Six former Irish players will enter next weekend holding out Super Bowl hopes. Irish Illustrated rounds up the divisional weekend from Notre Dame’s perspective in the NFL.
David Bruton - safety - Denver Broncos
Bruton (broken fibula) remains on injured reserve as the Broncos make their way through the playoffs. They advanced to the AFC championship game with a 23-16 win over Pittsburgh in the divisional round. Denver gets New England next weekend.
Darius Fleming - linebacker - New England Patriots
Fleming made two tackles for New England in its 27-20 win over Kansas City. The Patriots get Denver in the AFC championship game, advancing to this round for the fifth straight season.
Michael Floyd - wide receiver - Arizona Cardinals
Carson Palmer targeted Floyd seven times as Arizona grabbed a 26-20 overtime win over Green Bay to advance to the NFC championship game. Floyd pulled in three receptions for 26 yards and two touchdowns. He scored from eight yards out with 6:58 left in the first quarter to make it 7-0 then again on a deflected pass with 3:50 left in the fourth quarter to give the Cardinals a 17-13 lead.
Ryan Harris - offensive tackle - Denver Broncos
Harris started at left tackle for Denver in its 23-16 victory over Pittsburgh. The Broncos offensive line produced 109 yards rushing on 33 caries while allowing just one sack of Peyton Manning.
J.J. Jansen - long snapper - Carolina Panthers
Jansen heads to the NFC championship game after Carolina scored all of its points in the first half en route to a 31-24 win over Seattle.
Troy Niklas - tight end - Arizona Cardinals
Niklas was an active reserve tight end and special teams player for Arizona in its 26-20 overtime win over Green Bay.
Kona Schwenke - offensive tackle - Seattle Seahawks
Schwenke spent the season on injured reserve after suffering a torn ACL during camp. Seattle went 10-6 during the regular season then exited the playoffs with a 31-24 loss to Carolina in the divisional round.
Stephon Tuitt - defensive end - Pittsburgh Steelers
Tuitt made four tackles for Pittsburgh in its 23-16 loss to Denver. Tuitt finished the regular season with 54 tackles and 6.5 sacks, which was second on the Steelers defense.