Former Alabama Stars Shine On NFL Playoff Stage
Over the weekend, the Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs kicked off, and with that many former Crimson Tide stars took the field with hopes of leading their team to the Super Bowl. Six of the eight divisional round teams were represented either on the field or on the sidelines by a former Alabama player, the most out of any school in college football.
With the Jacksonville Jaguars and Kansas City Chiefs being the two teams who do not roster a former Alabama star, Crimson Tide fans got their weekend kicked off in Philadelphia where the top-seed Eagles took on the Giants. The Eagles, led by National Championship-winning QB Jalen Hurts, steamrolled the Giants 38-7 to advance to the NFC Championship game.
Hurts finished with 154 yards on 16 completions and 2 TD’s through the air, while also showing off his mobility with a rushing touchdown right before halftime. Former Heisman Trophy winner, DeVonta Smith, reeled in six catches for 61 yards and a touchdown including a 40 yard reception that jump started the Eagles offense on their first drive of the game. Former Rimmington Award winner Landon Dickerson showed why he was a Pro-Bowl guard for the Eagles this year, allowing no sacks and delivering impactful blocks all game.
Despite the lopsided score, Giants safety Xavier McKinney was a force to be reckoned with on Saturday night. McKinney finished the game with 8 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 sack, 1 pass deflection, and a forced fumble. Former unanimous All-American Landon Collins did not shine as bright, recording just one tackle in the Giants loss. Giants rookie tackle Evan Neal struggled most of the game against the dominant Eagles pass-rush, allowing a sack in the effort.
Sunday afternoon saw a little less crimson action on the field as the Bills hosted the Bengals in a snowy game in Buffalo. Alabama’s Jonah Williams (CIN) and Jared Mayden (BUF) were both held out of the contest due to injuries.
A classic rivalry was renewed Sunday night when the Cowboys traveled out to Santa Clara to face the 49ers. San Francisco’s defense, led by Alabama legend, and now NFL defensive coordinator, DeMeco Ryans, shut down the Cowboys offense holding Dallas to just six offensive points. Only the third time this season that the Cowboys were held to under 14 points. Ryans’ defense tallied a sack and two interceptions to help seal the 19-12 victory.
College football national champion and All-Pro safety Trevon Diggs did what he could in his team's losing effort, making 4 tackles for the Cowboys.
Ryans and the 49ers will travel to Philadelphia next week to take on the Jalen Hurts led Eagles in the NFC Championship game in what should go down as a classic. The 49ers defensive coordinator will be looking to solidify his resume before hitting the head coaching market when the season wraps up. Ryans is currently the favorite to land the head coaching job for his former team, the Houston Texans.
Bengals tackle Jonah Williams will most likely miss the AFC Championship game in Kansas City as he’s still dealing with a knee injury suffered last week against Baltimore, so if you’re looking for Alabama football on Sunday, the NFC Championship will be where you find it.