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Notre Dame in the NFL: Wild Card round

Playoff football means the end is near. Former Notre Dame players with the Lions, Dolphins and Giants all saw their seasons wrap in the Wild Card round. Irish Illustrated recaps the action and looks at those still in the hunt for a championship.

Playoff teams

Dallas: WR Chris Brown, OL Zack Martin, LB Jaylon Smith

Dallas had a bye as the No. 1 seed in the NFC. Smith (knee) and Brown (foot) are both on injured reserve.

Detroit: RB Theo Riddick, WR Golden Tate, TJ Jones

Tate had three receptions on five targets for 25 yards in a 26-6 playoff loss to Seattle. Jones made the active roster but didn’t haul in his only target of the game. Riddick (wrist) is on injured reserve.

Houston: WR Will Fuller, OL Nick Martin

Fuller had four catches for 37 yards as the Texans advanced with a 27-14 win over the Raiders. New England awaits in the Divisional round. Martin (ankle) is on injured reserve.

Miami: OL Sam Young

Miami’s season ended with a 30-12 loss to the Steelers. Young, mostly a reserve tackle, appeared in eight games during the regular season and made one start.

New England Patriots: WR Michael Floyd

The Patriots had a bye this week as the AFC’s top seed. They play Houston this week.

New York Giants:  DE Romeo Okwara, LB Ishaq Williams

Okwara had one tackle, a sack and a tackle-for-loss as the Giants bowed out of the playoffs in a 38-13 loss to the Packers. Williams didn’t make the active roster.

Pittsburgh: OT Ryan Harris, DE Stephon Tuitt

Tuitt returned from missing a couple weeks with a knee injury to make four tackles and recover a fumble for the Steelers in a 30-12 win over the Dolphins. Pittsburgh travels to Kansas City this week. Harris is on injured reserve after hurting his leg in Week 4.

Seattle: RB C.J. Prosise

Prosise (shoulder) didn’t make the active roster for a seventh straight week as the Seahawks cruised to a 26-6 victory of the Lions in the Wild Card round. Seattle will face Atlanta, the NFC’s top seed, this week.

Season complete

Arizona: TE Troy Niklas

Niklas appeared in three games, making one catch, before landing on injured reserve with a wrist injury. Arizona went 7-8-1, missing the playoffs.

Baltimore: OT Ronnie Stanley

Despite missing four games with a foot injury, Stanley became an anchor at left tackle for Baltimore. He made 12 starts in his rookie season as the Ravens went 8-8.

Buffalo: S Robert Blanton, S Sergio Brown

Blanton made 35 tackles in 10 games (two starts) before landing on injured reserve in week 11 with a foot injury. Brown finished with five tackles while appearing in eight games. Buffalo went 7-9.

Carolina: LS J.J. Jansen

Jansen maintained his hold on the starting long snapper job for Carolina, which wobbled to a 6-10 record a year after making the Super Bowl. Jansen appeared in all 16 games and made one tackle.

Chicago: DE Kapron Lewis-Moore

Lewis-Moore spent the entire season on the Ravens practice squad. But after four years in Baltimore, he’s on the move. Chicago signed him to a reserve/futures contract last week.

Cincinnati: TE Tyler Eifert, CB KeiVarae Russell

Injuries limited Eifert to just eight games this season. He made 29 catches on 47 targets for 394 yards and five touchdowns. But he missed the last game of the season with a back injury as the Bengals finished 6-9-1. Cincinnati picked up Russell right before the season but kept him inactive for most of it. Russell appeared in five games, totaling one tackle and an interception in the season finale.

Cleveland: RB George Atkinson III

Atkinson spent most of the season on special teams, specifically as a kick returner. He returned eight kicks for 137 yards and added a couple tackles on kick coverage. Cleveland (1-15) gave him some carries late in the season too. Atkinson had 34 yards and a touchdown on seven rushes.

Indianapolis: DB Matthias Farley

Farley appeared in all 16 games for the Colts (8-8) during his rookie season, mostly as a special teams player. He had 11 tackles.

Jacksonville: DL Sheldon Day, TE Ben Koyack, DT Louis Nix 

Koyack appeared in 14 games, making 19 catches on 24 targets for 161 yards and a touchdown. He added a couple tackles. Day suited up in all 16 games for the Jaguars (3-13) but made only eight tackles while adding one sack. Nix spent the season on the practice squad.

Minnesota: TE Kyle Rudolph, S Harrison Smith

Smith, who’s slated to start at free safety for the NFC in the Pro Bowl, finished second on the team with 91 tackles despite missing a couple games with an ankle injury. He added two sacks and a fumble recovery along the way. Rudolph made 83 catches (second on the team) on a team-high 132 targets for 840 yards and seven touchdowns, also a team high. Minnesota finished 8-8 after a 5-0 start.

San Diego: LB Manti Te’o

Te’o appeared in three games before a torn Achilles ended his season. He made 17 tackles. San Diego finished 5-11.

Tennessee: TE Anthony Fasano

Fasano dressed for all 16 games this season, finishing with eight catches on 14 targets for 83 yards and two touchdowns. Tennessee went 9-7.


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