Jadeveon Clowney, Houston- Clowney had four tackles and a sack in a solid season-opening outing during the Texans’ 23-14 win over the Chicago Bears. Clowney played 80 percent of the game’s defensive snaps and sacked Bears QB Jay Cutler early in the third quarter. The Texans dropped Cutler five times behind the line of scrimmage and pressured him several more.
Clowney has played primarily at outside linebacker during his NFL career, but played with his hand on the ground at defensive end much of Sunday’s game. Texans coach Bill O’Brien explained how Clowney remaining relatively healthy during preseason enabled that move:
Cordarrelle Patterson, Minnesota- Northwestern’s Patterson returned the opening kickoff of the second half 61 yards to set up a Vikings’ field goal en route to a 25-16 win over Tennessee. The Vikings trailed 16-0 at the half, but seemed ignited by Patterson’s run-back into Titans’ territory.
Patterson also caught a pass for a six-yard gain and ran the ball once for eight yards, despite just playing five offensive snaps, according to Pro-Football-Reference.com.
He watched several kickoffs sail into the end zone for touchbacks in the first half of Sunday’s game, before the second half opener was left short. He caught it at the 5-yard line and burst up the left side of the field before Jason McCourty ran him down and forced him out of bounds around the Titans’ 30.
“That gave a spark to the offense,” Patterson told the Vikings’ team web site. “Things weren’t going so [well], but I saw the ball and was like an [excited] kid. I went to the left and just saw a big hole get open. I thought I was going to score, but a fast dude [McCourty] caught me. He was super-fast.
“I saw that fire in a lot of guys’ eyes [after the return]. Before the play, everyone was saying, ‘Let’s get a spark. We need a big play.’ […] I just try to go out there and help my team out the best I can.”
Stephon Gilmore, Buffalo- the Bills’ offense struggled in a 13-7 loss to Baltimore Sunday, but the team’s defense was pretty solid. Gilmore, the former South Pointe standout, made five tackles - three solos - and broke up a pass.
Johnathan Joseph, Houston- former Northwestern Trojan Joseph made four solo tackles during the Texans’ win over Chicago.
Jonathan Meeks, Buffalo- Rock Hill Bearcat made three tackles during the Bills’ loss to Baltimore. Meeks played 13 snaps on defense and 12 on special teams, according to Pro-Football-Reference.com.
▪ Reminder: both Fort Mill’s Vance Walker and Northwestern’s Benjamin Watson are injured and out for the season.