Well, folks. The season’s over and our 8 former Wildcats made their mark. Four UK guys are headed to the playoffs on 3 separate teams, with each playing having a successful season. We’ll keep you updated on their playoff performances as well. Before we part ways with NFL Cat Tracks for the 2011 season, I implore you guys to check out (and follow) my very good friends Houndmouth. They’re a new local band in the Louisville area who have recently got the ball rolling and are making some fantastic music. Check out the track “Penitentiary” here and a short live acoustic video for “Krampus”. Two new songs will be in the SoundCloud page shortly, as I’m helping them with some PR stuff at the moment and I’m excited for what they can do. Thanks for reading and listening!
Alfonso Smith, RB, Arizona (8-8) – 23-20 loss to CIN – no stats…Beanie Wells was out with an injury for the Cardinals’ final game, so we expected Fonzo to get some carries. This was, unfortunately, not the case. Instead, Arizona thrust LaRod Stephens-Howling into the fire, and he did well, gaining over 90 yards. I’m unsure what this means, if anything, for Smith’s future as a Card, but we will keep an eye out.
Randall Cobb, WR, Green Bay (15-1) – 45-41 win over DET – no stats (groin injury)…With the regular season at its end and Green Bay only dropping one game, they are the obvious favorites to win the Super Bowl as repeat champions. Unfortunately, Randall Cobb was sidelined week 17 with a lingering groin injury. The Packers expect him to be ready to go in 2 weeks. Check out Cobb’s impressive rookie stats below (the first set off return attempts are for punts, the second for kickoffs).
Tim Masthay, Punter, Green Bay (15-1) – 45-41 win over DET – 4 punts, 44 yd avg, 1 inside the 20…Masthay basically repeated last week’s stats to a ‘T’. With the Pack headed into their playoff run, expect the offense to be unstoppable and Masthay to see minimal kicking opportunities. Or the opposite could happen, depending on how well the opponent’s defenses prepare for them. Either way, as Tyler Montell pointed out yesterday, Tim Masthay is a boss and set the franchise single-season record for highest gross and net punting average.
Stevie Johnson, WR, Buffalo (6-10) – 21-49 loss to NE – 4 rec, 40 yds, 1 TD…The Bill end the season with only 6 wins, despite starting out 5-2. While this can be seen as a disappointment, there’s still the fact that Kentucky’s own Stevie Johnson has become a receiving-star. And our boy Rashawn Franklin wrote about the big payday headed Stevie’s way thanks to his performance. It’s been great to see Stevie follow up his breakout season last year with a solid performance of 76 rec, 1004 yds, and 7 TDS.
Wesley Woodyard, LB, Denver (8-8) – 3-7 loss to BUF – 1 tackles…This came was brutal, as you may expect any 7-3 showdown to be. Despite the .500 record, the Broncos are headed to the playoffs, so that’s the positive end of the season note. We will see if Tebow can work his magic against the Steelers. More importantly, Wes set a career high this season with 97 tackles and 3 forced fumbles.
John Conner, RB, New York Jets (8-8) – 17-19 loss to MIA – no stats…The Jets, with minimal playoff hopes that were shot down, dropped their final game of the season to a deceptively successful Dolphins team (despite the awful record). Conner didn’t get a carry, but he was targeted out of the backfield one time. I didn’t see it, but the target did not result in a pass. Let’s just blame it on Sanchez. See ya next year, John.
Jacob Tamme, TE, Indianapolis (2-14) – 13-19 win over HOU – 0 rec, 1 special teams tackle…Tamme found himself riding in the backseat again with Dallas Clark healthier. That’s alright, though – Jacob got his say by producing in Clark’s absence. His numbers weren’t as impressive as last season’s, but he did reel in 19 catches for 117 yards and 1 TD in limited action. Lots of stuff will be going down in Indy this offseason, and the firing of Bill Polian is only the first controversial thing to happen. Keep your eyes peeled as the Peyton Manning watch is about to begin once the Super Bowl ends.
Corey Peters, DT, Atlanta (10-6) – 45-24 win over TB – 1 tackle, 1 QB hit…The Falcons are heading into the playoffs with a positive vibe after shellacking the Bucs. Corey Peters has been a major player this season for the Falcons, and it’s been great to see. He’s solidified his spot as not only a starter, but a team leader. His success story is an impressive one. He finished with 23 tackles, 3 sacks, 1 INT, 1 fumble recover, and 1 TD. Nice work, let’s hope he has in impact in the playoffs.
Former Wildcats in the NFL Playoffs:
— PIT vs DEN (Woodyard) – Jan. 8, 4:30 PM, CBS
— ATL (Peters) vs NYG – Jan. 8, 1:00 PM, FOX
— GB (Cobb, Masthay) vs. winner of ATL/NYG – Jan. 15, 4:30 PM, FOX