The teams on their bye in week nine were the New England Patriots, Jets, 49ers, and Rams. Only two of the four teams off this past weekend included former Tar Heels. Several of the top four listed this week lost their games but making the top four shows they still had productive individual performances in a loss.
Bruce Carter LB Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys went into the Georgia Dome in Atlanta and gave the Falcons all they could handle Sunday night. Though the Cowboys lost 19-13, we can’t ignore the big game former Tar Heel standout Bruce Carter had. Carter has been thrown into a leading role now that LB Sean Lee is out for the remainder of the season. Carter played well in coverage defending one pass and contributed to holding Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez to just 4 catches for 36 yards. Carter showed off his speed as well chasing down Falcons wide-out Julio Jones on a 40-yard run in the fourth quarter. He also led the team with 9 total tackles and was arguably the best player on the Dallas defense next to DeMarcus Ware. The off-season work Carter put in with fellow LB Sean Lee is now starting to pay dividends for the active team leader in tackles(Carter now has 46 total tackles on the season, which is still second to the inactive Lee’s 58 total).
Shaun Draughn RB Kansas City Chiefs
Kansas City lost again in week nine 31-13 to their division rival San Diego Chargers . The Chiefs have now lost five straight games. With a 1 and 7 record there is not much to look forward to for the Chiefs but one spark could be the continued production of a former Tar Heel running back, Shaun Draughn. Draughn scored the only touchdown Thursday Night for Kansas City late in the fourth quarter when the game was already decided. Draughn’s only rushing attempt of the game was his 6-yard touchdown run to go along with 2 reception for 21 yards. The former UNC back also had 4 kick returns for 83 yards total.
Zach Brown LB Tennessee Titans
Zach Brown and the Titans were beat-up Sunday like they stole something from opposing head coach Lovie Smith and the Bears. Tennessee was down 31-5 at halftime and went on to lose 51-20 at home in LP Field. Another case of a player showing up and producing despite his teams awful play was Zach Brown on Sunday. Brown finished with a game-high 10 total tackles, 2 of which resulted in yards lost. The former Tar Heel speedster also had a fumble recovery. Zach Brown continues to have a stellar rookie season with 50 total tackles, one sack, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery through 9 games.
Greg Warren Long-Snapper Pittsburgh Steelers
The Goldsboro, NC native and former Tar Heel Greg Warren has now played in 109 career games for the Pittsburgh Steelers as their long-snapper. Warren is the only player to make the list of the top four that was part of a team win on Sunday with the Steelers 24-20 victory over the Giants in MetLife Stadium. Warren did not make a tackle, or recover a fumble, or even really have his name mentioned during the broadcast of their game Sunday. But, I have included Warren in the NFL’s top four Tar Heels list for week nine because he has not botched a snap since joining the Steelers in 2005 and by seasons end he will have played in more games in a Steelers uniform than Hall of Famer Lynn Swan . Sounds great to a guy who originally was a walk-on and wasn’t even given a scholarship until his Junior year at Chapel Hill.