By William Qualkinbush.
The National Football League is full of former Clemson players. Several of them had monster days in Week 13. Here is a recap of a busy football weekend for Clemson alumni…
Seattle 19, San Francisco 3 (Thursday)
SEA: Byron Maxwell 2 tackles
For some reason, the 49ers went after Richard Sherman a bunch in this game, leaving scraps for Maxwell. But Sherman had two picks, further establishing the moronic nature of that strategy. The entire Seahawk secondary played exceptionally well on Thanksgiving, and that includes a pedestrian-looking performance by Maxwell.
Indianapolis 49, Washington 27
WAS: Bashaud Breeland 4 tackles (3 solo)
Jarvis Jenkins 1 tackle
Quite frankly, this game was an embarrassment for the Redskins’ defense. There weren’t a ton of busts by either Breeland or Jenkins, but the Colts routinely had guys running free down the field from start to finish. There’s no way you can sugar coat that kind of performance.
Jacksonville 25, NY Giants 24
JAC: Andre Branch 1 tackle
Branch missed last week’s action due to injury, so it was good to see him out on the field. He had a negligible role in the outcome, which was a thrilling victory for the Jaguars in front of the home fans.
San Diego 34, Baltimore 33
SD: Marcus Gilchrist 8 tackles (4 solo)
Kavell Conner 6 tackles (2 solo)
Both former Tigers who start on defense for the Chargers were active participants in a tough battle with the Ravens. Gilchrist led the team in tackles, while Conner tied for third in that category. The Chargers weren’t great, but they got stops when they needed to late in the game.
Houston 45, Tennessee 21
HOU: DeAndre Hopkins 9 rec, 238 yds, 2 TD
TEN: Coty Sensabaugh 3 tackles (2 solo)
Hopkins was an absolute monster this week. His 238 receiving yards are the most by an NFL player this season, and the output ranks among the top 40 in league history. His two touchdowns came on well-thrown balls in coverage. Somewhat lost in no-man’s-land last season due to the presence of Andre Johnson, Hopkins continues his breakout campaign in year two. It’s a good thing Sensabaugh, who had a decent day in his own right, didn’t have to cover his former teammate.
Buffalo 26, Cleveland 10
BUF: Sammy Watkins 3 rec, 11 yds
It was a pretty disappointing day for Watkins, who was targeted seven times but never gained more than five yards. Nagging injuries and inconsistency at quarterback have led to an up-and-down season for Watkins, but he is still highly regarded in Buffalo’s offense. It should be noted that both teams struggled to throw the football in cold and windy conditions on Sunday.
New Orleans 35, Pittsburgh 32
PIT: Martavis Bryant 1 rec, 23 yds
It wasn’t so much that Bryant was unnoticed in Pittsburgh’s attack in this one. It was more about what was open—namely, most everything. Given New Orleans’ porous secondary, Ben Roethlisberger could throw to his top targets. That left Bryant with only four targets and one catch in the game. This shouldn’t be troubling for fans, however, as Bryant will see plenty of red zone and downfield targets moving forward.
Cincinnati 14, Tampa Bay 13
TB: Da’Quan Bowers 2 assisted tackles, 0.5 sack
Injuries and a performance-enhancing drug suspension have kept Bowers on the sidelines for much of this season, and that’s to say nothing of the presence of other talented players on the depth chart. But Sunday was a nice day for Bowers, as he registered his first sack—albeit half of one—in more than two months.
Atlanta 29, Arizona 18
ARI: Jaron Brown 7 rec, 75 yds
Andre Ellington 5 car, 12 yds
Chandler Catanzaro 1-1 FG, 1-1 XP
Coming into Sunday’s game, Jaron Brown had only 12 catches for 100 yards in 11 games this season. Needless to say, his performance in Larry Fitzgerald’s absence was a welcome surprise for the Cardinals.
Brown’s breakout game carried greater weight given the early hip pointer suffered by Ellington that knocked him from the game. Ellington has been the beneficiary of a heavy workload, but it’s worth monitoring whether his body is breaking down late in the year. Catanzaro nailed a 44-yard kick and continues to make the most of his opportunities.
Key Inactives: Dwayne Allen, IND; Crezdon Butler, TB; Tyler Shatley, JAC; Charlie Whitehurst, TEN.