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Oct 30, 2018

Tigers in the NFL: Week 8

By: Cole Little

Week 8 of the 2018 NFL season saw three of the biggest Clemson superstars of the last decade produce great performances in the professional ranks. Former Clemson receivers DeAndre Hopkins and Sammy Watkins, who once formed a dynamic duo out wide for the Tigers, both reached the end zone twice in Week 8, and all-time Tiger great Deshaun Watson matched a career high with five passing touchdowns.

Leading the Houston Texans to a dominant 42-23 victory on Thursday night, Watson was especially accurate through the air, with the second-year quarterback amassing 239 yards on 16-20 passing. Furthermore, Watson tallied 14 rushing yards and led the league outright in passing touchdowns for Week 8.

Watson’s first two touchdowns were passes of 13 yards and two yards, respectively, to tight end Jordan Thomas.

The third score came on a perfectly thrown laser to wide receiver Will Fuller V that culminated in a 73-yard touchdown.

Then, in the fourth quarter, Watson connected with Hopkins for two additional touchdowns to secure the Houston victory. On his initial score, Hopkins found room in the secondary after catching a pass from Watson and burst down the right sideline and into the end zone for a 49-yard touchdown.

Not long afterward, Hopkins made a great catch on a slant route for a two-yard score that provided Watson with his fifth passing touchdown of the night.

Although his two touchdowns were very impressive, the play of the game for “Nuk” was a catch that did not even count, as Hopkins made an unbelievable grab between his legs before having the play waved off due to offensive pass interference. In total, Hopkins finished with six receptions for 82 yards.

Watkins scored twice in Week 8, as well, for his first multi-touchdown outing as a member of the Kansas City Chiefs. On both touchdown catches, Watkins caught a short pass over the middle and used his trademark speed to race across the goal line.

Watkins led all pass catchers in the Chiefs’ win against the Denver Broncos with 107 receiving yards on eight catches, including the 13-yard and 10-yard touchdowns.

Also in the receiving department, Tampa Bay Buccaneers wideout Adam Humphries made an impact on Sunday. The fourth-year receiver caught a season-high seven passes for 76 yards. Humphries nearly scored his first touchdown of the season on a spectacular reception that saw him juke multiple defenders en route to the one-yard line. Initially ruled a touchdown, the play resulted in the ball being spotted just short of the goal line following a review.

On the defensive side of the ball, several former Tigers stepped up in Week 8. Veteran Oakland Raiders safety Marcus Gilchrist and young Minnesota Vikings safety Jayron Kearse notched the same stat line of five total tackles, four of which were solo. Elsewhere, New York Giants inside linebacker B.J. Goodson tabbed a team-high eight tackles, including one for loss, and Kansas City Chiefs inside linebacker Dorian O’Daniel was credited with four tackles, one of which was a tackle for loss.