Six secondary standouts from football’s weekend that was:
Richard Sherman, CB, Seahawks (NFL) — Just when you were ready to write Seattle off as a serious Super Bowl contender, the reigning champs churned out a pair of near-flawless defensive performances in respective 19-3 victories over NFC West rivals Arizona and San Francisco. In the Thanksgiving night win over the 49ers, Sherman had two interceptions; one that set up the game’s only touchdown, and another that ended one of the few San Francisco drives in which they appeared to have a chance at sniffing the end zone.
Branden Leston, S, Western Kentucky (NCAA) — The redshirt sophomore recorded eight tackles and intercepted Heisman-contending QB Rakeem Cato three times in the Hilltoppers’ 67-66 overtime upset of nationally-ranked Marshall on Saturday.
Jamar Wall, DB, Calgary (CFL) — Four tackles don’t make for a stat line worth writing home about, but Wall makes this list for his season-long excellence (62 tackles, six INTs, 130 yards, one TD) that culminated in a Grey Cup championship when the Stampeders beat the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 20-16 on Sunday.
Da’Norris Searcy, SS, Bills (NFL) — While most of the mainstream media has fallen completely in love with J.J. Watt, Searcy may garner NFL Defensive Player of the Year votes from a few media members since he is the man most responsible for finally getting Johnny Manziel on the field and creating another QB controversy in Cleveland. Searcy intercepted Brian Hoyer twice during Buffalo’s 26-10 win over the Browns on Sunday, earning Hoyer a seat on the bench and opening the door for Manziel’s most meaningful playing time of the season.
Sam Carter, SS, TCU (NCAA) — The Horned Frogs leaped into a top-four national title playoff spot with a total defensive domination of Texas on Thanksgiving, taking the ball away from the Longhorns six times in a 48-10 rout. Carter, a senior, had four tackles and two interceptions.
Trumaine Johnson, CB, Rams (NFL) — Every member of the Rams’ D should get a game ball from Sunday’s 52-0 destruction of the Raiders in which they forced five turnovers and had six sacks. Johnson was the headliner in the defensive backfield. He had six tackles, two pass breakups and two interceptions, including one pick that he returned 43 yards for a touchdown.