It was an eventful week for several Michigan State football alumni. One led his team to a last minute comeback in lieu of the starter, another appeared in his first game of the regular season, and one was waived by a team and picked up two days later. Read on for the scoop on all of the 15 Spartans in the NFL.
Playing the role of the hero, rookie Kirk Cousins looked like an established veteran in the closing moments of regulation in the Redskinsâ€™ 31-28 overtime victory over the Ravens. Late in the fourth quarter, Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III was forced to exit the game with a Grade 1 sprain of the lateral collateral ligament in his right knee. Although not a serious injury, it was enough to take the rookie star out of the game, placing the game in Cousinsâ€™ hands. The former MSU phenom entered the game with 45 seconds remaining, the ball on Baltimoreâ€™s 26 yard line and a 28-20 deficit. The pressure did not faze Cousins. He completed two consecutive passes, the second of which, an 11-yard touchdown strike to Pierre Garcon, brought the score to 28-26. With the game hanging in the balance, Cousins ran the ball in from two yards out for the crucial two point conversion to send the game to overtime.
Following a 64-yard punt return by Richard Crawford, the Redskins sealed the amazing comeback victory with a Kai Forbath field goal early in overtime. Cousinsâ€™ final stat line might have been miniscule (2 of 2 passing for 26 yards) but his impact on the game was huge. Washington wideout Josh Morgan compared Cousins to a famous NBA player known for clutch plays. â€œHe's ice. Like they used to say about Larry Bird, he got ice water in his veins. That's the best thing you can say about Kirk,â€ he told Joseph White of the Associated Press. â€œHe was coming [on the field] like nothing was even going on.â€ For the full story on Cousins, check out: http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap1000000108741/article/kirk-cousins-david-wilson-help-spark-banner-day-for-nfc-east
Center Kyle Cook saw his first action of the regular season for the Bengals, splitting snaps with center Trevor Robinson in a narrow 20-19 loss to the Cowboys. Alternating every two series with the rookie, Cook was on the field for 31 snaps (tied with Robinson), and was the teamâ€™s center for the entire 4th quarter. â€œI felt pretty good,â€ Cook told Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com. Teammate Domata Peko started at defensive tackle, notching a tackle, assist and a quarterback hit in the defeat.
Former star MSU QB, Brian Hoyer, was put on waivers by the Steelers on Saturday, but was not out of a job for long. The Cardinals snagged Hoyer on Monday following a 58-0 blowout loss to the Seahawks. With starter Kevin Kolb out due to a rib injury, and backups John Skelton and Ryan Lindley having below average seasons, Hoyer appears to have a good chance for some playing time in Arizona.
Defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson started at defensive tackle, helping the Broncos advance past the Raiders, 26-13, on Thursday night. Vickerson did not record any stats in the win.
Steelers wide receiver Plaxico Burress reeled in his first catch since last season, and his first in a Pittsburgh uniform since 2004, in a 34-24 loss to the Chargers. The veteranâ€™s reception was good for 18 yards.
Jerel Worthy of the Packers saw time at defensive tackleduring Green Bayâ€™s 27-20 triumph over the Lions, recording one quarterback hit in the game.
Bears tight end Kellen Davis netted three receptions for 25 yards in the Vikingsâ€™ 21-14 upset win over Chicago.
In a showdown between two struggling teams, Eric Smith and the Jets emerged victorious over Greg Jones and the Jaguars, 17-10. Smith notched one tackle and two quarterback hits, while Jones had one special teams tackle in the contest.
The Coltsâ€™ surprising playoff run continued on Sunday, as the team conquered the Titans, 26-23. Backup quarterback Drew Stanton was not active for Indianapolis.
Garrett Celek, Trenton Robinson and the 49ers bested Brandon Fields and the Dolphins, 27-13. Celek played at tight end, but did not record any stats, while Robinson was not active. Fields punted three times for Miami, averaging 47.3 yards on three punts.
Keshawn Martin and the Texans had a tough evening on Monday in an embarrassing 42-14 loss to the Patriots. The Texans did not score until late in the third quarter, while Martin was bottled up by a stingy New England defense. The rookie caught one pass for negative four yards, also returning two punts for one yard and two kickoffs for 39 yards.