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Oct 10, 2019

Tigers in the NFL: Week 5

By: Cole Little

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 5 of the 2019 slate, including a table with updated roster information and statistics.


Any and every high-level quarterback will admit that a perfect game is impossible, as there will always be an errant throw here and a misreading of the coverage there. However, Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson was arguably as close to perfect in Week 5 as an NFL quarterback can be. Finishing with a perfect passer rating of 158.3, Watson went 28-of-33 for a career-high 426 yards and five touchdowns through the air. Watson led the Texans to a commanding 53-32 victory over the Atlanta Falcons, and was one of several Tigers in the NFL to show out in the fifth week of the 2019 regular season.

In addition to garnering the coveted perfect passer rating, which has only been accomplished 75 times in NFL history, Watson became just the fifth NFL quarterback to do so with 30 or more pass attempts. Even more impressively, Watson became the first NFL gunslinger to pass for at least 400 yards and five touchdowns with five or fewer incompletions. Watson’s bright-red cleats that he donned during his marvelous performance at NRG Stadium were shipped to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in order to recognize the historic achievement. Deann Watson, Deshaun’s mother, was on hand as the ceremonial captain for the Texans, making it all the more fitting that Watson produced perhaps the best performance of his young career.

Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins hauled in seven of Watson’s passes for a total of 88 receiving yards and converted five first downs. Hopkins’ longest reception was a 29-yarder that featured “Nuk” breaking multiple tackles and racing deep into Falcons territory as part of a touchdown drive for the Texans.

Watson’s top target on the day, though, was wideout Will Fuller V, who snagged 14 catches for 217 yards and was on the receiving end of three of Watson’s touchdown passes. In the opening quarter, Watson and Fuller teamed up on a play-action pass that resulted in a 6-yard score. Then, in the second quarter, Watson threw a dart into the end zone that Fuller secured for a 33-yard touchdown.

Watson also tossed multiple touchdown lobs into the outstretched arms of tight end Darren Fells. Throwing a perfectly placed pass through a tight window, Watson hooked up with Fells on an 8-yard score in the third quarter. Similarly, Watson heaved a difficult pass out of the reach of a defender in the fourth quarter, allowing the 6-foot-7-inch Fells to come down with a 12-yard touchdown catch.

Essentially putting a bow on the Texans’ victory, Watson provided his team with a late 15-point lead via a 44-yard touchdown pass to Fuller. Receiving plenty of time in the pocket due to excellent pass protection, Watson found Fuller racing up the seam, leading to the fifth and final touchdown of Watson’s legendary showing. The longest pass of the day for the erstwhile Clemson play caller came on a 51-yard play involving Texans receiver Keke Coutee, who dashed upfield after gloving a pass thrown over the middle.

As surprising as it may seem, despite Watson’s impeccable passing efforts, the most electrifying play of the contest for the third-year quarterback was a run play. Overall, Watson picked up 47 rushing yards on four carries, including a 30-yard run. On a third-down play in the first quarter, Watson barely avoided being sacked but was unable to avoid having the football jarred from his hands. However, Watson quickly recovered the loose ball and sprinted 15 yards for a frenetic first down, causing Texans offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil to refer to Watson as “a magician” while speaking to reporters after the game.

Continuing to wow following the conclusion of the contest, Watson, who surpassed 1,000 yards passing on the season and 7,000 yards passing for his career, broke down the Falcons’ defensive scheme like a true field general during his postgame press conference. Watson’s string of commendable acts did not end there, as he launched the Deshaun Watson Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the support of education, health, housing and other charitable causes to support youth in underserved communities, on Tuesday.

For the second time in three weeks, Watson was named the AFC Offensive Player of the Week, and, in true Watson fashion, the humble quarterback opined on Twitter that he felt like Fuller should have received that honor. A few days later, Watson was crowned the FedEx Air NFL Player of the Week, which is voted on by fans and awarded to the best quarterback from each week of the NFL regular season.

On the defensive side of the ball for the Texans, nose guard D.J. Reader made his presence felt in the backfield in his 4-tackle performance. Reader tracked down Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan behind the line of scrimmage for an emphatic sack, which Reader punctuated with an epic sack celebration that featured him wielding an imaginary shovel and furiously digging in imaginary dirt. The play increased Reader’s 2019 sack total to 2 1/2, which is a career high for Reader. Additionally, Reader participated in an anti-bullying initiative put together by the Texans that saw the defensive tackle visit an elementary school in Houston.

