Here's a look around the NFL and how former Notre Dame players performed in Week 9 of the 2012 season:
• Chicago Bears running back Armando Allen registered a career-high 10 carries for 32 yards in a 51-20 victory over Tennessee. The second-year pro and Chicago’s third-string back is also getting time on special teams, having recorded three tackles and returned two short kickoffs for a total of 10 yards.
• Washington Redskins reserve offensive tackle Jordan Black earlier this month took time out to speak at the Virginia GOP Victory Office in Ballston, which is the state’s Republican campaign headquarters, to take part in officially launching the Virginia Young Americans for [Mitt] Romney Coalition. Black, a resident of Leesburg, used football analogies and personal anecdotes in a brief speech to fire up conservatives as the presidential election neared.
• Arizona Cardinals rookie receiver Michael Floyd had a career day in a 31-17 loss to Green Bay, matching his season-high five receptions a week earlier against San Francisco, and registering 80 yards. His previous high was 36 yards against the 49ers. Floyd has 18 catches for 207 yards and a touchdown this year for Arizona, which has lost its last five games after starting the season 4-0.
• Miami Dolphons rookie running back Jonas Gray, who signed a three-year undrafted free agent contract worth $1.44 million on May 4, is still on the Reserve/Non-Football Injury list after returning from an ACL injury that derailed the end of his senior season at Notre Dame. He began practicing with the Dolphins in late October. The Dolphins must soon make a decision either to activate Gray or make room for him on the practice squad, per NFL rules, which stipulate that teams have three weeks to work players out that started the season on the Unable To Perform list.
• Houston Texans reserve right tackle Ryan Harris continues to play a meaningful role behind Derek Newton for an offense that is eighth in the NFL in rushing yards per game (138.0). According to ESPN.com, Texans (7-1) running back Arian Foster, averaged four 4.0 yards per carry before even being touched by a defender in the team’s 21-9 victory over Buffalo. Only 16 of Foster’s 111 yards came after first contact. Harris was on the field for 23 percent of the Texans’ play from scrimmage, doing his job in offensive coordinator John Benton’s rotation. Protection has improved as well, with quarterback Matt Schaub being hit only three times for two sacks.
• Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Brady Quinn could get another shot to start in Monday’s game against Pittsburgh, but he has yet to be cleared after suffering a possible concussion versus Oakland on Oct. 28. Matt Cassel is taking first-team snaps until head coach Romeo Crennel gets official word on Quinn’s status. After starting the year 1-4, Crennel turned to Quinn in Week 6 against Tampa Bay. Quinn completed 57.9 percent of his passes for 180 yards, no touchdowns and tossed two picks in the 38-10 loss. He threw just four passes before being knocked out in a 26-16 loss to Oakland. With Cassel back under center, the Chiefs dropped a 31-12 decision to San Diego.
• Cincinnati rookie offensive guard Trevor Robinson got his first career start in a 31-21 loss to Denver. Ironically, he replaced fellow former Irish player Jeff Faine (hamstring) in the lineup. Faine, who had practiced all week, started the second half.
• Minnesota Vikings (5-4) head coach Leslie Frazier sees a direct correlation between the team’s dropoff in passing production and that of second-year tight end Kyle Rudolph’s lack of involvement. Rudolph had 13 receptions for 138 yards and three touchdowns through Minnesota’s first three games this season. Over the last three contests, he has caught just two balls for 17 yards, including no receptions in a 30-20 loss to Seattle.
“We had some things called yesterday that we thought would get the ball to him and they didn’t materialize,” Frazier told Vikings.com on Nov. 3. “The good thing about Kyle’s game yesterday, he did a great job in blocking which really helped set up some of those nice runs that Adrian had.”
• Minnesota rookie safety Harrison Smith finished with seven tackles in the loss to Seattle, making it the fifth time in his first nine NFL games he registered at least seven stops. He was coming off a 13-tackle effort in a Week 8 loss to Tampa Bay. Smith now has 52 total tackles and an interception (returned 31 yards for a touchdown against Arizona on Oct. 21).
• Seattle Seahawks receiver Golden Tate posted the second multi-touchdown game of the season and of his career in the win over Minnesota, ending the day with four receptions for 28 yards. He hooked up with quarterback Russell Wilson on scoring strikes of six and 11 yards to help the Seahawks move to 5-4 overall. Tate also had two receiving touchdowns in a controversial 14-12 victory over Green Bay on Sept. 24, when he was credited for the game-winning score as time expired that appeared to be an interception. Tate now has 24 receptions for 283 yards and five touchdowns.
• New York Giants defensive end Justin Tuck recorded five tackles and two sacks in a 24-20 loss to Pittsburgh. It was the first time this year, Tuck, who has 31 total stops through New York’s 6-3 start, he has had more than one sack.
• Buffalo offensive tackle Sam Young, who started the season as the fourth option at tackle, has also been practicing at guard with the Bills dealing with injuries to reserves Chad Rinehart and Colin Brown, who were filling in for injured starters Kraig Urbik and Cordy Glenn. Young has seen action in each of Buffalo’s last four games, including back-to-back losses to Tennessee and Houston that dropped the Bills to 3-5 this season.
Name (Years At Notre Dame) Pos. Current Team
Armando Allen (2007-10) RB Chicago Bears
Jordan Black (1999-2002) OT Washington Redskins
Robert Blanton (2008-11) DB Minnesota Vikings
Sergio Brown (2006-09) S Indianapolis Colts
David Bruton (2005-08) S Denver Broncos
John Carlson (2003-07) TE Minnesota Vikings
Jimmy Clausen (2007-09) QB Carolina Panthers
Jeff Faine (1999-2002) C Cincinnati Bengals
Anthony Fasano (2002-05) TE Miami Dolphins
Darius Fleming* (2008-11) LB San Francisco 49ers
Michael Floyd (2008-11) WR Arizona Cardinals
Jonas Gray (2008-11) RB Miami Dolphins
Ryan Harris (2003-06) OT Houston Texans
Robert Hughes (2007-10) RB Indianapolis Colts
J.J. Jansen (2004-07) LS Carolina Panthers
Derek Landri (2002-06) DT Philadelphia Eagles
Trevor Laws* (2003-07) DT St. Louis Rams
Kyle McCarthy* (2005-09) S Kansas City Chiefs
Eric Olsen (2006-09) OL New Orleans Saints
Brady Quinn (2003-06) QB Kansas City Chiefs
Trevor Robinson (2008-11) OG Cincinnati Bengals
Kyle Rudolph (2008-10) TE Minnesota Vikings
Harrison Smith (2007-11) S Minnesota Vikings
Maurice Stovall (2002-06) WR Jacksonville Jaguars
John Sullivan (2003-07) C Minnesota Vikings
Golden Tate (2007-09) WR Seattle Seahawks
Justin Tuck (2001-04) DE New York Giants
Darrin Walls^ (2006-10) CB New York Jets
Ian Williams (2007-10) DT San Francisco 49ers
Sam Young (2006-09) OT Buffalo Bills
Tom Zbikowski (2003-07) S Indianapolis Colts
^ Practice squad member; * suffered a season-ending injury