Former University of Kentucky linebacker Wesley Woodyard intercepted a pass in the red zone by Matt Barkley and returned it 21 yards during the Tennessee Titans’ 27-21 win against the Bears on Sunday in Chicago.
“It was a play on which Barkley didn’t set his feet and then compounded the problem by forcing the ball to Ben Braunecker in the middle of the field when he was covered,” the Chicago Tribune reported.
“Just because they get down in the red zone doesn’t mean they have to score,” Woodyard told TitansOnline.com. “We got three red zone stops, and that’s the tale of the tape. If we let those guys be successful down there, we wouldn’t have had a chance.”
The Bears had a shot to win the game with a first-and-goal from the 7-yard line on their last drive, but the Titans’ defense kept them out of the end zone. A couple of dropped passes by former Louisville standout Joshua Bellamy and Deonte Thompson helped Tennessee improve to 6-6 on the season.
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“It was one of those things where multiple guys were out there saying, ‘Don’t let them in,’” Woodyard said. “It doesn’t matter how they got here, just don’t let them in. I could hear people saying, ‘Believe. Believe.’ And you know when you hear stuff like that and you hear guys leaving it all on the field, you are going to have a good shot at winning.”
Woodyard, who now has eight career interceptions, finished with five tackles and three passes defended. Fellow former Wildcat Avery Williamson led the Titans with seven tackles, and six of those were solo.
Woodyard earned Pro Football Focus’ top overall grade of the game for the Titans at 91.5. It graded Williamson (77.2) as the Titans’ third-best defender.
“Defending the perimeter proved beyond the Titans this week, but their linebackers ensured the middle, at least, was off limits. Wesley Woodyard was rabid in his responsibilities, trapping receivers in his vice-like jaws,” Pro Football Focus’ John Breitenbach wrote. “He certainly gobbled up a Matt Barkley throw late over the middle, intercepting the pass and taking points off the board.”
It wasn’t all good news for former UK players in Chicago, though. Bears linebacker Danny Trevathan left the game late in the fourth quarter with a right knee injury that Coach John Fox told reporters “appears to be serious.”
“Trevathan was charging to make a play in the backfield on Titans running back Derrick Henry when his leg buckled and he slid to the grass,” the Chicago Tribune reported. “Trevathan appeared to be in agony immediately and had to be helped off the field, unable to put much weight on his right leg.”
Trevathan made five tackles before his injury. Bellamy finished with four catches (on nine targets) for 41 yards.
▪ Buccaneers defensive lineman Noah Spence continued his stellar rookie campaign with five tackles, including 1 1/2 sacks, in a 15-5 win against the Seahawks. He has 5 1/2 sacks this season.
▪ Preston Brown (U of L) made a game-high 12 tackles in the Bills’ 28-21 win against the Jaguars.
▪ Corey Peters (UK) made four tackles, including one for a loss, in the Cardinals’ 38-19 loss to the Falcons.
▪ The Ravens’ Za’Darius Smith (UK) was a healthy inactive for the first time this season. Baltimore opted to keep rookie fifth-round pick Matthew Judon active instead, the team’s website reported. Elvis Dumervil had one sack in the Ravens’ 19-14 win over the Bengals.
▪ DeVante Parker (Ballard, U of L) had three catches for 64 yards in the Dolphins’ 31-24 win against the 49ers.
▪ Gary Barnidge (U of L) had one catch for 11 yards in the Browns’ 27-13 loss to the Giants.
▪ Calvin Pryor (U of L) made three tackles in the Jets’ 22-17 loss to the Patriots. Another former Cardinal, Bilal Powell, had eight carries for 36 yards and one catch for seven yards for New York.