Updated: Feb 14
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By LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
DEVIN WHITE (Buccaneers)
vs Vegas Raiders
11 Tackles (9 Solo)
3 QB Hits
2020: 61 Tackles (40 Solo)
4.0 Sacks (3 vs LV)
6 QB Hits
Before 2005, there used to be a performance by an LSU Tiger in the NFL which would make all jaws drop once every 2 weeks...
Now, we're talking every single week there are a variety of powerhouse contenders for the #1 LSUODYSSEY.COM NFLSU spot.
Current NFL Tigers are taking turns showing out for their squads and sealing their legacies (Duke Riley for the Eagles looking unreal one week, then another LSU teammate of his this week....Justin Jefferson consistently delivering, Lloyd Cushenberry or Damien Lewis proving to be solid OL cornerstones already, etc)....
But now there's one man who must take over the spot for himself, after making the high end of our list last week for his brutal destruction production against Aaron Rodgers' then-undefeated Packers, Devin White surges all the way up to the #1 spot for his ridiculous exploits against the Las Vegas Raiders.
This was a show-stopping, mic-dropping, skull-dragging demonstration from Devin White as he consumed Derek Carr's Raiders offense entirely, almost by himself...and there's an obvious correlation between Devin White's supreme savagery against Aaron Rodgers and Derek Carr equaling Tampa Bay victories.
Bruce Arians' team were criticized, called top-heavy, a mock draft fanboy's wet dream after the first few games, but then reality set in:
Tom Brady cannot win games by himself.....however, when a defensive force such as Devin White continuously supplies Brady with possession, the former Patriot and 6x Super Bowl Champion has more than enough weapons to make any team on the planet pay the price, regardless of his age or declining arm strength.
Devin White is showing why those who doubted his abilities or transcendence at the NFL level were beyond sorely mistaken....they were fools.
For the second straight contest, White has put up double digit tackles (his 4th double digit game of 2020), hitting an unfathomable 9 as a solo artist in each appearance, registering 5 total QB hits (2 vs GB, 3 vs LA), 4 TFL and a forced fumble....the numbers may be gaudy, but watching the film itself gives you a whole new respect for just how unparalleled Devvo's speed, instincts and dynamism really were at LSU and truly are right now in the NFL.
After watching LSU freshman B.J Ojulari register his own SACK-TRICK vs South Carolina, the Tigers' elder statesman #45 would not be outdone. Devin was ruthless against Derek Carr's Raiders:
At first, Carr, Alabama rookie Henry Ruggs and Nelson Agholor (catching his team-leading 4th TD on the season) were finding loads of space against the Bucs' defense. Tampa even needed Devin to chase down a sprinting, end zone-destined Ruggs and make the stop.
But as the 1st quarter ended and the 2nd began, Devin White made sure everyone knew "there was a new sherriff in this town":
Flying in from 10-15 yards back on 2nd and 10, White erased an indecisive Derek Carr, plowing him into the netherworld of the backfield and ripping the quarterback to his knees for his first sack of the night.
On the next drive, White would completely miss a tackle, whiffing at Alec Ingold as the Raiders FB rumbled up the sidelines for a first down. #45 was infuriated and made immediate amends with an absolutely delirious pass rush:
With nearly three or four guys in between White and Carr, somehow no one put a block on Devin as the powerhouse linebacker side-stepped the running back and buried Carr, twisting the QB's body around before collapsing every ounce of his 237 pounds on top, grabbing his second sack of the quarter!
When watching Devin White, the first thing which explodes off the screen is #45's speed....and on all 3 riotous sacks, the propulsion of Devvo becomes nearly flamboyant:
He knows how good he is and he's going to show us.
Like when former Clemson WR Hunter Renfro receives a quick screen, behind three blockers and around 40-50 yards of grass in front for the Edelman-carbon copy to eat up.
Instead, what should've been a 30 yard gain became only a 7 yard screen once Devin White made up a distance of 15-20 yards in 3.5 seconds and slammed Renfro into the ground.
But this game will be remembered for one play only:
On 4th and 1 with the score 38-20, Carr snapped the ball and was immediately under duress. Vacating the pocket to his right and looking helplessly down field, Carr continued to pat the ball and move towards the first down marker / sideline, failing to commit and tailing away from the pressure to his left.....though he should've been far more concerned about the human missile crisis coming straight his way.
Flying from outside of the right half of your screen, there he is just racing in from about 20 yards away, steambreathing straight at the hapless quarterback...seeking him out like a heat seeking rocket.
Without any hesitation, White sprinted from coverage and erased Derek Carr into his own sidelines, blasting the Fresno kid so hard the ball came out....the impact so vicious and heinous, it even made Jon Gruden wet himself and Al Davis recoil in his grave.
