Apparently Mizzou has figured out how to turn out some NFL players on the defensive side of the ball. Six former Mizzou defenders put some sort of stats on the board this week while only two ex-Tigers helped (or in Blaine's case, hurt) their teams on offense. Injuries are the big reason behind this obviously, but it's pretty cool seeing all of these defensive players on Sundays. By the way, even though it seems like I'm picking on Blaine, I'm not. He's just not playing well right now. I want him to succeed as much as anyone, but he's just not in a situation where that seems possible right now. That being said, let's take a closer look at how everyone did in Week 4 of the NFL season.
William Moore, Atlanta Falcons
Moore had a much more quiet game this week in the Falcons' 30-23 loss to the Patriots, and things are starting to become a little concerning in Atlanta. Yes, the Falcons have had a tough draw in the first quarter of the season, but with just one win (against the Rams) they're going to be spending a lot of the season playing catchup with New Orleans. For being a team that has Super Bowl aspirations, William Moore has to feel the sense of urgency to get his team going. He's stepped up to the task in the first three games of the year as he had good games against Drew Brees, Sam Bradford, and Ryan Tannehill, but Tom Brady proved to be too much. The return of Sean Weatherspoon is something everyone in Atlanta is anticipating as well.
Godzilla got in the backfield again and had a hand in bringing down the QB in the Niners big 35-11 win over St. Louis on Thursday Night Football. This game had to be a relief for Justin even though he didn't fill up the stat sheet as San Francisco returned to their winning ways and got back to .500. While Aldon Smith continues to recover, this defense didn't skip a beat. Sam Bradford and the Rams got absolutely nothing going as the Niners defense held them to around 200 yards passing and UNDER TWENTY YARDS RUSHING. That's just ridiculous. No, the Rams don't have a reliable running game, but 18 yards rushing is pretty pitiful. Smith and the Niners will have their hands full with the talented Texans in their second primetime game in a row, this time on Sunday Night Football.
How weird is it to see Pittsburgh with a big fat zero in the win column after Week 4? Ziggy and the ailing Steelers took a trip across the pond only to lose to AP and the Vikings in Wembley Stadium 34-27. Matt Cassel and his purple comrades did enough to support Adrian Peterson and were able to put up over thirty points on an uncharacteristicly pedestrian Steeler defense. Ziggy hasn't had the best season, but it's hard to single him out on a team that just can't seem to do anything right. The entire defense has struggled through the first four games, and needless to say Mr. Hood hasn't provided the spark you want your first round pick to give you. As I stated earlier this season, he's playing for his future with Pittsburgh, and it really couldn't have been a worse time to finish up your rookie contract. Let's hope he has a strong 12 games left in him this year.
Sheldon had one tackle for loss and three total tackles as the Jets fell to the Titans in embarrassing fashion, 38-13. Sheldon has mostly lived up to the hype this season and has truly justified the Jets in taking him in the first round. Not great numbers this week, but it's nice when you're able to look at a rookie with three tackles and say he had a down game. As long as he avoids the mental mistakes, I think we'll see him develop into a pretty darn good defensive lineman for New York over the years.
What a huge confidence builder for Brown and the Bills this week. Buffalo took down the defending Super Bowl champion Ravens 23-20. There were a couple of times it looked like the Ravens might mount a comeback, but the Bills offense did enough to hold them off in the end. It didn't hurt that the Bills offensive line was able to get enough push to lead Buffalo's running backs to 203 yards on the ground against a Ravens defense that has allowed 106 YPG. Been a surprisingly good start for the Bills so far, and they get to enjoy their Thursday night this week against the equally surprising Cleveland Browns on Thursday Night Football.
The former All-Big 12 defensive lineman has been in the league for nine years now, and is still finding ways to contribute even though he isn't starting. Even as a backup he was able to get 3 tackles as his Lions beat the rival Bears 40-32 in Detroit this week, an impressive win that will go a long way in the race for the NFC North crown.
Blaine Gabbert, Jacksonville Jaguars
Yikes. In his first week back for the Jags since his hand injury, Blaine had a pretty abysmal game. The Jags were trounced 37-3 by the Colts and as the weeks go on I continue to wonder if Gabbert and the Jaguars will be able to win a game this season. Although he caught a tough break and plays for a team that doesn't offer much support for him, he hasn't done much to support them either. Throwing three picks without getting in the end zone at all will not win you many games and it won't win you any favors with the coaching staff. I'd be extremely surprised if Jacksonville doesn't get the #1 overall pick this year, and I'd be even more surprised if they don't use that pick on a quarterback. Maybe Blaine just needs a change of scenery, and that might not come voluntarily at season's end.
Zaviar Gooden, Tennessee Titans
Zaviar finally saw some action this week and got one takedown against the Jets. He's playing on a talented team that is playing good defense right now, so he'll probably just be a special teams contributor for the time being. Good for him for getting in the stat column.
Like I said above, the Titans look pretty stinkin' good this year. Beau Brinkley might get a chance to snap some balls in the playoffs if they can keep it up.
Aldon Smith (San Francisco 49ers, personal reasons)
Andrew Gachkar (San Diego Chargers)
Michael Egnew (Miami Dolphins)
Sean Weatherspoon (Atlanta Falcons, injured)
Danario Alexander (San Diego Chargers, injured)
Brad Smith (Buffalo Bills, injured)
Chase Coffman (Atlanta Falcons)
Kevin Rutland (FA)
Kip Edwards (FA)
Jacquies Smith (FA)
Elvis Fisher (FA)
Brad Madison (FA)
Kenronte Walker (FA)
Kendial Lawrence (FA)
Jerrell Jackson (FA)