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Built By Bama: A Weekly Analysis of Former Alabama Players in the NFL (Week 9)

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America is great again and so were the performances of ex-Alabama players

I would like to start off by apologizing for the tardiness of this week’s Built By Bama. I spent the week moving and what free time I had was spent watching football (I think I can get a pass on that part). Before I delve into the NFL goodies, can we acknowledge how crazy of a week it has been since I posted my last article? Bama didn’t score a non-offensive touchdown, Texas A&M held a playoff spot for less than a week, Trump is our new president, and the Cubs won the World Series. This week in the NFL was no different, so let’s get right on in to the Tide’s Top Performers in the NFL this week!

Week 9’s Top Performances

Last week, Mark Ingram finished the game with 5 rushing yards on 3 carries. A fumble by Ingram that was returned for a Seattle touchdown caused coach Sean Payton to pull the veteran running back in favor of Tim Hightower for the remainder of the game. In his NFL career that started in 2011, last week's performance was the fourth time he's finished with under 10 yards rushing in a game. He hasn't had a performance that poor since December of 2013. It had all but looked like Mark Ingram's NFL career was sputtering to an end. That was until the Saints faced the San Francisco 49ers in this week’s matchup.

For the first time since October 25th of last year, and for the 7th time in his NFL career, Ingram was able to rack up over 100 yards rushing. On 15 carries, Mark Ingram ran for 158 yards as well as a touchdown that came off of a 75-yard run that resembled the Ingram of old.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t shed a few tears when #22 became Alabama’s first ever Heisman winner, and I’d be lying if I said that watching that run didn’t bring back a flood of emotions. The way Ingram fell to his knees after scoring, the way his teammates surrounded him in the endzone, the way former Tide safety Roman Harper lifts his arms to the sky on the sideline; everything about that play just felt perfect.

To cement his number one spot in this week’s top Tide performers, Ingram also caught 2 passes for 17 yards and a touchdown on a 5-yard touchdown pass from Drew Brees prior to his 75-yard run. Unfortunately, this level of productivity has been few and far between in the former Heisman winner’s six-year pro career. Although this game was YUGE for the running back, keep in mind that the San Francisco 49ers (currently 1-8) are dead last in rushing yards per game allowed (193). The Cleveland Browns are second-to-last in this category with 146.4 YPG. I’ll go ahead and do the math for you - That’s 46.6 more yards on the ground allowed per game! So while you should still feel proud of Mark Ingram’s performance this week, don’t expect too many more breakout games from the former Tide back. Or do, I’m not trying to tell you how to live your life.

I began Built By Bama last week while Landon Collins and the New York Giants were on a bye week so obviously I didn’t get to cover him in the Top 5 Performers. For the remainder of the NFL season, I expect last week to be the only week Mr. Collins doesn’t appear on this list. The second-year safety did it all for Alabama when he was in college. His pass coverage was admirable, but Collins was arguably much better at stopping the run. In his rookie season for the Giants, Landon Collins accounted for 84 solo tackles, 28 assisted tackles, 0 sacks, 9 pass deflections, and an interception in 16 games. While many have labeled Collins as your typical "box safety" (or one that is primarily used to stop the run and cover the middle of the field as well as the flats), the former Tide strong safety has a different narrative he plans to show the world.

Collins is already proving naysayers wrong about his ability to cover receivers. Before this week’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Collins had racked up 49 solo tackles, 8 assisted tackles, 2 sacks, 5 pass breakups, 2 interceptions, and a touchdown off of an interceptions. Both interceptions came against the Los Angeles Rams the week before their bye week. Not looking to lose any momentum, Landon Collins once again put up huge numbers this week and even tied for third in total tackles for week 9 (12). 6 of those tackles were solo while also accounting for 6 assisted tackles. In only a minute and thirty seconds on game time, Landon Collins also racked up his third interception of the year off of a short pass thrown by rookie Carson Wentz intended for Nelson Agholor. Up to this point in the season, he is the only player in the league to be leading his team in tackles, sacks, and interceptions.

The New York Giants as a whole have been relatively piss-poor in defending the pass this year. The G-Men are currently ranked 25th in yards per game allowed through the air (277.4), however they are ranked 5th overall in touchdowns allowed through the air (5) and tied for 6th in interceptions this season (8). Last year, the Giants finished the regular season as the worst ranked team in passing yards per game allowed. Even though they look to be improving this year, there’s still a long season ahead of the Giants. The emergence of Landon Collins could alleviate a lot of weight off of coach Ben McAdoo’s shoulders as well as his porn-star mustache.

