The Divisional round of the NFL playoffs featured five former Huskers and one player with a notable Nebraska connection.
The Dallas Cowboys and Los Angeles Rams game featured four Husker alumni, three of whom play on the defensive line, as they did in college.
The Cowboy’s defense featured former Huskers Maliek Collins and Randy Gregory, both of who were defensive linemen at Nebraska. Collins recorded six tackles in the game on Saturday, Jan. 12, four of which being solo stops. He also recorded one tackle for loss. Gregory did not play as many snaps as Collins, but still recorded one tackle.
The other Husker playing for the Cowboys was former Nebraska kicker and punter Brett Maher, who graduated from Kearney High before attending Nebraska. Maher had no field goal attempts in the game but connected on both his extra points.
Former Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh played on the other side for the Rams and earned his first career playoff victory. Previously, he was 0-3 in playoff games for Detroit and Miami.
Against the Cowboys, Suh had four tackles, three of which were solo. He was also credited with two of the Rams’ three quarterback hits and one of their six tackles for loss.
The other Ram with a Nebraska connection was kicker Greg Zuerlein who graduated from Lincoln Pius X High School before attending the University of Nebraska-Omaha. “Legatron,” as he is also known, was perfect on three extra points and went 3-4 on field goals. His only miss came from 63 yards out, when he pushed the kick wide right to end the first half.
Another former Nebraska player earned a first on Sunday, Jan. 13. Rex Burkhead, who played running back for Nebraska and now for the New England Patriots, scored his first career postseason touchdown. Burkhead took a handoff from quarterback Tom Brady off the left side of the offensive line and danced into the end zone from six yards out. That touchdown gave the Patriots a 27-7 lead over the Los Angeles Chargers, and they went on to win 41-28.
Only one Husker played in the Philadelphia Eagles versus the New Orleans Saints game. Former Nebraska safety Nathan Gerry recorded a special teams tackle for the Eagles.
The seasons of Collins, Gregory, Maher and Gerry are now finished with their team’s losses. On Sunday, Jan. 20, Suh and Zuerlein will face off with the Saints at 2:05 p.m. in New Orleans, while Burkhead and the Patriots will take on the Kansas City Chiefs at 5:40 p.m. in Kansas City, Missouri.