OLD DeAndre Levy, Detroit Lions
Boy oh boy have the Detroit Lions gone downhill. After starting the season 6-3, the Lions have dropped five of their last six and are now eliminated from the playoffs.
"We let everybody down," Levy said after the game. "We let the organization down, the city down, the coaches down."
DeAndre Levy (2005-08), however, should enjoy his Christmas holiday knowing that he played absolutely no part in the Lions' demise. After recording seven tackles (six solo), one pass deflection, and one tackle for a loss in the playoff-eliminating 23-20 overtime loss to the 6-9 New York Giants, Levy now has 112 tackles (22nd in NFL), 80 solo tackles (17th), and six interceptions (2nd).
The Lions (7-8) will play a meaningless game in Minneapolis as they take on the Minnesota Vikings (4-10-1) in Week 17.
P Brad Nortman, Carolina Panthers
The Carolina Panthers (11-4) are going to the playoffs this season solely because of the right foot of Brad Nortman (2008-11). Well, okay fine. Maybe that's not the reason, but Nortman's play this season has been superb to say the least.
Eight times in Carolina's 17-13 victory over the New Orleans Saints (10-5) was Nortman called onto the field and he delivered with 406 total yards - good for an average of 50.8 yards per punt - and pinned the Saints inside their own five-yard line twice.
"All the punts I hit were exactly how I wanted them to be," Nortman said. "It was a big game, so to be able to hit those kinds of punts was big time. In close games like that, special teams needs to do its part."
The first punt of the second half traveled 41 yards and was downed at the Saints' two-yard line and the next punt, at the start of the fourth quarter, was downed at the Saints' three-yard line.
Nortman's punts have traveled an average distance of 47.7 yards per punt (fourth best in the NFL) and his net average of 41.7 yards is good for fifth in the NFL.
The second-year punter has posted career-highs in touchback percentage (6.3 percent), inside-20 percentage (34.4 percent), career long (72 yards), net punt average (41.7), and is just 215 yards shy of a career-high in total yards (3267) with still one game remaining.
The Panthers head to Atlanta to take on the Atlanta Falcons (4-11) in Week 17 with hopes of clinching the NFC South.
QB Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
It was only a matter of time before Russell Wilson (2011) lost a game at CenturyLink Field in Seattle. Wilson had been 14-0 at home in his young NFL career before the Arizona Cardinals (10-5) came into town. When they left, Wilson saw his perfect record at home disappear after the Cardinals' 17-0 victory.
Per ESPN Stats & Information, Wilson posted an 11.5 total QBR against Arizona, the worst of any of his 31 career starts. While under duress or when he was hit while throwing, Wilson was 0-8 passing with a 0.1 total QBR. Entering the game, Wilson had a 78.7 rating under such pressure - the 2nd-best rating in the league.
Wilson's 27 passes on the day actually was his six highest total of the season. He is averaging just 25.6 passing attempts per game, which is good for 42nd in the NFL, yet he has totaled over 3,100 yards so far this season and is 18th in that category.
The Seahawks (12-3) play host to the St. Louis Rams (7-8) in Week 17 where they will try to clinch the NFC West for the first time in the Russell Wilson era.
Other notes from Badgers in the NFL
- 2013 second-round draft pick Montee Ball (2009-12) carried the ball four times for 32 yards in the Denver Broncos' (12-3) 37-13 victory against the Houston Texans (2-13).
- Nick Hayden (2004-07) had five tackles in the Dallas Cowboys' (8-7) 24-23 win at FedEx Field against the Washington Redskins (3-12).
- Lance Kendricks (2008-10), a 2011 second-round draft pick, caught one ball for four yards in the Rams' 23-13 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-11).
- Matt Shaughnessy (2005-08) had three total tackles, two solo, and one QB hit in the Cardinals' 17-10 victory in Seattle.
- 2011 first-round draft pick J.J. Watt (2009-10) had two total tackles, one solo, and two QB hits in Houston's 37-13 loss at home to the Broncos. His two tackles were tied for his second fewest in a game since Week 17 of 2011 and the third lowest total of his career.
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