Updated: Feb 14
by LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
During the NFL's Divisional Playoffs this past weekend, a wide variety of LSU Tigers faced off against each other for the right to play for a conference title:
On Saturday & Sunday, there was a plethora of Tiger on Tiger crime everywhere you looked: Tyrann Mathieu faced off directly against his 2011-2013 Tiger teammate & close friend Jarvis Landry, as the Chiefs vs Browns came down to the final minute and a half in Kansas City; There were many other Tigers playing as well, Chiefs' RB Darrel Williams carrying the load for (another Tiger) Clyde, Cleveland LB Jacob Phillips...there were a host of absent Tigers from both KC & Cleveland, too: the recovering Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Greedy Williams, Grant Delpit and Odell Beckham Jr....nearly 10 combined Tigers between both the Browns and Chiefs could've participated in Saturday's game, while at least 4 took to the field.
Patrick Queen's Ravens went up against Tre'davious White's Buffalo Bills, while Devin White, Leonard Fournette, Michael Divinity & (in spirit) Kevin Minter played their biggest ever games within their home state of Louisiana...inside the Superdome...
It was a historic weekend for the Louisiana State University football program, watching players from almost every position on the field perform on the biggest stage for the ultimate prize...no other collegiate program can boast as many crunch-time warriors or focal point studs as LSU can....you don't see this many Alabama players being irreplaceable at the next level...the Draft domination from LSU over the past decade plus is blossoming into an unrivaled professional record.
First we geaux over three Tigers in Tampa who may just be on the cusp of wearing a nice shiny new ring:
(TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS)
151 TACKLES (107 SOLO)
With 9 out of 17 games posting 10+ total tackles and 7 games where his solo tackle stats remain above 10 as well, Devin White should be as disgusted as we are that he didn't make the Pro Bowl...instead all he wants is a Super Bowl...
One of the biggest Pro Bowl snubs in recent memory, the former LSU captain's magnificent 2020 season feels like a nightmare for every opponent out there and a dream for every football fan:
Remember what he did to Aaron Rodgers (and could do to him again this Sunday)??? Remember what he did to Derek Carr's face en route to a 3 sack night, only a day after LSU DE B.J Ojulari's own sacktrick vs South Carolina...you know Devin was watching and had to feel inspired for the Las Vegas Raiders game the following day.
This has been his suave, brutal fantastic reckoning in 2020...look at what he has accomplished as a game-changing hero for this starving Tampa Bay franchise across his first two years as a Buccaneer, playing his ass off in disguise as an 8 year NFL veteran in the shape of his life....
Devvo also had to be patient for his first playoff game, having to sit out for Covid-19 protocols against the Washington Football Team at Fed Ex Field for the Wild Card round....but waiting only made him more rampant in his assault of the hometown New Orleans Saints....although not really Devin's hometown.
Make no mistake about it...in his first ever NFL playoff appearance, Devin White's presence altered the course of Tampa Bay's season and changed the game against New Orleans. He appeared Mathieu-esque when he hopped upon Jared Cook's fumble across the middle of the field, arriving at the perfect time to catch the ball on Cook's butterfinger-bounce and race deep into Saints' territory.
To go with his 10 SOLO tackles (11 total), PD and the fumble recovery, White also peeled in on Brees' poor pass to running back Alvin Kamara, jumping the under-thrown ball and taking the easy-pickings from his 24/7 awareness. Helping the "touchdown cause" in finishing off the game, White chugged for 28 yards deep inside the Saints' red zone, helping set up his former Tiger brother / current Bucs teammate Leonard Fournette for the game-sealing touchdown catch.
Generating 10 points directly from his turnovers, White won the game for Tampa Bay, showing off every weapon or tool in his arsenal, creating havoc in the backfield, stuffing the run, delivering punishing hits over the middle, and showing strong coverage when forcing a few incompletions, Devin is the complete linebacking package...but most importantly, he's perfectly built for the modern game.
Having great success against Green Bay earlier in the year, 10 tackles (9 solo) and 1 sack on Aaron Rodgers' face, Tampa Bay's all-world linebacker has just given Tom Brady, the G.O.A.T Quarterback, another chance to win a Super Bowl...and what compliment could be higher than earning the respect of the best ever?
Well, he has fully earned that respect...likewise, Aaron Rodgers had to change his pants a few times already during film study of Todd Bowles' blitz packages which featured #45...
(TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS)
9 TOTAL TOUCHDOWNS
-GAME-WINNING TD RECEPTION VS NEW ORLEANS
-BACK TO BACK PLAYOFF TDs
(RUSHING TD in the Wild Card vs WASH, RECEIVING TD vs NO)
Fournette has now scored in 4 of his 5 playoff appearances as an NFL running back, cashing in 6 total playoff touchdowns (5 rushing, 1 receiving) over those 5 games.
As a rookie in 2017, Jacksonville went all the way to the AFC Championship Game thanks to Leonard Fournette's versatility. As projected, the debutant was a stunning piece of the Jaguars' team, fulfilling every benchmark laid before him when he was drafted out of LSU.
But for some it wasn't enough and soon Leonard Fournette found himself as a castoff, thrown to the wolves & forced to fend for himself in the eyes of many talking heads and fools...luckily, Tom Brady came to Tampa Bay and jumpstarted Leonard's career.
I always knew Fournette would be magic under any solid quarterback, hell he scored 14 TDs (and was close to the Pro Bowl as a rookie) with Blake Bortles at the helm, but once Tom Brady and Leonard Fournette joined forces in Tampa Bay, I had a great feeling about Leonard's career trajectory.
Remember...it was only months ago when this excalibur running back was locked away by many in the media or in the bleachers:
Perennially injured? Soft? Can't run hard enough?
His big size makes him an easier target for cheap shots?
All of this and more has been said about the former #7, yet through it all, the only constant which remained? Leonard continuing his own personal steady climb.
Now only 2 rushing yards away from 3,000 for his still early NFL career, he's fast becoming a crunch-time playoff target & 1st Down machine... on the ground & through the air, as he's about to play for his second conference title game in 4 seasons.
Fournette continues his trajectory which was interrupted after his memorable 2017 rookie jaunt...grabbing 14 TDs throughout that classic 2017 Jaguars campaign and now 9 total in 2020/21, his stock has never been higher, his visibility never stronger, he's been thoroughly effective every time he touches the ball...
Good...cause he's ready to win a Super Bowl with Tom Brady...
Will #28 be as effective in the Siberian freeze of Lambeau Field as he is inside a dome?
21 TOTAL TACKLES (13 SOLO)
-15 IN HIS LAST 2 APPS.
The week prior, we also saw the Bucs' Kevin Minter (2011 Tiger) replace his fellow former Tiger Devin White against Washington; White was out due to Covid protocol and without the monster at LB, Washington had far more success than they would've had #45 been out there. However, Kevin Minter made the difference:
Kevin Minter only had 6 combined tackles in 2020 before the final two games of the year, against Atlanta and the playoff game vs Washington. After both appearances as a starter, Minter produced 15 total tackles (9 solo) and 2 PDs in coverage, showing off his brilliance.
Now, just like White the weeks previously, Minter was out vs New Orleans on the Covid-19 protocol list, though he could possibly be ready to play this week for the NFC title at Lambeau Field.
BLACK LIVES MATTER
by lonn phillips sullivan
Copyright 2021 Uninterrupted Writings Inc LLC
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