...Let me just repeat that, White had to make up around 20-30 yards to prevent Carr from reaching a first down and somehow he did in the grandest fashion possible, pummeling their quarterback with a testimonial blast before Carr could even pass the line of scrimmage and simultaneously forcing a fumble...
One must bear witness to White flying around the field, welcoming anyone in his path to the Devvo Thunderdome with a facial / spinal rearrangement....and enjoying himself whilst doing it.
Becoming a true contender for the Defensive Player of the Year Award after his sustained greatness all season (four games of double digit tackles already), as well as now being a shoe-in for his first Pro Bowl and a litany of other accolades, White is well on his way to receiving the credit he's deserved for 2 years; but true to form, there's only one accomplishment Devin gives a damn about:
Wearing a Super Bowl ring.
TYRANN MATHIEU (Chiefs)
5 TACKLES (All solo)
31 TACKLES (23 SOLO)
2 QB HITS
1 INT RET. FOR TD
The Honeybadger orchestrated a fantastic showing from the Chiefs' defense, taking over the game in his versatile half safety-half corner-half nickel role.
After already taking an interception to the house vs New England this season, Tyrann Mathieu has picked up right where his Super Bowl-winning heroics left off, forcing 2 turnovers in yet another definitive outing from Tyrann.
His first involvement saw Tyrann make up 20-30 yards ground with the ball in the air, smashing Broncos' WR Tim Patrick right as he made the catch, going to the ground and losing possession....
Somehow in spite of the fact Mathieu's hit dislodged the football, Denver were given the long gain, putting them in the red zone.
Lock would keep the ball for himself and score an easy goal-line touchdown to finish off the drive...a controversial call handing Denver a score.
But the Chiefs would have their revenge:
After a zooming, long run through the teeth of the KC defense, D-Lineman Tershawn Wharton stripped the ball in pursuit, caught the ball in the air before he too fumbled the ball himself!
When the ball was smacked out of Wharton's hands, it flew straight up into the paws of the Honeybadger, ALWAYS ready and willing to pounce on a turnover and, complete with post-play snow angels, Tyrann recovered and sealed possession.
Although he'd allow a 3rd down and short completion to Alabama's Jerry Jeudy (which angered Tyrann to no end), Mathieu recovered to swipe away another 3rd down pass from Tim Patrick, shutting down Drew Lock's offense yet again.
Tyrann Mathieu's greatest ability above all?
Being in the right place at the right time...always.
Once again, this knack for luck showed up again when slot receiver K.J Hamler easily beat Tyrann off the line and Lock threw the ball his way.
Somehow, some way, Hamler let the ball hit him in the hands and bounce up into Mathieu's orbit...the third time this season Mathieu has been "alive" when a pass was dropped and he has 2 INTs, 1 defensive TD and a fumble recovery to show for his outstanding hand to eye coordination from those three bobbled passes.
As far as turnovers created and overall influence, Sunday could be Mathieu's most complete performance as a Chief yet.
The Honeybadger should be forcing turnovers, ripping the ball out of players' hands, taking interceptions to the house...that's his DNA....already creating 3 turnovers in 7 games, Tyrann is looking more vintage by the day and standing at #2 this week (his highest NFLSU ranking so far in 2020), Mathieu is once again in the right place at the right time...
JOE BURROW (Bengals)
3 FUMBLES (1 LOST)
1 RUSH. TD
NEXT LEVEL STATS:
3rds 5 (A.Jx2, Thomas, Boydx2)
4ths (1 for a TD)
Completions for 10+: yards 20
Completions Over 15+: 12
Over 20+: 5
Rushed for one 3rd down conversion up the gut for 12 yards
2,023 Passing Yards
121 Rushing Yards
3 Rushing Touchdowns
-Eclipsed 300+ passing yards in 5 of 7 games
This was a game where many prissy "analysts" and talk show hosts will take the opportunity to stick in the knife and criticize / nit-pick at Joe's voluminous statistics: The gaudy amount of passing attempts, another close defeat.... a rash of turnovers including 3 fumbles (only 1 lost) and an interception (hell one of those fumbles he rushed for 7 yards)...
However, for those actually studying what unfolded between the Browns and Bengals, we see Joe Burrow not only lighting up defenses every which way, torching secondaries to pieces, gelling with A.J Green (we've watched their relationship really begin to blossom on the field now) as well as Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd, we're experiencing a rookie quarterback maintain complete command of an offense with such immediacy....all while his life is at risk on nearly every down, such is the confusion from his offensive line.
Joe began the game hot, hitting a trio of 3rd down conversions including a phenomenal back shoulder throw to A.J Green on 3rd and 5, a long ball up high to Michael Thomas on 3rd and 12 (Joe's O-line protecting him fabulously), a quick strike into the flat on 3rd and 3 to Tyler Boyd. With Joe in sync, the receivers in rhythm, Cincy's offensive line holding serve so far, you felt the Browns' defense were in for a very long night.... BUT STILL calamity ensued:
The Bengals' red zone struggles cost them big time....
