NOTE: Only players currently on a NFL active roster and which played in last week’s NFL playoffs are listed.
Josh Allen, QB, Buffalo Bills (UW)
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In an all-time classic in the AFC Divisional round Sunday against the defending AFC champion Kansas City Chiefs, Allen threw for 329 yards and four touchdowns as he led Buffalo to not one, but two 75-yard, go-ahead touchdown drives in the final two minutes. His 19-yard passing score to wideout Gabriel Davis — whom he threw all four touchdowns to Sunday — to make the score 36-33 with 13 seconds left silenced the crowd at Arrowhead Stadium and had Buffalo licking its chops with the AFC Championship in sight.
The greatness on display could only be matched by one of the game’s modern superstars, Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who answered the Bills’ final drive by getting Kansas City 44 yards down the field in the little time remaining to set kicker Harrison Butker up for a game-tying 49-yard field goal. Once he hit that to send it to overtime, the Chiefs got the ball first as Mahomes threw a game-winner eight plays later to All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce — eliminating Allen and Buffalo after one of the greatest quarterback performances in a loss in NFL playoff history.
Including the playoffs (and with an 18-game regular season in 2021-22 for the first time), Allen threw for a career-high 5,044 yards and 45 touchdowns along with 897 rushing yards and six touchdowns. He and Mahomes make up two of the elite young quarterbacking talents in the league, with Sunday’s game likely an indicator for what’s to come in a budding rivalry between the two gunslingers.
Logan Wilson, LB, Cincinnati Bengals (UW/Natrona County HS)
Wilson continued his strong playoffs with eight tackles against the Tennessee Titans in the AFC Divisional round Saturday (totaling 20 for the postseason), but it was a play late from the former Cowboy and Mustang that enshrined it into lore as one of the most notable NFL plays ever from a past Pokes player.
With Tennessee driving down the field with 20 seconds left and the game tied at 16, Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill threw a pass intended for wideout Nick Westbrook-Ikhine that was tipped by the Bengals’ secondary — and then landed in the hands of Wilson for an interception. It set up Cincinnati at their own 47-yard line with seconds to play, of which four plays later Bengals kicker Evan McPherson booted a 52-yard field goal to give Cincinnati its first away playoff win in team history.
Wilson just missed playing his former UW teammate, Josh Allen, in the AFC Championship at 1 p.m. Sunday, and instead gets another crack at Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes for a shot at the Bengals’ first Super Bowl appearance since the 1988-89 season. Cincinnati beat Kansas City at home, 34-31, on Jan. 2, but now will have to accomplish the feat again in a rowdy Arrowhead Stadium with much more on the line.
James Johnson, F, Brooklyn Nets (Cheyenne East HS)
The former T-Bird was active but did not play in the Nets’ narrow win over the Washington Wizards on Wednesday, but returned for significant chunks of time off of the bench for Brooklyn in its following two games against the San Antonio Spurs on Friday and the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday.
Johnson’s most productive of those two games was against the Timberwolves, in which he played nearly 20 minutes and posted a line of seven points, five rebounds and four assists in the loss to Minnesota, though he did also foul out of a game for the first time this season. In 31 games this season, Johnson is averaging 4.5 points and 3.4 rebounds per game as he approaches 35 years old next month, being a key veteran role player on the team currently third in the Eastern Conference playoff standings and a half-game behind the conference-leading Miami Heat.
Larry Nance, Jr., F, Portland Trail Blazers (UW)
Nance has been inactive since Jan. 7 as he deals with knee inflammation. Before his injury, the former Cowboy had been averaging 6.9 points and 5.6 rebounds a game in his first season with his fourth NBA team.