Pick Six: Players of the Week

Byron Maxwell

Byron Maxwell

Six secondary standouts from football’s week that was:

1. Byron Maxwell, CB, Dolphins (NFL): Outweighed by about 30 pounds and giving up three inches in height to the monster of a receiver that is Brandon Marshall, Maxwell already had a tall task ahead of him in Sunday’s game against the Jets.

It was made worse in the days leading up to the game, as Marshall dragged Maxwell into a one-sided war of words by complaining about Maxwell’s physical style of coverage and accusing Maxwell of constantly holding and grabbing.

Maxwell didn’t return fire in front of the media. He just went out and held Marshall to six catches for 45 yards in Miami’s 27-23 victory.

“It doesn’t matter what he says,” Maxwell said after the game, as Marshall repeated his accusations. “He can say what he wants to say, but I’m still going to be here. I’m still going to do my technique. I’m going to still do what the coaches ask of me.”

2. Damon Webb, S, Ohio State (NCAA): The Buckeyes are currently fifth in the College Football Playoff ranking — one spot up from last week — but a lot of people predicted they’d jump two spots and into the top four after Saturday’s 62-3 destruction of 10th-ranked Nebraska.

Webb, a junior, opened the scoring with a 36-yard interception return for a touchdown in the first quarter. He added three tackles. Webb also helped the Ohio State defense limit the Cornhuskers’ offense to just 126 passing yards (9-for-33 attempts) and 78 rushing yards.

3. San Diego Chargers (NFL): After Marcus Mariota led the Titans to an impressive win over the Jaguars on “Thursday Night Football” last week, I read a column praising him as the best young quarterback in the league. Probably won’t be seeing another of those for a while following this past Sunday’s performance, when the Chargers secondary picked on Mariota during a 43-35 victory.

Chargers CB Brandon Flowers had a 33-yard interception return for a touchdown (along with two tackles for loss), CB Casey Hayward had an interception, and FS Dwight Lowery recovered a fumble by Mariota that he returned 43 yards for a score.

4. Rasul Douglas, CB, West Virginia (NCAA): The senior cornerback helped the Mountaineers bounce back from their first loss of the season and keep pace with first-place Oklahoma and second-place Oklahoma State in the Big 12 with a 48-21 win over Kansas on Saturday. Douglas had two interceptions and four tackles, including one tackle for a loss.

5. Landon Collins, SS, Giants (NFL): In his second season as a pro, Collins is playing as well as any safety in the league, and is helping the Giants (5-3) stay within range of the NFC East-leading Cowboys. Don’t be surprised if Collins earns his first Pro Bowl and/or All-Pro nod this year.

Going into Week 10, Collins is the NFL’s top tackler (69) among defensive backs, he has the most sacks (3.0) among defensive backs, and his three interceptions put him in a multi-way tie for third in the league in that category.

In New York’s 28-23 win over the Eagles on Sunday, Collins recorded a team-high 12 tackles, one sack and one interception.

6. Shalom Luani, S, Washington State (NCAA): Early in Saturday’s game against Arizona, Luani intercepted a pass and returned it inside the Wildcats’ 10-yard line. That led to WSU’s first touchdown in what would be a 69-7 rout. The senior Luani finished the game with five tackles and a sack to go with the INT.

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