Nov. 17, 2010
By Currie McFayden, WakeForestSports.com
In Week 10 of the NFL season, the strongest teams in the league finally started to show some separation from everyone else. The Falcons won a Thursday night thriller over the Ravens, the Patriots handily defeated the Steelers in Pittsburgh and the Eagles, led by QB Michael Vick, scored the most points by a single team in the history of Monday Night Football in a romp over the rival Redskins.
For former Demon Deacons, Week 10 continued the trend of solid play that has defined the season. The true standout was Aaron Curry, who blitzed the Arizona defense en route to the first two-sack game of his career.
The number of former Deacons on active rosters remained at 14 this week. Safety Chip Vaughn was waived by the Colts prior to Sunday's game, but cornerback Eric King was signed by the Browns on Tuesday.
Here is a player-by-player look at how the Deacons fared in Week 10.
LB Stanley Arnoux, New Orleans Saints
The Saints (6-3) and Arnoux were on their bye week during Week 10. They will return to action late Sunday afternoon when they take on the Seahawks at the Superdome. New Orleans is now a half-game behind the Falcons for the NFC South division lead.
OT Tyson Clabo, Atlanta Falcons
TE Desmond Clark, Chicago Bears
The Falcons' offensive line protected QB Matt Ryan for most of the night in their 26-21 Thursday night victory over the Ravens. They allowed only two sacks by the potent Baltimore defense, and gave Ryan enough time to make great decisions, resulting in no interceptions in the game. While the run blocking was not as superb as in recent games (RB Michael Turner had just 39 yards on 17 carries), Clabo and the line played a very solid game and gutted out the win. Atlanta (7-2) now holds the best record in the NFC.
The veteran was once again a healthy scratch for the Bears (6-3), who are tied with Green Bay atop the NFC North standings after a 27-13 win over the Vikings. In another disheartening sign for Clark, it seems that he has fallen to third on the depth chart for tight ends, as both Greg Olsen and Kellen Davis caught touchdown passes in the victory.
LB Aaron Curry, Seattle Seahawks
In what was no doubt the best performance of his career to date, the second-year linebacker dominated Arizona's offensive line in Seattle's 36-18 win. Curry showed some explosiveness, as the second-year pro broke through the line for two sacks and a forced fumble after stripping the ball from Cardinals' QB Derek Anderson. He notched a season-high eight tackles as well. Last year's No. 4 overall pick now has 36 tackles on the season with three sacks and two forced fumbles in nine starts. The Seahawks (5-4) lead the NFC West by a full game over the Rams.
OG Chris DeGeare, Minnesota Vikings
The rookie was held out of action again in Week 10 during Minnesota's 27-13 loss to the Bears. If the Vikings (3-6) decide that there is no way that they could make a miracle playoff run this season, it could result in increased playing time for DeGeare as they begin to plan and prepare for the team's future.
CB Brandon Ghee, Cincinnati Bengals
Ghee is quickly becoming one of the Bengals' best assets on special teams, as he had two more tackles in Sunday's 30-28 loss to the Colts. The rookie now has five straight games with at least one tackle and will look to continue his streak in Week 11 when Cincinnati (2-7) faces the Bills.
CB Eric King, Cleveland Browns
After being released by the Detroit Lions prior to the start of the regular season, King finally found his way back onto an NFL roster. The sixth-year pro was signed by the Cleveland Browns on Tuesday. King's signing comes on the heels of a shoulder injury to starting corner Sheldon Brown.
FB Ovie Mughelli, Atlanta Falcons
As usual, Mughelli played a big role in the Falcons' blocking schemes. He also added two carries for five yards and one catch for two yards in the win. With two more rushing attempts this season, the seven-year veteran will tie his personal record for the most rushing attempts in a season, set when he was with Baltimore in 2006. Two more catches will also pull him into a tie for the second-most in a season for his career; he also had eight catches in 2008 with Atlanta.
LB Calvin Pace, New York Jets
While the Jets (7-2) might have needed some luck to get their 26-20 overtime win over the Browns on Sunday, Pace had his best game of the season. He had a season-high seven total tackles and had another sack, giving him 2.5 on the year. In just his fifth game back since having surgery on his broken foot, the veteran appears to be back to his old form, which is great news for Jets fans as their team has struggled to rush the passer at times this season.
DT Fred Robbins, St. Louis Rams
In the Rams' 23-20 loss to the 49ers, Robbins had just one tackle and one pass broken up, and St. Louis's defense was shredded by QB Troy Smith. Despite the setback, the former Deacon has defended more passes this season (six) than in any other single year in his career and remains a disruptive force along the center of the defensive line. With the loss, the Rams fell to 4-5 on the season.
CB Alphonso Smith, Detroit Lions
For only the second time in his last seven games, Smith was held without an interception in the Lions' 14-12 loss to the Bills on Sunday. Even without an interception though, he had four tackles in the secondary. The former second-round draft pick seems to be well on his way to becoming a feared defensive force in Detroit. Still in the early phases of rebuilding, the Lions are now 2-7.
OG Steve Vallos, Cleveland Browns
Once again, Vallos was a healthy inactive for Cleveland in their 26-20 loss to the Jets. The guard has not played any snaps in the regular season since being claimed off waivers in September.
LS Joe Zelenka, Atlanta Falcons
Thanks to Zelenka's steady snapping abilities, kicker Matt Bryant hit two field goals in Atlanta's win over Baltimore, including a season-long of 51 yards. Since missing one field goal in Week 6 against the Eagles, Bryant is now a perfect 5-for-5.
SB/WR Chris Davis, Winnipeg Blue Bombers
The Blue Bombers and Davis failed to make the CFL playoffs for the Grey Cup, ending their season with a 35-32 loss to the Calgary Stampeders. With just a 4-14 record, Winnipeg has plenty of room to improve next season, something that Coach Paul LaPolice is already looking forward to.
Players on Professional Practice Squads
LB John Russell, Buffalo Bills
WR D.J. Boldin, Toronto Argonauts
Players Still Looking for Work
OL Steve Justice (last with the Carolina Panthers)
WR Kenneth Moore (last with the Indianapolis Colts)
DT Boo Robinson (last with the Cleveland Browns)
S Chip Vaughn (last with the Indianapolis Colts)
Players on Injured Reserve (out for the season)
LB Jyles Tucker, San Diego Chargers