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Terps in the NFL: Vernon Davis rises above the pack in Week 1

The NFL is officially back. Here’s how former Terps performed in their season openers.

NFL: Washington Redskins at Philadelphia Eagles Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

He may be 35 years old and entering his 14th season in the NFL, but Father Time has certainly not caught up to Washington Redskins tight end and Terps legend Vernon Davis.

The former All-Pro started the 2019 season off with a bang with four catches for 59 yards and a score. While the stat line may not jump off the page, it was his 48-yard touchdown grab early in the first quarter that had some dubbing it as the catch of the season.

It was an emotional moment for Davis, whose grandfather, the man who raised him, had passed away the day before.

He went on to have a few more catches during the game, in which the Redskins blew a 17-0 lead, but his catch will not be soon forgotten by Terps and NFL fans. With fellow tight end Jordan Reed oft-injured, Davis could be in store for another big season.

Standout Performers

Davis wasn’t the only former Maryland player who shined in Week 1. Seahawks defensive tackle Quinton Jefferson had a huge day, recording six tackles, two sacks and three tackles for loss. Jefferson has struggled to earn consistent playing time during his tenure in Seattle, but this career-best performance should lead to more opportunity. Head coach Pete Carroll sure seemed pleased with what he saw from Jefferson.

“He had a terrific game today,” Carroll told media after the game. “It was definitely the best game he’s had for us. We needed every bit of it.”

If it wasn’t for Davis’ monster catch, Jermaine Carter Jr. of the Carolina Panthers would have had the best play of the day with his blocked punt at the start of the fourth quarter against the Rams. Carter finished the game with four tackles, but none of his plays had as large of an impact as his punt block.

Carter isn’t the only former Terp on the Panthers. Sophomore wide receiver DJ Moore clearly asserted himself as the top pass-catching option for Cam Newton. He racked up seven catches for 76 yards and was targeted 10 times. Although Moore fumbled early in the game, it was a very solid debut to his second season, and he should continue to make strong contributions to the Panthers offensive attack.

The two biggest active NFL stars that played at Maryland, Stefon Diggs of the Minnesota Vikings and Yannick Ngakoue of the Jacksonville Jaguars, both had quiet games. Ngakoue had three tackles, one for a loss, while Diggs recorded just two catches for 37 yards on three targets.

Other Terps In Action

  • Rookie first round pick Darnell Savage Jr. had solid debut, flying all over the field with three tackles for the new-look Green Bay Packers defense, which held the Chicago Bears to just three points on Thursday night.
  • JC Jackson was quiet in the first game of his second season with the New England Patriots, recording only one tackle.
  • Ty Johnson was also quiet to start his rookie season with the Detroit Lions, carrying the ball once for six yards.
  • Patriots defensive tackle Byron Cowart and Bears linebacker Josh Woods were both healthy scratches for their respective squads. Steelers safety Sean Davis was inactive with an ankle injury.

For more on the former Terps in the NFL and all across professional sports, tune into the Terps in the Pros podcast, which is released every Thursday.