If you do one thing today besides argue with your friend’s political beliefs, PLEASE watch this interception return for a touchdown two weeks ago against the Rams. I would feel guilty not sharing it as it certainly is a thing of beauty. Pardon the German announcers, but I think it adds to the ambiance.

I had alluded to Julio Jones’ up and down 2016 season in last week’s Built By Bama. If on field performances were diagnosed by psychiatrists, this would be a cut and dry case of Bipolar Disorder. Or Bipylon Disorder in Julio’s case (I’m so sorry). Thanks to being matched up against the number 27th ranked team in passing yards per game allowed, Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons had a field day through the air against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last Thursday. Fortunately for Ryan and the Atlanta faithful, Dr. Jekyll Julio Jones came to play as well.

Julio Jones had a team-high 8 receptions on 11 targets while torching the Buccaneers for 111 yards and a touchdown late in the third quarter. In Jones’ six seasons as a pro, he has already accounted for 33 games with over 100 yards receiving. Randy Moss (maybe you’ve heard of him?) remains the only receiver to have more 100-yard games in the first six seasons of their career. Against the Bucs, Jones’s longest reception of the day went for 21 yards, however this was no where near his most impressive. His touchdown reception inside the 10-yard line featured some incredible footwork to remain in bounds despite rookie cornerback Vernon Hargreaves’ best efforts to make Jones land out of bounds.

This week, Colts quarterback Andrew Luck threw only two passes in the vicinity of third year pro Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. One of those passes went as an incompletion while the other found itself in the hands of the former Tide safety and returned for 20 yards the other way. This interception yielded no points for the Packers, however, as Mason Crosby missed a 48 yard field goal. It wouldn’t be the last though, as Clinton-Dix made another interception late in the first quarter from an overthrown ball by Luck. The Packers were able to put up six points off of this turnover as the quarter came to an end. Ha Ha also accounted for 1 solo tackle, 2 assisted tackles, and a sack this week. His performance this week made him the first Green Bay player since Charles Woodson in 2009 to have multiple interceptions and a sack in a game. The Packers safety’s huge game would not have been possible without a great performance by his front seven putting pressure on Luck and overwhelming an Indianapolis offensive line that has given up more sacks than any other team this year.

The only thing keeping Clinton-Dix from being higher on my list came in the fourth quarter when the Packers were down 31-26 (which ultimately ended up being the final score). On a third down play with around 3 minutes left in the ball game, Clinton-Dix went unblocked on a blitz and nearly sacked Andrew Luck. However the safety didn’t wrap up on the play and Andrew Luck was able to escape and find tight end Jack Doyle 20 yards deep for a first down. Although this wouldn’t have won the game for the Packers, it certainly would have given them a shot for Aaron Rodgers to concoct a game winning drive after the punt.

Last week, Marcell Dareus of the Buffalo Bills ended up at the number 4 spot in my top performers. In that game, an object that had no business being on the field made a surprise appearance when a fan threw what I’m assuming was their dildo oblong marital massage aid (Don’t worry, editors, I fixed it myself this time) onto the field. This week, the number 4 spot of my list also had a guest appearance by something that shouldn’t be on the field – Donald Trump’s toupee a squirrel! Although I can’t confirm it, I don’t believe a fan threw this week’s obscure item. It almost felt as if the broadcasters spent more time covering the squirrel than they did the actual game since nobody could seem to catch the furry streaker. Had I been in charge of catching the squirrel, my solution would have been simple: Let Ha Ha Clinton-Dix get him. It may have actually given him more of a challenge than shutting down the Colts passing game all day.

SIDE NOTE: Why do broadcasts go full out National Geographic when a fully nude squirrel runs around the field but pretend nothing is happening when people streak on the field?

Former Alabama safety turned linebacker Mark Barron and his Los Angeles Rams hosted the Carolina Panthers led by Cam Newton this past Sunday. Barron spent most of the day completely shutting down the rush game of Jonathan Stewart as the Rams defense was able to hold the running back to 42 yards on 15 carries. With the exception of a 17-yard rush, the running game for Carolina was non-existent. Defensively, Los Angeles put together one hell of a game. Penalties and a turnover, however, led to the Ram’s 13-10 defeat versus the Panthers.

