Cougars In The Pros -- Week Two

Ryan Denney played one of his best games at any level against younger brother John's Dolphins. Ryan recorded three sacks in the Bills' 16-6 win and, in the process, launched into the top five in the NFL in sacks.

It wasn't the Manning Bowl, but the Buffalo-Miami game in week two of the NFL season did have brothers on opposite sidelines. Older brother and Bills' defensive end Ryan Denney played one of his best games at any level against younger brother John's Dolphins. Ryan recorded three sacks in the Bills' 16-6 win and, in the process, launched into the top five in the NFL in sacks. Ryan admitted that "it is a pretty unique experience for two brothers to play against each other in a NFL game."

Ryan had his way with former All-Pro quarterback Daunte Culpepper, sacking him three times for a combined loss of thirty-three yards. Ryan also hurried Culpepper twice, forced him to fumble once, and registered four solo tackles in the Bills' victory. Ryan said this was the first time he had recorded three sacks in a game at any level. "I had a couple of two sack games in college and had back-to-back sacks in a game last year against the Jets, but never three in one game." Ryan attributed his dominating performance to "having the right defensive call on a certain play . . . as well as being able to react to what type of play the offense is trying to execute." Most important for Ryan, though, is that the Bills beat a division opponent on the road. Younger brother John, meanwhile, continued his solid performance as the Dolphins' long snapper. And, it sounds like John won't have to endure too much harsh treatment from older brother. "Of course it is nice to win the game, but we keep it pretty friendly after the game," said Ryan. Mom, to be sure, is pleased with that.

Five former Cougars matched up three thousand miles away in Seattle as head coach Mike Holmgren and tight ends coach Jim Lind guided the Seahawks to a 21-10 victory over the Arizona Cardinals. Seattle's Itula Mili and Arizona's Aaron Francisco both saw action in the NFC West matchup. Francisco had four tackles on the day. Francisco made two solo tackles on special teams, both times stopping the return man for short gains of two and six yards. Wide receiver Todd Watkins remains on the Cardinals' practice squad.

The Chicago Bears downed the Detroit Lions 34-7 in a battle of Midwest rivals. Chicago offensive tackle John Tait started and helped the Bears offense throw for nearly 300 yards and rush for nearly 100 yards. Chicago tight end Gabe Reid was inactive in the win.

Former Cougar linebacker Brady Poppinga followed up week one with another solid performance, registering two tackles and one pass deflection in Green Bay's 34-27 loss to New Orleans. Offensive lineman Ben Archibald is on the Saints' practice squad. Fullback Fahu Tahi, a member of Cincinnati's practice squad, saw his Bengals down in-state rival Cleveland 34-17.

Former Cougar player and current head coach Brian Billick led his Baltimore Ravens to a 28-6 victory over the Oakland Raiders. Another former Cougar and current head coach, Andy Reid, watched his Philadelphia Eagles lose in overtime to the New York Giants 30-24. Eagles all-purpose back Reno Mahe and offensive lineman Scott Young did not play in the Eagles' loss. Mahe, who led the NFL in punt return average a year ago, is injured. In another battle among NFC rivals, former BYU tight end Doug Jolley saw action in Tampa Bay's 14-3 loss to Atlanta.

The Pittsburgh Steelers also suffered a close defeat as they were downed by Jacksonville 9-0 on Monday Night Football. The Steelers defense, aided by the strong performances of defensive linemen Chris Hoke and Brett Keisel, held the Jaguars to just three field goals and kept them out of the end zone. Hoke had two tackles, including one solo, for Pittsburgh. Keisel started and had two solo tackles and a quarterback hurry. A third Pittsburgh defensive lineman and former Cougar, Shaun Nua, remains on the Steelers' practice squad.

Former Cougar linebacker Rob Morris also turned in a solid defensive performance with two tackles, including one solo, in the Indianapolis Colts' 43-24 victory over the Houston Texans. Another former Cougar linebacker, Tennessee Titan Colby Bockwoldt, had two solo tackles in the Titans' 40-7 loss to the San Diego Chargers. Former Cougar Norm Chow is in his second season as Tennessee's offensive coordinator.

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