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49ers' Alex Mack One of 5 Ex-Cal Players in NFL Playoffs; Keenan Allen Falls Agonizingly Short

If the Raiders and Chargers had tied Sunday, Allen would be in the postseason

If Raiders quarterback Derek Carr had taken a knee and let the clock run out in overtime Sunday night, former Cal star and current Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen would be preparing for next week's NFL playoffs. Carr and the Raiders would have been in the playoffs too, because the score was tied 32-32 at the time and a tie game would have put both the Chargers and the Raiders into the postseason.

If Chargers head coach Brandon Staley hadn't called that perplexing timeout with 38 seconds left, Allen might be going to the playoffs.

But Staley did call the timeout, and Carr then called a timeout with three seconds left in the extra period, Daniel Carlson kicked a 47-yard field goal on the final play of overtime, and the Raiders won 35-32, sending the Raiders along with the Steelers to next weekend's wild-card games.

It left the Chargers out, reducing the number of former Cal players in the playoffs by two -- Allen and Chargers tight end Stephen Anderson.

Allen had six catches for 52 yards, including a key fourth-down catch late in the fourth quarter Sunday, but his season is over after piling up a career-high 106 receptions for 1,138 yards and six touchdowns. It got Allen a Pro Bowl selection but not a postseason berth.

Meanwhile, former Cal star DeSean Jackson, now with the Raiders, will advance to the playoffs, even though he did not catch a single pass or was not even targeted on Sunday.  A check of the Raiders active roster indicates Jackson is still on the team, but you would not have known it Sunday.

The Raiders will have a relatively quick turnaround because they will face the Bengals in Cincinnati on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. Pacific time in their wild-card game.

San Francisco's remarkable comeback victory over the Rams also ruined the postseason hopes of another ex-Golden Bears player -- Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan. The Saints won their game over the Falcons 30-20 to give them a chance at a playoff berth, but when the 49ers overcame a 17-0 deficit to win in overtime, it eliminated the Saints. Had the 49ers lost, Jordan and the Saints would be playing next weekend.

Instead, there will be just five ex-Golden Bears playing next weekend.

Here are the five former Cal stars in the playoffs:

1. 49ers center Alex Mack. In his first season with the 49ers, the five-time Pro Bowl selection benefited from San Francisco's 27-24 overtime win over the Rams. The 49ers would have been eliminated from postseason play if they had lost Sunday's game, but Mack was part of the 49ers strong offensive front that helped San Francisco eat up the Rams defense with a strong ground game in the second half.

The sixth-seeded 49ers will face the No. 3 seeded Dallas Cowboys on the Cowboys' home field on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. Pacific time. And that brings us to the second Cal alum in the playoffs.

2. Cowboys punter Bryan Anger. Released by the Texans in the offseason, Anger signed with the Cowboys and was selected to the Pro Bowl for the first time. He will do the punting in next weekend's game against the 49ers.

3. Raiders wide receiver DeSean Jackson. He's caught passes this season for two teams in the playoffs. He caught 12 passes while with the Rams early this season, then had eight catches with the Raiders after being waived by the Rams. He doesn't figure to be much of a factor in Saturday's game against the Bengals, but who knows?

4. Eagles tight end Richard Rodgers Jr. Rodgers has been off and on the Eagles' active roster all season and has played in only three games this season.  But he made his first two receptions of this season in Saturday's loss to the Cowboys. Rodgers participated in 38 offensive plays and 17 special teams plays in that game. 

The seventh-seeded Eagles face the No. 2 seeded Buccaneers in Tampa at 10 a.m. on Sunday. Whether Rodgers plays against the Bucs -- or is even on the Eagles' active roster for that game -- remains to be seen.

5. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. The Packers and Rodgers knew before they played Sunday's game against the Lions that they would be the No. 1 seed in the NFC and have a bye this coming weekend.  The following weekend, the Packers will host the lowest remaining NFC seed. Rodgers had a good game against the Lions, but only played the first half, and the Lions eventually won 37-30.

Three other former Cal players are affiliated with teams heading to the playoffs but are not on active rosters. Steelers defensive lineman Tyson Alualu has been on injured reserve for almost the entire season after suffering a broken ankle in September and he won't play next week. Tight end Ian Bunting is on the Cowboys' practice squad, and quarterback Davis Webb is on the Bills' practice squad, so if a couple Dallas tight ends or a Buffalo quarterback or two gets hurt in practice this week, Bunting and/or Webb conceivably could be on active rosters for the postseason.

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Here's next week's playoff schedule. All times are Pacific times.


1:30 p.m. -- Las Vegas Raiders at Cincinnati Bengals

5:15 p.m. -- New England Patriots and Buffalo Bills



10 a.m. -- Philadelphia Eagles at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

1:30 p.m. -- San Francisco 49ers at Dallas Cowboys

5:15 p.m. -- Pittsburgh Steelers at Kansas City Chiefs



5:15 p.m. -- Arizona Cardinals at Los Angeles Rams


Cover photo of Keenan Allen by Orlando Ramirez, USA TODAY


Follow Jake Curtis of Cal Sports Report on Twitter: @jakecurtis53

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