Give Jadeveon Clowney credit. After all, when the media began swirling after two nearly invisible performances in his first two games of the 2018 season, each sandwiched around a game missed due to injury (a game in which he STILL managed to get a 15-yard penalty in street clothes), the fifth year DE/OLB promised a huge performance on Sunday against the Colts.
Well, Clowney delivered, to say the least, and for his efforts he was named AFC Defensive Player of the Week for Week 4 of the 2018 NFL season.
On the stat sheet, he garnered two sacks, four tackles for loss, and a touchdown. That tells the quantitative part of the story. The more subjective part of the story was the timing of those plays. His touchdown on a fumble recovery in the end zone was a complete momentum shift in what was shaping up tp be another Texans slow start. His second sack was late in overtime within the chain of events that led to Colts head coach Frank Reich's wonky decision to go for it on fourth down. Two plays prior, Clowney drew a penalty on what would have been a first down conversion for the Colts.
Clowney didn't singlehandedly win the game for the Texans, there were other great performances (J.J. Watt, Deshaun Watson, DeAndre Hopkins, Keke Coutee), but they don't win that game if Jadeveon Clowney doesn't play and play at the elite level we saw Sunday.
Per Texans P.R., here is more on Clowney's performance Sunday:
Clowney is the only player to record at least 2.0 sacks, four tackles for loss and one fumble recovery returned for a touchdown in a single game since tackles for loss became an official NFL statistic. Not only that, Clowney has accomplished the feat twice in his NFL career (Week 3 of the 2017 season). He recovered a fumble by Colts C Ryan Kelly in the endzone for his second career touchdown and became the first player in franchise history to record multiple career games with at least 1.0 sack and a fumble recovery returned for a touchdown.
Clowney tied his single-game career high in sacks, quarterback hits, tackles for loss and fumble recoveries in the game. He has registered four-or-more tackles for loss in a game in each of the last three seasons (Week 5 in 2016, Week 3 in 2017 and Week 4 in 2018). No other player in the NFL has more than one game with four-or-more tackles for loss since 2016. He also has 42 tackles for loss in that time span (33 games), which is the second-most in the NFL.
This is the first Player of the Week honor in Clowney's four-plus seasons in the NFL, and the first time that I can recall where we've gotten dominant performances in the same game from Clowney and J.J. Watt, an occurrence that seems to be promised with far greater frequency when Clowney was drafted in 2014.
If the play on the Texans' defensive back end in the secondary in the Colts game is a harbinger of what's to come, the Texans will need Clowney and Watt (six time Defensive P.O.W. in his career) to garner several more Player of the Week honors this season in order to win some games.
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