Top Rookies Still In Playoffs
The former Texas Longhorn caught a team-high five passes for a team-leading 83 yards in a Week 16 victory over Jacksonville, but hasn't snagged a ball since. Still, he can't be discounted in a Patriots offense that thrives on its tight ends.
Having already secured a trip to the Pro Bowl, the former Miami Hurricane must overcome a case of the dropsies to be the X-factor as the Bears try to claw their way to Super Bowl XLI in Miami. Hester mishandled a couple of kicks last weekend and had a 63-yard return for a touchdown negated by a penalty.
His 15-yard run on a successful fake punt energized the Saints last week and enabled them to attempt a Hail Mary before the end of the first half. The Illinois grad has a 40.3-yard average on three postseason punts.
The fourth-round pick out of Division II Bloomsburg started all 16 regular season games for New Orleans and held his own last week against his hometown Eagles.
The Bears might not have finished the season ranked second against the pass without the Abilene Christian product. He had two interceptions in 2006, along with five passes defensed, 67 tackles and four forced fumbles. He had five tackles in the divisional round win over Seattle.
Instead of their usual "Who dat?" chant, Saints fans were literally asking "Who is that?" when Colston was drafted out of Hofstra. He has continued his consistency in the playoffs with five catches for 55 yards in the win over Philly.
The former Gopher's 69 yards on 18 carries helped carry the Patriots past the Jets in the first round, but another performance like the five yards on five carries he had against the Chargers will not do. On the other hand, he has returned five kickoffs for 109 yards.
Never one to be confused with a Trojan horse, the former USC star's antics have been no surprise. His versatility and explosiveness have made him an easy target for Drew Bees and a nice complement to Deuce McAlister. He had 95 combined yards and one TD against Philly.
The former LSU back is Indy leading rusher in the playoffs with 161 yards on 43 carries and one touchdown. He's tied for second in receptions with 10 for 48 yards.
The Howard grad leads the Colts with two playoff interceptions, including what may have been the play of the game against Baltimore, when he picked off Steve McNair at the 1.
Adam Vinatieri who? With three field goals of his own against the Chargers, including a 50-yarder and a 31-yard game-winning boot with 1:31 left, the Memphis grad (3) has picked up where his predecessor left off.
With a spicy offensive approach and pressure-cooker defense, the first-year coach has marched the Saints out of the depths of Katrina's displacement and into unfamiliar territory on the brink of the Super Bowl.