Clowney's sprint one of Thursday's fastest plays

Jadeveon Clowney's athleticism was not a secret heading into Thursday's game against the Cincinnati Bengals. But after just one quarter, it was placed in its proper perspective.

With 4:46 to go in the first, Clowney picked up a John Ross fumble caused by Kareem Jackson and rumbled all the way to the Bengals' 20-yard line. According to NFL's Next Gen Stats, during Clowney's 49-yard jaunt he reached a top speed of 17.98 miles per hour, which ended up being faster than all but four plays recorded on Thursday night.

The only faster plays than Clowney's return were logged by Bengals wideout A.J. Green, Bengals wideout Alex Erickson (who runs a 4.52 40-yard dash) and Bengals wideout John Ross. Ross, lest we forget, broke Chris Johnson's combine record with a 4.22 time this past April.

While that overwhelming athleticism has not translated to on-field production so far in 2017 (Clowney has no quarterback hits and one tackle for loss through two games) the potential of him taking over a game at any moment has to be omnipresent for every offensive line coach and coordinator in football. Clowney dominated down the stretch last season in J.J. Watt's absence and showed with that singular play he can become a factor at the drop of a hat.

While Deshaun Watson's game-breaking touchdown run was spectacular on Thursday, this will be a defensive football team until further notice. Clowney makes the unit special by outsprinting most of the offensive players -- including his quarterback.

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