The number of MSU alumni on NFL rosters swelled to 20, as two players were picked up from the free agent wire and another found a spot on a teamâ€™s active roster. A number of Spartans had impressive performances in a week crucial to determining playoff participants.
Eagles quarterback Nick Foles had one such notable game, completing 32 of 48 passes for an impressive 345 yards in a narrow 27-20 loss to the surging Redskins. But the rookie was hampered by a few negative plays, as he was intercepted once, lost a fumble and was sacked five times by a rabid Redskins defense. Foles broke his hand in the second quarter, returning to the game when X-rays at the stadium turned out negative. But an MRI taken on Monday showed a hairline fracture, so Foles will likely not play next week. As reported by Yahoo! Sports, Philadelphia head coach Andy Reid praised the young QB for not complaining about the injury. â€œHe was in quite a bit of pain. I know at one point he was having a tough time squeezing the ball when we went into half time,â€ Reid said. â€œHeâ€™s a tough kid and never said a word about it. He pushed himself through and did a good job.â€
For Washington, quarterback Kirk Cousins did not play one week after leading his team to a win over the Browns. The Redskins control their playoff fate: if the team wins its showdown with the Cowboys next Sunday, Washington will clinch its first postseason appearance since 2007.
Domata Peko and Kyle Cook helped the Bengals secure a 13-10 victory over their AFC North rival, the Pittsburgh Steelers, as well as a playoff spot. Peko started at nose tackle, racking up one tackle, three assists and a tackle for loss. Cook, who sustained an injury earlier in the year, started at center for the first time in the 2012 regular season. For Pittsburgh, wide receiver Plaxico Burress was not active.
Recently signed by Arizona to help ease the teamâ€™s quarterback woes, Brian Hoyer got an opportunity to do just that halfway through the Cardinalsâ€™ 28-13 loss to the Bears. Hoyer completed 11 of 19 passes for 105 yards and an interception after entering the game with 12:39 left in the 3rd quarter. After finishing the game at quarterback, Hoyer may get the start next week against the 49ers. For the Bears, tight end Kellen Davis hauled in two passes for 19 yards on the day.
Defensive tackle Jerel Worthy was not active for the Packers in Green Bayâ€™s 55-7 drubbing of the Titans.
Brandon Fields helped the Dolphins win the field position battle and eventually the war against the Bills, 24-10. Fields punted three times for an average of 42.7 yards, pinning Buffalo inside its own 20 yard line twice. The veteran recently captured the fan vote for the punter on the AFC squad for the Pro Bowl. (Following the other two components of the nomination process, the player and coach votes, the final Pro Bowl teams will be announced on NFL Network on Wednesday, Dec. 26 at 7:00pm ET.) Fields leads the NFL with a 50.3 yard average per punt.
Defensive back Ross Weaver was signed to the Lionsâ€™ practice squad on Tuesday, Dec. 18. Defensive tackle Ogemdi Nwagbuo was also signed by Detroit one day later. Though on the teamâ€™s 53-man roster, Nwagbuo was not active for the Lionsâ€™ 31-18 loss to the Falcons on Thursday.
The 49ers suffered a surprising 42-13 rout at the hands of the Seahawks on Sunday night. San Francisco tight end Garrett Celek, not a typical target for QB Colin Kaepernick, hauled in two passes for 41 yards, including one that went for 35 yards. Celek was on the field for 29 snaps, a season high for the rookie. Fellow teammate Trenton Robinson was not active for the game.
Kevin Vickerson was part of a Denver defense that shut down the Brownsâ€™ offense for much of the day in a dominating 34-12 win over Cleveland. Though he started at defensive tackle, Vickerson did not have any stats in the game.
San Diego promoted running back Edwin Baker to the teamâ€™s 53-man roster on Wednesday, Dec. 19, but he was not active for the teamâ€™s 27-17 victory over the Jets. New York safety Eric Smith saw some playing time, but did not have any stats on the day.
Rookie playmaker Keshawn Martin had a solid day, but the Texans ultimately fell to the Vikings in disappointing fashion, 23-6. Martin returned two punts for 16 yards and four kicks for 84 yards, with his longest kick return being of 24 yards.
Quarterback Drew Stanton was not active for the Colts in a 20-13 triumph over the Chiefs that sealed a playoff berth for Indianapolis.
Greg Jones notched one special teams tackle for the Jaguars in the teamâ€™s 23-16 loss to the playoff-bound Patriots.