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Duke in the NFL: Jamison Crowder returns to action, Daniel Jones grabs fifth career win

Jamison Crowder has really found a groove with the New York Jets, but struggles to remain healthy.
Jamison Crowder has really found a groove with the New York Jets, but struggles to remain healthy.

A familiar face from Duke’s defensive unit took the field for the second time this season, this time pulling his weight for his new NFL team and Daniel Jones’ luck continued against Washington during Week 9. 

Daniel Jones, QB, New York Giants

This statistic pretty much sums up the young career of Daniel Jones: undefeated with four wins against the Washington Football Team, 1-17 against everyone else. While the rest of the league has managed to bully Jones into often horrific games complete with fumbles and interceptions galore, Jones must find comfort seeing burgundy and gold sharing the field with his 2-7 Giants.

In their second meeting of the season, Jones notched win number two facing a Washington team struggling to find an identity. It was the 23-year-old’s first game of the 2020 season without a turnover, though he did lose the football twice, only for it to be recovered by his team. Jones’ 212 yards and touchdown pass to tight end Evan Engram outlined an all-around solid performance by the New York offense, which resides near the bottom of the league in yardage. 

“Danny Dimes” could be making a resurgence as he looks to improve on his best game of the season against Philadelphia this Sunday.

Breon Borders, CB, Tennessee Titans

Now on to his eighth professional squad in only four years, the former Duke cornerback made his impact felt for the AFC South-leading Tennessee Titans. For the second time in his cross-country journey through the league, Borders was on the field for every defensive snap, mostly shadowing the Bears’ Darnell Mooney opposite from veteran Malcolm Butler. Borders led his team in individual tackles with seven, and he got his hands on a Nick Foles pass late in the fourth quarter, his first defended pass. 

The 25-year-old from Statesville, N.C. was signed to the active roster Nov. 7 after serving the first several weeks of the season on the practice squad and then the COVID-19/Reserve list. If he can stay on the Titans’ active roster and continue to make plays on defense, his time as a journeyman in the NFL may be coming to a close. Certainly if he plays like he did in his days as a Blue Devil he can become a dangerous matchup for opposing wide outs. 

He could continue to start for the banged-up Titans defense if fellow cornerback Adoree’ Jackson is not activated from the Injured Reserve this week. Watch out for the Titans’ roster moves to see where Borders ends up in the puzzle.

Jamison Crowder, WR, New York Jets

After sitting out two games with a groin injury, Crowder returned to the field in a divisional matchup with New England. The sixth-year pro was relatively limited in his impact Monday, by catching his only two targets of the game for 26 yards. His least-targeted outing since 2017 did not come without a spectacle, however. 

In the waning moments of the first half, quarterback Joe Flacco tossed up a pass to the back corner of the end zone, where the 5-foot-9 Crowder was able to make a difficult toe-tap catch beyond the reach of the defender. NFL NextGen Stats determined that the Duke alum’s incredible catch was the least likely pass to be caught all season, at only a 6.2% chance, and also the least probable touchdown snag since 2017. With just inches separating a touchdown from an incompletion, Crowder keeps on adding to his highlight reel this season. 

Despite the heroics, the Jets fell to 0-9 and now get a bye week to recoup and ensure Crowder is fully healthy. 

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