Sammie Coates’ heads list of top performances by ex-SEC players in NFL Week 5

Sammie Coates
Mark Konezny/USA TODAY Sports

Despite a cut on his left hand that required stitches at halftime, Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Sammie Coates caught six passes for a career-high 139 yards and two scores, including a 72-yard catch-and-run for a score on Pittsburgh’s opening drive in a 31-14 win on Sunday.

“All I know is, I looked down and there was blood in my glove, and I was like, ‘Oh, crap,'” Coates told ESPN.com.

Despite some dropped passes that could have improved his numbers as the team’s second option in the passing offense, Coates, a former Auburn star, is still just 26 yards shy of leading the team in receiving yards this season. Coates has 421 yards in receptions, while Antonio Brown leads the team with 447 yards so far through five games.

Coates has five consecutive games with at least one catch of at least 40 yards, which is just one game shy of the team record.

Following Sunday’s game, Coates told reporters he understood there were mistakes made on the field and that he had to play through them to help the team to victory.

“I just had to get my confidence back and trust myself,” Coates said. “It was a roller-coaster day. It was one of those days I knew I had dropped a few balls.”

After the drops, Coates was told by Steelers coach Mike Tomlin to forget about them. Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger also encouraged his wide receiver to go out there and make plays.

“Knowing I have his trust makes me feel a whole lot better about myself,” Coates said. “I’m still growing, I’m still learning.”

A third-round pick out of Auburn in 2015, Coates was a second-team All-SEC player in 2014 and played on the Tigers’ 2013 SEC championship team that lost to Florida State in the national title game.

Coates was one of a handful of former SEC players who stood out in Week 5 of the NFL season.

Markus Golden, linebacker, Arizona Cardinals: The second-year linebacker from Missouri continues to impress. In the team’s 33-21 win over the San Francisco 49ers, Golden had 10 tackles, two sacks and three tackles for loss. Golden was taken 58th overall in the second round of the 2015 NFL draft.

Matthew Stafford, quarterback, Detroit Lions: The former Georgia standout and the first pick in the 2009 draft threw for only 180 yards, but he did throw three touchdown passes in the Lions’ 24-23 win over the Philadelphia Eagles.

Mike Wallace, wide receiver, Baltimore Ravens: Wallace has become a valuable asset in the Ravens’ passing game. The former Ole Miss star caught seven passes for 63 yards in Baltimore’s 16-10 loss to the Washington Redskins. Wallace originally was drafted by Pittsburgh in the third round in 2009.

Jordan Reed, tight end, Washington Redskins: Reed continues to stand out in the Redskins’ offense. The former Florida standout had eight catches for 53 yards as Washington beat Baltimore 16-10. The Redskins drafted Reed in the third round in 2013.

Benardrick McKinney, linebacker, Houston Texans: The former Mississippi State star led the Texans in tackles in a losing effort. McKinney had 10 tackles in a 31-13 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. McKinney was a second-round pick last year.

Jadeveon Clowney, linebacker, Houston Texans: Clowney also stood out in the Texans’ loss. Clowney, the first overall selection in the 2014 draft, had eight tackles and four tackles for loss.

Shane Ray, linebacker, Denver Broncos: Ray had seven unassisted tackles in a 23-16 loss to Atlanta at home. Ray was the 23rd pick in the first round last year out of Missouri. He also had a sack and two tackles for loss. He was a unanimous All-American in 2014, when he was named SEC Defensive Player of the Year.

Dak Prescott, quarterback, Dallas Cowboys: Prescott led the Cowboys in a 28-14 win over the Cincinnati Bengals. The rookie from Mississippi State threw for 227 yards and a touchdown and ran for another score.

Brandon LaFell, wide receiver, Cincinnati Bengals: LaFell caught eight passes for 68 yards and two touchdowns on Sunday in the loss to the Dallas Cowboys. LaFell played at LSU and was drafted by the Carolina Panthers in the third round of the 2010 draft.

Todd Gurley, running back, Los Angeles Rams: Gurley, the 10th pick in the 2015 draft by the Rams, ran for 72 yards and a score in a 30-19 loss to the Buffalo Bills. Gurley was named to the 2015 Pro Bowl, was a second-team All-Pro and the Offensive Rookie of the Year.

Amari Cooper, wide receiver, Oakland Raiders: Cooper scored his first touchdown of the season and added a two-point conversion in the Raiders’ 34-31 win over San Diego. Cooper, a former an All-American at Alabama, was a Pro Bowl player last season as a rookie with the Raiders. He caught six passes for 138 yards and a score against San Diego.

Eddie Lacy, running back, Green Bay Packers: Lacy, a second-round pick out of Alabama in 2013, ran for 81 yards in the Packers’ 23-16 win over the New York Giants. Lacy played on two national title teams at Alabama. He was a Pro Bowl player in 2013 as well as second-team All-Pro and the AP NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.

Randall Cobb, wide receiver, Green Bay Packers: – Cobb, who played college ball at Kentucky, caught nine passes for 108 yards in a 23-16 win over the Giants. The Packers took Cobb in the second round of the 2011 NFL draft.

Cameron Artis-Payne, running back, Carolina Panthers: In a 17-14 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Artis-Payne scored the Panthers’ two touchdowns. The former Auburn star rushed for 85 yards. Artis-Payne was drafted in the fifth round of the 2015 draft.

Mike Evans, wide receiver, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Evans, the Buccaneers’ first-round pick in 2014 from Texas A&M, caught six passes for 89 yards and a touchdown as Tampa Bay beat the Carolina Panthers 17-14.

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