A rather controversial Week 3 of the NFL season is in the books, with a number of African players making impacts for their teams. KweséESPN takes a look at the diaspora's efforts on the field this past weekend.
Notable performances by African players
Emmanuel Ogbah (Cleveland #90) - The second-year outside linebacker for the Cleveland Browns had himself a busy day as he finished up with six tackles, one QB hit, and one sack (his first of the season) in the Browns' loss to the Indianapolis Colts.
Prince Amukamara (Chicago #20) - Playing in his first game for Chicago since signing for them in the off-season, Nigerian-American cornerback Amukamara had as excellent a despite giving up a touchdown. Amukamara was only targeted three times by Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and managed to break up two of those passes.
The one catch Amukamara allowed was to All-Pro wide receiver Antonio Brown for a touchdown. Amukamara gave up no other catches to opposing receivers as he had three tackles for the Bears in their victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Tevin Coleman (Atlanta #26) - The Falcons' Liberian-American running back continues to make use of his limited carries in the running game. Coleman only received six carries but ended up with 46 yards and a 7.7 yards per rushing attempt average.
Coleman also continued showing off his impressive ability as a receiver out of the backfield, ending up with 43 yards while catching three passes on five targets from his quarterback. The Falcons beat the Lions in thrilling, and somewhat controversial fashion.
David Njoku (Cleveland #85) - Rookie Nigerian-American tight end Njoku got his second NFL touchdown on Sunday to go with two receptions on four targets (passes to him) for 12 yards. This was Njoku's second touchdown in as many games, despite his Cleveland Browns losing both games.
Brian Orakpo (Tennessee #98) - The veteran pass rusher didn't get a sack this week like he did last week, but he still created havoc on the Seattle Seahawks offensive line. Orakpo ended up with 11 QB pressures, eight QB hurries (forcing the QB into a pass or run), three QB hits, one pass broken up and two tackles in the Titans victory over the Seahawks.
African player of the week
Alex Okafor (New Orleans Saints #57) - The Nigerian-American defensive end displayed a return to his 2014 form in his best game so far for the Saints since signing in the off-season. Okafor finished the victory over the Carolina Panthers with five tackles, one sack (first of the season), one tackle for a loss, one forced fumble and one QB hit.
Play to watch
Check out this run by New Orleans Saints rookie running back Alvin Kamara. The son of Liberian immigrants, Kamara got his first NFL touchdown on this run as he sheds off a tackler en route to the end zone.
Notable post game quotes
Titans OB Brian Orakpo on the team's win:
"Very, very proud. We knew that they had been criticized as far as scoring touchdowns and things of that nature. And we did a great job at the beginning. And then you could see Russell (Wilson) get into a groove, moving around trying to make things happen. And that's what he does.
"He's a helluva quarterback, and they've been to the Super Bowl (two) times because of that. And we did a good job of containing him and finishing at the end. It is a great win for us. It really is a measuring stick for us moving forward, playing a team like that with a great defense, and a great QB. They have everything you could ask for, but I was proud of our defense and we kept giving the ball back to our offense. Every possession mattered." - Via the Tennessee Titans
On staying in the locker room for the anthem:
"It was phenomenal. It was all about unity. Whether you stand, kneel, or whatever the case may be. It's all about unity and bringing everybody together.
"I thought that was huge that our coaches, our owner, on both sides had our back, the players' back, because we got together before the game with the Seahawks, and that's exactly what we wanted to do. It was remarkable that everybody was able to go through with it, and be one."
African players to watch in week 4
Rees Odhiambo and Germain Ifedi - Seahawks OL - Playing against the Indianapolis Colts, the Seahawks offensive line featuring Odhiambo (Kenya) and Ifedi (Nigeria) will be going up against a vastly underrated defensive line. The Seahawks O-linemen will need to use this game as a confidence builder after Orakpo and the Titans gave them fits last Sunday.
Kelechi Osemele - Raiders LG - Playing against the Denver Broncos after the Raiders' loss on Sunday, Osemele will aim to rebound from his below standard performance versus Washington. After giving up two sacks in the loss to the Redskins, Osemele, one of the premier offensive linemen in the league, will be going up against an even better defensive line in Denver.
Orleans Darkwah - New York Giants RB - playing against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Giants' Ghanaian-American running back will hope to finally get 10 or more carries in a game for the winless Giants. Darkwah injured his back in the Giants' loss to the Eagles on Sunday and his status for the game versus Tampa Bay is up in the air.
The G-men are among the league's worst running teams but Darkwah has shown what he can do even with limited carries and if he does play, look for him to continue doing the most with what little he gets.
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