Tracking Terps NFL success: Week 2

Pat Donohue, Staff Writer
Terrapin Sports Report

Week 2 of the NFL season is in the books, and several Terps across the league continued to make starts for their professional teams--two of them even played against each other this week. Maryland has produced several NFL starters in recent years and TSR will be tracking them all season to see how they fared each week.

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While former Terps Stefon Diggs (Vikings), Yannick Ngakoue (Jaguars), Sean Davis (Steelers), and Torrey Smith (Eagles) all helped their NFL squads earn victories in Week 1, only Davis’ Steelers notched a win this past week. But another Maryland grad, Vernon Davis, also made his presence felt in Week 2 with a big reception that helped the Washington Redskins in a narrow victory.

No Terps turned in an eye-popping performance in Week 2 like Diggs and Ngakoue did during their season openers, but here’s a look at how Maryland’s alum performed this week in the NFL.

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USA TODAY Sports

Sean Davis -- Pittsburgh Steelers, SS

After a lackluster Week 1, Davis stepped up big for the Steelers in their 26-9 home-opening win over the Vikings. The hard-hitting safety finished second for Pittsburgh in tackles against Minnesota with eight and flew around all over the field making plays throughout the game. However, he was caught out of position on one play that resulted in a Dalvin Cook 25-yard run.

Davis suited up despite missing some practice during the week with a minor ankle injury and helped the Steelers defense hold Minnesota to just 237 total yards. He’ll continue to be a key cog in Pittsburgh’s defense as long as he stays healthy.

Stefon Diggs -- Minnesota Vikings, WR

Diggs and the entire Minnesota offense’s production took a step back before a snap was even played in Week 2. After lighting up the New Orleans Saints in Week 1 for 29 points, the Vikings couldn’t keep the momentum going with their starting quarterback sidelined.

Sam Bradford was somewhat or a surprise name on the Week 2 inactive list for Minnesota after shredding through the Saints defense a week prior. Bradford experienced swelling in his knee, which forced him to miss the road game against the Pittsburgh Steelers and hindered the Vikings offense.

With Kase Keenum at the helm, Diggs and the rest of Minnesota’s skill players took a hit from a production standpoint. In a 17-point loss, the Vikings gained only 146 yards through the air and Diggs only chipped in 27 of those on two receptions. He also added one carry for 4 yards. Diggs was tied with three other Vikings for the team lead in targets (six), but his game against Pittsburgh was a far cry from the seven receptions for 93 yards and two touchdowns he had in Week 1 against the Saints. It was a rough day for Minnesota as a whole, but if Bradford can get back on the field sooner than later, expect Diggs to bounce back.

Yannick Ngakoue -- Jacksonville Jaguars, DE

Not much to note here from Ngakoue’s Week 2 performance. After coming out strong in the season opener with four tackles, two sacks, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery, Maryland’s fourth all-time leading sack leader registered just one tackle in Jacksonville’s 37-16 loss to the Tennessee Titans.

Ngakoue and his fellow Jacksonville pass rushers found a much tougher task on their hands in Week 2 than they did against the Houston Texans the previous week. Instead of ripping through a weak offensive line to get to a stationary Tom Savage or an inexperienced DeShaun Watson, in Week 2 the Jaguars had to deal with an offensive line comprised of multiple first rounders and one of the most athletic quarterbacks in the game in Marcus Mariota.

Mariota was only sacked once and Tennessee kept the Jaguars off balance with a solid combination of run and pass plays. Jacksonville’s defense as a whole didn’t respond well to the challenge and Ngakoue’s strengths were virtually rendered useless in a total beatdown.

Ngakoue and the Jaguars will try and rebound from the divisional loss next week when they host the Baltimore Ravens.

Torrey Smith -- Philadelphia Eagles, WR

Like Davis, Smith also redeemed himself in Week 2 from an uneventful season opener. Smith finished third on the Eagles with four receptions for 66 yards, coming up with several big catches downfield.

However, Smith did also drop a few balls, including one on a back-shoulder throw in the end zone that could have changed the course of the game for Philadelphia. Smith’s emergence as a serious threat on the outside should have a big impact on the productivity of the Eagles offense, which is being run by one of the best young quarterbacks in the game, Carson Wentz. With fellow newcomer Alshon Jeffery and tight end Zach Ertz demanding a lot of attention from opposing defenses, Smith could begin to see his stats climb in the coming weeks.

Vernon Davis -- Washington Redskins, TE

As previously mentioned, Davis came up big for the Redskins in a very tight game against the Los Angeles Ram that was tied until late in the fourth quarter. With the Redskins offense reeling through most of the third quarter and the Rams nipping at their heels, Davis’ lone 13-yard reception picked up a critical first down that kept the drive moving and helped Washington bleed the clock into the final quarter.

The Redskins would have to punt later in that drive, but Davis’ catch helped improve field position and Washington was able to score the game-winning touchdown later in the fourth. Redskins starting tight end Jordan Reed was also banged up in this game, and if his injury proves to be anything serious, Davis could be in line for more action as the season progresses.

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