By Ben Tompkins
In a battle between AFC West rivals, prolific defensive performances from former UK players led the charge in the 11th week of the NFL.
In the Sunday night late game, the Denver Broncos and linebackers Wesley Woodyard and Danny Trevathan surged past Kansas City, 27-17, ruining the Chiefs’ chance at a perfect season.
Trevathan continued to shine as the former UK linebacker forced a fumble and combined for 11 tackles, marking three consecutive weeks with double-digit tackles. Trevathan also extended his team-leading 81 tackles to the largest margin of the season, holding 28 more than the next Denver defender.
Middle linebacker Woodyard commanded the Broncos’ defense to victory as he made five combined tackles on the night. Finally healthy after suffering various ailments this season, Woodyard is now back to playing the majority to all of the defensive snaps.
UK junior management major Luke Hill said it means a lot to him to see Kentucky players standing out in the NFL.
“What was really neat was during the offensive and defensive introductions, when the players say their name and school, Wes and Danny were back-to-back since they play beside each other, so I heard Kentucky and Kentucky,” Hill said.
“You know, even though UK isn’t your typical SEC powerhouse, it’s still awesome to see recent studs that played at UK making big plays in the NFL and showing that Kentucky still produces talent.”
The Buffalo Bills defeated the New York Jets, 37-14, but did so without team-leading wide receiver Steve Johnson. A nagging groin injury sidelined the former UK standout for two practices leading into Sunday’s game with the Jets, and when it came time for a decision to be made about playing, Johnson was ruled out.
Johnson has led all Buffalo receivers in yards, receptions, targets and touchdowns, compiling 471 yards on 41 receptions and three touchdowns.
Around the rest of the league, the Atlanta Falcons and former UK defensive tackle Corey Peters fell to 2-8 on the season as they lost to the Tampa Bay Bucaneers, 41-28. In the loss, Peters had one tackle.
Although he did not see any playing time, former Cats’ running back Alfonso Smith and the Arizona Cardinals picked up their sixth win of the season, defeating the Jacksonville Jaguars, 27-14.
Former Cats Tim Masthay and Randall Cobb and the Green Bay Packers dropped a road game, losing to the New York Giants at Metlife Stadium, 27-13.
On the winning sideline in New York was fullback John Conner, who had a pair of receptions for two yards. Through limited playing time in four games, Conner has caught six passes for 31 yards.
The Pittsburgh Steelers defeated for UK guard Larry Warford and the Detroit Lions, 37-27, at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. Warford again received praise this previous week, this time from ESPN football analyst Todd McShay, who ranked the rookie right guard and the rest of the Lions’ rookie class as the top rookie class amongst the league.