As the 2017 NFL season heads into the playoffs beginning this weekend, so do a handful of Oklahoma Sooners whose seasons continue into the new year. We thought we’d give you a rundown of the season’s stats for some former OU standouts, as well as preview the playoff matchups for the Sooners who suit up this weekend.
Titans vs. Chiefs (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. CT)
DeMarco Murray completed his 2017 season with 659 rushing yards and six touchdowns on 184 carries, along with 39 catches for 266 yards and a touchdown. The all-time touchdown leader in Oklahoma history is out as the Titans head to Kansas City for a matchup with the Chiefs in Arrowhead Stadium on Saturday afternoon. If his teams get W, he can hopefully come back for the next round.
Bills vs. Jaguars (Sunday, 12:00 p.m. CT)
Dede Westbrook’s rookie season, though abbreviated by injury, was nonetheless a resounding success considering he’s back on the field at the right time as the Jaguars begin the playoffs on their home field. The electric rookie wideout Westbrook finished his inaugural NFL season with 27 catches for 339 yards and touchdown, and has quickly become the top target in the Jacksonville offense.
On the defensive side for the Jags is former All-Big 12 defensive back Aaron Colvin. A key cog in the dominant Jacksonville defense, Colvin made his share of plays this season, and his versatility in playing multiple positions in the secondary proved to be impactful to the team’s defensive success. Colvin finished the 2017 season with 38 solo tackles and assisted on seven more, and added five defended passes along with a fumble recovery.
Panthers vs. Saints (Sunday, 3:30 p.m. CT)
The Carolina Panthers will take on the New Orleans Saints in one of the two NFC Wildcard matchups this weekend. Offensive lineman Daryl Williams got some good news earlier in the week. The former Sooner and starting right guard for the Panthers was awarded a spot on the All-Pro Second Team for his outstanding 2017 season. Williams was a key force in the Panthers run game and also provided ample protection for 2015 NFL MVP Cam Newton.
Another former Sooner to be recognized as an All-Pro was right tackle Lane Johnson of the NFC’s top-seeded Philadelphia Eagles, who await the lowest-seeded Wild Card winner on January 13. The freakishly athletic Johnson, named First Team All-Pro in his fifth season with the resurgent Eagles, not only helped protect quarterback and MVP candidate Carson Wentz, he was also a major force in developing Philadelphia into one of the most effective rushing attacks in the league. Despite the season-ending injury sustained by Wentz last month, Johnson and the Eagles offense are still considered a contender to win the NFC with backup QB Nick Foles at the helm.
Congrats to both Lane Johnson and Daryl Williams on their All-Pro selections and best wishes on their continued success in their pro careers.
Also on playoff rosters are former Oklahoma Sooners David King (DE - Titans), James Winchester (LS - Chiefs), Landry Jones (QB - Steelers), Sam Bradford (QB - Vikings), Blake Bell (TE - Vikings) and Geneo Grissom (DE - Patriots).
The following Sooners will not be playing in the NFL postseason. Here’s a look at how they fared in 2017.
Washington rookie and OU all-time rushing leader Samaje Perine rushed for 603 yards and one touchdown on 175 carries through all 16 games. Perine, who became the starter following the mid-season injury to Rob Kelley, also caught 22 passes for 182 yards and a touchdown.
His teammate on the other side of the football, defensive tackle Stacy McGee, finished 2017 with a total of 44 combined tackles (24 solo) and defended a pass on the season for Washington.
Perine’s former OU backfield mate and fellow rookie Joe Mixon rushed for 626 yards and four touchdowns on 178 carries, along with 30 receptions for 287 yards for the Bengals. Mixon suffered a concussion late in the season and was forced to miss two games but returned in Week 17 to record 96 yards on 18 carries in a win against the Ravens on New Year’s Eve. Mixon’s teammate and rookie linebacker Jordan Evans, finished with 38 combined tackles (27 solo) and defended two passes in his first NFL season with the Bengals.
Dolphins wide receiver and Kenny Stills finished a solid 2017 season with 58 receptions for 847 yards and six touchdowns. He was a focal point of the Miami offense as the primary deep threat, especially during the games with backup quarterback Matt Moore behind center. Stills’ teammate, running back Damien Williams, rushed for 181 yards on 46 carries and added 20 receptions for 155 yards and a score while starting a couple of ballgames in 2017. Miami defensive tackle Jordan Phillips registered 10 solo tackles, six assisted tackles and two sacks on the year.
Sterling Shepard finished his second season in the NFL with 59 catches on 84 targets for 731 yards and two touchdowns. Though the Giants were decimated by injury all season, Shep looked great when he was on the field.
Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy finished with 33 solo tackles and assisted on 14 more, along with six sacks in his sixth season with the Buccaneers. His teammate Devante Bond registered fourteen tackles on the season.
Adrian Peterson began his season with a lackluster stint in New Orleans before being traded to the Arizona Cardinals in early October. AD found success in Arizona, racking up 448 yards and two touchdowns in six games with the Cardinals, and finished the season with 529 yards total. With AD’s season cut short with a neck injury, it is uncertain just how many more years (if any) Peterson has left of an illustrious career.
Peterson’s Cardinals teammate Jermaine Gresham caught 33 passes for 322 yards and two touchdowns in 2017.
Ravens safety Tony Jefferson wrapped up his stellar first season in Baltimore with 79 total tackles (56 solo), 2.5 sacks, a fumble forced and a blocked kick. Jefferson was all over the field this season for the Ravens, who just narrowly missed out the playoffs following a heart-breaking loss to Cincinnati in Week 17. Ironically enough, it was Baltimore’s loss that launched the Buffalo Bills into the playoffs for the first time since 1999.
Fullback Aaron Ripkowski carried five times for 13 yards and added a 39 yards on seven catches for the Packers in the 2017 season.