key contributor on special teams. He is averaging 26.1 yards per kick return, which puts him in the middle of the pack among players considered the primary returners on their team and the same average Pacman Jones had last year. As he hasn’t returned kicks since high school, he can only be expected to improve. If fellow rookie Chris Davis struggles with punts, Griffin could get a chance there too. Griffin is also the top gunner on punts and a sprinter on kickoffs. He could also move back to safety if a need arises there, but his redraft value is nil at this point, unless your league includes return stats.

Coming off the bye in Week Four, some dinged up Redskins are in better shape. First-round pick SS LaRon Landry (sprained and lacerated right hand) practiced uninhibited on Monday, but S Sean Taylor and CB Fred Smoot remained limited with hamstring injuries. Taylor left Week Three, but returned to the game, after straining his left hamstring and Smoot missed two games before the bye with his. The team can’t be too concerned about the status of their safeties because they released Omar Stoutmire to make room for WR Keenan McCardell who was signed this week.

WLB Rocky McIntosh, who left their last game with pain in both shoulders and an MRI that revealed a pinched nerve, was not supposed to have contact for two weeks after Week Three. He’ll be pushing that to practice this week, so watch for updates on his status.