This post is sponsored by Sprint.
I'm still at a loss of words for what went down during Cleveland's 24-20 loss to Jacksonville on Sunday. I'll have more of my thoughts during Tuesday's game recap, as always.
For now, it's time to award this week's game ball to starting safety Abram Elam. I viewed Elam as a weakness in our secondary last season and part way through this season because he seemed like a low-impact player. He was just...there. That has changed the past couple of weeks, and Elam really broke out for a big game against the Jaguars.
Elam's final stat line looked like this:
- 6 tackles to lead the team
- 1 interception
- 1 forced fumble, which he recovered for a touchdown
Both of Elam's big plays were made on running back Maurice Jones-Drew. On what seemed like a well-designed option pass, Jones-Drew was intercepted by Elam in the second quarter when the Jaguars were in Cleveland territory.
Then, on the Jaguars' second drive in the third quarter, on Jones-Drew's first carry, Elam reached in and stripped him of the football, much like he stripped tight end Rob Gronkowski a few weeks ago. After stripping Jones-Drew, Elam scooped up the fumble and ran into the end zone untouched for a touchdown. That gave Cleveland a 14-10 lead and set the tone for the defense, which went on to force four consecutive turnovers on the Jaguars' next four drives.
There were other defensive candidates for this award too, such as both of our rookie defensive backs, but I thought Elam had the greatest impact.