Six secondary standouts from football’s week that was:
Patrick Watkins, CB, Edmonton (CFL): The former Florida State standout and five-year NFL veteran made six tackles and snatched one interception in Sunday’s 103rd edition of the Grey Cup, in which the Eskimos defeated the Ottawa Redblacks 26-20 for the championship of Canada. Watkins, one of the tallest DBs in football at 6-foot-5, helped keep the reigning CFL Most Outstanding Player, 40-year-old Ottawa QB Henry Burris, from engineering a touchdown drive over the game’s final three quarters. Watkins almost had a second INT in the second quarter, when he fought with an Ottawa receiver at the goal line for a ball that was ultimately ruled incomplete.
Will Hill, SS, Ravens (NFL): As a Cleveland Browns fan, I didn’t want to give Hill this spot. And knowing my team like I do, I could’ve justified my snub by arguing that Hill didn’t actually do anything in Monday night’s 33-27 Baltimore victory, he was just a recipient of good luck … or more like a beneficiary of the Browns’ cursed horrible luck. But that would just be me being bitter. With three seconds left and the score tied, Cleveland was going for a 51-yard field goal. For most teams, this is a win-or-overtime scenario. For the Browns, they had the kick blocked by Baltimore’s Brent Urban, then the ball found its way in the hands of Hill, who ran it back 64 yards for the improbable winning touchdown. We’ve seen at least three such insane game-winning special teams plays in college football this season, but this was easily the wildest NFL finish of the year.
Washington Huskies (NCAA): The Huskies’ defense forced seven turnovers and scored three touchdowns in Saturday’s 45-10 rout of Washington State in the Apple Cup rivalry game. Sophomore cornerback Sidney Jones returned an interception 69 yards for a score; sophomore CB Darren Gardenhire scored on a 28-yard fumble return; and junior CB Kevin King forced and recovered a fumble to go with a team-high nine tackles.
Tracy Porter, CB, Bears (NFL): The Packers were down 17-13 to the Bears and driving for a go-ahead score late in the fourth quarter of their Thanksgiving night rivalry renewal. Porter ended that drive when he intercepted Aaron Rodgers. Chicago’s offense couldn’t successfully run out the clock, though, and Green Bay got the ball back for one more chance. Rodgers got the Packers inside the 10-yard line, but Porter batted down a pass intended for James Jones in the end zone on third down and the Bears held on fourth down to preserve the victory on a night when Brett Favre and Bart Starr were honored at Lambeau Field.
Richard Sherman, CB, Seahawks (NFL): Antonio Brown, arguably the best receiver in football right now, had racked up 27 catches for 423 yards and two touchdowns in the two Steelers’ games (Raiders, Browns) preceding Sunday’s meeting with the Seahawks. Shadowed by Sherman, arguably the best cornerback in football right now, Brown was held to six catches for 51 yards with no touchdowns. Sherman also got his first interception of the season and made five tackles.
Jordan Thomas, CB, Oklahoma (NCAA): The sophomore corner had six tackles and two interceptions in Saturday’s 58-23 win over rival Oklahoma State — likely ensuring the Sooners a spot in college football’s national championship playoff — and returned one of those picks 32 yards for a touchdown.