Penn State Alumni Shine Through NFL Playoffs
Several Penn State football alumni participated in the NFL Playoffs over the past few weeks.
A total of 14 alumni played for the 12 teams that qualified for the playoffs. Two of those 14 will play in the Super Bowl when the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles meet on February 4 in Minnesota.
Here are some of the highlights of how some the Penn State alumni fared in their playoff cameos:
Chris Hogan — New England Patriots
Chris Hogan appeared in both of the Patriots’ playoff games this year, hauling in three passes for a total of 24 yards as the Patriots (gasp) won the AFC Championship for the third time in four seasons.
Hogan burst onto the scene during this same game last year; he hauled in nine passes for 180 yards and two scores as the Patriots beat the Steelers en route to a Super Bowl victory over Atlanta two weeks later. One of the Patriots’ other diminutive receivers shined in this year’s AFC title game, as Danny Amendola hauled in the game-winning touchdown with just over two minutes left as New England beat Jacksonville 24-20.
— NFL (@NFL) January 21, 2018
Regardless, Hogan has a good chance of picking up his second consecutive Super Bowl ring this year as he and the Patriots will take on the Philadelphia at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. His role in the passing game could potentially increase in the big game with star tight end Rob Gronkowski’s status up in the air due to a head injury suffered in the victory over Jacksonville.
Paul Posluszny — Jacksonville Jaguars
Paul Posluszny’s 11-year wait for a postseason appearance finally ended this year, when his Jacksonville Jaguars took on the Buffalo Bills(!) in one of the AFC’s Wild Card games.
The game was a bit of a dud, but the Jaguars picked up a 10-3 victory. Despite the victory, the game did not go as planned for Posluszny; he injured his hip in the second quarter and did not return. When he did play, he did not record a single tackle.
Although his impact in the game was limited, Paul Posluszny could’ve still boasted that he has never lost an NFL Playoff game in his career.
Posluszny returned to action for the Jaguars’ 45-42 upset of the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Divisional Round and was much more involved. He made three tackles during the offensive shootout as the Jaguars advanced to the AFC Championship Game for the first time since 1999.
The former Buffalo Bill made three tackles during the AFC Championship game as the Jaguars lost in heartbreaking fashion to the Patriots at Gillette Stadium.
Stefen Wisniewski — Philadelphia Eagles
Stefen Wisniewski made headlines during the Eagles’ Divisional Round victory over the Atlanta Falcons for a play he made in the fourth quarter.
Goodness #61 (Stefen Wisniewski) freight train down field pic.twitter.com/KrLFsu29ZB
— jeb hill (@memphistigerjeb) January 14, 2018
Wisniewski made several key blocks down the field after Jay Ajayi hauled in a screen pass to help set up the Eagles’ final field goal of the game en route to a 15-10 victory and a spot in the NFC Championship Game.
Wisniewski was back in action in the conference title game, starting at center as the Eagles won against the Minnesota Vikings. Unfortunately, he didn’t come up with any highlight-reel blocks.
Sam Ficken — Los Angeles Rams
After his time in Los Angeles got off to a rough start, Sam Ficken bounced back well in the wild card round while filling in for the injured Greg Zuerlein.
Ficken did not miss either of his two field goal attempts, converting from 35 and 32 yards. Additionally, he made the extra point after the Rams’ lone touchdown of the evening. Although he couldn’t help his team beat the Atlanta Falcons, Ficken played well and potentially earned himself an NFL job next season.