Auburn versus Alabama. Roll Tide or War Eagle. “It’s huge,” said Richardson, the fifth overall pick in the NFL draft who played at Alabama. “I really can’t explain it to you unless you go down to an Auburn-Alabama game and just see how the fans react to each other and see how big the rivalry is.”
“It’s another big test this week for Mark, for sure,” Bucs coach Greg Schiano said. “One of the big things we really loved was the way Mark run-supported in college. In our division, having to defend these great tight ends, Mark would be a great matchup. I think he has been. He needs to play really well.”
Jones caught six passes for 147 yards in the game, including a 15-yard reception that put the Falcons on the Tampa Bay 10-yard line with Atlanta trailing 23-17 the fourth quarter, setting up Michael Turner’s game-winning touchdown run.
Two defensive starters, defensive end Mark Anderson and cornerback Aaron Williams, have once again been ruled out with their respective knee injuries. This will be the sixth consecutive game that Anderson has missed, while Williams will miss his third straight contest.
“I expect to get more and more,” Kirkpatrick said. “If I don’t, I’m just going to play my role (on) punt return and kickoffs. Either way it goes, I’ve got a role, that’s what I’m just trying to do.”
Ryans, in particular, is turning in a season worth appreciating. According to stats kept by Eagles coaches, Ryans leads the team with 101 tackles (77 solo). He’s on pace for 123 solo tackles. Per team stats, that’d be the most of any player in the Andy Reid era. More than Brian Dawkins. More than Jeremiah Trotter. More than Hugh Douglas and Trent Cole.
Harper, meanwhile, said he never went back and watched the game, which also is typical for him. He said he’s never even watched a replay of the Saints’ Super Bowl win, because he prefers to live by that defensive back mantra of having a short memory and focusing on what’s ahead rather than harping on the past.
He made his way onto the highlight reels with his spectacular WWE style body slam of St. Louis Rams receiver Danny Amendola. McClain fit the bad boy image of the Raiders perfectly, receiving a $5,000 fine from the NFL for that hit. A league spokesman said McClain was fined because he unnecessarily slammed the opponent to the ground.