Dec. 7, 2006
With only four weeks left in the regular season, it is becoming more and more apparent which teams are on their way to a playoff berth. Yet, some very interesting turns of events in the NFL have led to a few surprise teams making a case for a playoff spot. And throughout the season, former Cougars have helped their respective teams catch the league by surprise as they move up in the rankings and look for their chance at Super Bowl XLI.
The New York Jets, with a record of 7-5 in the AFC East have posted consecutive wins over the past two weeks. Erik Coleman, a defensive back for WSU from 2000-03, has turned in solid performances in the past three games to help the Jets maintain their conference position. Last week, Coleman posted six tackles in New York's win over Houston, followed by eight tackles and a pass defense at Green Bay Sunday.
The Jacksonville Jaguars also own a record of 7-5 as they look to make a bid toward a playoff spot. The Jags' Rob Meier has done his part on the defensive side to keep his team's playoff hopes alive. A WSU defensive end from 1996-99, Meier recorded a five-yard sack to bring his season total to four and added a quarterback hurry.
Seattle seems poised to make its second consecutive trip to the NFC championship game with an 8-4 record as cornerback Marcus Trufant has been an anchor for the Seahawks' secondary. In last week's 34-24 win over Green Bay, Trufant posted a season-high three pass defenses and recorded his first interception of the season. Against Denver Sunday, the former Cougar, who posted 11 interceptions during his WSU career, added a pass defense and a forced fumble to help the Seahawks to a 23-20 win over the Broncos.
One of the biggest upsets of the season took place during week 13 as the Tennessee Titans handed the Indianapolis Colts their second loss of the season. After dropping a heartbreaking week five loss, the Titans defeated the Colts 20-17 Sunday to move to 5-7 on the season.
The Colts, however, posted impressive stats, especially on defense where former Cougar Jason David had a hand in a few big plays. David, who is second in the WSU record books in interceptions with 16, picked off his second of the season and added a pass defense.
Former Cougar kickers are also doing their part to earn a playoff spot for their teams. Detroit's Jason Hanson was perfect in field goals as he made all four attempts and added a PAT and Rian Lindell of the Buffalo Bills made all three of his PAT attempts against San Diego.