Andre Branch playing his part well in Jaguars' unexpected resurgence

Dolphins' Chris Clemons emerging as one of NFL's top safeties; Andre Ellington scores for Cardinals

Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Andre Branch (90) watches the video monitor in the end zone during the second half of an NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts in Jacksonville, Fla., Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013. The Colts beat the Jaguars 37-3. (AP Photo/Stephen Morton)

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Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Andre Branch (90) watches the video monitor in the end zone during the second half of an NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts in Jacksonville, Fla., Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013. The Colts beat the Jaguars 37-3. (AP Photo/Stephen Morton)

Suddenly the recently-woeful Jacksonville Jaguars are one of the NFL's hottest teams.

Former Tiger Andre Branch has had something to do with that.

Branch continued his solid defensive end play for the Jaguars on Thursday, as he recorded four tackles, including three solo, and had a quarterback sack in Jacksonville's 27-20 victory over Houston.

Branch says he's getting more and more comfortable with his role in the team's defense.

"The more you play the more the game starts to slow down," Branch told ESPN. "It's really starting to slow down for me now. Our coaches simplify everything, so you can be the best you can. With this defense, if you do what you're supposed to do there will be plays to be made."

Also emerging as a top playmaker is Chris Clemons, who is having his best pro season as a safety for the Miami Dolphins.

Clemons was a busy man in snowy Pittsburgh on Sunday, as he made a team-high 12 tackles, including seven solo, and also broke up a pass in Miami's 34-28 victory.

“He’s very solid,” Dolphins coach Joe Philbin told the Miami Herald recently. “Sometimes, there may be flashier players around, but he consistently does his job well.

“He’s a good tackler. He understands his role in the defense. He’s a dependable guy. He’s an available player who practices every day. He always shows up. He’s doing well.”

Another former Tiger with a big performance on Sunday was Andre Ellington, who rushed for a team-high 46 yards on 11 carries and scored on a six-yard run in the Arizona Cardinals' 30-10 win over the St. Louis Rams. Ellington also had two receptions for 17 yards.

Fellow rookie Jaron Brown had one catch for a 32-yard gain for the Cardinals.

DeAndre Hopkins caught three passes for 76 yards and a team-high 25.3 average in Texas' loss to Jacksonville.

Brandon Thompson had a tackle and a PBU bat-down for Cincinnati in the Bengals' 42-28 win over Indianapolis.

Malliciah Goodman made one stop in the Atlanta Falcons' 22-21 loss to Green Bay.

C.J. Spiller was held to 22 yards rushing on 11 carries in Buffalo's 27-6 loss to Tampa Bay. The Bucs' defense held the Bills' running backs to just 34 rushing yards in the game. Spiller also had one reception for 26 yards.

Da'Quan Bowers had one tackle and shared a quarterback sack for the Bucs.

Coty Sensabaugh broke up a pass in the Tennessee's 51-28 loss to Denver.

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