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Pack in the Pros: Week 17

Ten Pack players made the postseason, and three were named to the Pro Bowl.

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODA

Here are the Pack alum's performances (sporadically infused with random bits of other facts and whatnot) from the final week of the NFL regular season. Players are listed in alphabetical order as not to offend anyone; please hold your applause until the end of the presentation. And, as always, please fill us in on all the stuff I missed in the comments section. Without you, there is no us.

Zach Allen (‘13/UDFA): The Colts (11-5) capped off their AFC South championship campaign with an easy 30-10 win over the Jaguars (4-12). Andrew Luck was 26-for-37 for 282 yards and a score before yielding to his backup, Matt Hasselbeck, who, at 206, is the league's oldest player (and yet another TOB-influenced QB). The Colts will host the Chiefs (11-5) in the wild card round of the playoffs. They dismantled KC 23-7 in week 16.

Allen remains on the practice squad.

David Amerson (‘13/2nd): The Redskins (3-13) folded up like an accordion yet again, losing their eighth straight to close the season, 20-6 against the Giants (7-9). Mike Shanahan was immediately relieved of his coaching duties after the loss; the next head man will enjoy the second pick in the NFL draft. (Hat tip to long-suffering Skins' fan sbas, who noted that the Skins will be shipping said pick to the Rams. Ouch.)

Amerson had a pair of tackles and two passes defended in the loss. He finished his rookie campaign with 48 stops, two picks, and 10 PDs.

Andre Brown (‘09/4th): Brown's season ended with a whimper: 13 carries for a mere 11 yards and a lost fumble. Still, 492 yards rushing and 103 receiving is not bad for a half season's work. The G-Men were 5-3 with him and 2-6 without him. Hopefully he finally gets a chance to 1) be a full-time starter and 2) make it through a season without injury in 2014.

Audie Cole (‘12/7th): Cole has placed on the injured list with a sprained ankle for the season finale, a 14-13 win over the Lions (7-9). Minnesota went 5-3 at home but 0-7-1 on the road, costing Leslie Frazier his job.

In his four starts (not including the one against the Bengals when he was injured in the early going), Cole twice tallied 13 tackles and helped Minnesota to its best stretch (2-1-1) in an otherwise dismal season. The one loss came by just three points. Cole finished with 45 tackles, two for a loss, a sack, and a pass defended.

Jerricho Cotchery (‘04/4th): The Steelers (8-8) needed a lot of help to make the postseason and got it from everyone but the refs. The Dolphins choked, the Ravens choked, and the Chargers tried to choke against a KC squad that ran out its second string in the season finale. The Bolts (9-7) lined up in an illegal defensive formation that went unflagged on Ryan Succup's missed field goal that would have given the Chiefs the win and bumped the Bolts from the postseason (and put the Steelers in). Succup should have gotten another chance from 36 yards after missing the 41-yarder. Steelers' nation got to be pissed this morning, but after a pathetic 0-4 start, Pittsburgh really only has itself to blame.

Cotchery certainly did all he could in a resurgent season at age 31. He extended his career high with his 10th touchdown reception in the 20-7 win over the Browns (4-12) to close the season. Cotchery finished the season with 602 yards on 46 receptions.

Cleveland coach Rob Chudzinski joined the growing list of head men looking for a new gig after the game.

Mike Glennon (‘13/3rd): Glennon had another respectable rookie performance, going 22-for-41 for 219 yards and two scores (compared to one pick), but the Buccaneers (4-12) weren't going to play spoiler in the Big Easy. Drew Brees threw for 381 yards and four scores in the 42-17 blowout. The Saints (11-5) finished perfect at home but will have to travel to face NFC East champ Philadelphia (10-6) for the first round of the playoffs.

Glennon finished his rookie campaign with an impressive 19-9 TD-INT ratio. He threw for 2,608 yards and posted an 83.9 QB rating, 21st in the league and easily the best of any first-year QB. With the axing of Greg Schiano (coach fired...drink), Glennon's future is probably a bit in limbo, but it sure seems like he earned a shot at being the man going forward with his rookie performance.

T.J. Graham (‘12/3rd): Graham had one of his more productive games of the season, catching three balls for 62 yards and a score, but it wasn't enough for the Bills (6-10) to upset the Patriots (12-4). Buffalo lost 34-20. Graham had a 41-yard grab in the game, his second longest of the year, and finished up 2013 with 361 yards on 23 catches and two touchdowns.

Leroy Harris (‘07/4th): Harris broke his inactive streak Sunday, getting a few snaps for the first time all season. Alas, he could not save Jim Schwartz, who joined the unemployed coaches line after the Lions limped to a four-game losing streak to close the season.

Steven Hauschka (‘08/UDFA): The Seahawks (13-3) stumbled a bit down the stretch, but Hauschka booted a pair of field goals to help them finally wrap up the NFC's top seed with a 27-9 win over the Rams (7-9). Hauschka finished fifth in the league with 33 threes, and his 94.3% success rate was good for second. Hauschka was named an alternate for the Pro Bowl. Say what? I demand a recount.

Nate Irving (‘11/3rd): The Broncos (13-3) wrapped up the AFC's top seed and home field advantage in their collision course with Seattle in the Super Bowl by blasting the Raiders (4-12) 34-14. Irving filled in for the injured Von Miller by being all Von Millery; all of Irving's three stops came behind the line with a sack and two tackles for a loss. The sack was the first of his career; here's betting it won't be the last. Nate finished with 41 stops on the season.

