SALT LAKE CITY -- It is looking more and more like the rest of the local players have to keep up with the Smiths: Alex Smith, 49ers quarterback; Steve Smith, wide-receiver for the Panthers; and now Sean Smith, cornerback for the Dolphins. The turnovers epidemic that has plagued the current batch of Cougars also seems to have infected a former Cougar as well.
The San Francisco 49ers are still on their hot streak by beating Cleveland 20-10 and have now won 5 games in a row. Part of their success is due to the success of former Ute QB Alex Smith, and the protection that his offensive line is giving him. Over the first four games of the season the 49ers O-line gave up 14 sacks, with one loss to Dallas in Tony Romo's gutsy performance in week 2. In the past 3 games, the O-line has only given up 3 sacks. Also part of the reason the Niners are winning is because Smith is playing mistake free. He has only thrown two interceptions thus far, and as we already know turnovers are killers. Smith's numbers for the game are respectable - not fantastic but enough to win, 15/24 passing for 177 yards and one touchdown, he also rushed four times for 22 yards and was sacked once.
Carolina Panthers' WR Steve Smith is continuing to have a career season, this week making seven catches for 100 yards and a TD. Those are really good numbers but Smith also made a bone headed play in the waning moments of the game. With under a minute to play the Panthers are driving and on 3rd and three Cam Newton scrambles for a first down at the Minnesota seven yard line but the play was nullified due to a holding call on Smith. That call pushed the Panthers back and they had to settle for a field goal try. Kicker Olindo Mare pushed the kick wide left.
Now on to Smith number three - and his teammates. The Miami Dolphins still have yet to win a game, and their latest loss to the New York Giants is very reminiscent of their loss to the Denver Broncos. However, in the loss, CB Sean Smith had seven tackles and one pass deflection - granted you don't always want you secondary making that many tackles. Teammates Koa Misi and Paul Soliai had so-so games. Misi had five tackles and Soliai had one.
The Baltimore Ravens were the comeback kids this week, coming back to beat the Cardinals by three. Tight-end Dennis Pitta had six catches for 44 yards, D-end Haloti Ngata had four tackles and linebacker Paul Kruger had two sacks. Wide receiver and kick returner David Reed had a decent game return the ball, having four returns for an average of 21 yards with a 27 yard long return. In the losing effort for the Cardinals, inside linebacker Stewart Bradley only had one tackle.
Turnovers have plagued BYU this year, especially interceptions by the quarterbacks, and it looks like former Cougar and Washington Redskins' QB John Beck has caught the infection as well. He threw two interceptions and also lost a fumble in their loss to the Buffalo Bills. Beck was harassed by the Bills defense all game long, he was sacked nine times and in the three games that he has played in he has been sacked 13 times, ouch! Regardless of the sacks and turnovers Beck also went 20/33 for 208 yards and no TDs. Give him some time, and some protection, and he might be able to lead the ‘Skins to a win.
Pittsburgh Steelers DE Brett Keisel had a game saving play in the final seconds of the game against the New England Patriots. With 19 seconds to go QB Tom Brady drops back to pass and Keisel beats his man, sticks out his big paw and slaps the ball out of Brady's hand. Troy Polamalu, being Mr. Johnny-on-the-spot punches the ball to the back of the end-zone for a safety sealing the win for the Steelers. Keisel also had two tackles one of those a sack.
Other players of note:
• Austin Collie, Indianapolis Colts WR, had five catches for 44 yards. Collie still does not have a TD this season, last year he had eight.
• Bryan Kehl, St. Louis Rams' LB, had four tackles.
• Brice McCain, corner back for the Houston Texans, had three solo tackles.