Week 11 culminated in a thermonuclear explosion of points on Monday Night Football and across the league. But defense isn’t dead, and this week proved it. The NFL was also rife with defensive touchdowns which contributed to that eruption. Los Angeles Rams linebacker Samson Ebukam tallied a pair of defensive touchdowns in the Rams’ suspenseful 54-51 victory over the Chiefs. A third Rams defensive touchdown was called back in the third frame, and the Kansas City Chiefs stripped Jared Goff on his own goal line and tacked on a defensive TD of their own in the fourth.
Adding to the defensive prosperity, Houston Texans rookie safety Justin Reid returned an interception 101 yards for a score. However, Giants defensive back Janoris Jenkins and linebacker Alec Ogletree tag-teamed for the most outstanding play of the weekend.
Alec Ogletree’s own pass coverage skills have left much to be desired. In Week 10, he played a part in Niners tight end George Kittle catching nine balls for 83 yards the week prior. However, with a little assistance, Ogletree’s pick-6 was the weekend’s most eye-popping play.
Jameis Winston may have finished the Buccaneers’ 35-38 loss under center for Tampa Bay, but not before Ryan Fitzpatrick dug his team a giant deficit. Fitzpatrick halted Tampa Bay’s offense at the conclusion of the first half with his first interception of the evening. That throw precipitated an avalanche of errors.
During Houston’s opening drive of the third quarter, Tampa Bay trailed 14-7 and found themselves in a 2nd and 8 situation at the 12. The Bucs lined up in shotgun formation, with four receivers and a tailback in the backfield.
The Bucs failed to pick up a blitzing Landon Collins, who rushed Fitzpatrick unblocked. Collins’ pressure forced Fitzpatrick to quickly fire a sidewinder to DeSean Jackson on a slant route. Instead of finding Jackson in the open space that Collins had just vacated, Janoris Jenkins read the play perfectly, beating Jackson to the ball as the two collided.
Jenkins got his mittens all over the ball, but bobbled it while rolling onto his back and failed to secure possession, allowing Ogletree to slide in and abscond with Jenkins’ hard-earned interception. It may seem cold-blooded for a teammate to steal from another teammate, but it proves that professional sports are as cutthroat as your average corporate office setting.
How that ball avoided hitting the ground is anyone’s guess, but Ogletree’s interception of his teammate’s interception worked out for the Giants. Ogletree quickly picked himself up off the turf, broke a tackle and strolled into the end zone. Meanwhile, the 11th pick-6 of Fitzgerald’s career precipitated the end of his second stint this season as Tampa Bay’s starting quarterback. Ogletree’s touchdown increase New York’s lead to 21-7. On Tampa Bay’s ensuing drive, Fitzgerald committed his third-consecutive drive-ending turnover and was sidelined for Winston.
Surprisingly, Winston fared better against the Giants, however, the Bucs set an ignominious mark in the process.
*Out-of-market games only. Select int’l games excluded.