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Badgers in the NFL: Chris Borland, J.J. Watt dominate despite losses

So it's your second career start replacing a Pro Bowl linebacker, and all you do is record 18 tackles. Not too shabby, Chris Borland.

Ezra Shaw

By now, you've all seen the tackle/suplex combination former Wisconsin Badgers and current San Francisco 49ers linebacker Chris Borland laid on St. Louis Rams running back Tre Mason on Sunday. But just in case you didn't:

Though it was in a 13-10 loss to the Rams (which should have been a win if not for a Colin Kaepernick fumble at the goal line with 10 seconds left), Borland had a team-high -- and NFL season-high for a player in a single game -- 18 tackles, including 15 solo and three tackles for loss. This was his second NFL career start in as many weeks replacing stud All-Pro linebacker Patrick Willis. In fact, Borland was nominated for NFL Rookie of the Week honors:

We saw what Borland can do in his time at Madison, flying over defenders to make tackles, chasing down opposing running backs and, heck, kicking extra points. But Badgers play-by-play announcer Matt Lepay probably said it best Sunday evening with another epic event that was taking place not on the football field, but many stories above the ground in Chicago:

Other Badgers who shined

Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt had another outstanding outing in defeat, recording 1.5 sacks and seven tackles in a 31-21 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. Watt now has 8.5 sacks on the year, and is well on his way to NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors. His name should be in the running for NFL MVP, though of course, that award normally goes to offensive players.

No punt block for former Badgers safety Chris Maragos and the Eagles this week, but rookie nose guard Beau Allen recorded the first half-sack of his NFL career.

Joe Thomas, Jim Leonhard and the Cleveland Browns are now 5-3 after beating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 22-17. The win puts the Browns in third place in the AFC North, where, oddly, all four teams are above .500.

The Baltimore Ravens are the last-place team in that division after being trounced 43-23 by the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday night. Owen Daniels returned from injury, however, and had six catches for 53 yards. He also loudly and proudly repped his alma mater during Sunday Night Football introductions: