Georgia Football Alumni: Grading Former Georgia Bulldogs on Wild Card Weekend
As it is well-documented, there are many former Georgia Bulldog players active in the NFL.
From recent Dawgs (Matthew Stafford, A.J. Green) to veterans (John Kasay), a few players who bleed the red and black were in action this Wild Card Weekend of the NFL playoffs.
This is a report card for each former Bulldog who saw action.
Geno Atkins: Cincinnati Bengals
Game Stats: four tackles (three solo), one sack, one tackle for loss, one stuff for two yards
Geno Atkins was the best player on the Bengals defensive line as he recorded one of the two sacks on Texans quarterback T.J. Yates.
Champ Bailey: Denver Broncos
Game Stats: three tackles (all solo), three passes defended
The future Hall of Famer is still playing at a high level, as he kept the Steelers wide receivers in check. Just another day at the office for Champ Bailey.
Robert Geathers: Cincinnati Bengals
Game Stats: three tackles (three solo)
Robert Geathers was pretty much a non-factor in the loss to the Texans. The Bengals only got to the quarterback twice, so credit has to be given to the Texans offensive line.
A.J. Green: Cincinnati Bengals
Game Stats: five receptions, 47 yards, targeted 12 times
Earning a trip to the Pro Bowl as a rookie was a heck of an accomplishment. He and Andy Dalton had chemistry all season, but not in this game. Dalton was harassed all day as the Texans defensive front made it very difficult to find Green.
Green's biggest play occurred in the first quarter when he was interfered with on a deep pass to set up the Bengals' first touchdown. Green disappeared after the first half altogether.
John Kasay: New Orleans Saints
Game Stats: 1-of-1 on field-goal attempts, 6-of-6 on extra points, nine points scored
With the New Orleans Saints hitting on all cylinders it leads to many field-goal opportunities and extra points. At the ripe old age of 42, his 21 years of experience could be vital in the Saints' playoff run.
On Saturday night he took advantage of every opportunity he was given. He kicked a 24-yard field goal and converted on all six of his extra-point tries.
Matthew Stafford: Detroit Lions
Game Stats: 28-for-43 passing, 380 yards passing, three touchdowns, two interceptions, two rushes for one yard and one touchdown
Matthew Stafford put up numbers we have come to expect, but his two interceptions proved costly. Stafford has nothing to hang his head about, especially playing in front of a hostile crowd at the Superdome, where the Saints are now 9-0.
In his first full year at quarterback, Stafford threw for over 5,000 yards this season and developed a true connection to his star wide receiver. He again utilized his best weapon tremendously, as he targeted Johnson 15 times with 12 completions for over 200 yards. The duo have become a force to be reckoned with and there's no reason to believe that won't be the case in the future for Detroit if it adds weapons (running game) to the offense. Stafford is the catalyst.
D.J. Ware: New York Giants
Game Stats: one rush for four yards, one reception for 13 yards
In one of the most confusing decisions in a very long time for a Bulldog underclassman, Ware baffled Bulldog fans when he entered the 2008 NFL draft. Danny Ware now has a Super Bowl ring and played in each game this season.
This game wasn't kind to Ware, as he was only able to get two touches before he was knocked out of the game with a concussion.
Hines Ward: Pittsburgh Steelers
Game Stats: zero catches, targeted twice
Hines Ward had his worst season since he was a rookie in 1998. The Steelers struggled for a majority of this game on offense (we all knew how their defense played). Ben Roethlisberger was a shell of himself, and it certainly rubbed off on the receiving corps. They dropped a few balls (see: Mike Wallace), but Big Ben only threw two passes Ward's way.
The entire game for the Steelers was a disaster and this could have been Ward's last game in the NFL.
It could have ended on a better note, but throughout his 14-year career, he made Bulldog Nation very proud. If indeed this is it, we will all see your bust in Canton.
However, for this game...
Grade: C- (career achievement: A+)