Mark Barron finished the game with 9 tackles and a sack. Barron and former Georgia linebacker Alec Ogletree tied for most tackles for the Rams, however Ogletree was a part of 2 assisted tackles while all 9 of Barron’s tackles were solo tackles. The sack that Mark Barron was responsible for has come under scrutiny as many Panthers fans are calling for targeting. I’ll let you be the judge:

Cam Newton has been more than vocal about the hits he’s received this year, even going to the extent of having a sit down with GM Roger Goodell about it. However, each week the hits just keep on coming. While I would never want a player to get injured, I am enjoying seeing Cam Newton cwy wike a wittle baby each and every week.


TRIGGER WARNING: Clemson Fans, Drake’s Still Got It

Remember that call? Clemson fans sure do. One former Clemson player got to re-live that moment this past Sunday. Wide receiver Charone Peake was a part of the Clemson team that made it to the Championship Game of the College Football Playoffs last year. We all know how that turned out, but I’m going to restate it because I like to say it. The Tigers were defeated by Alabama 45-40 and the Crimson Tide were able to claim their 16th National Championship. Arguably the most important play of the game occurred in the fourth quarter with around seven and a half minutes left in the game. The Tigers had just scored and had the momentum in their favor UNTIL the Tide’s backup to Heisman winning Derrick Henry, Kenyan Drake, lined up as he usual did to return the kickoff. Once Drake made the kicker, Greg Huegel, miss, I think I spent more time punching their air and high-fiving my dad than actually watching the remainder of the kick return. Fear not, as I have seen the play many times since then and will go ahead and post it here to add one sixteen more notches to my Kenyan Drake kickoff return viewing count.

That play is already going down as one of the most iconic plays in Alabama history and quickly became the subject of a Michael A. Moore painting. Alabama fans who happened to tune in to this Sunday’s game featuring the Jets and the Dolphins received a nostalgic boost when Kenyan Drake received the kickoff with five and a half minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. Clemson fans received a triggering reminder. Drake fielded the ball at the 4-yard line, made a move as if he was going outside around the 20, before putting on the burners and running up the middle eluding would-be-tacklers. Drake then cut to the right side of the field where he easily out ran the kicker on his way to a 96-yard touchdown return.

One of those would-be-tacklers was number 17, Charone Peake, who was drafted to the Jets in the 7th round of the 2016 NFL Draft. I half-assed scoured Google to see if any news outlet had picked up on Charone Peake receiving a double dose of Kenyan Drake touchdown returns but couldn’t find anything. Is my man okay? Is he in treatment? Not only did he experience a Drake touchdown that preeeeetty much lost his team the game, but now he’s experience a Drake touchdown that definitely lost his team the game. For any whereabouts as to the safety of Charone Peake, please let me know.