At the 2 yard line, Joe's telegraphed pass was batted up in the air and hauled in for Burrow's 2nd red zone interception of the year, coughing up a critical drive in a contest which would later be decided by three points.
Following more of the Bengals' offensive fireworks, Joe was sacked at the Cleveland 11 on 3rd down, forcing a field goal instead of punching in another touchdown to seize control of the back and forth duel between himself and Baker Mayfield.
After Mayfield threw his own interception and LSU Legend Odell Beckham Jr tore his ACL (we're thinking about you brother OBJ), Joe ran in a quarterback sneak from the goal-line, laughing hilariously as Bengals guard Michael Jordan spiked the football after the play.
Burrow continued to throw darts while Mayfield shot blanks, completing passes to Sample, Thomas, Boyd, Higgins, the masterful A.J Green and Gio Bernard began to take over on the ground....then, Burrow's nemesis from their previous meeting, Miles Garrett, strip-sacked Joe unmarked for the second time this year.
Luckily Burrow wasn't hurt after Garrett was given yet another clean shot on the rookie quarterback, but the images were hard to take for supporters of Joe and the Bengals.
How has this offensive line not been charged with conspiracy to commit repeated assault?
Recovering nicely, Joe tossed a beautiful comeback hitch for a 1st down strike before setting up Giovanni Bernard with a huge gain, the Bengals offensive line and wide receivers blocking nicely during this beautiful play.
However, Burrow's left tackle Jonah Williams was burnt and turnt again by Garrett, smashing Joe in the kidney area as the National Champion attempted a pass in the red zone. But more pain came on 3rd and 7 when he was double-sacked into the ground, stripping points off the board for Cincy.
Joe was like The Terminator though....he couldn't be finished off:
Right before half, Joe was slinging darts to A.J Green, Boyd and Higgins, only to get sacked once again by Garrett. Not to be deterred, Burrow demanded protection on the next play and received the wall he needed to deliver an absolute dime to Tyler Boyd through traffic, handing Cincy a 17-10 halftime lead.
At one point during the 3rd quarter, Joe threw 11 filthified completions in a row, although his fumbling woes from his days at LSU came back to haunt him in bizarre ways.
He bobbled the snap on 3rd and goal, quickly picking up the ball and launching an absolutely inch perfect pass to A.J Green, but the Browns' DB Denzel Ward smacked him right in the chest and face, jarring the ball loose before he even had contact (Burrow's fumble allowed Denzel time to make up the ground).
Staring down a 20-17 deficit on the next trip out, Joe tossed one of his worst passes to the side, laying it up for the Browns' Terrence Mitchell to intercept, most likely a product of a horrible communication error. Instead, Mitchell made an even worse attempt at reeling in the wayward pass and butterfinger'd the ball away from his grasp.
To follow, Joe's pass was perfect when leading Tee Higgins through the middle, the former Clemson receiver spinning off a few Browns defenders on his way into the end zone: Cincy re-taking the lead...we had another shootout on our hands.
Not to be outdone by LSU's Heisman quarterback, former Tiger (the unassailable LSU receiver) Jarvis Landry came off an end around and completed a big time 19 yard pass for the second time this year, establishing another Browns touchdown to reclaim a 31-27 lead.
Now, all eyes were on Joe with 4 1/2 minutes left, the ball and a 4 point deficit...
Joe began the drive masterfully, dropping dimes and committing crimes against the Browns' secondary, the former Ohio State castaway also ran for important gains, none more key than his 12 yard scamper on 3rd and 11, edging the ball over the line knowing full well he'd receive a huge hit to the head and upper shoulders from hard-nosed Browns safety Joe Haden for doing so.
He did it anyway...no hesitation.
Burrow was violently hit in the head area, his helmet snapping back as he cradled the ball over the first down line....but he got up with a confident wave in the direction of a first down, the tough bastard was perfectly fine and walked right past Joe Haden, sporting a Timothy Olyphant-esque swagger...daring the safety to try him again.
With time on their side, the Bengals narrowed their formation and began plowing the ball towards the goal-line, gradually winning the physical battle but running out of downs fast.
It was now 4th and inches....last chance saloon...ride or die...
Suddenly, Bengals coordinator Brian Callahan showed off his illustrious trust in Joe's abilities and allowed #9 to come under center, snap the ball, turn and fake the hand-off, freezing Burrow's new enemy Mr. Haden as Joe ripped a dart into Gio Bernard's grasp, falling into the end zone for the game-winning score as Haden dove past him.
Bernard's touchdown catch on 4th and inches was a breathtaking moment for Bengals fans, Burrow supporters and LSU fans...