Markus Kuhn (‘12/7th): Kuhn finished his injury-plagued campaign with a grand total of one tackle.

Ted Larsen (‘10/6th): Larsen appeared in all 16 games for the Bucs and actually got the start, his fourth of the year, in the season finale.

Manny Lawson (‘06/1st): Lawson ended the season on a strong note, picking his eminence Tom Brady for his first INT of the season and third of his career. Lawson also made six stops, including one for a loss. Lawson's six-tackle performance was his third best mark of the year. He finished with 73 tackles, seven for a loss, and four of Buffalo's 57 sacks, the second best team total in the NFL.

Terrell Manning (‘12/5th): Manning remains on the Bolts' practice squad.

Tobais Palmer (‘12/UDFA): Palmer remains on the Bolts' practice squad.

Philip Rivers (‘04/1st): This one started out really ugly for the Chargers, as KC backup Chase Daniel marched the Chiefs down the field for a 7-0 lead just two minutes into the game. It got worse before it got better, as San Diego entered the fourth quarter down 24-14 with its playoff hopes hanging in the balance. Alas, our bolo-tie-wearing hero would not be denied. Rivers engineered a pair of scoring drives to knot the game at 24, and, with a little help from the aforementioned missed call by the officiating crew, led the Bolts to a 27-24 overtime win.

The game-winning drive went for 62 yards on 16 plays and ate up nine and a half minutes. It was almost as if the Chargers were trying to eat the entire overtime clock since a tie would have gotten them in the playoffs.

Rivers completed 22 of 33 passes for 229 yards and three scores, pushing his season totals to 4,478 yards and 32 touchdowns. His TD total was his second best mark of his storied, future hall of fame career. His yards mark was third best, and his 105.5 QB rating equaled his best mark. That passer rating was good for fourth in the NFL and helped usher Rivers back to the Pro Bowl for the fifth time.

J.R. Sweezy (‘12/7th): Sweezy helped pave the way for pro bowler Marshawn Lynch to gain 97 yards on 23 carries, but Russell Wilson was sacked four more times. Wilson was hauled down 44 times this year, third most in the NFL, and pass protection would seem to be the main area for concern for Seattle as it begins its playoff march.

Stephen Tulloch (‘06/4th): Even while his team crumbled around him, Tulloch showed up every Sunday, including the season finale. He posted a team-high 12 tackles against the Vikings and was credited with half a sack. For the season, Tulloch led Detroit with 135 tackles and was first among linebackers with 3.5 sacks. He also had an interception. Tulloch was eighth in the NFL in tackles and made a strong case for his first Pro Bowl selection.

Mario Williams ('06/ 1st): Williams, who closed the season with four tackles against New England, was named to the Pro Bowl for the third time. His 13 sacks were fourth in the NFL and his most since he recorded 14 in 2007.

Adrian Wilson (‘01/3rd): Wilson is still languishing on the Pats' IR. I'm pretty sure he is a perfectly healthy victim of some Belichick roster malfeasance. #freeadrian

Russell Wilson (‘12/3rd): Despite once again running for his life all day, Wilson managed to complete 15 of 23 throws for 172 yards and a score against the sack-happy Rams, who got Russ a combined 11 times in their two games. Wilson, who was one of just seven NFL QBs to post a passer rating north of 100, was named to his second Pro Bowl in his second season. Pretty solid.

Wilson finished in the NFL's top five in yards per attempt, yards per completion, touchdown percentage, comebacks, and game-winning drives.

C.J. Wilson (‘13/UDFA): Ah the poetic justice of the sports. Aaron Rodgers, broken in his first meeting against the Bears (8-8), returned from injury to beat the Bears in Soldier Field on a 48-yard pass to Randall "Tex" Cobb (better known for his role as Leonard "Warthog from Hell" Smalls in the Coen brothers' classic Raising Arizona) with 38 seconds left. The Packers (8-7-1) are playoff bound.

Surely if Wilson wasn't confined to the practice squad, he would have saved the day for Chicago.

Earl Wolff (‘13/5th): Unfortunately, Wolff's return from injury was brief, as he aggravated his knee injury in week 16 and was sidelined for the Eagles' 24-22, NFC East-clinching win over the Cowboys. The Boys finished 8-8 for the third consecutive season and "America's Team" hasn't made the postseason since 2009.

As of yet there is no word as to whether Wolff will be active for the playoffs. He finished the regular season with 45 tackles, five passes defended, and an INT and is a good bet to open 2014 as a starter.

Willie Young (‘10/7th): Young's season came to a quiet end with just one tackle and a pass defended. He matched his career-best with three sacks on the season and set career highs with 47 stops, five passes defended, four tackles for a loss, and two forced fumbles. A free agent, it wouldn't surprise me to see Young get a nice contract and a chance to start somewhere next year.


Philip Rivers, Russell Wilson, and Mario Williams. It's a three-way tie in order to extend a tip of the cap to all three pro bowlers.

The three Pack players thus honored have inspired a contest. In the comments, note the last year (if ever) the Pack boasted as many as three pro bowlers and list the players. The first BTP patron to do so receives a free, lifetime subscription to BTP that will remain good so long as the site is in existence and remains free.