Brian Hoyer started his first NFL game at quarterback on Sunday for the Cardinals. Despite the best efforts of the former MSU star, Arizona fell to the 49ers, 27-13. Hoyer turned in a solid performance, completing 19 of 34 passes for 225 yards, a touchdown and an interception, just weeks after being signed by the struggling Cardinals. Hoyer looked sharp at many points of the game, completing passes of 37 and 53 yards to Michael Floyd. But the fourth year quarterback was hindered at times by an injury-ridden Arizona offensive line, which allowed two sacks and four quarterback hits. In the week leading up the Cardinalsâ€™ season finale, ESPN Analyst Ron Jaworski restated his high opinion of Hoyer on Arizona Sports 620â€™s â€œBurns & Gambo.â€ â€œI saw a lot of the little things in Hoyerâ€™s game [on tape] that leads me to believe that going into training camp and understanding the system, that he could be a starting quarterback in this league,â€ the former NFL QB said. â€œI told you a few weeks ago that I couldnâ€™t understand that after the Patriots released Brian Hoyer, he wasnâ€™t on someoneâ€™s roster.â€
Garrett Celek, Trenton Robinson and the 49ers clinched the NFC West title and first round bye with the victory. Celek did not have any receptions at tight end, while Robinson was inactive for the contest.
Punter Brandon Fields ended the season with a stellar day, but despite his best efforts, the Dolphins fell to the Patriots, 28-0. Fields punted five times for a 49.4 average in the season finale. The veteran, the winner of the fan vote for the punter to represent the AFC in the Pro Bowl, was not selected for the all-star game. Kansas Cityâ€™s Dustin Colquitt was chosen over Fields despite Fieldsâ€™ edge (50.3 to 46.7) in average yards per punt. â€œI definitely thought I had a Pro Bowl caliber season. If you look at my numbers they certainly justify it,â€ the Miami punter told the Sun-Sentinel. â€œEven though I’m disappointed about not making it I’m appreciative to all the fans who did vote for me, making me the first alternate.â€ However, Fields was nominated for one post-season award: the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award. Often participating in community service work on his off days, Fields is a visible part of the Miami community. For more on the nomination of Fields for the award, check out the full story here: http://www.thephinsider.com/2012/12/28/3811820/dolphins-noominate-brandon-fields-for-walter-payton-man-of-the-year
Domata Peko helped the Bengals roll into the postseason with a 23-17 victory over the rival Ravens on Sunday. Peko racked up three tackles, three assists, a tackle for loss and a pass defensed in the contest, while teammate Kyle Cook started at center. Peko finished the regular season with 53 tackles, two sacks and three passes defensed. Cincinnati will face off with the Colts next Saturday in the Wild Card round of the playoffs.
Wideout Plaxico Burress helped the Steelers secure a win over Pittsburghâ€™s hated rivals, the Cleveland Browns. Burress reeled in two passes for 24 yards, including a 12-yard game-sealing touchdown reception that gave the Steelers a 14 point lead late in the 4th quarter.
Recently signed defensive tackle Ogemdi Nwagbuo saw time at defensive tackle for the Lions, but did not have any stats in the 26-24 loss to the Bears. Chicagoâ€™s Kellen Davis started at tight end, but did not have any stats in the victory. Davis and the Bears will miss the postseason, as the Vikings clinched the remaining NFC wild card slot with a 37-34 win over the Packers.
Kevin Vickerson and the Broncos captured the #1 seed in the AFC playoffs and stretched their winning streak to 11 with a dominating 38-3 victory over the Packers. Vickerson started at defensive tackle, notching five tackles and two tackles for loss on the day.
Chargers running back Edwin Baker was not active for San Diegoâ€™s 24-21 triumph over the Raiders.
Rookie return man Keshawn Martin had a stellar day for the Texans, although Houston dropped a 28-16 decision to the Colts. Martin returned one punt for 23 yards and three kickoffs for an average of 31 yards, but Indianapolis looked dominant in Colts head coach Chuck Paganoâ€™s return. Indianapolis QB Drew Stanton did not play in the game. Both teams are bound for the postseason, as the Texans will host the Bengals, while the Colts will travel to Baltimore to face off against the Ravens next Sunday.
The Jets finished a disappointing 2012 season with a 28-9 loss to the Bills. New York safety Eric Smith chalked up two tackles, an assist and a special teams tackle in the loss.
Packers defensive tackle Jerel Worthy suffered what appeared to be a serious knee injury in Green Bayâ€™s 37-34 loss to the Vikings. Worthy is awaiting the results of tests done on his knee to determine the severity of the injury. The Packers and Vikings will play again next Saturday in the Wild Card round of the NFC playoffs.
Kirk Cousins did not play at quarterback for the Redskins, as Washington claimed the NFC East division title with a victory over the Cowboys on Sunday night, 28-18. The Redskins will play host to the Seahawks next Sunday in the Wild Card round of the NFC playoffs.
Below is a list of Spartans not on active rosters at seasonâ€™s end, but still in the league:
Finished Season on Practice Squads:
WR B.J. Cunningham, Eagles
DB Ross Weaver, Lions
OT D.J. Young, Browns
Finished Season on the Injured Reserve:
QB Nick Foles, Eagles (Broken Hand)
LB Greg Jones, Jaguars (Leg) **Placed on the I.R. on December 24th
DT Brandon McKinney, Colts (Knee)
RB Javon Ringer, Titans (MCL)
Thanks for reading, and make sure to check in next week to see how the nine playoff-bound Spartans fared in the Wild Card round!