Six secondary standouts from football’s week that was:
1. Jamar Taylor, CB, Browns (NFL) — I have an unofficial rule that you have to win to get on the Pick Six list, and so all season long I hadn’t even been able to consider putting a defensive back from my Cleveland Browns in this space. But then on Saturday, the Browns beat the Chargers 20-17, “improving” to 1-14 and avoiding the possibility of making history for all the wrong reasons.
Taylor, in his first season as a regular starter after three years as a backup with the Dolphins, has shined enough through all the losing that Cleveland signed him to a three-year contract extension earlier this month.
In Saturday’s emotional victory, Taylor had five tackles, including one tackle for a loss, two pass breakups and an interception.
2. Cedarius Rookard, S, Troy (NCAA) — The sophomore safety had five tackles and one of the Trojans’ four interception in their 28-23 win over Ohio in the Dollar General Bowl on Friday.
3. Malcolm Jenkins, SS, Eagles (NFL) — The Eagles jumped on the Giants early and held them off for a 24-19 win on Thursday that prevented New York from clinching a playoff spot on Philadelphia’s home field.
Jenkins helped put the Giants in that early hole with a first-quarter interception off Eli Manning that he returned 34 yards for a touchdown. Jenkins had another interception in the fourth quarter that set up a Philly field goal. He added six tackles and popped Odell Beckham Jr. a couple times for a physical Eagles defense.
4. Dayan Lake, CB, BYU (NCAA) — The Cougars were ahead 17-7 in the fourth quarter of Wednesday’s Poinsettia Bowl when Lake, a freshman, intercepted Wyoming QB Josh Allen. That pick set up BYU’s final touchdown in an eventual 24-21 victory. Lake finished the game with four tackles and one pass breakup to go with the INT.
5. Malcolm Butler, CB, Patriots (NFL) — Put it this way: Butler got the ball on defense more than Jets star WR Brandon Marshall got the ball on offense, and Butler helped put more points on the board than Marshall in Saturday’s 41-3 demolition by the Patriots.
Butler had two interceptions and a fumble recovery. Marshall was limited to just two receptions.
Butler’s first INT set up a Tom Brady touchdown pass. His second INT set up a LaGarrette Blount touchdown run. His fumble recovery set up a Stephen Gostkowski field goal.
6. Trayvon Henderson, S, Hawaii (NCAA) — The sophomore helped Hawaii earn its first bowl win since 2006 in Saturday’s 52-35 win over Middle Tennessee State in the Hawaii Bowl.
Henderson’s 68-yard pick-six gave the Rainbow Warriors a two-touchdown lead in the second quarter. He added five tackles.