Welcome along to the second installment of ‘beyond the headlines’, where we give praise to those individuals who may not have graced the front or back pages. However they can find some joy where for once it doesn’t matter what side of the result they found themselves on, as we salute outstanding individual effort.
Brian Cushing: Houston Texans
With Jadeveon Clowney and Whitney Merciless attracting all the attention when it came to the Texans pass rush, linebacker Brian Cushing became the benefactor during Saturdays defeat to the Patriots. Cushing had one of his best games recording four tackles, and one sack along with two quarterback hurries. Cushing was also one of three players on the Texans defense that played every snap (69).
Micah Hyde: Green Bay Packers
The Green Bay Packers secondary has been decimated by injuries and opposing quarterbacks throughout the course of the latter part of the season, and needed someone to stand up and be counted. Hyde did just that with proof that those hours spent in the film room are just as critical as those spent on the practice field, as he jumped the Dak Prescott to Dez Bryant screen for an interception and an 18 yard return. Hyde was also effective when rushing, as he accounted for one sack and two quarterback hurries. In coverage Hyde gave up 4 catches for 50 yards which yielded a passer rating of 52.8. According to ProFootballFocus Hyde ranked 2nd overall among cornerbacks over the weekend with an grade of 89.9.
Taylor Gabriel: Atlanta Falcons
Matt Ryan spread the ball out with great efficiency hitting eight different Falcons throughout the course of the game. Taylor Gabriel reeled in four of his six targets for a total of 71 yards. However the most impressive part of Taylor Gabriel’s game came once the ball was in his possession, with 40 of his 71 yards coming after contact. According to ProFootballFocus Gabriel had the third most YAC (yards after contact) yards among wideouts during the Divisional Weekend slate of games.
Marcus Peters: Kansas City Chiefs
Anyone that can keep, not only the sensational Antonio Brown relatively quiet (allowing 1 of 3 targets for 9 yards) but be part of a defensive effort that didn’t surrender a touchdown, to a Steelers offense that’s scored 24 points or more in its last nine games deserves acknowledgement and praise, Mr Peters, you have both.