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Terps in the NFL: Diggs and Okonkwo continue to play well

Check out how former Terps fared on the professional gridiron during week 13.

Buffalo Bills v New England Patriots Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images

In week 13 of the 2022 NFL season, former Maryland football players who are both superstars and up-and-coming stars had some great performances throughout the league.

In the midst of one of his best seasons in the NFL, Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs had another great game against the New England Patriots on Thursday Night Football.

He had seven catches on nine targets for 92 yards and a touchdown, making it the third straight game that Diggs has scored a touchdown this year. The touchdown catch was a 7-yard reception in which he lost his man on a route to the back left of the end zone for his 10th receiving touchdown of the season.

It’s clear that Diggs is having another Pro Bowl season; he already has 1,202 receiving yards this season, which is third most in the NFL only behind Tyreek Hill and Justin Jefferson. Diggs is one of only three receivers averaging over 100 yards receiving in every game, and if he keeps up this pace he will have a career-best year in receiving yards. His 10 receiving touchdowns are the third most in the NFL, which ties a career-best for touchdowns in a season with five games left. The Bills superstar is clearly making it known that he is a top five wideout in the league right now.

After barely being thrown the ball for the first half of the Tennessee Titans’ season, rookie tight end Chigoziem Okonkwo has recently been a big contributor. On Sunday, he had a career-best four catches for 68 receiving yards while playing 58% of offensive snaps in the Titans’ 35-10 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. Even though he may have had his most playing time and best game on offense this season, that wasn’t all the rookie tight end provided. “Chig” also played 62% of special teams snaps and had two solo tackles, another career-high.

He’s had quite a few big plays for the Titans this season, and Okonkwo continued that Sunday with this massive 41-yard reception over the middle of the field.

In the last five weeks, he’s had more than 30 yards per game and has been getting some buzz. With a lot of his catches coming from big plays, the tight end is averaging a massive 18.3 yards per reception. Okonkwo’s 275 receiving yards this season are the third most among rookie tight ends in the NFL, and he looks to finish his rookie season much better than he started.

New York Jets running back Ty Johnson had his breakout performance of the season on Nov. 27 in the running game with 62 yards and a touchdown. While the fourth-year pro only managed three rushing yards against the Minnesota Vikings, he had his best receiving game of the year with six catches for 38 yards. He played a season-high 33% of offensive snaps as the Jets running back room is searching for answers. Johnson was a reliable receiver for quarterback Mike White, but the Vikings won a 27-22 nail-biter.

With more opportunities, Johnson has been a contributor in the Jets backfield these past few weeks. His 119 scrimmage yards receiving in the last two weeks compare to just 40 total yards in the first 10 games of the season combined. Johnson hopes to carve out a role through the final stretch of the season as the Jets look to make a playoff push.

Other performers

  • Detroit Lions linebacker and special teams ace Josh Woods played his third defensive snap of the season against the Jacksonville Jaguars this week. He only played one defensive snap and 69% of special teams snaps and came up with one assisted tackle to help the Lions beat the Jaguars, 40-14. It’s the sixth game this season in which Woods has recorded a tackle.
  • After having his best game of the season for the Indianapolis Colts last week, defensive end Yannick Ngakoue had possibly his worst game of the season in a 54-19 loss against the Dallas Cowboys. He started and played 76% of defensive snaps, but the veteran pass rusher didn’t record a single stat in the game. This is the second time he’s gone without a tackle or a sack this season.
  • Indianapolis Colts defensive tackle Byron Cowart played in his usual backup role Sunday against the Cowboys. Cowart had one assisted tackle while being in for 19% of defensive snaps in the Colts’ loss. His role hasn’t seemed to change, even after a change in head coach.
  • Defensive tackle Quinton Jefferson only played 17 snaps against the Los Angeles Rams this week but still managed to make an impact. Jefferson had one pass deflection against Seattle’s division rivals as the Seahawks went on to defeat the Rams 27-23. He’s only not recorded a stat once in 12 games played in a rotational role this season.
  • Indianapolis Colts rookie safety Nick Cross has been playing a special teams role for interim head coach Jeff Saturday. He played 68% of special teams snaps against the Cowboys and didn’t record a stat for the third straight game.
  • Pittsburgh Steelers running back Anthony McFarland Jr. made his season debut last week against the Colts on Monday Night Football. Now with backup running back Jaylen Warren healthy, he has moved back to the practice squad earlier this week.
  • Linebacker Jermaine Carter Jr. played for the Cleveland Browns for three weeks straight before going back to the practice squad in week 13. These were his only games played this season, and in those games he had two tackles on special teams.
  • The Miami Dolphins signed cornerback Tino Ellis to the team’s practice squad mid-season. He has not been a member of the active roster for any game this season.
  • Linebacker Keandre Jones was on the Cincinnati Bengals practice squad for in week 13. He’s been on the practice squad all season except week three against the New York Jets, and he played only special teams snaps.
  • After signing to the team’s practice squad three weeks ago, running back Jake Funk has not been listed on the Indianapolis Colts active roster yet. He played in five games for the Los Angeles Rams this year and was only on the field for one offensive snap.
  • Seattle Seahawks tight end Tyler Mabry was still on the practice squad this week, as he hasn’t been called up to the active roster yet for a game this season.
  • Carolina Panthers wide receiver D.J. Moore and his team were on a bye this week. Players who were inactive this week are Cleveland Browns offensive lineman Michael Dunn, Los Angeles Chargers cornerback J.C. Jackson, Green Bay Packers safety Darnell Savage and Tennessee Titans defensive end Sam Okuayinonu.