In the final week of the NFL regular season, teams jostled for playoff spots and many VFLs contributed in a huge way on the gridiron.
Let’s begin the final regular season edition of Vols in the pros with the offensive players.
Jauan Jennings - WR, SF
The San Francisco 49ers needed a win on Sunday versus the Rams to reach the postseason, and the second year wideout carded his best performance in the NFL to carry them into the playoffs.
Jennings tallied 6 catches for 94 yards including two major touchdowns for San Francisco. His first touchdown came in the third quarter on a 24-yard reception, but his second score had a far greater impact.
Jennings tied the game at 24 after recording a 14-yard reception for a touchdown, with only 24 seconds left in regulation. He continued his excellent play in overtime by picking up a huge conversion for the 49ers on a 34-yard catch, which would eventually set up the game winning field goal for San Francisco.
“Jauan Jennings was a man today,” San Francisco head coach Kyle Shannahan said postgame.
“I think I’ve grown up a lot, this game of football will make you grow up,” Jennings said postgame. “Just being on this squad that believes in me as much as they do, encourages me as much as they do, and I’m just grateful to be here. This team is what helps me keep making plays over and over.”
Jennings led the 49ers to a 27-24 win and a berth in the playoffs.
Josh Palmer - WR, LAC
Palmer and the Chargers were in a nail-biter, win and go to the postseason game against the Raiders, and the rookie wideout had a stellar game on Sunday Night Football.
Palmer concluded his rookie season with a 45-yard day on 4 receptions, including one of those for a touchdown. His score came on a fourth-and-21 in the fourth quarter, when quarterback Justin Herbert found Palmer for 23-yard touchdown to put LA within one touchdown.
The Raiders would hold on in overtime, 35-32.
Alvin Kamara - RB, NO
Kamara and the Saints were not able to clinch a playoff berth - for the first time in his career - but the Saints tailback concluded the regular season on a high note.
He finished the game with a season high 146 yards on 30 rushes and also racked up 16 yards receiving on 2 catches in the 30-20 victory over the Falcons.
Marquez Callaway - WR, NO
Callaway did not record a stat for the Saints in his final game of his sophomore season, but earlier in the week his teammate Kamara discussed how proud he was of Callaway during his breakout season.
“I’m just excited for him,” Kamara said. “Just happy for him. That’s my little bro. We went to school together at Tennessee. Just watching him from 2016 to all the way up to now. Like, just being with him and just seeing his progression, not only on the field but off the field.”
“I’m just happy for him and happy for his family. He’s obviously stepped up and been able to fill a role that he got asked to fill. Being in his second year as an undrafted rookie, everything was against him but he don’t think about it like that. He just comes into work and says I got to go ball. I got to put us in position to win. I’m happy for him and proud of him.”
Cordarrelle Patterson - RB, ATL
Patterson did not have the greatest end to the season as he would have hoped for.
The Atlanta tailback finished the game with only 11 yards rushing on 4 attempts and only mustered 1 receiving yard on his only catch in the loss to the Saints.
Trey Smith - OG, KC
Smith wrapped up his first rookie regular season with a 28-24 win versus the Broncos on Saturday. He played every offensive snap, as he and the Chiefs gear up for another potential Super Bowl run.
Luke Stocker - TE, MIN
Stocker did not record a stat on offense, but he did pick up a tackle in punt coverage in a 31-17 victory over the Bears in the regular season finale.
Jakob Johnson - FB, NE
Johnson played snaps on both offense and special teams for the Patriots in the 33-24 loss at the hands of the Dolphins.
Next let’s check out how the defensive players performed.
Cameron Sutton - DB, PIT
The Steelers miraculously qualified for the playoffs on Sunday, and Sutton played a huge role in the win over the Ravens.
The Pittsburgh cornerback concluded his best season as a pro with 5 tackles and an incredible interception on a diving effort to deny the Ravens a scoring opportunity in the fourth quarter.
The Steelers would finish the job in overtime, 16-13, versus Baltimore.
Emmanuel Moseley - DB, SF
For the last four weeks, Moseley has been on the shelf with an ankle injury, but he made his return on Sunday against the Rams, and contributed mightily in the secondary.
The former undrafted free agent racked up his fourth interception of his career in the third quarter. He added 6 tackles, along with his INT, in the 27-24 overtime win over the Rams.
Shy Tuttle - DT, NO
Tuttle couldn’t let his VFL counterparts on offense take all the glory in the victory on Sunday.
The Saints defensive tackle got into the action by recording 3 tackles and recovered a fumble in the 30-20 win.
Darrell Taylor - OLB, SEA
Taylor concluded his breakout season with a tremendous outing versus the Cardinals on Sunday.
The Seahawks’ pass rusher tallied 3 tackles, half a sack, a quarterback hit and a pass break-up in the 38-30 win against Arizona.
Jalen Reeves-Maybin - LB, DET
Reeves-Maybin’s first year as one of the captains for the Lions concluded with him racking up 7 tackles in the 37-30 win over the Packers.
Justin Coleman - DB, MIA
Coleman did not record a stat for the Dolphins in the final game of the season, but he played snaps on both defense and special teams in the 33-24 win over New England.
Kyle Phillips - DE, NYJ
Phillips wrapped up his season with 3 tackles in the 27-10 loss versus the Bills.
Finally, let’s end this week’s Vols in the pros with those specialists on special teams
Michael Palardy - P, MIA
Palardy had a total of 4 punts in the season finale, for an average of 52.3 yards a punt in the victory over the Patriots.
Dustin Colquitt - P, CLE
Colquitt also tallied 4 punts in the final game of the regular season, for an average of 37.5 yards in the 21-16 win over the Bengals.
Morgan Cox - LS, TEN
Cox concluded the regular season perfectly, snapping every ball without a mistake in the 28-25 win over the Texans.