Although the Denver Broncos whipped Dallas in their Week 2 matchup, former Boise State defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence has emerged as a bright spot on the Cowboys’ defense.
Through two games, Lawrence is tied for the NFL lead in sacks with four. He had one all of last season, and his career high was eight, in 2015.
Lawrence sacked New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning twice in the Cowboys’ season opener Sept. 10 and then got Dallas QB Trevor Siemian twice Sunday, including a forced fumble.
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“It was very huge just to let me know that I’ve still got it,” Lawrence told The Associated Press last week. “It means a lot going into this season, really just getting those sacks and more to come. Once you get one, they just pile on.”
The 25-year-old Lawrence, who is tied for the NFL lead with Jacksonville’s Calais Campbell, has 12 tackles and a forced fumble so far this season.
Although far-fetched, Lawrence is on pace for 32 sacks, which would annihilate the NFL single-season record of 22.5 set by Michael Strahan in 2001. He gave reporters a hard time about their sudden interest in him.
“I’m just going to be real, like, nobody wanted to talk to me until I get sacks, so, that’s why I really don’t care about talking now,” Lawrence told the AP. “For what? I just come to do my job. That’s it.”
Dolphins’ Ajayi still rolling
CBSsports.com and NFL.com both said in their fantasy football reports going into Week 3 that Miami’s Jay Ajayi, who burst onto the scene with big games last season, is the best option to start at running back.
Ajayi, a former Boise State Bronco, rushed for 122 yards on 28 carries and had two receptions for four yards in the Dolphins’ 19-17 upset win at the Los Angeles Chargers.
His performance drew praise from Miami QB Jay Cutler.
“I will tell you what,” Cutler told PalmBeachPost.com. “I think I have the best seat in the house. He is fun to watch. I mean, breaking tackles and spinning. I think he has enough speed to get to the edge. He is a heck of a back, and I am glad he is on our team.”
The Dolphins host the lowly New York Jets on Sunday.
“Now, he gets to go against the same defense that just gave up 180 yards and three touchdowns to (Marshawn) Lynch and his Raiders teammates. Ajayi should run wild against this team,” CBSsports.com said.
Added NFL.com: “Ajayi should be a high-volume workhorse all season and should have a big game against the Jets in Week 3.”
Taylor leads Browns’ defense
Jamar Taylor started at cornerback in the Cleveland Browns’ 24-10 loss to Baltimore, and the former Boise State Bronco had a career day. Taylor shared the team lead in tackles with nine, including eight solo, matching his single-game high. He also had nine tackles in his 2015 season opener.
Idaho connections in NFL
▪ RB, Jay Ajayi, No. 23 Miami Dolphins
▪ LB, Kamalei Correa, No. 51 Baltimore Ravens
▪ DL, Tyrone Crawford, No. 98 Dallas Cowboys
▪ S, George Iloka, No. 43 Cincinnati Bengals
▪ DE, DeMarcus Lawrence, No. 90 Dallas Cowboys
▪ OL, Charles Leno Jr., No. 72 Chicago Bears
▪ RB, Doug Martin, No. 22 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
▪ QB, Kellen Moore, No. 17 Dallas Cowboys
▪ G/T, Rees Odhiambo, No. 70 Seattle Seahawks
▪ C, Matt Paradis (Council High), No. 61 Denver Broncos
▪ CB, Orlando Scandrick, No. 32 Dallas Cowboys
▪ DB, Jamar Taylor, No. 21 Cleveland Browns
▪ FS, Darian Thompson, No. 27 New York Giants
▪ LB, Tanner Vallejo, No. 40 Buffalo Bills
▪ S, Jeron Johnson, Jacksonville Jaguars
▪ LB, Shea McClellin (Marsing High), New England Patriots
▪ DE, Billy Winn, Denver Broncos
▪ S, Chanceller James, San Francisco 49ers
▪ C, Travis Averill, Cleveland Browns
▪ DB, Donte Deayon, New York Giants
▪ RB, Jeremy McNichols, San Francisco 49ers
▪ OT, Jesse Davis, No. 77 Miami Dolphins
▪ G, Mike Iupati, No. 76 Arizona Cardinals
▪ DE, Benson Mayowa, No. 93 Dallas Cowboys
▪ RB, Elijhaa Penny, No. 35 Arizona Cardinals
▪ ILB, Korey Toomer, No. 56 Los Angeles Chargers
▪ TE, Josh Hill (Blackfoot High), No. 89 New Orleans Saints
▪ C, Evan Smith, No. 62 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
▪ QB, Taysom Hill (Highland High), No. 7 New Orleans Saints