The Texans’ offense faced off against Falcons defensive tackle Grady Jarrett, who tabbed seven combined tackles for the second straight week. Two of Jarrett’s tackles were stuffs that accounted for a total of 16 yards lost. On Houston’s first possession of the game, Jarrett forced a fumble, which was recovered by the Texans, by powering through the line and laying out a Texans running back behind the line of scrimmage. After the contest, Jarrett exchanged jerseys and posed for a picture with Watson, a former Tigertown teammate of his.

Keeping it at defensive tackle, rookie Dexter Lawrence of the New York Giants recorded his second sack of the season when he dropped Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins for an 11-yard loss that forced the Vikings to settle for a field goal. Lawrence, who finished with five tackles, also forced a fumble, which was recovered by the Vikings, when tackling an opposing running back.

Wide receivers Hunter Renfrow of the Oakland Raiders and Mike Williams of the Los Angeles Chargers each made a splash in Week 5. Renfrow earned his first career start with the Raiders battling the Chicago Bears in London. The rookie slot receiver hauled in just one catch, but it was one of the most important receptions of the Raiders’ thrilling 24-21 victory across the pond. During what turned out to be the winning drive, Renfrow juked a defensive back and turned a short pass out wide into a 12-yard gain that moved the chains and placed the ball deep in Bears territory. Soon afterward, the Raiders scored a go-ahead touchdown with under two minutes to play and went on to win. Renfrow was mic’d up for the international battle, and, needless to say, his commentary was clean, courteous and respectful.

Williams returned from an injury that prevented him from suiting up in Week 4 and did not miss a beat, as he amassed a season-high six receptions for 74 receiving yards and picked up four first downs. The longest catch of the game for Williams was a leaping 20-yarder that the pass catcher was able to maintain possession of after absorbing a hit from a defender while in midair.

Other notable performances by former Clemson wideouts included the Seattle Seahawks’ Jaron Brown catching two passes for 36 yards and the Tennessee Titans’ Adam Humphries attaining four receptions for 30 yards to go along with his two punt returns. Elsewhere, Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Bashaud Breeland and Green Bay Packers linebacker B.J. Goodson notched four combined tackles and three combined tackles, respectively, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers punter Bradley Pinion racked up 263 punting yards on six punts, two of which landed inside the opposing team’s 20-yard line.

