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Tigers in the NFL: Weeks 1 and 2

Lawton Hilliard, Contributor
Clemson running back Travis Etienne (9) is taken down by Boston College’s Mike Palmer (18) in a matchup against Boston College on Oct. 26, 2019 at Memorial Stadium.

The 2023 NFL season has begun, and Clemson was represented by many of its alums. Here are a few of the former Clemson Tigers who appeared in the first few weeks of NFL football.

Trevor Lawrence, Quarterback | Jacksonville Jaguars

Lawrence’s performance helped lift the Jaguars past their division rivals, the Indianapolis Colts, in a 31-21 victory in Week 1.

Lawrence and the Jaguars entered the fourth quarter down 21-17 to the Colts; however, Jacksonville scored 14 points unanswered to win the game. The former Clemson Tiger completed 75% of his passes for 241 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.

In Week 2, the Jaguars fell to the reigning Super Bowl Champions, the Kansas City Chiefs. Lawrence had a rough game, with no touchdown passes and a 53.7% completion rate. He also took a beating from Kanas City’s defense, as he was sacked four times.

Lawrence will look to bounce back this Sunday against the Houston Texans (0-2) at 1 p.m. EDT.

Travis Etienne Jr., Running Back | Jacksonville Jaguars

Etienne joined Lawrence as a crucial part of their win against the Colts. The running back led the game in rushing yards with 77 and scored one rushing touchdown. Etienne also hauled in five receptions for 27 yards.

The following week against the Chiefs, he had 12 carries for just 40 yards as Kansas City limited his opportunities. He will join his former college signal-caller back in action against the Texans this weekend.

Deshaun Watson, Quarterback | Cleveland Browns

Watson led the Browns to a dominant win over their AFC North rival, the Cincinnati Bengals, with a 24-3 victory for their season opener. Watson led the game with 154 passing yards and had an additional 45 yards on the ground. He finished with two total touchdowns, throwing for one and rushing for another.

Monday night football was a different story for the Clemson alumnus. Falling to the Pittsburgh Steelers 26-22, Watson earned a 16.5 quarterback rating after going 22 for 40 on passing attempts for 235 yards. He often fell victim to Pittsburgh’s dominant front seven and was sacked six times.

DeAndre Hopkins, Wide Receiver | Tennessee Titans

Hopkins made his Tennessee Titans debut in a narrow 16-15 loss to the New Orleans Saints in Week 1, catching seven passes for a team-high 65 yards.

The following week, he earned three first downs for the Titans as part of his four receptions for 40 yards; they went on to beat the Los Angeles Chargers 27-24 in overtime.

The multiple-time All-Pro wide receiver has found himself a home with the Titans for the time being and has been the No. 1 option through two weeks.

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Luke Beard
Luke Beard, Asst. Sports Editor
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