Tigers in the NFL: Deshaun Vs. Lamar, Part III Highlights Sunday Slate

Brad Senkiw

The first time Deshaun Watson and Lamar Jackson went head-to-head on the football field, the former Clemson quarterback edged the former Louisville QB 42-36 inside Memorial Stadium. 

A showdown between two top-5 teams, it was one of the best games of the 2016 college football season, and many who were in Death Valley still recall it as a legendary contest. 

Last year, when the two NFL superstars went at it for the first time as pros, Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens evened the score in a big way with a 41-7 victory over Watson and the Houston Texans. 

Sunday at 4:25 p.m., they'll meet for the rubber match in Houston, but it won't be the last time these two AFC rivals see each other. Both quarterbacks are destined for big things in their careers. 

Watson is already one of the two highest-paid players in the NFL, following his huge contract extension last week, while Jackson, who beat out Watson for the 2016 Heisman Trophy, already has a league MVP honor from 2019 in his possession. 

"He's doing a great job for his team and the offense that they're doing, making sure they're putting players and the scheme around him," Watson said about Jackson. "And he's doing a heck of a job and doing numbers in that offense. He's doing a good job and he's going to continue to do that."

Jackson was the first AFC Offensive Player of the Week this season after he completed 20 of his 25 passes for 275 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. He's rushed seven times for 45 yards in the Ravens' 38-6 win over the Cleveland Browns. 

The schedule isn't being kind to the Texans, who are facing arguably the two best teams in the AFC in back-to-back weeks. Watson came up short last week in a duel with Super Bowl MVP Pat Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs. Watson threw for 253 yards on 20-of-32 passing with one touchdown and one interception in a 34-20 loss on the road. 

"You've got to win your home games. You've got to win the AFC games," Watson said. "This is a great opportunity to play against a great team that was a playoff team last year and we've got to try to turn the page and get on that winning streak. It starts Sunday. We've got to play sharp, we've got to play smart, we've got to play fast, we've got to play as a team. If you can do that then good things can happen."

Watson being sued for Instagram photos

Watson was in the news this week for something off the field as well. The QB is is being accused of violating copyright laws for using photos on social media site Instagram without a Houston photographer's consent. 

According to the Houston Chronicle, a suit has been filed in court alleging Watson used three of Aaron M. Sprecher's photos taken in 2017 and 2020. Those photos have received 171,000 likes on Instagram, where Watson has over 1.4 million followers.

The photos are registered with the U.S. Copyright Office. 

Four Tigers to play on 'Thursday Night Football'

Four former Clemson players are playing in the Thursday night game between the Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns. 

Receiver Tee Higgins is looking for his first career catch after recording no targets in last week's loss to the Los Angeles Chargers. Higgins, a rookie selected in the second round, played just 15 snaps (22 percent of plays). 

Cincinnati defensive tackle D.J. Reader and defensive back Mackensie Alexander are expected to start against the Browns in Week 2. Linebacker B.J. Goodson led Cleveland with nine tackles, including six solo, in his team's loss to the Ravens last Sunday. However, he didn't grade well for a Browns defense that struggled to stop Jackson. 

Beasley nearing return?

Vic Beasley, Clemson's all-time career sack leader, wasn't active for his Tennessee Titans debut last week, but he's getting closer, according to position coach Shane Bowen. 

Beasley signed a one-year, $9.5 million contract with the Titans in the offseason after being let go by the Atlanta Falcons but missed time in training camp on the non-football injury list. It's unknown if he'll return this week, though.

Quinn talks rookie Terrell's debut

Former Clemson cornerback A.J. Terrell, who was selected No. 16 overall by the Atlanta Falcons, struggled at times in coverage last Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks. 

Falcons head coach Dan Quinn liked the physicality Terrell played with, but he said coaches have to live a rookie getting burned at this level, especially on a double move like what Terrell in his debut. 

"I thought for his first time out, he challenged at the line of scrimmage and tackled well," Quinn said.

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