If the NFL playoffs ended after this weekend, the last image Houston Texans fans would be left with was Jadeveon Clowney’s tipped pass and interception of a Connor Cook pass that helped the Texans to a 27-14 win over the Oakland Raiders on Saturday.
Clowney, the first overall selection in the 2014 NFL draft out of South Carolina, has used this season as his coming-out party after two subpar campaigns filled with poor play and injuries. This year, he has taken a bigger role in the Texans’ defense.
It has paid off not only for him, but for his teammates as well. Houston has the top-ranked defense in the NFL.
Clowney tipped a third-down pass from Cook in the air with his right hand, then again with his left before securing the ball with both at Oakland’s 12-yard line.
Clowney had only one tackle on the day, but the interception coupled with constant pressure on Cook helped his team move on to the divisional round of the AFC Playoffs.
His performance was just one of several by former SEC players that stood out this past weekend in the NFL playoffs. Here’s a look at other former conference greats who came up big for their teams in the playoffs.
Germain Ifedi, offensive line, Seattle Seahawks: The rookie from Texas A&M was part of a line unit that helped running back Thomas Rawls rush for 161 yards in a 26-6 win over Detroit.
A’Shawn Robinson, defensive tackle, Detroit Lions: Despite the 26-6 loss to Seattle, Robinson, a second-round pick from Alabama, had seven tackles.
Johnathan Joseph, cornerback, Houston Texans: Joseph, a former first-round pick out of South Carolina, led all Houston defenders with 10 tackles in the 27-14 win over Oakland.
Benardrick McKinney, linebacker, Houston Texans: The second-round pick out of Mississippi State last year had seven tackles in Houston’s 27-14 win over Oakland.
Bud Dupree, linebacker, Pittsburgh Steelers: Dupree, who played at Kentucky, was part of a disruptive pass rush that helped Pittsburgh beat Miami 30-12. He had six tackles, 0.5 sacks and two quarterback hits.
Jarvis Landry, wide receiver, Miami Dolphins: Landry, a second-round pick out of LSU in 2014, caught 11 passes for 104 yards in Miami’s 30-12 loss to Pittsburgh.
Randall Cobb, wide receiver, Green Bay Packers: The former Kentucky standout caught three touchdowns among his five catches for 116 yards in the Packers’ 38-13 win over the New York Giants.
Eli Manning, quarterback, New York Giants: The former Ole Miss star threw for 299 yards and a touchdown in the Giants’ 38-13 loss to Green Bay.
Landon Collins, safety, New York Giants: Collins, a former All-American at Alabama, had nine tackles, a sack and two pass breakups in New York’s 38-13 loss to Green Bay.
(You can follow David Levin on Twitter @DM719907)
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