Pitt in the NFL: Larry Fitzgerald climbs in record books


For the second straight week, Larry Fitzgerald led the group of Pitt alumni in the NFL and made some noise in the league record books as well. At week 10, Fitzgerald and the Cardinals traveled back to Arizona to face rookie Aaron Donald and the division rival Rams, who were coming off a very impressive road win against another division foe, the 49ers.

Fitzgerald finished the game with nine receptions for a team-high 112 yards, catching all but one of his 10 targets to ensure that the Cardinals remained in first place in the NFC West with a 31-14 come-from-behind win. Even after starting quarterback Carson Palmer left the game early in the second half with a torn ACL injury, Fitzgerald continued the offensive chemistry with backup quarterback Drew Stanton to help lead the Cardinals to an 8-1 record, their best start since 1948.

Fitzgerald climbed in the record book during the game as well. He moved ahead of Keenan McCardell for 18th on the all-time receptions list and passed Cowboys great Michael Irvin for 24th in career receiving yards. Aaron Donald had three tackles in the loss and also recorded a tackle for loss in a big defensive first half for St. Louis.

In Thursday night’s primetime game, the Cleveland Browns, led by former Pitt defenders Jabaal Sheard and K’Waun Williams, traveled to Cincinnati and steamrolled the Bengals by a final score of 24-3. Sheard aided the Browns’ stout run defense up front by getting in on five tackles and providing pressure all game that caused Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton to throw three interceptions.

K’Waun Williams played one of his best games of the season in the secondary for the Browns, tallying four tackles and two pass breakups and helping to keep receivers A.J. Green and Mohamed Sanu off the score sheet. The victory propelled the Browns into sole possession of first place in the AFC North and also ended a 17-game road losing streak to division opponents.

Punter Andy Lee of the 49ers continued his campaign for best punter in the league by winning the field position battle in a victory in New Orleans against the high-powered Saints. Lee pinned the Saints inside their own 20-yard line on three separate occasions and averaged 44.7 yards on his seven punts. The 49ers ended up topping the Saints with a final score of 27-24.

The Patriots headed into their bye week after a huge win against the Denver Broncos. Defensive back Darrelle Revis continues a stellar defensive year for New England. He has played shutdown defense on opposing wideouts and has two interceptions and 28 total tackles in the nine games he has played.

LeSean McCoy and the Eagles took on the Carolina Panthers on Monday Night Football for a chance to remain in first place in the competitive NFC East. Entering the game, McCoy had really been picking up the workload. He had 349 rushing yards, 5.3 yards per carry, over his last three games. The Eagles asked McCoy to pick up the offensive workload because starting quarterback Nick Foles was sidelined due to a broken collarbone last week against the Texans. Carolina came into the game giving up 132 rushing yards per contest, which ranks an abysmal 27th in the league.