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Oct 03, 2019

Tigers in the NFL: Week 4

By: Cole Little

Each week during the NFL season, breaks down how former Clemson standouts are faring in the NFL. The following is a summary of what transpired in Week 4 of the 2019 slate, including a table with updated roster information and statistics.

With 37 former Clemson Tigers currently competing on active rosters in the NFL, breakout performances are bound to happen during any given week of the season. Week 4 of the 2019 slate was proof of that, as Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Bashaud Breeland and New York Giants running back Wayne Gallman were key playmakers in their teams’ respective winning performances. The usual candidates, such as quarterback Deshaun Watson and wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins of the Houston Texans, also performed at a high level, making for a well-rounded showing from the Tigers in the NFL.

Gallman was thrust into action as a Giants starter once star running back Saquon Barkley was injured in Week 3. Barkley foreshadowed Gallman making the most of the opportunity by way of a supportive pregame tweet. Gallman backed up Barkley’s prediction on Sunday by experiencing his first career multi-touchdown game and eclipsing 100 all-purpose yards for the first time in his career. In addition, according to ESPN’s Matthew Berry, Gallman became the first player in the NFL this year to record a receiving touchdown, a rushing touchdown and over 50 yards from scrimmage in the first half.

Just two days shy of his 25th birthday, Gallman celebrated early by reaching the end zone twice in the opening half. The third-year halfback put the Giants on the scoreboard with a 6-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter. On the Giants’ next possession, Gallman punched it in from one yard out for his second rushing score of the season. Gallman’s most impressive play did not result in six points being scored, though. Instead, Gallman shed a would-be tackler and fought through contact on a 20-yard reception that converted a second-and-20 into a first down. Gallman’s impeccable effort led to the Giants, who defeated the Washington Redskins 24-3, tacking on a field goal before halftime.

Gallman racked up 118 all-purpose yards, as he finished with 63 rushing yards on a career-high 18 carries as well as 55 receiving yards on six catches, both of which were career-best marks. Not to be outdone, Breeland scored arguably the most interesting touchdown of the season thus far on a 100-yard fumble recovery. Matt McMullen of the Chiefs’ front office noted that Breeland became just the fourth player to ever return a fumble 100 or more yards for a touchdown and was the first to do so since 2000.

The defensive back made a heads-up play when Detroit Lions running back Kerryon Johnson reached toward the goal line and fumbled just before landing on the turf. While most players in and around the scrum assumed that Johnson was already down by contact when the football came loose, Breeland picked up the loose ball and dashed the other way, providing the Chiefs with a 20-13 lead in the third quarter. In the end, the Chiefs edged out the Lions 34-30, making Breeland’s scoop-and-score quite important. Breeland collected two tackles and two pass break-ups, as well.

Elsewhere, Watson made a splash when he hustled into the end zone, too, with the flashy play caller outrunning several defenders in the process of scoring a 1-yard rushing touchdown against the Carolina Panthers. Watson added some pizazz to the touchdown carry by performing NBA legend Dikembe Mutombo’s signature finger wag in the face of an unsuccessful Panthers pursuer. The quarterback keeper resulted in Watson, who was taking part in his 27th career game, becoming the fastest player in league history to reach 50 passing touchdowns and 10 rushing touchdowns. Watson capped off the touchdown run by tossing the football to a young Texans fan in the stands, making for a special souvenir.

Watson went 21-of-33 through the air for 160 passing yards and notched 12 rushing yards on three carries. As for Hopkins, “Nuk” made five catches for 41 receiving yards. The Texans fell 16-10 to the Panthers, though, and a mistake by Hopkins proved costly. There were a few reminders over the weekend that even great players suffer hiccups along the way, and how they bounce back from those mistakes is what makes them great. Even Gallman lost a fumble during the course of his career performance, and Watson and Chiefs wide receiver Sammy Watkins each lost a fumble, as well. Hopkins, on the other hand, suffered a much rarer mistake for a player at his position by throwing an interception after catching a backward pass and attempting to complete a forward pass to the other side of the field. The Panthers converted the turnover into a touchdown drive and came out on top in the end.

Not long after the game concluded, Watson was back at it, as he was seen practicing at NRG Stadium, clearly looking to learn and grow from the defeat while moving past it. Watson also made headlines with a heartwarming act, as he invited Jayden Payne, a football player at the Houston area’s Aldine High School, to hang out with him on the field prior to Sunday’s game. Payne recently saved two people from floodwaters while a tropical depression caused heavy rainfall in the Houston region, resulting in the heroic Payne receiving national media attention.

