Six secondary standouts from football’s week that was:
Robert Alford, CB, Falcons (NFL): In the second quarter against Washington on Sunday, Alford made his first interception of the season. In the fourth quarter, he committed a pass interference penalty that set up a Washington touchdown. Going into overtime, Alford needed something to tip the scales and determine whether he could feel good or bad about his game. It didn’t take long. On the first possession of the extra frame, Alford jumped an out route by WR Ryan Grant and picked off his second pass of the day, returning it 59 yards for the winning touchdown and keeping Atlanta undefeated this season.
Sidney Jones, CB, Washington (NCAA): Almost forgotten amidst the drama and tragedy of USC head coach Steve Sarkisian’s sudden fall due to alcoholism was the fact that the Trojans suffered a crushing 17-12 loss on Thursday to young pack of Huskies that have become surprise Pac-12 North contenders. Jones, a sophomore, stood out in the upset with four tackles, a forced fumble, and an interception against famously accurate USC QB Cody Kessler.
Chris Harris Jr., CB, Broncos (NFL): The feel-good story of Sunday’s Denver-Oakland game was Raiders veteran safety Charles Woodson, who intercepted Broncos QB Peyton Manning for the first time in their long careers — and then did it again — just days removed from Woodson’s 39th birthday. But it was Harris whose defensive playmaking led the way in Denver’s 16-10 victory. Midway through the fourth quarter, with Oakland driving for a potential go-ahead score, Harris got an interception and took it back 74 yards for a TD to end the threat to the Broncos’ undefeated record.
Patrick Peterson & Rashad Johnson, Cardinals (NFL): Arizona dominated Detroit on both sides in a 42-17 rout on Sunday. The offense was led by QB Carson Palmer, who threw three touchdowns. The defense was led by Peterson and Johnson, the team’s star cornerback and free safety. Peterson had four tackles, one pass breakup and an interception while holding Lions star WR Calvin Johnson to just five catches for 67 yards. Johnson had five tackles, one fumble recovery and two interceptions.
Brian Randolph, FS, Tennessee (NCAA): The gruesome leg injury suffered by Georgia RB Nick Chubb and the star-making, air-and-ground performance of Tennessee QB Joshua Dobbs will be what most interested parties ultimately remember about the Volunteers’ 38-31 win over the Bulldogs on Saturday. But it was Randolph’s pass breakup in the end zone as time expired that preserved the W in what was a must-win game for Tennessee, which had lost two in a row. The senior safety also had a team-high nine tackles.
Quinten Rollins, CB, Packers (NFL): QB Aaron Rodgers is getting about 90 percent of the credit and attention during Green Bay’s 5-0 start, while WR James Jones’ career rejuvenation is stealing the other 10 percent. Which means the Packers’ defense is officially underrated right now. Rollins, a rookie out of Miami (Ohio), contributed to another strong defensive effort in Sunday’s 24-10 win over the Rams with a 45-yard pick-six in the first quarter and another INT in the fourth quarter to put St. Louis away for good.