Each week during the NFL season, ClemsonTigers.com breaks down how former Clemson standouts are faring in the NFL. The following is a summary of what transpired in Week 3 of the 2019 slate, including a table with updated roster information and statistics.
Week 3 of the 2019 NFL season effectively served as a blast from the past in terms of the Tigers in the NFL, with several highlights from former Clemson players harking back to Saturdays of yore at Death Valley. Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson somehow avoided would-be tacklers before throwing a no-look touchdown pass, and New York Giants defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence blocked an extra point. Those served as just a few of the pivotal feats accomplished by erstwhile Tigers at the professional level over the weekend, with veterans and rookies alike representing Clemson football well around the NFL.
With his best performance of the young season, Watson led the Texans to a hard-fought victory on the road. After trailing by 10 points at halftime, the Texans scored 20 unanswered points in the second half en route to defeating the Los Angeles Chargers 27-20 at Dignity Health Sports Park. Watson threw for 351 yards, the fourth-highest total in the NFL for Week 3, and three touchdowns on 25-of-34 passing and also picked up 18 rushing yards on seven rush attempts. Wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins hauled in six of Watson’s passes for 67 receiving yards.
"That's the beauty about this team. We fight 60 minutes."Hear from Deshaun Watson after the win. pic.twitter.com/6FZvXwZs7v— Houston Texans (@HoustonTexans) September 23, 2019
"That's the beauty about this team. We fight 60 minutes."
Hear from Deshaun Watson after the win. pic.twitter.com/6FZvXwZs7v
— Houston Texans (@HoustonTexans) September 23, 2019
"We just had to make plays, keep our cool."DeAndre Hopkins discusses #HOUvsLAC. pic.twitter.com/ygzYsbFDqD— Houston Texans (@HoustonTexans) September 23, 2019
"We just had to make plays, keep our cool."
DeAndre Hopkins discusses #HOUvsLAC. pic.twitter.com/ygzYsbFDqD
Watson was on the money throughout his winning performance, with his no-look touchdown passing exemplifying as much. The first remarkable pass of the day by Watson came on a flea flicker. After having the football pitched back to him by a running back, Watson found wideout Kenny Stills downfield for a 38-yard gain. It is worth noting that a roughing-the-passer penalty was called on the play, as Watson was able to complete the pass under duress. That particular drive was capped off by a 16-yard touchdown pass that Watson threw to tight end Darren Fells.
FLEA FLICKER!@KSTiLLS | #HOUvsLAC pic.twitter.com/h1DUx8LEl3— Houston Texans (@HoustonTexans) September 22, 2019
FLEA FLICKER!@KSTiLLS | #HOUvsLAC pic.twitter.com/h1DUx8LEl3
— Houston Texans (@HoustonTexans) September 22, 2019
Watson. Fells. SIX!@deshaunwatson | #HOUvsLAC pic.twitter.com/KFaaPE3Tbv— Houston Texans (@HoustonTexans) September 22, 2019
Watson. Fells. SIX!@deshaunwatson | #HOUvsLAC pic.twitter.com/KFaaPE3Tbv
Touchdown passes to tight ends made up a sizable portion of Watson’s notable plays from Sunday, as Watson also teamed up with tight end Jordan Akins for a pair of touchdowns. The touchdown plays involving Akins progressed far differently, particularly with regard to the pressure that Watson faced. Late in the third quarter, Watson combined with Akins for a 15-yard score after great blocking from his offensive line provided him with plenty of time in the pocket to throw a perfectly placed bullet to Akins in the end zone.
Jordan Akins has reservations for SIX!#HOUvsLAC pic.twitter.com/PhAxflu9Ro— Houston Texans (@HoustonTexans) September 22, 2019
Jordan Akins has reservations for SIX!#HOUvsLAC pic.twitter.com/PhAxflu9Ro
Later, with under 10 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, Watson was forced to evade oncoming defenders, and, once he shed multiple tackles, Watson came through with one of the most jaw-dropping throws of his career when he faked out the Chargers’ defense by hopping off the ground and floating a no-look pass out to Akins, who caught the ball over the middle and barreled 53 yards to the house. Watson’s no-look lob put the Texans up 27-17, and Houston was able to hang on the rest of the way and topple wide receiver Mike Williams’ Chargers.
INCREDIBLE.@deshaunwatson | #HOUvsLAC pic.twitter.com/8FIl4IOyXy— Houston Texans (@HoustonTexans) September 22, 2019
INCREDIBLE.@deshaunwatson | #HOUvsLAC pic.twitter.com/8FIl4IOyXy
No look TD. 👀 pic.twitter.com/cEkJvvv1St— Houston Texans (@HoustonTexans) September 23, 2019
No look TD. 👀 pic.twitter.com/cEkJvvv1St
Williams, who corralled three receptions for 45 yards, was a good sport after his team came up short, as he exchanged autographed jerseys with Watson, his college quarterback, following the game. To the victor go the spoils, though, and Watson one-upped Williams by fraternizing with iconic rapper Snoop Dogg, who attended the thrilling contest and visited the winning locker room afterward.
