Without question the most entertaining play former Gamecock D.J. Swearinger made for the Washington Redskins this week didn’t show up on the stat sheet at all.
Early in the fourth quarter, Swearinger’s Redskins led the Seattle Seahawks 10-2 when quarterback Russell Wilson marched his team down the field to score and make things 10-8. Trying to tie the game, the Seahawks attempted a 2-point conversion.
But Swearinger intercepted Wilson’s pass on the attempt and immediately found room to return the ball. If he was able to take it all the way to the other end zone, the Redskins would score two points and extend their surprising lead over the Seahawks.
Around the Seahawks’ 45-yard line, Swearinger made a juke move that sent Wilson sprawling, and he continued to cut his way up field. But when it became apparent that he could not go all the way himself, he pitched the ball to his teammate, Josh Norman.
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And that’s where things got really weird. Norman caught the pitch but stumbled, broke a tackle and surged to the 20-yard line. As Seahawks players swarmed around him, Norman lateralled the ball back to Swearinger just as he was being tackled.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be. By that point, too many Seahawks players had gotten back on defense, and Swearinger was only able to make it to the 15-yard line before he was tackled.
Swearinger also defended two passes and recorded three tackles as the Redskins went on to win, 17-14. He has yet to record an official interception this season, but if Sunday is any indication, when he does, it will be even more zany, especially given the Redskins’ unusual way of celebrating good defensive plays in the secondary.
On the opposite side of the ball, former South Carolina receivers in the NFL enjoyed a strong Week 9. Alshon Jeffery, a two-time All-American with the Gamecocks, caught a season-high two touchdowns, six catches and 84 yards, one of his best days ever with his new team, the Philadelphia Eagles.
Meanwhile, Oakland Raiders tight end Jared Cook had eight catches for 126 yards, both season-bests. More than 100 of his receiving yards came before the first half was even over, making him one of only three tight ends in the NFL to accomplish that feat this season.
Former two-sport star and current Houston Texan Bruce Ellington also had a strong Sunday, despite losing his QB, former Clemson star Deshaun Watson to injury during the middle of the week. With backup signal caller Tom Savage in, Ellington was targeted a season-high eight times. He caught three of those targets for his highest total in four weeks, and went for 22 total yards.
How they fared
Jerell Adams, WR, New York Giants: Appeared but recorded no stats for the second straight game
Damiere Byrd, WR, Carolina Panthers: DNP, injured reserve, but chatter has increased about him being reactivated soon
A.J. Cann, G, Jacksonville Jaguars: DNP with a triceps injury, his first missed start of the year
Jadeveon Clowney, DE, Houston Texans: 4 tackles, 3 solo, 1 sack. Now 1 sack away from tying his career high with eight games to play
Jared Cook, TE, Oakland Raiders: 8 catches on 9 targets for 126 yards
Pharoh Cooper, WR, Los Angeles Rams: 1 catch on 1 target for 9 yards, 3 punt returns for 50 yards with a long of 30
Patrick DiMarco, FB, Buffalo Bills: Played but recorded no stats, has -2 rushing yards on the year
Bruce Ellington, WR, Houston Texans: 3 catches on 8 targets for 22 yards, a season high in targets
Stephon Gilmore, CB, New England Patriots: Bye week
Melvin Ingram, LB, Los Angeles Chargers: Bye week
Alshon Jeffery, WR, Philadelphia Eagles: 6 catches on 11 targets for 82 yards, 2 touchdowns
T.J. Johnson, C, Cincinnati Bengals: Came off the bench for third straight week after starting four straight games
Johnathan Joseph, CB, Houston Texans: 4 tackles, all solo
Captain Munnerlyn, CB, Carolina Panthers: 1 tackle, his eighth straight game with at least 1 stop
Corey Robinson, OT, Detroit Lions: Injured reserve
Brandon Shell, OT, New York Jets: DNP for a second straight week
Darian Stewart, S, Denver Broncos: Started but recorded no stats for the first time this year
Ryan Succop, K, Tennessee Titans: 1 for 1 on field goals from 48 yards, 2 for 3 on extra points, his first missed extra point of the season
D.J. Swearinger, S, Washington Redskins: 3 tackles, 2 passes defended, a season high