Defense was the name of the game for several matchups, which involved NFL Regional Combine pioneers during Week Six of America’s game.
The week kicked off with New York Giants as they hosted the reigning Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles. The best part of the matchup, a couple of RC specialists got the action rolling.
Giants rookie wide receiver Jawill Davis returned the opening kickoff, but nearly fumbled the ball away to the Eagles. Two plays later, the Eagles got the ball anyway.
With 14:24 on the clock in the first quarter, Giants quarterback Eli Manning threw short pass over the middle to tight end Scott Simonson. Simonson came through the RC pipeline in 2014. While Simonson was attempting to catch the ball, Eagles linebacker Jordan Hicks batted the pass.
The ball traveled in the air and Eagles linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill caught the loose ball. Grugier-Hill ran up the field for a 24-yard gain to get to the Giants’ 16-yard line.
“I saw the linebacker getting some depth, so I thought I could put it on him,” said Manning after the game. “Unfortunately, it gets tipped over the middle. If it gets knocked down, it gets knocked down. It got tipped to the side and intercepted. Unfortunate break.”
Grugier-Hill’s interception was the first of his career. Still, the RC standout from the 2016 Minnesota-held trials credit Hicks for the huge play.
“The hero on the play was Jordan Hicks,” said Grugier-Hill. “He had a great break on the ball. I was just standing there, in the right place, right time. … To start fast like that, nothing really compares to it. Huge emphasis going into this week was having more takeaways than they had, winning that battle.”
Grugier-Hill finished the game with a tackle, and so did Davis. Davis helped Giants linebacker Nate Stupar finished off Eagles wide receiver DeAndre Carter on the kickoff return late in the first quarter.
Davis redeemed himself with some nice returns, like the punt return to start the fourth quarter as he returned the play for 32-yards.
Simonson came through on a 24-yard reception.
Washington Redskins cornerback Quinton Dunbar is becoming a major player in the NFL as he is covering more number one receivers. Against the Carolina Panthers, Dunbar dealt with wide out Devin Funchess. Funchess was targeted eight times and made good on five of them.
Quinton Dunbar (left)/Redskins.com
One of those five receptions, Funchess got the best of Dunbar on a great touchdown catch. However, when the game was on the line and refocused, Dunbar covered Funchess when the game was on the line and the NFL Regional Combine pioneer defensive back locked him down.
“He (Quinton Dunbar) got beat on a double move earlier, came back and locked it up two times in a row,” said Redskins linebacker Mason Foster. “He’s a big time player, that’s what we need out of guys like that.”
Dunbar went on to lead the Redskins in tackles with seven.
-Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen had 11 receptions for 123 yards and a touchdown in the victory over the Arizona Cardinals.
Thielen recorded at least 100 receiving yards in each of the Vikings’ first six games this season. Thielen joined Charley Hennigan (seven consecutive games in 1961) as the only players in NFL history with 100 or more receiving yards in each of his team’s first six games to start a season. Thielen’s 58 catches leads the NFL this season, which is the most by a player in his team’s first six games of a season in league annals.
-Indianapolis Colts cornerback Kenny Moore finished with five tackles, second on the team.
-Los Angeles Rams rookie defensive end Justin Lawler earned his second tackle of the season.
-Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Keelan Cole led his club in receptions (four) and yards (41) against the Dallas Cowboys.