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Hawkeyes in NFL Week 17: Former Iowa Players Heading to Playoffs

December 30, 2019

Written by Rob Howe

Hawkeye Nation

The Iowa media guide lists 46 former players that have competed in the Super Bowl. A couple of Hawkeyes will be striving for a return trip this year while some others are looking to make their first appearance.

Guard Marshal Yanda helped Baltimore post an NFL best 14-2 record. He and many of the Ravens sat out Sunday’s 28-10 victory against Pittsburgh with the home-field advantage in the AFC already secured. He starred for the Ravens when they won the Super Bowl following the 2012 season.

New England squandered a chance at locking up a first-round bye Sunday, losing 27-24 at home against lowly Miami. The Patriots landed in the Wildcard round, where it will play host Tennessee on Saturday with offensive lineman James Ferentz seeking his fourth Super Bowl appearance.

Tight end George Kittle starred for San Francisco during this year’s march to 13-3 and home-field throughout the NFC playoffs. In Sunday’s 26-21 victory at Seattle, the third-year standout caught all seven of his targets for 86 yards. He finished the campaign with 1,053 receiving yards after putting up 1,377 a season ago.

Kittle became the fifth 49er with back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. The others were Jerry Rice, Anquan Boldin, Terrell Owens and John Taylor, all receivers.

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With its 31-21 triumph against the visiting Chargers and New England’s loss, Kansas City received a bye. Linebacker Anthony Hitchens delivered a team-high 10 tackles, including two for loss. Fellow linebacker Ben Niemann added four stops, three of which were solo.

Green Bay pulled out a 23-20 win in Detroit and with it received a bye. Bryan Bulaga manned right offensive tackle for the Packers and Josh Jackson appeared on special teams.

So, in review, the four teams with first-round byes in the NFL playoffs feature former Hawkeyes. San Francisco has Kittle and C.J. Beathard, Yanda is on Baltimore’s roster, Hitchens and Niemann play for Kansas City, and Bulaga and Jackson line up for Green Bay.

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Safety Micah Hyde played only one series in Buffalo’s 13-6 loss against the visiting Jets with the Bills already locked into a road game in the Wildcard round. Backup offensive lineman Ike Boettger saw some action for the first time since early in the season.

Minnesota also knew it was headed to a road game in the wildcard round before Sunday’s 21-19 loss to visiting Chicago. Starting left offensive tackle Riley Reiff sat out, while backup defensive tackle Jaleel Johnson started and recorded four tackles. He went up against Bears’ guard James Daniels.

In other news about Hawkeyes in the NFL:

-The Rams finished up with a 31-24 win against the visiting Cardinals. Guard Austin Blythe started his 16th game of the season for Los Angeles, which ended up at 9-7 and missing the playoffs after last year’s Super Bowl appearance.

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-Atlanta recorded a 28-22 victory at Tampa Bay. Veteran defensive end Adrian Clayborn sat out with a knee injury after starting his first game of the season a week ago. For the Bucs, rookie linebacker Anthony Nelson saw his first action since Nov. 3 and contributed a tackle.

-Jacksonville knocked off visiting Indianapolis, 38-20. Defensive tackle Carl Davis played for the first time since Dec. 1 and was credited with a solo tackle.

-Denver topped visiting Oakland, 16-15. Rookie tight end Noah Fant caught one of two targets for four yards, finishing the season with 40 receptions for 562 yards and three touchdowns. Linebacker Josey Jewell recorded three tackles, two of which were solo, and Casey Kreiter handled long snaps.

-Tennessee defeated Houston, 35-14. Rookie safety Amani Hooker did not record any statistics for the Titans but played in all 16 games this season with 12 stops (eight solo).

-Cincinnati beat rival Cleveland, 33-23. Defensive back Greg Mabin was not credited with any statistics.

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