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Badgers in the NFL: Week 17

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Jonathan Taylor has an all-time rushing performance, Quintez Cephus scores a touchdown and Rick Wagner steps up for the Packers.

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Veterans

  • Russell Wilson, QB (Seahawks): Wilson threw for 181 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions in Seattle’s win over the 49ers. The former Super Bowl Champion finished the season with career-highs in both passing touchdowns (40) and interceptions (13). Wilson cooled off down the stretch this season, but will look to lead the Seahawks to a Wild Card win over the Rams on Saturday.
  • James White, RB (Patriots): White caught four of his seven targets for 31 yards and one receiving touchdown, his first of the season, in Week 17. The seven year veteran was hampered by a run-heavy offensive in New England this season and quarterback Cam Newton was a huge step down from Tom Brady in the passing game. White will hit unrestricted free agency this offseason and is sure to get plenty of interest among contending teams.
  • Melvin Gordon, RB (Broncos): The six year veteran rushed for 93 yards on 26 carries and had four catches for 17 receiving yards in Denver’s loss to the Raiders. Gordon quietly had productive season for the Broncos, finishing with 986 rushing yards, ten total touchdowns, and 4.6 yards per carry (second best average of his career).
  • Corey Clement, RB (Eagles): Clement played 21% of offensive snaps with starter Miles Sanders inactive for Sunday night’s game. He rushed for one yard on his lone carry and caught one pass for seven receiving yards in Philly’s loss to Washington.
  • Dare Ogunbowale, RB (Jaguars): With starter James Robinson inactive for a second straight week, Ogunbowale handled a heavy workload and played 97% of offensive snaps. He finished Sunday’s game with 50 rushing yards and hauled in four of his seven targets for 22 receiving yards. Ogunbowale may have earned himself a new contact for next season with his play the past two weeks.
  • Derek Watt, FB (Steelers): Watt saw action on 68% of special teams snaps and recorded no tackles for the Steelers in Week 17.
  • Alec Ingold, FB (Raiders): Ingold played 26 total snaps (9 offensive, 17 special teams) but had no touches in the Raiders’ win over the Broncos.
  • Ryan Ramczyk, OT (Saints): Ramczyk started at right tackle and played 100% of offensive snaps on Sunday.
  • Rick Wagner, OT (Packers): The eight year veteran started at right tackle and played every offensive snap in the Packers’ win over the Bears. With David Bakhtiari out for the season with a torn ACL, Wagner will be an important starter for the Packers in the playoffs.
  • Rob Havenstein, OT (Rams): Havenstein started at right tackle and was on the field for every offensive snap in the Rams’ playoff-clinching win over the Cardinals.
  • Kevin Zeitler, OG (Giants): Zeitler started at right guard and played every offensive snap for the Giants in Week 17.
  • David Edwards, OG (Rams): Edwards started at left guard and played 100% of offensive snaps in the Rams’ win over the Cardinals.
  • Michael Deiter, C (Dolphins): The Dolphins’ backup center logged just four special teams in Week 17.
  • Troy Fumagalli, TE (Broncos): Fumagalli played just 14% of offensive snaps on Sunday, but made the most of them, catching two passes for 15 yards and his first touchdown of the season.
  • Alex Erickson, WR (Bengals): The former walk-on played a season-high 86% of offensive snaps, but only hauled in one catch for eight yards in Cincinnati’s blowout loss to the Ravens. Erickson also returned two punts for 26 total yards.
  • J.J. Watt, DE (Texans): The three-time Defensive Player of the Year notched three tackles, two tackles for loss, and two quarterback hits in Week 17. After missing eight games last season, It was great to see Watt stay healthy and play all 16 games this year. The Texans are due for a rebuild and it’s likely Watt will be traded in the offseason to a team with Super Bowl aspirations.
  • Joe Schobert, LB (Jaguars): Schobert played every defensive snap and had nine tackles in the Jaguars’ loss to the Colts. The former walk-on finished fourth in the NFL in total tackles with 141 and has notched 100+ tackles in four straight seasons.
  • T.J. Watt, LB (Steelers): With the Steelers having already locked up the AFC North, Watt was inactive for the final week of the regular season. The Defensive Player of the Year favorite ends the season ranked first in the NFL in sacks (15), tackles for loss (23), and quarterback hits (41).
  • T.J. Edwards, LB (Eagles): Edwards finished Sunday night’s loss to the Washington Football Team with seven tackles and an interception.
  • Ryan Connelly, LB (Vikings): Connelly logged 19 snaps on special teams and recorded one tackle in the Vikings’ win over the Lions.
  • Andrew Van Ginkel, LB (Dolphins): Van Ginkel was one of the few bright spots for the Dolphins in their disappointing loss to the Bills on Sunday. The outside linebacker finished with five tackles, three tackles for loss, one sack and one pass defended in the season finale.
  • Jack Cichy, LB (Buccaneers): Cichy, who had been on the Patriots’ practice squad the last few weeks, was signed back to the Buccaneers’ active roster last Friday. He saw his first game action since Week 5 on Sunday, playing 54% of special teams snaps and recording one tackle in Tampa Bay’s win.
  • Natrell Jamerson, DB (Panthers): For the third straight week Jamerson was inactive and did not play for the Panthers.

Rookies

  • Jonathan Taylor, RB (Colts): Taylor exploded for 253 rushing yards (ninth most in a single game in NFL history) and two touchdowns in the Colts’ playoff-clinching win over the Jaguars. It was an eye-opening performance from JT, who became the youngest player ever (21) to rush for 250 yards in a game. The former Doak Walker Award(s) winner finished a stellar rookie reason ranked third in the NFL in rushing yards (1,169) with an impressive 5.0 yards per carry average. Taylor and the Colts will take on the red hot Bills this Saturday in a Wild Card matchup.
  • Quintez Cephus, WR (Lions): Cephus hauled in two catches for 51 yards and a touchdown in Week 17. The fifth round pick never caught more than three passes in a game this season, but he did have four games with at least 40+ receiving yards.
  • Tyler Biadasz, C (Cowboys): Biadasz logged just five special teams snaps in the Cowboys’ loss to the Giants. Despite playing a reserve role down the stretch, Biadasz shined in four starts as a rookie and could be in line to begin next season as the Cowboys’ starting center with veteran Joe Looney set to hit free agency.
  • Zack Baun, LB (Saints): Baun finally saw some significant playing time on defense for the Saints and played a season-high 35% of defensive snaps in Week 17. The second round pick finished with two tackles and one tackle for loss in New Orleans’ win over the Panthers. Baun was a significant contributor on special teams this year and hopefully will see an increased role on defense next season.