Crimson Tide in the NFL: Week 3

Tzali Nislick, Contributing Writer

Week 3 of the NFL season was action-packed for former Alabama football players. There are just two 3-0 teams remaining — the Miami Dolphins and the Philadelphia Eagles, who are both led by former Crimson Tide quarterbacks. A trio of wide receivers also reminded everyone why Alabama is considered “Wide Receiver U,” while another trio of former Heisman trophy winners made headlines as well. Let’s look at all of it and more in the third edition of Crimson Tide in the NFL. 

Player of the Week: DeVonta Smith 

All things considered, it had been a quiet start to the season for the Eagles’ DeVonta Smith (2017-2020). But, on Sunday, he reminded everyone why he was a first-round pick, going for career highs with eight receptions and 169 receiving yards, while adding a touchdown.  

He squashed any doubts about his size when he made back-to-back acrobatic catches late in the first half. First, he climbed the ladder and brought down a contested ball in between two defenders to set up the Eagles inside the five-yard line. For his next catch, he soared above a defender to make a leaping grab in the back of the end zone for a touchdown.  

Smith made a number of other impressive catches on the afternoon, including an over-the-shoulder 46-yard reception along the sideline in the first quarter. The former Heisman Trophy winner was a big part of the Eagles’ third win of the season. 

Former Heisman Winners Come Through 

Smith was not the only former Alabama Heisman Trophy winner who made an impact on Sunday. The Titans’ Derrick Henry (2013-2015) had his best game of the season, totaling 143 yards and a touchdown in Tennessee’s first win of the year. Not known for his receiving ability, Henry surprisingly contributed five receptions and he showed everyone why he is still ‘King Henry.” 

Despite his age and ranking second on the New Orleans Saints’ depth chart, Mark Ingram II (2008-2010) can still play. He punched in a rushing score from five yards out and is averaging 5.2 yards per carry at 33 years old.  

“WRU” Nickname Upholds 

Alabama produces arguably the best wide receivers in the country, hence its nickname “WRU.” Not only did DeVonta Smith have an outstanding Week 3, but so did a couple other former Alabama wide receivers, Amari Cooper (2012-2014) and Jaylen Waddle (2018-2020).  

Cooper has performed as advertised and then some for the Cleveland Browns this season. He was productive again last Thursday night with seven receptions for 101 yards and a touchdown in Cleveland’s win over the Steelers. In his last two games, Cooper has 16 receptions, 202 yards and two scores.  

Waddle continued his dominant season on Sunday with four catches for 102 yards. His season totals are now up to 19 receptions, 342 receiving yards and three touchdowns through three games. He also leads the NFL with 17.1 yards per touch. 

Hurts, Tagovailoa Stay Hot 

Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (2016-2018) had another prolific performance, lighting up the Washington Commanders’ defense for 340 yards and three touchdowns. He is on a tear to start the season, with 1,083 total yards and seven total touchdowns in three games. He ranks third in passing yards, fifth in passer rating and first in yards per attempt. 

Tua Tagovailoa (2017-2019) did not have quite the game he did a week ago, but he still completed 72.2% of his throws and lifted the Dolphins to an upset victory over the Buffalo Bills despite an apparent back injury in the second half.  

The two Alabama alumni quarterbacks have led their teams to the only 3-0 records in the NFL heading into Monday night. 

Looking Ahead 

The Monday Night Football game features a pair of division rivals in the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants. Dallas has former Alabama cornerback Trevon Diggs (2016-2019) and New York has Evan Neal (2019-2021) and Xavier McKinney (2017-2019).

Questions or comments? Email Austin Hannon (Sports Editor) at [email protected]