News, notes, highlights and articles on former Wisconsin Badgers in the NFL for weeks one through 15 can be found here, while a full list of former Badgers on active NFL rosters is here.
Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks quarterback
While his team lost to the division-rival Arizona Cardinals and despite being sacked six times, Russell Wilson had a career day on Christmas Eve. Wilson helped dig his team from a 14-3 deficit by completing 29 of 45 passes for 350 yards and four touchdowns, including a game-tying touchdown pass with just over a minute left in the game. The 45 pass attempts and 350 yards were the most of Wilson’s career, while the four touchdowns were a season-high. The performance landed him a nomination for the FedEx Air Player of the Week.
Earlier in the week, Wilson played the role of Santa for his teammates:
Russell Wilson bought his entire O-Line TV's for Christmas (via Kameron Chancellor/Instagram). pic.twitter.com/XGKxHipTMR— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) December 22, 2016
Seahawks' QB Russell Wilson got each Seattle player and coach two first-class plane tickets on Alaskan Airlines for Xmas, per team official.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 24, 2016
James White, New England Patriots running back
White continued his strong 2016 campaign in New England’s crowded backfield. He only carried the ball once for 14 yards, but caught three balls for 32 yards. One of those catches was this 25-yard touchdown that contributed to the 41-3 win over the New York Jets:
The 25-yard touchdown deep from Tom Brady to James White, #Patriots take a 27-0 lead over #Jets at half pic.twitter.com/WkbyDRxA5Q— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) December 24, 2016
Alex Erickson, Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver/return-man
The Darlington, Wis., native returned four kicks for 104 yards, including a long of 35 yards in the Cincinnati’s loss to the Houston Texans. With one game to play in the NFL season, Erickson leads the league in kick return yardage and ranks second in yards per return. He added one catch for five yards and returned six punts for a total of 12 yards, but muffed one punt that he recovered himself.
The NFL announced the 2017 Pro Bowl rosters last week, and several former Badgers made the list:
- Joe Thomas became just the fifth player in NFL history to be named to 10 straight Pro Bowls to begin a career. Thomas and the Cleveland Browns followed the good news up with a win over San Diego to avoid a chance at a winless season.
- Travis Frederick earned his third Pro Bowl nomination. The fourth-year center has helped the Dallas Cowboys clinch the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs.
- While Thomas and Frederick were the only starters named, a few other former Badgers were named as alternates. Melvin Gordon, Russell Wilson and Chris Maragos were each listed as alternates at running back, quarterback and special teams, respectively.
- Brad Nortman punted three times, landing one inside the 20-yard line. He averaged 48.3 yards-per-punt as his Jacksonville Jaguars won, 38-17.
- The Los Angeles Rams only thew for 90 yards, but 36 of those went to tight end Lance Kendricks. Kendricks’s three catches also led the team and he recorded a long of 24 yards.
- Kendricks’ teammate Rob Havenstein left Saturday’s loss with an ankle injury. Time will tell whether he plays in this weekend’s season finale.
- Beau Allen recorded three tackles on Thursday Night Football as the Philadelphia Eagles upset the New York Giants, 24-19.
- On the other side of the Eagles’ win was Giants linebacker Jonathan Casillas, who recorded just one tackle in the loss.
- San Diego Chargers fullback Derek Watt recorded one catch for 16 yards on Saturday.
- Detroit Lions linebacker DeAndre Levy tallied two tackles as Detroit lost to Dallas, 42-21.
- Joe Schobert saw work on special teams and recorded a tackle in the Browns’ win.
- Kraig Urbik started at center for the Miami Dolphins as they clinched a playoff berth over the weekend.
- Rick Wagner’s season may be over; he left last weekend’s game with a concussion and his Baltimore Ravens were officially eliminated from playoff contention.