As the NFL played its second week of regular season games, 19 former Clemson Tigers hit the field and added to their stats as professional football players.
Today, The Clemson Insider will highlight the performances that are worth noting from this past weekend.
Atlanta Falcons 31, Carolina Panthers 24
ATL: Grady Jarrett: 5 tackles, 2 solo, 3 qb hits
Vic Beasley Jr.: 2 tackles
This was a key NFC South matchup that could end up deciding who comes out of that division when it comes time for the playoffs. These two teams have been dominant in the past and can be dominant once again this season. On the Atlanta Falcons’ defense, two former Tigers helped put up a performance worthy of winning the game. Grady Jarrett and Vic Beasley Jr. were consistent on the line, keeping the running backs in check, only allowing them to gain a couple of yards on number of carries. Jarrett gathered a total of 5 tackles, 2 of which he grabbed all for himself. He even put some pressure on the Panthers’ quarterback Cam Newton. Vic Beasley got himself 2 tackles before going down with an injury in the 4th quarter. Beasley would re-enter the game and was used to put pressure on Cam Newton in the final minutes.
Denver Broncos 20, Oakland Raiders 19
OAK: Marcus Gilchrist: 5 tackles, 4 solo
Martavis Bryant: 4 receptions, 30 yards, 4 targets
Denver seems to be in a race for control of the AFC West, but in order to hang on to that control, they had to beat the Oakland Raiders. Although the Raiders suffered the loss, two former Tigers received a lot of attention on both sides of the ball. On defense, Marcus Gilchrist put up 4 solo tackles and assisted teammates on another tackle, totaling 5 tackles on the evening. One of his tackles was a valiant effort to stop Broncos running back Phillip Lindsay from scoring on a 53-yard run. If it weren’t for this stop, the Raiders would not have come up with an interception on that drive. Now, on the offense side for the Raiders is a former member of Wide Receiver University, Martavis Bryant. Back in NFL action, Bryant was targeted 4 times, all of which he caught for a total of 30 yards. Bryant will continue to play until the verdict in the suspension appeal is reached, which is expected in the coming weeks.
Kansas City Chiefs 42, Pittsburgh Steelers 37
KC: Sammy Watkins: 6 receptions, 100 yards, 7 targets, 1 carry, 31 yards
Another team looking to take control of the AFC West is the Kansas City Chiefs. A fantastic offensive performance against the Pittsburgh Steelers is helping lead them to that claim. On offense, the Chiefs have another former member of Wider Receiver University in Sammy Watkins. Watkins was shown the love on Sunday as he was targeted a total of 7 times. He reeled in 6 of these passes for a total of 100 yards. Not only did he have 100 reception yards, but Watkins also saw one carry for 31 yards, putting the Chiefs in scoring position on the Pittsburgh Steelers 7-yard line.
Los Angeles Chargers 31, Buffalo Bills 20
LAC: Mike Williams: 2 receptions, 27 yards, 1 TD (1st career TD), 2 targets
The Los Angeles Chargers have a little bit of ground to cover in the race for the AFC West, sitting in third place behind the aforementioned Chiefs and Broncos, but nevertheless they brought home a victory from Buffalo, New York. Only one former Tiger saw some action in this game, and it is, once again, a former member of Wide Receiver University. Mike Williams received some love from all across the NFL in the Chargers’ win over the Bills as he tallied his first career touchdown. This touchdown came on the Chargers’ second drive of the game as Phillip Rivers threw a 10-yard pass to him in the back of the end zone. Williams would have one other reception for 17 yards on the very next drive, setting up another Los Angeles touchdown.
Minnesota Vikings 29, Green Bay Packers 29
MIN: Jayron Kearse: 1 tackle, 1 solo
Mackensie Alexander: 7 tackles, 7 solo, 1 sack, 1 TFL, 1 qb hit
It is the second tie of the season. The first one came last week as the Pittsburgh Steelers tied the Cleveland Browns. This week it is the Minnesota Vikings and the Green Bay Packers who earned the tie. Two former Tigers helped keep the Packers from scoring more than the Vikings had the chance to. Jayron Kearse saw one solo tackle which came on a Vikings punt, keeping the returner from gaining any yards on the return. Cornerback Mackensie Alexander tallied 7 solo tackles, one of which was a sack on Aaron Rodgers for a loss of 7 yards in overtime. Alexander had an amazing day with those numbers, picking up one of the four sacks on Rodgers as well as 7 of the 56 solo tackles the Vikings defense put up.
Tennessee Titans 20, Houston Texans 17
HOU: D.J. Reader: 4 tackles, 2 solo
Deandre Hopkins: 6 receptions, 110 yards, 1 TD, 11 targets
Deshaun Watson: 22/32, 310 yards, 2 TDs, 1 interception, 5 carries, 44 yards
The Houston Texans are quickly falling behind in the AFC South, but there is still plenty of time to regain ground in the division. The Texans have suffered two tough losses, this week being a loss by a field goal. The problems lie on the Texans offensive line, but other aspects of the team are looking good, including the defense where D.J. Reader had 2 solo tackles and a total of 4 tackles in the game against the Titans. Deshaun Watson continues to lead the offense and he put up great numbers this weekend. With only one interception, Watson went 22/32 for 310 yards. He connected two of his passes for touchdowns, one to Deandre Hopkins and one to Will Fuller. Watson also had 5 carries for 44 yards. Hopkins saw 11 targets, 6 of which were completed passes for a total of 110 yards and one touchdown. What the game stats don’t show is that Hopkins became the third-youngest player in NFL history to reach 6,000 receiving yards at the age 26 years, 3 months and 10 days. Hopkins sits in great company behind Randy Moss and Larry Fitzgerald. It will be exciting to see where Hopkins’ career continues to take him.
Other former Tigers who saw Week 1 action: Andre Branch (MIA), B.J. Goodson and Wayne Gallman (NYG), Coty Sensabaugh (PIT), Bradley Pinion (SF), Jaron Brown (SEA), Adam Humphries and Chandler Catanzaro (TB)