A new signature play –
Let me give you an example of the level at which Clowney is now playing. Most fans remember his signature collegiate play, the play where he obliterated a Michigan running back sending his helmet flying. We hadn’t seen that Jadeveon Clowney at the professional level…until Sunday against the Vikings.
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One play Sunday eclipsed Clowney’s crushing hit against Michigan (known as “that team up north” in my circles). In the Michigan game he was essentially unblocked before blowing-up the hapless running back, but against the Vikings Jadeveon was the primary target of a classic trap play.
The Viking’s 300+ pound off-guard pulled and got a running start at Clowney who had penetrated the line of scrimmage looking for the ball. The guard’s job was to ambush Clowney, knocking him outside with the running back cutting inside the block. But the best laid plans of mice and men…
Instead of being blindsided by the pulling guard Clowney stoned the much larger man. He then closed down and crushed the ball carrier behind the line of scrimmage. There was no flying helmet on this play, but there was a very large guard who didn’t get up and a running back who gained new respect.
If that was the only play Clowney made then it would be just that, a play, a sign of seldom tapped potential. But it wasn’t isolated. He made impressive plays throughout the game. If the Texans had won and his name was J. J. Watt the national announcers would have been raving about his performance. Unfortunately, Clowney’s new standard was upstaged by the Viking’s dominance in just about every other phase of the game.