PLAYERTEAMPOSITIONROSTER STATUSCLEMSON YEARSWEEK 5 STATISTICSSEASON STATISTICS
Mackensie AlexanderMinnesota VikingsCBactive2014-15inactive2 games played, 4 solo tackles
Stephone AnthonyNew Orleans SaintsLBactive2011-141 game played2 games played
Vic Beasley Jr.Atlanta FalconsLBactive2011-141 game played, 1 game started5 games played, 5 games started, 10 combined tackles (6 solo, 4 assisted), 1.5 sacks
Bashaud BreelandKansas City ChiefsCBactive2010-131 game played, 1 game started, 4 combined tackles (3 solo, 1 assisted)5 games played, 5 games started, 18 combined tackles (16 solo, 2 assisted), 1 interception, 2 fumbles recovered, 1 fumble recovery touchdown, 3 passes defended
Jaron BrownSeattle SeahawksWRactive2009-121 game played, 2 receptions, 36 receiving yards, 1 fumble lost 5 games played, 3 games started, 8 receptions, 116 receiving yards, 1 fumble lost
Austin BryantDetroit LionsDEreserve/injured2015-18byeN/A
Deon CainIndianapolis ColtsWRactive2015-171 game played, 1 reception, 7 receiving yards5 games played, 2 games started, 4 receptions, 52 receiving yards
Adam ChoiceSeattle SeahawksRBreserve/injured2014-18inactiveN/A
Clelin FerrellOakland RaidersDEactive2015-18inactive4 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, 2 rush attempts, 14 rushing yards5 games played, 2 games 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, 1 game started, 3 combined tackles (2 solo, 1 assisted)5 games played, 3 games started, 10 combined tackles (6 solo, 4 assisted)
T.J. GreenNew Orleans SaintsSpractice squad2012-15inactiveN/A
DeAndre HopkinsHouston TexansWRactive2010-121 game played, 1 game started, 7 receptions, 88 receiving yards5 games played, 5 games started, 31 receptions, 347 receiving yards, 2 receiving touchdowns
Albert HugginsHouston TexansDEpractice squad2015-18inactiveN/A
Adam HumphriesTennessee TitansWRactive2011-141 game played, 4 receptions, 30 receiving yards, 2 punt returns, 2 punt return yards, long punt return of 2 yards5 games played, 2 games started, 15 receptions, 142 receiving yards, 1 rush attempt, 1 rushing yard, 3 punt returns, 4 punt return yards, long punt return of 2 yards
Mitch HyattDallas CowboysOTpractice squad2015-18inactiveN/A
Grady JarrettAtlanta FalconsDTactive2011-141 game played, 1 game started, 7 combined tackles (5 solo, 2 assisted), 1 fumble forced5 games played, 5 games started, 27 combined tackles (14 solo, 13 assisted), 2 sacks, 2 fumbles forced
Jayron KearseMinnesota VikingsSactive2013-151 game played5 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, 5 combined tackles (3 solo, 2 assisted), 1 sack, 1 fumble forced5 games played, 5 games started, 13 combined tackles (6 solo, 7 assisted), 2 sacks, 1 fumble forced, 1 kick blocked
Shaq LawsonBuffalo BillsDEactive2013-151 game played5 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, 39 kickoff return yards, long kickoff return of 21 yards, 1 punt return, 3 punt return yards5 games played, 8 kickoff returns, 194 kickoff return yards, long kickoff return of 31 yards, 9 punt returns, 72 punt return yards, long punt return of 39 yards
Trayvon MullenOakland RaidersCBactive2016-181 game played5 games played, 4 combined tackles (3 solo, 1 assisted)
Dorian O'DanielKansas City ChiefsLBactive2014-2017inactive4 games played, 2 solo tackles
Bradley PinionTampa Bay BuccaneersPactive2012-141 game played, 6 punts, 263 punting yards, 2 punts inside the 20-yard line, long punt of 48 yards5 games played, 20 punts, 867 punting yards, 6 punts inside the 20-yard line, long punt of 63 yards
D.J. ReaderHouston TexansDTactive2012-151 game played, 1 game started, 4 combined tackles (3 solo, 1 assisted), 1 sack5 games played, 5 games started, 19 combined tackles (10 solo, 9 assisted), 2.5 sacks
Hunter RenfrowOakland RaidersWRactive2014-181 game played, 1 game started, 1 reception, 12 receiving yards5 games played, 1 game started, 12 receptions, 101 receiving yards
Artavis ScottLos Angeles ChargersWRpractice squad/injured2014-16inactiveN/A
Tyler ShatleyJacksonville JaguarsCactive2010-131 game played5 games played
Cordrea TankersleyMiami DolphinsCBreserve/physically unable to perform2013-16byeN/A
Brandon ThomasJacksonville JaguarsOGactive2009-13inactiveN/A
Carlos WatkinsHouston TexansDEactive2012-16inactive2 games played, 2 assisted tackles, 1 fumble recovered, 1 pass defended
Sammy WatkinsKansas City ChiefsWRactive2011-131 game played, 1 game started5 games played, 5 games started, 23 receptions, 365 receiving yards, 3 receiving touchdowns, 1 fumble lost
Deshaun WatsonHouston TexansQBactive2014-161 game played, 1 game started, 28 pass completions, 33 pass attempts, 426 passing yards, 5 passing touchdowns, 4 rush attempts, 47 rushing yards5 games played, 5 games started, 110 pass completions, 159 pass attempts, 1,364 passing yards, 11 passing touchdowns, 1 interception, 22 rush attempts, 122 rushing yards, 3 rushing touchdowns, 2 fumbles lost
Christian WilkinsMiami DolphinsDTactive2015-18bye4 games played, 4 games started, 16 combined tackles (8 solo, 8 assisted)
Mike WilliamsLos Angeles ChargersWRactive2013-161 game played, 1 game started, 6 receptions, 74 receiving yards4 games played, 4 games started, 14 receptions, 231 receiving yards
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