What a weekend for the state of Wisconsin, huh? The Packers got home field advantage throughout the playoffs and won for the 4th time in the calender year of 2011, something that's never been done before in the NFL. Records just keep falling with that team! Well, how did our Badgers in the NFL fare? Let's take a look at that shall we?
It's really been a mash unit of sorts for the Badgers in the NFL as nearly a 50/50 split of injured and active players. The list of the IR players is Bill Nagy (Cowboys), Gabe Carimi (Bears), Jim Leonhard (Jets), John Moffitt (Seahawks), and Matt Shaughnessey (Raiders). There was only one player missing game action this week as Jonathan Cassilas (Saints) was inactive in Week 16.
For the players actually in games this weekend the Texans and TE's Owen Daniels and Garrett Graham were on the losing end to the lowly Colts (2-13). Daniels only had one catch for 4 yards on the day. On the other hand Graham wasn't active for the loss. Defensively for the Texans the standout player was former Badgers DE JJ Watt who had 5 solo tackles, a sack, and 3 passes defended.
The AFC North saw a battle between the Cleveland Browns and the Baltimore Ravens. Well, that meant Joe Thomas started at tackle once again for the Browns and WR Lee Evans started for the Ravens. Evans didn't record any stats and Thomas maintained his amazing form this year and is rounding out to be one of the best overall lineman in the league.
Three Former Badgers met up as Nick Hayden and Chris Pressley of the Cincinnati Bengals took on O'Brien Schofield and the Arizona Cardinals. The game will be remembered for one of the most amazing plays I've ever seen as Bengals WR Jerome Simpson went to leap frog a standing up DB and flipped over the goal line, sticking the landing. The Bengals and Hayden ended up winning this one, 23-16. Hayden ended the day with no stats, but did play. Same for Pressley. For the losing Cardinals Schofield recorded 1 tackle and 1 assist from his OLB spot. He's really coming into his own this season and rounding into a fine pass rushing option for the Cards.
The Minnesota Vikings and longsnapper Matt Katula took on the Washington, winning 33-26, but ultimately losing as star RB Adrian Peterson is lost for the remainder of this season and possibly the start of next season as he tore his ACL and more.
Lance Kendricks (TE, Rams) caught 2 balls for 13 yards in a shutout loss to Pittsburgh. John Clay was on the Steelers active roster for the first time all season and managed to make the most of his 1 carry on the game, going for 10 yards and a TD.
We had a match up with playoff implications as LB DeAndre Levy racked up 6 total tackles as the Lions won 38-10 over San Diego.
The Seahawks and Safety Chris Maragos took on QB Scott Tolzien and the 49ers, however only Maragos was active and he had in a 17-19 loss.
Former Badgers guard Kraig Urbik got the nod at Center once again and is rounding into fine form for the Buffalo Bills, who dispatched the Tebow led Broncos in fine fashion, 40-14.
I've been wanting to give an award to the unsung guys all year and this week is about as good as any to do just that. The WiscoBadgers.com Badgers in the NFL Player of the Week goes to co-players of the week, Joe Thomas of the Browns and JJ Watt of the Texans. Both have had amazing seasons. Watt has adjusted well and was nearly a Pro Bowl player in his rookie season and his 5 tackels, sack, and 3 passes defeneded certaintly are worthy of the weekly award. Joe Thomas is quickly gaining a reputation as one of the best Left Tackles in all of the NFL and rightfully so, the guy plays at a near perfect level each and every week. Congrats to Joe and JJ on the award and next week look for 2 updates as we give out our week 17 awards and take a year in review as well!! As always... ON WISCONSIN!!