By: Barry Barnes, Founder
Week 11 of the NFL is around that time when teams start to separate themselves from the rest of the pack. Fortunately, several players from the NFL Regional Combine platform are either instrumental in that separation or an essential part.
The Pittsburgh Steelers began the week against the Tennessee Titans with outstanding veterans from the RC in left tackle Alejandro Villaneuva and safety Robert Golden.
Villaneuva helped keep his quarterback Ben Roethlisberger upright a majority of the contest for Roethlisberger to carve the Titans defense for 299 yards and four touchdowns.
The number ‘four’ appeared to be the theme for the Steelers as they amassed four interceptions and one of the contributors of the defensive cause was steady Robert Golden.
For six seasons, Golden has been the Swiss army knife the Steelers have been able to use for nearly any situation, especially on special teams as a valued captain. In Week Seven against the Cincinnati Bengals, the Steelers called on Golden for his throwing skills as he hooked up with wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey on a fake-punt for 44 yards.
It was not the best delivery, according to Roethlisberger, but Golden got the job done.
‘Horrible form…It looked like he (Golden) was casting, like, a deep-sea fishing. But it might have been the best pass of the night,” said Roethlisberger about the defensive back who finished with a 118.8 quarterback rating.
Fast forward to Thursday night, Golden’s services were needed as he started his first game of the season. The physical safety from the 2012 NFL Regional Combine trials finished five tackles, but garnered another highlight when he picked out Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota early in the fourth quarter.
With 11:49 left in regulation, Mariota received the snap from shotgun and danced around in the pocket until he saw rookie wide receiver Corey Davis sprinting deep across the middle. The ball rifled to Davis, but the it bounced out of his hands and Golden leaped for the floating ball for the interception at the Steelers’ 49-yard line. Titans tight end Delanie Walker brought Golden down immediately.
The turnover assist was capped by Steelers kicker Chris Boswell when he nailed a 26-yard field goal.
The Minnesota Vikings already recognized wide receiver Adam Thielen’s value. Now, the League is starting to recognize that value too with the Los Angeles Rams Thielen’s latest victims.
The Vikings and Rams were exchanging blows and after two quick touchdowns, one from both sides, points were difficult to come by until the fourth quarter.
Despite having a seven point lead (14-7), the Vikings needed to break away from the Rams and with 10:24 left, Thielen went off. On second-and-10 from the Vikings’ 35-yard line, quarterback Case Keenum hit Thielen on curl route and the disciplined receiver blew by rookie defensive back Dominique Hatfield and took up the field for a 65-yard touchdown.
Thielen had his way against a solid Rams’ defense as he accounted for 123 yards off six receptions.
Thielen continues his streak of making five receptions per game, and this feat placed him in fine company. He has 62 catches for 916 yards this season and joins Randy Moss (2003) as the only player in franchise history to have at least 60 catches and 900 receiving yards in the team’s first 10 games of a season.
If Thielen continues his pace in Week 12 against the Detroit Lions, he could become the first wide receiver from the NFL Regional Combine platform to eclipse 1,000 receiving yards in a season.
Rams punter John Hekker gave his defensive counterpart a chance as he nailed four out of six punts inside the 20.
And, Rams wide receiver Mike Thomas got into the mix with his first reception of the season, nabbing a pass for 12 yards.
- Atlanta Falcons safety Kemal Ishmael showcased his physicality against the Seattle Seahawks as he sacked elusive quarterback Russell Wilson and racked up tackles, including a goal line stop when linebacker Vic Beasley and he lit up Seahawks running back J.D. McKissic at the Falcons 1-yard line with 6:25 remaining in the first half.
- Falcons cornerback C.J. Goodwin and wide receiver Marvin Hall registered a tackle each.
- Jacksonville Jaguars rookie wide receiver Keelan Cole continues to demonstrate his reliability. He caught three passes for 24 yards.
- As usual, Los Angeles Chargers linebacker Jatavis Brown finds himself as one of the top tacklers for his squad. He finished the contest against the Buffalo Bills with four tackles.
Like this article if you love football, and “Follow” us on Twitter and Instagram