Their penultimate drive remains a regal display of Joe's savage capabilities, encapsulating his grit, determination and pure talent.
Baker Mayfield would respond with a crazy play, an unbelievable toss into the corner for Donovan Peoples-Jones, dragging two feet and leaving only 11 seconds for Burrow to come back again, now down a savage 37-34....and somehow he nearly did.
Joe took the ball in the gun and reared back, heaving the ball with everything he had, the perfect defintion of a hail mary pass falling straight down the middle, many targets to hit and chaos was about to ensue...the ball was tipped, deflected and flew right into the face mask of a Bengals receiver before a Browns defender's deflection ended the game....what a crazy duel between the two quarterbacks and one we'll remember for quite some time.....
In spite of the Browns' victory, Mayfield's showing, etc, Week 7 displayed why Joe is definitively Cincy's franchise quarterback and has already certified himself as an NFL success with a huge shot at rookie of the year.
JALEN MILLS (Eagles)
4 Tackles (3 Solo)
1 QB HIT
35 Total Tackles (27 Solo)
1.5 Sacks (All on Joe Burrow)
4 QB Hits (3 on Joe Burrow
The 2012-2016 DBU hero has enjoyed an interesting career in Philadelphia, winning a Super Bowl ring against Tom Brady, amassing 232 total tackles, 5 interceptions, 38 pass deflections and 1 defensive touchdown throughout his tenure, perhaps the first-team All-American may not be getting his proper dues from the Eagles' front office.
Signing Mills to only a 1 year, $4,000,000 extension after he continues his consistent play (during an "anything but reliable" era for the Philadelphia Eagles franchise) seems like disrespect to me.
Mills sacked Joe Burrow 1.5 times during the 23-23 tie earlier this season (producing 3 QB hits on Joe), forced a fumble in a 30-28 loss vs Baltimore and continues to show off massive versatility for Philly's defense ....and Jalen's best game arrived against the Giants:
Producing 4 tackles, 3 solo, 1 pass defended, 1 pass intercepted and registering a hit on the quarterback, Mills was a fantastic warrior for the Eagles on Sunday, doing anything possible to help gather steam for the struggling NFC East-frontrunners.
Frontrunners at 2-4-1, eh???
Yup....and without Jalen Mills' INT or Carson Wentz's last second TD pass, the 1-6 NY Giants would've beaten this team.
Although Daniel Jones beat Mills on a 2nd and 14 for a first down throw, the next play was yet another bobbling, juggling catch of wizardry from another Tiger:
Much like Tyrann Mathieu's reactions paying dividends, Jalen Mills sprang to life once Daniel Jones's quick bullet smacked off the Giants' Evan Engram's hands and spun high above, hanging in suspended, unpredictable rotation. Jalen held his dive and timed the jump to perfection, leaping out and ripping the ball out of the sky for his first interception of the season and one which won this game for Philadelphia.
It's bizarre how overlooked Mills' reliability has been, let alone his surprising versatility when it comes to blitzing quarterbacks from the cornerback spot or holding his own in the tackles department (35 total, 27 solo a fantastic rate for a CB).
17 Receiving Yards
-35 Broken Tackles This Season
551 Rushing Yards
2 Rushing TDs
Playing in the snow for the first time in his entire football career, Edwards-Helaire stood alongside new signing La'veon Bell and out-rushed the new star signing, proving he's still the #1 running back for the Kansas City Chiefs.
And he did so in resounding fashion:
Just as the announcer talked of Clyde's broken tackle prowess, Edwards-Helaire surged violently into the white snow, straight for the darker Broncos jerseys and somehow evaded / shifted his way through 5 or even 6 tackles....appearing at the end of the rainbow in the end zone...an unbelievable piece of Clyde's trademark showmanship.
While scoring his third touchdown of the campaign, Clyde actually should've scored two more times, once on a big 27 yard run where he was just barely tripped up with an infinite amount of snow-covered grass in front of him... and he dropped a touchdown catch at the goal-line after an outrageous piece of play from Patrick Mahomes.....#15 was infuriated.
One can argue a Denver defender put his hand inside, but the point is....CLYDE SHOULD'VE CAUGHT THAT, POWERED THROUGH THE CORNER AND SCORED....we expect that from him. Most of all he expects that from himself...Patrick expected Clyde to catch that, Travis Kelce did too...
Clyde needs to realize he can score on every down, from any touch, in any area of the field....and now that we know Clydro / Glydro can glyde over snow as well, every defense in the country should be terrified:
There's no kyryptonite for this guy...and with La'Veon Bell and Darrell Williams in behind to protect Clyde from overwhelming physical punishments taking a severe toll, Edwards-Helaire finds himself in one of the most coveted spots in the game: