While Monday Night Football is supposed to be a marquee event, the games don’t always live up to the hype. Last night, however, wasn’t one of those nights. The Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers met up in an NFC West showdown, with the Jadeveon Clowney and the Seahawks coming out on top.
While Russell Wilson and kicker Jason Myers will get most of the credit for Seattle’s overtime win, head coach Pete Carroll was quick to praise Clowney after the game. Monday night showed exactly why the Seahawks went out and acquired the big defensive end.
Jadeveon Clowney’s football career
After bursting onto the national scene as a high school football stud, Jadeveon Clowney enrolled at the University of South Carolina. He spent three seasons with the Gamecocks, posting 129 total tackles and 24 sacks and generating a surprising amount of Heisman buzz for a defensive player, before declaring for the NFL draft.
The Houston Texans made Clowney the first overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft and immediately inked him to a contract. The defensive end’s rookie year wouldn’t go according to plan, though; a knee injury meant he only appeared in four games that season.
Once he was healthy, however, Clowney returned to form. He recorded 4.5 sacks in his second pro season; that jumped to 6 sacks the next season and 9.5 the year after that. But, off the field, everything wasn’t going as smoothly. The Texans franchised tagged Clowney as a linebacker rather than a defensive end, which cost him a hefty chunk of change; Clowney held out and was eventually traded to Seattle for peanuts.
Clowney’s massive Monday night
On Monday night, the Seahawks headed south for a date with the undefeated San Francisco 49ers. While the home team’s defense has shown all season, Jadeveon Clowney stepped up to help Seattle emerge with the win.
After getting off to a slow start this year, Clowney made a statement last night. He recorded five tackles on the evening and hit 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo five times, including one strip-sack. He also recovered a fumble and ran it back for Seattle’s opening touchdown. After the game, head coach Pete Carroll was quick to praise his defensive end.
“I think it’s a breakout game. I just thought he was so impressive all night long,” Carroll said. “They were tackling him. He was just penetrating so fast and so furiously, but what a fantastic game. Yeah, we would have liked to see him a little earlier, but if we got going now and this is where we kick into high gear, then that’s a really good defense and we looked pretty good tonight too.”
The Seattle Seahawks’ playoff picture
Even after last night, the Seahawks still sit in second place in the NFC West, trailing the 49ers by half a game. While the two teams will meet again later this year, both squads are safe bets to make the playoffs.
Even if they enter the postseason as the fifth seed, the Seahawks will be a tough out. Russell Wilson is playing MVP-level football and has plenty of big-game experience. While the defense has been struggling, Monday night provided a glimpse of what the unit can do.
Super Bowl contenders need stars on both sides of the ball. Last night, Jadeveon Clowney proved that he can still shine in Seattle.