Texans defensive tackle D.J. Reader took part in a charitable endeavor, too, with the defensive lineman visiting Houston Methodist Sugarland Hospital and participating in the drawing for tickets to the Texans’ upcoming Breast Cancer Awareness Game. On the gridiron in the Texans’ matchup with the Panthers, Reader attained six combined tackles, one of which was a tackle for loss, and was in on a play that culminated in a strip sack. The fumble was recovered by none other than fellow former Clemson defensive tackle Carlos Watkins, which served as the first fumble recovery of Watkins’ career.

A bevy of erstwhile Clemson defensive linemen stood out in Week 4. In addition to the aforementioned Reader and Watkins, rookie Miami Dolphins defensive tackle Christian Wilkins fared well by recording five total tackles and being scored by Pro Football Focus as the highest-rated Dolphins player in Week 4 with a score of 79.4. For the Atlanta Falcons, defensive tackle Grady Jarrett matched a career high with seven combined tackles to go along with a hit on the quarterback, and linebacker Vic Beasley Jr. tabbed four combined tackles, one of which was a tackle for loss on a fourth-down stop of the opposing running back.

On the offensive side of the ball, Watkins hauled in three catches for 54 receiving yards and converted two Kansas City first downs, and Seattle Seahawks wideout Jaron Brown, who also moved the chains on two occasions, accumulated 50 receiving yards by way of three receptions. Brown gained 32 yards on one particular passing play, which marked the longest reception of the Seahawks’ 27-10 triumph versus the Arizona Cardinals. Before the action got underway, Brown was captured on camera jamming out to some hard rock alongside other members of the Seattle receiving corps, with Brown showing off his singing chops.

Keeping it in the receiving department, Tennessee Titans pass catcher Adam Humphries snagged two receptions for 15 yards and also manned the punt-returning duties for the Titans. Rookie Oakland Raiders wideout Hunter Renfrow caught two passes for 18 yards, and Carolina Panthers wide receiver Ray-Ray McCloud, who is the Panthers’ primary return specialist, amassed 48 yards on two kickoff returns, one of which was a season-long 31-yard kickoff return.

In the Minnesota Vikings’ secondary, cornerback Mackensie Alexander returned from an injury layoff and tallied three solo tackles, and safety Jayron Kearse notched one solo tackle in his first start of the season. Green Bay Packers linebacker B.J. Goodson was credited with three combined tackles, and linebacker Stephone Anthony, who previously played for the New Orleans Saints in 2015-17, was inked to a contract by the Saints on Wednesday and partook in his first in-game action of the 2019 regular season on Sunday.

