Benjamin Watson, Baltimore - the former Northwestern Trojan caught a 33-yard touchdown pass as Baltimore cruised past winless Cleveland 27-10. Watson caught four passes for 74 yards, including his fourth TD of the season and 42nd of his 13-year NFL career. He split coverage near the line of scrimmage, caught a ball over the middle and outran two tacklers to the left corner of the end zone to score against his former team.
“Man, my birthday is tomorrow so I think that was my birthday present,” the newly 37-year old Watson said after the game. “Happy to get our team on the board.”
Stephon Gilmore, New England - Gilmore made eight tackles and defended a pass as New England beat Pittsburgh 27-24 and clinched the AFC East championship. It was the first division championship of Gilmore’s career after spending five years with Buffalo.
“(The Patriots) have been beating me my whole career, so I’m glad I’m on this side now,” the former South Pointe Stallion said after the win. “… It feels great. We are AFC (East) divisional champs.”
Cordarrelle Patterson, Oakland - Patterson, the former Northwestern Trojan, returned four kickoffs for 103 yards, including one he took to the end zone only for it to be called back, during the Raiders’ 20-17 loss to Dallas.
Patterson opened the second half with a 100-yard return, but a holding penalty, one of three on his four kick returns, negated the score. He later had a 44-yard kickoff return that got the Raiders near midfield and set up an early fourth quarter touchdown.
Patterson, who started and played 64 percent of the available offensive snaps, also caught one pass for seven yards and had a carry that ended in a four-yard loss. The Raiders’ defeat seriously hurt their AFC playoff chances.
Jadeveon Clowney, Houston - South Pointe grad Clowney made four tackles and recorded three QB hits, but it was a day to forget otherwise for the Texans, who were blasted 45-7 by Jacksonville.
Johnathan Joseph, Houston - Joseph, from Northwestern High, made three solo tackles in Houston’s blowout loss to Jacksonville.