NFL Week 6: Top 5 Defensive Performances This Sunday

Philip LombardoCorrespondent IOctober 17, 2010

NASHVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 19:  Lawrence Timmons #94 of the Pittsburgh Steelers tackles Bo Scaife #80 of the Tennessee Titans at LP Field on September 19, 2010 in Nashville, Tennessee. The Steelers won 19-11.  (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Every fan loves the big play.

There isn't anything better than a 90-yard touchdown run or a Hail Mary pass that is caught against three defenders. But the most exciting plays come from the defense going out and sacking the quarterback, picking the ball off or stripping the ball from the ball carrier.

Each Sunday, there are a group of players that make huge impact plays that propel their teams to victory and they deserve to be noticed and appreciated for their efforts.

As I did with the offense this week, here are the top five defensive performances for Week 6.

Defensive Line

Osi Umenyiora

The resurgence of No. 72 has been very exciting to watch. Last year, Osi was benched in favor of Mathias Kiwanuka and, until Kiwi went down with a leg injury, Umenyiora was used only in pass-rushing situation and sparingly throughout the game.

Since then, Osi has been a man on a mission, and Sunday was no different.

He had two strip sacks—one on Shaun Hill and one on Drew Stanton—with one of the two being recovered by the G-Men and leading to a touchdown that set the tone in the second half.

He has returned to his role as the Giants' most dominant pass rusher and along with Justin Tuck make quite the duo at the defensive end position and a nightmare for any offensive line who faces them.


Lawrence Timmons

With all the talk about James Harrison, Troy Polamalu and Casey Hampton, it is easy to overlook a player like Lawrence Timmons.

But after a performance like Sunday's, Timmons could become a household name very soon. He filled up the stat sheet, recording 11 tackles (9 solo), two sacks and an interception in a 28-10 victory over Colt McCoy and the Browns.

He is a very versatile player who can rush the QB with relentlessness and can also drop back and make big plays in coverage.  He is a constant threat who can—and will—continue to put up stats like the ones he did today.

Cameron Wake

Here is another guy who has come from nowhere and has turned himself into one of the best pass rushing linebackers in the game today.

Wake was a former Canadian Football League player who absolutely tore up that league, recording 39 sacks in his first two seasons. 

So far he's brought that dominance to the NFL and Sunday was no different. Wake had three sacks of Aaron Rodgers and helped lead the Dolphins to a 23-20 overtime victory and a 3-2 record.

On a Dolphins team that doesn't have much of a pass rush, Wake has been a godsend and continues to wreak havoc even though he has seen a lot of attention from opposing offensive lines.  

He doubled his sack total in this one game and now has six on the season.

E.J. Henderson

After missing 12 games last season due to injury, Henderson has been the backbone of this Vikings defense that has been stingy all season long. 

In a must-win game against the Cowboys, Henderson was the difference maker, recording nine tackles and two interceptions. 

The second interception was a beauty as Henderson faked the blitz and dropped back into coverage to snag a Tony Romo pass late in the fourth quarter that led to the game-winning Minnesota field goal.

He was obviously missed very much last year and Sunday he helped save the Vikes from an abysmal 1-4 start they could not afford to have.

Jerod Mayo

It isn't normal that you see a player on a list like this when he didn't force a turnover or record a single sack. 

But Mayo's impact was felt without him having to make big-impact plays like stripping the ball and picking off passes.

In New England's 23-20 overtime victory over Baltimore, Mayo had 18 tackles (11 solo) and was a force to be reckoned with all day. 

Along with the rest of the Patriots defense, Mayo held Raven running back Ray Rice to 88 yards on 28 carries. At only 3.1 yards a carry, that is pretty good considering how great Rice and that Ravens offensive line has been and what they did to them in the playoffs last year.