NFL Pick Six Returns 2010
Nine interceptions were taken back for touchdowns in Week 7, the most in a single week since 2003. It might be part of a larger trend -- there have been an astounding 24 pick-sixes through the NFL's first eight weeks. Sometimes, defense is the best offense. Take a look at all of the cases here. David Bowens locked down defending Super Bowl MVP Drew Brees in Week 7, intercepting him twice in the Browns surprising 30-17 romp at the Superdome. Both picks were returned for touchdowns, the second of which came late in the fourth quarter to seal Cleveland's impressive upset.
The Falcons were clinging to a slim 13-10 lead against the Browns when quarterback Jake Delhomme dropped back to pass with four minutes remaining in the game. He was quickly met by a diving Kroy Biermann, who tipped the ball, intercepted it and tumbled to the turf before popping up to sprint 41 yards for a touchdown. Atlanta coasted to a 20-10 victory.
In the highly anticipated rematch between Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers, Packers' linebacker Desmond Bishop ended up making the biggest impact. He snagged a poorly-thrown pass in the middle of the field, darting 32 yards the other way for a touchdown. The score put Green Bay up 28-17, and it held on to win 28-24.
The Patriots' 41-14 rout of the Dolphins featured many spectacular defensive plays, none greater than Patrick Chung's dynamic pick six. He swiped an errant Chad Henne toss in the fourth quarter and raced 51 yards for a touchdown, capping New England's statement win. It was an all-around extraordinary night for Chung, who also had a punt and field goal block.
The Titans lead the NFL with 12 interceptions through Week 7, but only one has been returned for a touchdown. That was by Cortland Finnegan, who took a Kevin Kolb pass to the end zone as time expired in Tennessee's 39-17 win over Philadelphia.
Brandon Flowers jumped Browns' receiver Chansi Stuckey's route midway through the second quarter of their Week 2 matchup, grabbing Seneca Wallace's pass and running 33 yards for a score. The points were crucial in a narrow 16-14 Kansas City victory.
The Bucs have surprised many around the league by overcoming their youth to jump out to a 4-2 start. Add Carson Palmer to that list, as he lofted an interception to Cody Grimm that the rookie brought 11 yards back for a touchdown. Tampa Bay knocked off Cincinnati 24-21 in Week 5.
The Pats were off to a great start to their 2010 campaign when linebacker Gary Guyton made things even better. Up 17-0 against the Bengals in Week 1, Guyton hauled in Carson Palmer's pass and rumbled 59 yards to the end zone, blowing past a diving Palmer near the sidelines. New England won easily, 38-24.
DeAngelo Hall had a game to remember on Oct. 24, intercepting Bears' quarterback Jay Cutler an astounding four times in Washington's ugly 17-14 victory. His crown jewel came in the third quarter, when he snared a jump ball and galloped 92 yards down the sideline for the game-winning score. "It's kind of mind-blowing," Hall would say later.
Overshadowed by cornerback counterpart Nnamdi Asomugha, Oakland's Chris Johnson made headlines of his own during Week 7 in Denver. He snatched an underthrown Kyle Orton pass and ran it back 30 yards for a touchdown, giving the Raiders an early 14-0 lead. They'd never look back, rolling to a 59-14 pasting of the Broncos.
The centerpiece of Kansas City's revamped defense, linebacker Derrick Johnson showcased his talents in Week 7 against the Jaguars. He leaped to bring down Jacksonville quarterback Todd Bouman's pass before bursting 15 yards across the goal line, breaking open a then 21-20 game. Kansas City won 42-20, improving its record to 4-2.
An often overlooked member of the Steelers' vaunted D, Brett Keisel played a key role in Week 3. After a tipped pass from Josh Freeman fell into his hands, he followed his blockers 79 yards the other way, barreling into the end zone. The pick six was Pittsburgh's final points in a 38-13 romp over Tampa Bay.
Brett Favre appeared poised to lead one of his renowned late-game comebacks against the Jets in Week 5, having already fired two TDs to Percy Harvin earlier in the fourth quarter. He wasn't so lucky with his attempt with 1:38 remaining, as Lowery cut in front of intended target Visanthe Shiancoe and sprinted 26 yards to clinch a New York win.
Ray McDonald was the beneficiary of a foolish Matt Moore throw, scooping up a hurried pass and thundering 31 yards for a score to give the 49ers a 20-13 lead in Week 7. His celebration would be short-lived, however, as Carolina bounced back to post the game's final 10 points, securing a 23-20 triumph over Mike Singletary's struggling squad.
Bears' cornerback D.J. Moore had one of the prettiest pick sixes of the season in Week 7, cradling a batted ball by Israel Idonije before dashing 54 yards to the house. The tremendous play gave Chicago a 7-0 lead over Washington, something it would watch evaporate behind Jay Cutler's four interceptions.
A playmaker throughout his seven-year NFL career, Shaun Phillips came up with another momentum-shifting effort on Oct. 3. He carried a Derek Anderson pass 31 yards for a touchdown, extending San Diego's lead to 28-7 over the Arizona Cardinals. Anderson would have plenty of time to mull over his poor decision; he was benched in favor of rookie Max Hall later in the contest.
The Saints haven't lived up to their defending Super Bowl champion billing in 2010, dropping three of their first seven games. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie finished them off in Week 5, bringing in a last-second pass from Drew Brees and slicing 28 yards across the field for a backbreaking touchdown. The Cardinals won 30-20 despite not recording either a passing or a rushing score.
The Lions put a hurting on St. Louis in Week 5, demolishing the Rams in a 44-7 blowout. The final seven points came on Alphonso Smith's impressive 42 yard pick six, which he corralled from rookie quarterback Sam Bradford to earn his first career touchdown. The Lions triumph was their first of 2010.
Marcus Trufant started the 49ers woes in Week 1, taking advantage of San Francisco miscommunication to catch an Alex Smith pass at the SF 30-yard line. He scampered all the way into the end zone -- hurdling receiver Michael Crabtree in the process -- to extend Seattle's 14-6 lead. The Seahawks would cruise to a comfortable 31-6 win.
Charles Woodson recorded his 46th career interception on Oct. 3, diving to snag a low-flying pass from Lions' quarterback Shaun Hill. He promptly popped up, racing 48 yards before vaulting across the goal line for a score. The touchdown put the Packers' up 28-14, though they'd have to withstand a furious Detroit rally to escape with a two-point victory.
Indianapolis piled up 30 points in its Week 8 showdown with Houston, six of which came when Kelvin Hayden plucked a Matt Schaub pass and sprinted 25 yards in the other direction. It was business as usual for Hayden and Co., as they've beaten the Texans in each of their nine meetings with their division foe in Indianapolis.
Geno Hayes started the Bucs' scoring in their Halloween matchup with the Cardinals, bringing down an off-target Max Hall pass and running 41 yards -- untouched -- into the end zone to tie the game at seven. The third-year linebacker was quite the scoring threat for Tampa Bay, taking a fumble recovery back for a touchdown later in the contest.
The former Kansas standout gave Arizona quarterbacks fits in Week 8, starting with his second-quarter pick six. Talib launched into the air, reining in a Max Hall toss en route to a 45-yard touchdown. Cardinals' coach Ken Whisenhunt pulled Hall for Derek Anderson in the second quarter -- a reversal of his decision earlier in the season -- but he succumbed to Talib as well. Talib intercepted Anderson's pass late in the fourth to seal the Bucs' 38-35 win.