Badgers in the NFL: Week 9

Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

Following your favorite Wisconsin football alumni week to week in the NFL can be a difficult task. Don't fret -- here's a recap of how the Badgers' brightest NFL stars did in their games this past weekend.

Just because they no longer play at Wisconsin doesn't mean that they aren't still Badgers. With that in mind, here's a look a how the Badgers of the NFL did in Week 9.

DT Nick Hayden, Dallas Cowboys

Last week, Montee Ball scored his first career touchdown. This week, it was Nick Hayden's turn. After Cordarrelle Patterson fumbled a kickoff return out of bounds at the 5-yard line, Christian Ponder fumbled the ball in the end zone and Hayden (2004-07) was in the right place at the right time and was able to fall on the ball for the touchdown, helping the Cowboys defeat the Minnesota Vikings, 27-23.

Hayden finished the day with six total tackles (four solo) -- his largest total since Dec. 13, 2009 -- and one quarterback hit in addition to the fumble recovery and touchdown.

The Cowboys head to New Orleans to take on Drew Brees and the Saints on Sunday Night Football in Week 10.

DE J.J. Watt, Houston Texans

The nickname "J.J. Swat" stems from Watt's ability to swat down 16 passes in 16 games last season. This week, with just four pass deflections through eight games, Watt (2009-10) decided to use his swatting ability on special teams.

On the Indianapolis Colts' first possession of the game, Watt blocked an Adam Vinatieri field-goal attempt and gave his best Dikembe Mutombo impression afterwards. It was the second blocked-kick of Watt's career and the first since his rookie season.

Watt amped up the pressure on Andrew Luck as the Pewaukee, Wis., native hit the second-year quarterback five times, deflected one of his passes (the first deflected pass Watt has recorded since Week 2 against the Tennessee Titans), and recorded a sack to bring him to 5.5 on the season.

The 6-foot-5, 289-pound defensive end had four total tackles but was unable to stop Luck and the Colts from mounting an enormous second-half comeback, as they went on to win 27-24 after trailing 20-3 at halftime. The Texans have now lost six straight after starting the season 2-0.

Houston travels to Glendale to take on the 4-4 Arizona Cardinals in Week 10.

QB Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks

After completing just 10 passes in Week 8 against the St. Louis Rams, Russell Wilson returned to his somewhat usual self in a Week 9 come-from-behind 27-24 overtime victory against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Despite being down 21-0 late in the first half, Wilson (2011) was able to make up for a first-quarter interception by orchestrating a scoring drive in just 36 seconds as a 10-yard touchdown pass to Jermaine Kearse made it 21-7 heading into the half.

Wilson shined after halftime, as the 2012 third-round draft pick was 15-of-18 in the second half and overtime. He also picked up his first rushing touchdown of the season late in the third quarter. With 1:51 remaining in regulation, Wilson then threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Doug Baldwin to tie up the game.

Earlier in the game, Wilson and Baldwin connected on a 19-yard pass, and this one had arguably a little bit more flair than the touchdown.

The theme of the day for Wilson -- who finished the day 19-of-26 with 217 yards, two passing touchdowns, two interceptions and one rushing touchdown -- was performing under pressure. Wilson was put under duress a career-high 55 percent of his dropbacks on Sunday, but gained 125 of his 217 passing yards and threw for both his touchdowns while in such situations. Wilson also, according to ESPN Stats & Information, was 9-of-11 passing while averaging 13.5 yards per attempt against pressure involving five or more pass rushers.

The victory extended Wilson's home unbeaten streak as the second-year starter is now a perfect 12-0 when playing at home and the Seahawks are now a franchise-best 8-1 to start the season.

The Seahawks visit the Atlanta Falcons next Sunday in Week 10.

Other notes from Badgers in the NFL

  • 2010 fourth-round draft pick Garrett Graham had four receptions on six targets for 46 yards in Houston's 27-24 loss to the Colts. Both the receptions and the targets were the second-highest of Graham's season.
  • 2011 second-round draft pick Lance Kendricks caught three passes on four targets for 13 yards in St. Louis' 28-21 loss to the Tennessee Titans.
  • 2012 sixth-round pick Brad Nortman punted the ball three times against the Atlanta Falcons as the Panthers were able to move the ball up and down the field as a part of their 34-10 victory. His punts traveled a total of 128 yards, an average of 42.7 yards per kick.
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