Mackensie AlexanderMinnesota VikingsCBactive2014-151 game played, 3 solo tackles2 games played, 4 solo tackles
Stephone AnthonyNew Orleans SaintsLBactive2011-141 game played1 game played
Vic Beasley Jr.Atlanta FalconsLBactive2011-141 game played, 1 game started, 3 combined tackles (1 solo, 2 assisted)4 games played, 4 games started, 10 combined tackles (6 solo, 4 assisted), 1.5 sacks
Bashaud BreelandKansas City ChiefsCBactive2010-131 game played, 1 game started, 2 solo tackles, 1 fumble recovered, 1 fumble recovery touchdown, 1 pass defended4 games played, 4 games started, 14 combined tackles (13 solo, 1 assisted), 1 interception, 2 fumbles recovered, 1 fumble recovery touchdown, 3 passes defended
Jaron BrownSeattle SeahawksWRactive2009-121 game played, 1 game started, 3 receptions, 50 receiving yards4 games played, 3 games started, 6 receptions, 80 receiving yards
Austin BryantDetroit LionsDEreserve/injured2015-18inactiveN/A
Deon CainIndianapolis ColtsWRactive2015-171 game played, 1 game started4 games played, 2 games started, 3 receptions, 45 receiving yards
Adam ChoiceSeattle SeahawksRBreserve/injured2014-18inactiveN/A
Clelin FerrellOakland RaidersDEactive2015-181 game played, 1 game started, 1 assisted tackle4 games played, 4 games started, 10 combined tackles (5 solo, 5 assisted), 1 sack, 2 passes defended
Mark FieldsMinnesota VikingsCBpractice squad2015-18inactive1 game played
Wayne GallmanNew York GiantsRBactive2014-161 game played, 1 game started, 18 rush attempts, 63 rushing yards, 1 rushing touchdown, 6 receptions, 55 receiving yards, 1 receiving touchdown, 1 fumble lost4 games played, 1 game started, 25 rush attempts, 93 rushing yards, 3 rushing touchdowns, 9 receptions, 79 receiving yards, 1 receiving touchdown, 1 fumble lost
B.J. GoodsonGreen Bay PackersLBactive2012-151 game played, 3 combined tackles (2 solo, 1 assisted)4 games played, 2 games started, 9 combined tackles (4 solo, 5 assisted)
T.J. GreenNew Orleans SaintsSpractice squad2012-15inactiveN/A
DeAndre HopkinsHouston TexansWRactive2010-121 game played, 1 game started, 5 receptions, 41 receiving yards4 games played, 4 games started, 24 receptions, 259 receiving yards, 2 receiving touchdowns
Albert HugginsHouston TexansDEpractice squad2015-18inactiveN/A
Adam HumphriesTennessee TitansWRactive2011-141 game played, 1 game started, 2 receptions, 15 receiving yards, 1 punt return, 2 punt return yards4 games played, 2 games started, 11 receptions, 112 receiving yards, 1 rush attempt, 1 rushing yard, 1 punt return, 2 punt return yards
Mitch HyattDallas CowboysOTpractice squad2015-18inactiveN/A
Grady JarrettAtlanta FalconsDTactive2011-141 game played, 1 game started, 8 combined tackles (1 solo, 7 assisted)4 games played, 4 games started, 20 combined tackles (9 solo, 11 assisted), 2 sacks, 1 fumble forced
Jayron KearseMinnesota VikingsSactive2013-151 game played, 1 game started, 1 solo tackle4 games played, 1 game started, 14 combined tackles (10 solo, 4 assisted), 2 passes defended
Dexter LawrenceNew York GiantsDTactive2016-181 game played, 1 game started, 1 assisted tackle4 games played, 4 games started, 8 combined tackles (3 solo, 5 assisted), 1 sack, 1 kick blocked
Shaq LawsonBuffalo BillsDEactive2013-151 game played4 games played, 6 combined tackles (2 solo, 4 assisted), 1 sack, 1 pass defended
Jordan LeggettTampa Bay BuccaneersTEpractice squad2013-16inactiveN/A
Ray-Ray McCloudCarolina PanthersWRactive2015-171 game played, 2 kickoff returns, 48 kickoff return yards, long kickoff return of 31 yards, 1 punt return, 0 punt return yards4 games played, 6 kickoff returns, 135 kickoff return yards, long kickoff return of 31 yards, 8 punt returns, 69 punt return yards, long punt return of 39 yards
Trayvon MullenOakland RaidersCBactive2016-181 game played4 games played, 4 combined tackles (3 solo, 1 assisted)
Dorian O'DanielKansas City ChiefsLBactive2014-20171 game played4 games played, 2 solo tackles
Bradley PinionTampa Bay BuccaneersPactive2012-141 game played, 2 punts, 88 punting yards, long punt of 46 yards4 games played, 14 punts, 604 punting yards, 4 punts inside the 20-yard line, long punt of 63 yards
D.J. ReaderHouston TexansDTactive2012-151 game played, 1 game started, 6 combined tackles (2 solo, 4 assisted)4 games played, 4 games started, 15 combined tackles (7 solo, 8 assisted), 1.5 sacks
Hunter RenfrowOakland RaidersWRactive2014-181 game played, 2 receptions, 18 receiving yards4 games played, 11 receptions, 89 receiving yards
Artavis ScottLos Angeles ChargersWRpractice squad/injured2014-16inactiveN/A
Tyler ShatleyJacksonville JaguarsCactive2010-131 game played4 games played
Cordrea TankersleyMiami DolphinsCBreserve/physically unable to perform2013-16inactiveN/A
Brandon ThomasJacksonville JaguarsOGactive2009-13inactiveN/A
Carlos WatkinsHouston TexansDEactive2012-161 game played, 1 fumble recovered2 games played, 2 assisted tackles, 1 fumble recovered, 1 pass defended
Sammy WatkinsKansas City ChiefsWRactive2011-131 game played, 1 game started, 3 receptions, 54 receiving yards, 1 fumble lost4 games played, 4 games started, 23 receptions, 365 receiving yards, 3 receiving touchdowns, 1 fumble lost
Deshaun WatsonHouston TexansQBactive2014-161 game played, 1 game started, 21 pass completions, 33 pass attempts, 160 passing yards, 3 rush attempts, 12 rushing yards, 1 rushing touchdown, 1 fumble lost4 games played, 4 games started, 82 pass completions, 126 pass attempts, 938 passing yards, 6 passing touchdowns, 1 interception, 18 rush attempts, 75 rushing yards, 3 rushing touchdowns, 2 fumbles lost
Christian WilkinsMiami DolphinsDTactive2015-181 game played, 1 game started, 5 combined tackles (1 solo, 4 assisted)4 games played, 4 games started, 16 combined tackles (8 solo, 8 assisted)
Mike WilliamsLos Angeles ChargersWRactive2013-16inactive3 games played, 3 games started, 8 receptions, 157 receiving yards