By William Qualkinbush.
The National Football League is full of former Clemson players. Several of them had monster days in Week 11. Here is a recap of a busy football weekend for Clemson alumni…
Miami 22, Buffalo 9 (Thursday)
BUF: Sammy Watkins 3 rec, 32 yds; 1 car, 3 yds
Watkins did what he could, but the Dolphins’ defense swarmed quarterback Kyle Orton in a beatdown on Thursday night. Still Watkins was targeted seven times, and the rookie continues to be at the forefront of the Bills’ minds offensively on a weekly basis.
Houston 23, Cleveland 7
HOU: DeAndre Hopkins 4 rec, 80 yds
Hopkins has quickly gained favor with new quarterback Ryan Mallett, as he led the Texans in receiving for the second consecutive week. His seven targets were second on the team, and Nuk continues to pop off big plays, including a 41-yard catch in this one. Quietly, the second-year pro is having a phenomenal season in Houston.
Tampa Bay 27, Washington 7
TB: Crezdon Butler 4 tackles
WSH: Jarvis Jenkins 3 tackles
Bashaud Breeland 3 tackles (2 solo)
Butler was the victor in this battle of former Tiger defensive standouts. The borderline pro has seemingly found a home in the Tampa secondary for the time being. Neither Jenkins nor Breeland stood out on a forgettable day for the Redskins.
Atlanta 19, Carolina 17
ATL: Malliciah Goodman 1 assisted tackle
Goodman barely registered on this game’s radar, but he continues to be involved in Atlanta’s rotation. The Falcons are still in line for a playoff berth—even as bad as they’ve been—because of the woeful division they claim, so Goodman may still be playing come January.
Kansas City 24, Seattle 20
SEA: Byron Maxwell FR
Maxwell did virtually nothing in this game, besides sit in coverage, of course. He did recover a fumble in the course of play, but the Chiefs’ dink-and-dunk offense doesn’t allow for much island coverage from cornerbacks.
Cincinnati 27, New Orleans 10
CIN: Brandon Thompson 2 tackles (1 solo)
Injured for the first half of the season, Thompson continues to work his way back into the rotation in Cincinnati. Much like Jenkins, he is a facilitator in the Bengals’ defense that doesn’t get a chance to make a great deal of plays.
San Diego 13, Oakland 6
SD: Kavell Conner 8 tackles (6 solo), sack
Marcus Gilchrist 7 tackles (6 solo)
Oakland’s offense is absolutely terrible, but the Chargers’ two former Tigers played well enough that their performances superseded the level of opposition. Conner and Gilchrist were the two leading tacklers for San Diego in Sunday’s game. Conner added a sack, while Gilchrist was solid in coverage. It was a very good showing, especially considering the offensive struggles the Chargers overcame to win.
Arizona 14, Detroit 6
ARI: Andre Ellington 19 car, 42 yds; 4 rec, 24 yds; tackle
Chandler Catanzaro 2-2 XP
Jaron Brown 1 rec, 4 yds
As per usual, the Cardinals failed to get much going on the ground, but Ellington was the workhorse back of choice for Bruce Arians. He also added a tackle after a turnover. Neither team was great offensively, so Catanzaro had an easy day, while Brown caught one of his two targets on the afternoon.
Pittsburgh 27, Tennessee 24 (Monday)
PIT: Martavis Bryant 2 rec, 11 yds
TEN: Coty Sensabaugh 3 tackles (2 solo)
Bryant had a pedestrian night, which was much different from his Monday Night Football debut a few weeks ago. Sensabaugh was solid in coverage in a valiant effort by the Titans.
Key Inactives: Da’Quan Bowers, TB; Charlie Whitehurst, TEN.