They grow up so fast!@deshaunwatson x @darealmike_dub pic.twitter.com/vxgRUWN72b— #ClemsonNFL (@ClemsonPros) September 23, 2019
They grow up so fast!@deshaunwatson x @darealmike_dub pic.twitter.com/vxgRUWN72b
— #ClemsonNFL (@ClemsonPros) September 23, 2019
That’s a rap.@SnoopDogg | #HOUvsLAC pic.twitter.com/4pfzcHAFTX— Houston Texans (@HoustonTexans) September 23, 2019
That’s a rap.@SnoopDogg | #HOUvsLAC pic.twitter.com/4pfzcHAFTX
Not to be overlooked, Texans defensive tackle D.J. Reader heavily contributed to the Texans’ triumph, as well, with Reader continuing to establish himself as one of the top nose guards in the league by wreaking havoc in the backfield. Reader was credited with 1 ½ sacks and three hits on the quarterback to go along with his three combined tackles.
The aforementioned Lawrence experienced tremendous success at the defensive-tackle position, too, with the rookie taking part in a proverbial coming-out party by notching his first career sack and blocking an extra-point attempt. A kick-blocking threat at Clemson, Lawrence clearly translated his special-teams prowess to the NFL, as he swatted an extra-point try in the first quarter. As fate would have it, the Giants went on to defeat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 32-31, making Lawrence’s blocked extra point seem quite important in retrospect. Lawrence also finished with two tackles.
🗣”BIG TEAM WIN!”@Daniel_Jones10 | @llawrence2139 pic.twitter.com/zoBiEz0Qre— New York Giants (@Giants) September 22, 2019
🗣”BIG TEAM WIN!”@Daniel_Jones10 | @llawrence2139 pic.twitter.com/zoBiEz0Qre
— New York Giants (@Giants) September 22, 2019
Another breakout performance came from veteran Tennessee Titans wideout Adam Humphries. Humphries started at receiver and made his first significant impact of the year by leading all pass catchers in receiving yardage during the Titans’ clash with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Tallying 93 yards via six catches, Humphries wowed in the opening quarter with a well-executed stop-and-go route that resulted in a 30-yard gain, which marked his longest reception of the night.
Nice pitch and catch #TENvsJAX Mariota ➡️ @adamhumphries13 pic.twitter.com/WzntBND02r— Tennessee Titans (@Titans) September 20, 2019
Nice pitch and catch #TENvsJAX
Mariota ➡️ @adamhumphries13 pic.twitter.com/WzntBND02r
— Tennessee Titans (@Titans) September 20, 2019
"We can change, as a team, in one week." – Adam Humphries (@adamhumphries13) pic.twitter.com/nw3pdRYRdB— Tennessee Titans (@Titans) September 23, 2019
"We can change, as a team, in one week." – Adam Humphries (@adamhumphries13) pic.twitter.com/nw3pdRYRdB
— Tennessee Titans (@Titans) September 23, 2019
Other noteworthy receiving performances by former Clemson pass catchers included Oakland Raiders rookie Hunter Renfrow converting all three of his receptions into first downs as part of a 28-yard showing and the Kansas City Chiefs’ Sammy Watkins continuing with his solid start to the 2019 campaign by tabbing five catches for 64 yards. Additionally, Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Jaron Brown snagged his first reception of the season and nabbed two more catches after that. Brown totaled 30 yards by way of his three receptions and moved the chains on two separate occasions by converting a couple of first downs.
On the defensive side of the ball, Atlanta Falcons linebacker Vic Beasley Jr. split a 10-yard sack with one of his teammates and recorded three tackles. Keeping it in the pass-rushing department, rookie Raiders defensive end Clelin Ferrell registered three tackles and broke up a pass, while fellow rookie defensive lineman Christian Wilkins, who is a starting defensive tackle for the Miami Dolphins, was on in five tackles.
Vic & Takk get to the QB 💪 pic.twitter.com/NhuLnkpKAg— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) September 22, 2019
Vic & Takk get to the QB 💪 pic.twitter.com/NhuLnkpKAg
— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) September 22, 2019
Elsewhere, Chiefs cornerback Bashaud Breeland attained four solo tackles. Also of note, Giants running back Wayne Gallman, who is expected to become the Giants’ feature back in the wake of star Giants running back Saquon Barkley suffering an injury, ran the ball five times for a total of 13 rushing yards.