Football

Local NFL players roundup: Watson again has career-best game

New Orleans Saints tight end Benjamin Watson (82) pulls in a pass in front of New York Giants defensive back Craig Dahl (43) in the first half of an NFL football game in New Orleans, Sunday, Nov. 1, 2015.
New Orleans Saints tight end Benjamin Watson (82) pulls in a pass in front of New York Giants defensive back Craig Dahl (43) in the first half of an NFL football game in New Orleans, Sunday, Nov. 1, 2015. AP

For the second time in three weeks, 34-year old Benjamin Watson had the best game of his lengthy NFL career. Watson snagged nine of the 10 balls thrown his way Sunday for 147 yards and a touchdown during New Orleans’ 52-49 shootout win over the New York Giants.

“It was great to make some plays in the passing game,” Watson told reporters afterward. “It’s always fun when you’re able to get open and catch some balls. Drew (Brees) was throwing the ball great today, so when you’re able to contribute in that way, it’s very satisfying.”

Watson, who graduated from Northwestern, has benefited greatly from tight end Jimmy Graham’s trade to Seattle, and seems to be finding a groove with Saints quarterback Brees. Two weeks ago against the Falcons, Watson caught 10 passes for 127 yards and a touchdown, at the time the best game of his career.

“His connection with all of his receivers - tight ends, all of us - has gotten better and better,” Watson told the New Orleans Times-Picayune. "That's why we practice. That's why we go to training camp. That's why we go to OTAs. Sometimes it manifests itself in the passing game. Sometimes it doesn't.”

Watson caught a 20-yard touchdown pass with 29 seconds left in the third quarter to put the Saints up 42-28, though the Giants would rally. Kai Forbath’s field goal won the game for New Orleans as time expired.

▪ Phillip Adams made three tackles, including one for a loss early in the fourth quarter, and a pass defended but couldn’t prevent Atlanta from losing 23-20 to Tampa Bay in overtime on Sunday. The Bucs’ big wide receivers provided Atlanta with a tough matchup in the secondary, and Adams held in his own in relief of injured starters Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford.

But Adams was flagged for a controversial pass interference in overtime that led to the Bucs’ game-winning field goal. The former Rock Hill Bearcat didn’t hold back when asked about the play by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper: “Man, I’ve never….the referee needs to re-evaluate that,” Adams said. “To be real with you, because that was not pass interference. But it happens. You have to keep on moving on. We have to keep on going on within the game.”

▪ Cordarrelle Patterson returned two kickoffs for 43 total yards during the Vikings’ 23-20 win over Chicago.

▪ Johnathan Joseph made six tackles - five solo - and broke up two passes during Houston’s 20-6 win over Tennessee on Sunday.

At 3-5, Houston is still in the race in an AFC South division that’s been one of the NFL’s worst. Joseph told the Houston Chronicle, “At the end of the day, we’re just blessed to be sitting where we are right now. We have a chance to do something special.”

▪ Jadeveon Clowney made a single tackle during the Texans’ win, but left the game early with a back injury. It was disappointing follow-up to the best game of Clowney’s career the week prior against Miami.

Houston enters a bye week well-timed for Clowney. As of Monday, he’s listed as day-to-day, according to Texans’ coach Bill O’Brien.

He told reporters after Sunday’s game, “I think that JD has been here for about a year and a half. He’s had some unlucky injuries. There’s no question about that. I don’t think you can determine a career on a year and a half. I think that this guy’s got a lot of football left in him. I think when he has played, I think he’s played very well.”

▪ Vance Walker made a pair of tackles during Denver’s 29-10 win over previously unbeaten Green Bay.

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