Tar Heels In The NFL: Week Two
By Andrew Tie, GoHeels.com
Bernard Scores Twice In Cincinnati Win
Cincinnati tailback Giovani Bernard scored the first two touchdowns of his career in Monday night's 20-10 victory over Pittsburgh. He became the first Bengals rookie to score two touchdowns on Monday Night Football since 1975.
Bernard scored his first career NFL touchdown on a 7-yard dart up the middle to give Cincy a 7-3 lead. With the game tied at 10 in the third quarter, Bernard drifted out of the backfield and caught a short pass from Andy Dalton.
"I saw green grass," said Bernard to the media after the game. "Once you see green grass, you've got to take it. You don't get many chances like that. When you do, you've got to take it."
Bernard, the first running back taken in the 2013 draft, scampered 27 yards for the go-ahead touchdown.
Zach Brown off to hot start
Following an exciting rookie year with 93 tackles and 5.5 sacks, Zach Brown is making a big impact in his sophomore season. Through two games, Brown has recorded 20 tackles and 2 sacks, with 12 of those tackles coming in Week Two.
"When you look at Zach Brown as a rookie, you wouldn't have thought he put the numbers up like he did, and then this year, he's adding on to what he did as a rookie," defensive coordinator Jerry Gray said last week. "He hasn't taken a sophomore slump."
Brown had some exciting plays last year with some pick sixes, and there are even higher expectations for him now, but he's been living up to them so far.
Carter starting to record sacks
Another former UNC linebacker, Bruce Carter, is doing well in Dallas. Through two games, Carter has recorded 15 tackles and 2 sacks, not too far off from Brown's numbers.
During Week One against the Giants, Carter recorded his first career sack against Eli Manning.
"He was a lot stronger than I thought," Carter said. "I actually couldn't almost get him down, but it's a great feeling."
In Week Two, Carter had 6 tackles and a sack, so he might be getting used to getting a sack every game. Carter's career thus far in the NFL has been slowed down with knee and elbow injuries, but the Cowboys really like the tandem of Carter and former Penn State LB Sean Lee leading the defense.
Matchup to watch this week
For any Panthers fan, Week Three might be torturous, but Hakeem Nicks will be back in his hometown of Charlotte. Nicks attended the football powerhouse Independence High in the Queen City before coming to UNC. He seems to be fine after dislocating his finger against the Broncos, and if he is, he could have a big day against a weak Panthers defense.
Other matchups to watch include Robert Quinn (Rams) taking on Bruce Carter (Cowboys) and Zach Brown (Titans) vs. Cam Thomas (Chargers). Gio Bernard (Bengals) will be in for a big challenge against the Packers.
Updates from former Heels
The Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens signed former Kansas City RB Shaun Draughn.
"They told me I'm a special teams guy," Draughn said. "It's basically the same role I had last year in Kansas City, where I came in on third down, and just be ready when I'm called."
Bills safety Da'Norris Searcy continues to make plays this year. After a strong first week, Searcy notched 7 tackles against the Panthers.
Julius Peppers has been surprisingly quiet so far. He didn't record any stats in Week One, and he only had 1 tackle this week.
Statistics from Tar Heels
Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati - 8 carries for 38 yards, TD; 1 rec. for 27 yards, TD
Zach Brown, Tennessee LB - 12 tackles
Bruce Carter, Dallas LB - 6 tackles, 1 sack
Greg Little, Cleveland WR - 4 rec. for 33 yards
Hakeem Nicks, New York Giants WR - 4 rec. for 83 yards
Julius Peppers, Chicago DE - 1 tackle
Robert Quinn, St. Louis DE - 4 tackles, 1 sack
Da'Norris Searcy, Buffalo SS - 7 tackles
Cam Thomas, San Diego DT - 1 tackle
Brandon Tate, Cincinnati, WR/KR - 4 punt returns for 21 yards; 1 kickoff return for 17 yards
Sylvester Williams, Denver DT - 1 tackle