COMPLETE LIST OF ALABAMA PLAYERS IN THE NFL

PLAYER TEAM POSITION WEEK 9 NOTES NUMBER STARTER? WENT PRO IN
Evan Mathis Arizona Cardinals Guard BYE, Ankle injury against 49ers (Week 5) 69 IR 2005
Ed Stinson Arizona Cardinals Defensive Tackle BYE 91 3rd String 2014
Julio Jones Atlanta Falcons Wide Receiver 8 receptions, 111 yards, TD, 53 (73%) snap count 11 Yes 2011
Courtney Upshaw Atlanta Falcons Linebacker 1 tackle, 36 (45%) snap count 91 2nd String 2012
C.J. Mosley Baltimore Ravens Linebacker 5 tackles, 69 (100%) snap count 57 Yes 2014
Marcell Dareus Buffalo Bills Defensive Tackle DNP (Groin injury) 99 Yes 2011
Cyrus Kouandjio Buffalo Bills Offensive Tackle 1 (1%) offensive snaps, 10 (36%) special teams snaps 71 2nd String 2014
Reggie Ragland Buffalo Bills Linebacker ACL tear in preseason 59 IR 2016
Dre Kirkpatrick Cincinnati Bengals Cornerback BYE 27 Yes 2012
AJ McCarron Cincinnati Bengals Quarterback BYE 5 2nd String 2014
Rolando McClain Dallas Cowboys Linebacker 1 more game left in suspension (10 game, substance abuse) 55 Suspended 2010
A'Shawn Robinson Detroit Lions Defensive Tackle 1 tackle, 32 (46%) snap count 91 2nd String 2016
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix Green Bay Packers Safety 2 INTs, 1 tackle, 2 assisted, 68 (100%) snap count 21 Yes 2014
Eddie Lacy Green Bay Packers Running Back Placed on IR October 20 (Ankle) 27 IR 2013
Kareem Jackson Houston Texans Cornerback BYE 25 Yes 2010
Ryan Kelly Indianapolis Colts Center 68 (100%) snap count 78 Yes 2016
Carson Tinker Jacksonville Jaguars Long Snapper 7 (25%) special teams snap counts, Offensive Holding in the 3rd quarter 46 Yes 2013
T.J. Yeldon Jacksonville Jaguars Running Back 7 rushes, 33 yards, 5 receptions, 32 yards, 1 TD, 1 fumble lost, 43 (56%) snap count 24 Yes 2015
Mark Barron Los Angeles Rams Linebacker 9 tackles, 1 sack, 64 (100%) snap count 26 Yes 2012
Kenyan Drake Miami Dolphins Running Back 1 reception, 6 yards, 2 kick returns, 123 yards (96 yard long), 1 TD, 3 (5%) OFF snap count, 18 (56%) ST snaps, 1 penalty 32 3rd String 2016
Anthony Steen Miami Dolphins Guard 6 (19%) Special Teams snap count 65 2nd String 2014
Andre Smith Minnesota Vikings Offensive Tackle Torn triceps (Week 4 vs Giants) ; Free agent in 2017 71 IR 2009
Austin Shepherd Minnesota Vikings Guard DNP 74 Practice Squad 2015
Dont'a Hightower New England Patriots Linebacker BYE 54 Yes 2012
Cyrus Jones New England Patriots Cornerback BYE 24 2nd String 2016
Deandrew White New England Patriots Wide Receiver BYE 17 Practice Squad 2015
Roman Harper New Orleans Saints Safety 2 (2%) offensive snap count, 11 (34%) Special Teams snap count 41 2nd String 2006
Mark Ingram New Orleans Saints Running Back 15 rushes, 158 yards, 1 TD, 2 receptions, 13 yards, 1 TD, 33 (38%) snap count 22 For Now 2011
D.J. Pettway New Orleans Saints Defensive Lineman DNP Reserve 2016
Landon Collins New York Giants Safety 6 tackles, 6 assisted, 1 sack, 1 INT, 75 (100%) snap count 21 Yes 2015
James Carpenter New York Jets Guard 58 (100%) snap count 77 Yes 2011
Amari Cooper Oakland Raiders Wide Receiver 6 receptions, 56 yards, 67 (76%) snap count 89 Yes 2015
D.J. Fluker San Diego Chargers Guard 80 (100%) snap count, Unneccesary roughness in 1st, Holding in 2nd 76 Yes 2013
Damion Square San Diego Chargers Defensive Tackle 27 (42%) defensive snaps, 7 (21%) Special Teams snaps 71 2nd String 2013
Quinton Dial San Francisco 49ers Defensive Tackle 4 tackles, 56 (64%) defensive snaps, 13 (41%) special teams snaps 92 Yes 2013
Vinnie Sunseri San Francisco 49ers Safety Signed to the 49ers Practice Squad on 11/1 Practice Squad 2014
Jarran Reed Seattle Seahawks Defensive Tackle 1 tackle, 1 assisted, 22 (26%) defensive snaps, 5 (18%) special teams snaps 90 Yes 2016
Jalston Fowler Tennessee Titans Fullback 5 (8%) offensive snaps, 5 (15%) Special Teams snaps 45 Yes 2015
Derrick Henry Tennessee Titans Running Back DNP (Left calf injury) 22 2nd String 2016
Rashad Johnson Tennessee Titans Safety DNP; Diagnosed with a sprained neck on October 24 25 Yes 2009
Chance Warmack Tennessee Titans Guard Placed on IR Sept. 21 (hand) out at least 8 weeks 70 IR 2013
Arie Kouandjio Washington Redskins Guard BYE 74 2nd String 2015
Kevin Norwood Wide Receiver Cut by the San Diego Chargers on 11/1 88 2014

Like what you've read? Hate what you've read? Let me know in the comments section or follow me on Twitter (@cprins338) and direct all of your hate that can fit into 140 characters that way! Stay tuned for more updates on players and until next week, Roll Tide!