It took Jadeveon Clowney a while to blossom into an NFL star, but he showed the New England Patriots exactly why he was a No. 1 overall draft pick.
Late in the second quarter of Saturday night’s divisional-round playoff game, the Houston Texans defensive end whisked past Patriots guard Joe Thuney, sprinted into the backfield and bulldozed quarterback Tom Brady into the Gillette Stadium turf.
Brady was able to avoid the sack, but his swing pass to Dion Lewis fell incomplete.
Clowney and fellow Texans pass rusher Whitney Mercilus — both second-team All-Pros this season — made life very difficult for the Patriots during a closer-than-expected first half, especially when working against New England’s interior offensive linemen.
Favored by 17 points entering the game, the Patriots led by just four at the half, 17-13.
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images