Blue and Gold Illustrated

Oct. 26, 2019*

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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Page 50 of 55 OCT. 26, 2019 51 IRISH IN THE PROS BY ANDREW MENTOCK H eading into the Houston Texans' fifth game of the season, former Irish wide receiver Will Fuller had 14 receptions for 183 yards and no touchdowns. Then, in several blurs down the field, he more than doubled those season totals against the Atlanta Falcons Oct. 6. In the Texans' 53-32 vic- tory, Fuller reeled in 14 re- ceptions for 217 yards and three touchdowns. Prior to this, Fuller 's best single- game effort was a five-catch, 125-yard and two-touch- down performance against the Seattle Seahawks on Oct. 29, 2017. That also was his lone other career multi- touchdown game with more than 100 receiving yards. After the game, he said it was the most yards he has had in a single contest since high school. His pre- vious career high for receptions in a game was eight. His season total through five games this year jumped to 28 catches for 400 yards (14.3 yards per reception) and three touchdowns. Fuller was humble after the game and gave credit to his teammate and fellow wideout DeAndre Hopkins, who many regard as the best receiver in the NFL. "Just playing with Hop, like I al- ways say, is easy," Fuller said. "He gets a lot of coverages thrown his way, and I feel like that's why they brought me here: to help him out. It took me a while, but I finally had this big game." The main reason Fuller hasn't had more "big" games is because of his injury history. Over the first three seasons of his career, he missed a to- tal of 17 games. He said he is still recovering from an ACL tear suffered in October 2018. "I'm still working out some things, too," he said. "I still get stiff here and there. I'm going in and getting treat- ment and taking care of my knee. But definitely, health has played a big part of it. "I'm starting to feel more and more like myself." His performance against the Fal- cons is the greatest NFL statistical game by a former Notre Dame wide receiver. Jack Snow and Tim Brown each had one three-touchdown game during their NFL careers, but not also with 217 yards or 14 receptions. Snow was a dominant wide re- ceiver in the late 1960s. Three times he caught multiple-touchdown passes in a game while having more than 100 receiving yards: • Oct. 15, 1967 — Snow's Los An- geles Rams versus the Baltimore Colts: three receptions for 151 yards and two touchdowns. • Oct. 5, 1969 — Snow's Los An- geles Rams versus the New Orleans Saints: three receptions for 133 yards and three touchdowns. • Oct. 8, 1972 — Snow's Los An- geles Rams versus the San Francisco 49ers: four receptions for 130 yards and two touchdowns. All three of those were monster games for a wide receiver in the 1960s and '70s, when teams did not pass the ball anywhere near as much as they do today. To add to this point, Snow never had more than eight re- ceptions in a single game. Brown, on the other hand, played in a more pass-happy era, and even he never came close to Fuller's single-game numbers. He caught three touchdown passes in a game once, in an eight-reception and 158-yard effort against the Tennessee Titans on Aug. 31, 1997. Brown's career-high 183- yard game came against the Buffalo Bills on Dec. 5, 1993. Brown, however, is tied with Fuller for catches in a game with 14 against the Jack- sonville Jaguars on Dec. 21, 1997. As for other former Irish receivers in the NFL, Golden Tate has had just one 100- yard performance with mul- tiple touchdowns, which came against the Dallas Cowboys while he was with the Detroit Lions last season. Cincinnati Bengals tight end Ty- ler Eifert had three touchdowns in a game once in his career, in 2015, but that came on five receptions for 53 yards. ✦ Will Fuller Has Record Day For The Texans Fuller turned in an NFL career-best performance (and most prolific by any for- mer Irish wide receiver) with 14 catches for 217 yards and three touchdowns in the Houston Texans' 53-32 victory over the Atlanta Falcons Oct. 6. PHOTO COURTESY HOUSTON TEXANS NOTRE DAME IN THE NFL: WEEK FIVE HIGHLIGHTS • Quenton Nelson (Played at Notre Dame 2014-17), OL, Indianapolis Colts: Named to the Pro Football Focus Team of the Week for the second week in a row based on his per- formance in the 3-2 Colts' 19-13 win against the 4-1 Kansas City Chiefs … Per PFF, he al- lowed one hurry and no sacks or hits on the quarterback in 37 pass-blocking snaps and earned a 93.6 run-blocking grade … In 202 pass-blocking snaps on the season, he has yet to give up a sack. • Drue Tranquill (2014-18), LB, Los Angeles Chargers: Registered 20 defensive snaps and seven tackles (five solo) in the 2-3 Chargers' 20-13 loss to the 1-4 Denver Broncos … Also played on 66.7 percent of the special team snaps … Has 12 tackles through five games. • Stephon Tuitt (2011-13), DE, Pittsburgh Steelers: Registered eight tackles and one stop for a loss in the 1-4 Steelers' 26-23 loss to the 3-2 Baltimore Ravens … Has made 22 tackles through five games, and was tied for sixth in the NFL in tackles for loss (seven) and tied for 19th in sacks (3.5).

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