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Pitt in the NFL: Donald sacks Manning in upset win

By Chris Puzia / Sports Editor

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Aaron Donald had a memorable week 11 in his first season in the NFL, as other former Panthers had to adjust to new quarterbacks running their offenses.

The rookie and former Pitt defensive tackle recorded a sack on future Hall-of-Fame quarterback Peyton Manning. He also added three tackles in the St. Louis Rams’ 22-7 upset over the Denver Broncos. On a Rams defense that has not recorded many sacks this season, Donald has stood out and is continuing to generate buzz about being a contender for Defensive Rookie of the Year.

Meanwhile, wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald began his transition to a new quarterback Sunday with Drew Stanton replacing Carson Palmer, who tore his ACL the week prior. Fitzgerald had only two catches for 33 yards in the contest, but one of those catches was a crucial first-down play to extend the team’s drive and ensure it won the game. His Arizona Cardinals beat the Detroit Lions, 14-6 to improve to an impressive 9-1 this season.

Fitzgerald has not played as big a role in that dominance this year as many had expected, as the veteran wide receiver has taken a bit of a backseat role to young wide receiver Michael Floyd and running back Andre Ellington.

LeSean McCoy also had to cope with a new quarterback running the up-tempo offense of his Philadelphia Eagles. Mark Sanchez has replaced Nick Foles who is out with a broken collarbone. The Eagles got themselves into an early hole against the Green Bay Packers and were forced to throw the ball for most of the game. With the 23 attempts McCoy did receive, he ran for 88 yards and zero scores. McCoy still only has two rushing touchdowns this season.

New England Patriots corner Darrelle Revis recorded three tackles in the team’s win over Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday. He did not make an interception for the second straight game, and remains with only two for the year.

However, the debate continues when a defensive back has few interceptions whether it’s poor play on his part, or if the offense is actively avoiding throwing it his way. The Patriots are back in control of the AFC with the losses by the Broncos and Colts, and they sit at 8-2 on the year.

The tandem of former Pitt defenders playing on the Cleveland Browns totaled 12 tackles in the team’s 23-7 loss to the Houston TexansSunday. Linebacker Jabaal Sheard had four tackles, while rookie cornerback K’Waun Williams added the other eight. Williams now has 25 tackles on the season, ranking him 11th on the team in that category. He trails Sheard, who has 36. The two have combined for three sacks this season as well.

Punter Andy Lee had a moderately good day, as far as punting statistics go. The longtime NFL veteran made four total punts on Sunday against the New York Giants, three of which ended up inside the opponent’s 20-yard line. He averaged 46.8 yards per punt, which is his best mark in the past three games. Coincidentally, his San Francisco 49ers beat the Giants 16-10 to move to 6-4 on the season.

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Pitt in the NFL: Donald sacks Manning in upset win