Cowboys in the NFL: Week 15
LARAMIE – Currently, 11 former Wyoming Cowboys are on active NFL rosters.
Each week, we’ll look at how these former Pokes are producing in the pros.
JOSH ALLEN — Buffalo Bills
At 2 a.m., the team's plane pulled into western New York. Despite freezing temperatures, hundreds of fans surrounded the airport to welcome home the playoff-bound Bills after a 17-10 road win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, giving Buffalo its first 10-win season since 1999. Former Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen took selfies with the fans as he strolled off the plane in a shirt-sleeve hoodie. And speaking of short-sleeve hoodies, Buffalo plays New England next week in Foxborough. If they can pull that one off, the Bills could still be in the mix for a division title and a home game in January. Allen completed 13-of-25 passes for 139 yards and a touchdown in the Steel City. He also threw a touchdown pass and rushed for another in the victory. On the season, Allen has now thrown for 2,876 yards and 18 touchdowns. He has rushed for nine more.
TASHAUN GIPSON – Houston Texans
A week after an embarrassing home loss to the lowly Broncos, Houston faced a must-win in Tennessee Sunday afternoon. Tashaun Gipson did his part. The former Wyoming safety racked up four tackles in a 24-21 road win over the Titans, and now has 44 tackles and three interceptions on the season.
JACOB HOLLISTER – Seattle Seahawks
It was a relatively quiet Sunday afternoon for former Wyoming tight end Jacob Hollister. He snagged just three passes for 23 yards, including a long of eight, in a 30-24 road win over the Carolina Panthers. Hollister now has 32 catches for 260 yards and three touchdowns for the Seahawks, who find themselves in first place in the NFC West with just two weeks remaining in the regular season.
ANDREW WINGARD – Jacksonville Jaguars
It's not clear whether Andrew Wingard got pelted with any nachos or beer bottles from the Raider faithful Sunday afternoon in Oakland. It's not clear whether or not he cares either. The Jaguars erased a 16-3 deficit to spoil the Raiders final game at the Coliseum before the team's move to Las Vegas in a few weeks. Jacksonville's 20-16 victory moved the team to 5-9 on the season. Wingard didn't record any stats in the game, but has 23 tackles, a sack and a forced fumble so far in his rookie season. The Raiders fans weren't thrilled after this one, booing the team off the field one last time. The same can't be said for Wingard and the visitors.
MIKE PURCELL — Denver Broncos
The Broncos have been the epitome of inconsistent this season. Mike Purcell has been the exception. The former Wyoming defensive lineman had another strong performance for Denver Sunday in snowy Kansas City, recording five tackles in the 23-3 loss to the Chiefs. Purcell now has 38 tackles for his hometown team this season.
MARK NZEOCHA – San Francisco 49ers
Mark Nzeocha practiced on the defensive line for the Niners during the week. The former Wyoming linebacker, who has become known for his versatility, can put his hand in the dirt, fly to the ball and has been a staple on San Francisco's special teams unit. Sunday, in a last-second 29-22 home loss to the Falcons, Nzeocha recorded two tackles. He now has 10 on the season to go along with an interception.
CHASE ROULLIER – Washington Redskins
Adrian Peterson, the ageless wonder, found the end zone for the 110th time in his career, tying him with Walter Payton for fourth on the NFL's all-time list. The Redskins also eclipsed the 100-yard mark on the ground. Peterson picked up 66 of those on 16 carries. The offensive line didn't allow a sack either. That's where the good news ends for former Wyoming center Chase Roullier and the home team. Washington fell to division-rival Philadelphia, 37-27, Sunday at FedEx Field. The Redskins gave up 258 yards through the air and another 157 on the ground as they dropped to 3-11 overall this season. Urban Meyer was on the owner's box for this one, hanging out with his former Utah quarterback, Alex Smith. Reports say Meyer spent more than four hours in the box postgame, talking with Washington owner Dan Snyder. Hmm ....
MARCUS EPPS – Philadelphia Eagles
It had been 10 weeks since rookie safety Marcus Epps had made a tackle in an NFL game. In fact, he was wearing a Minnesota Vikings uniform when he registered his first career hit in a week-3 game against the Raiders. That all changed Sunday. Epps recorded his first tackle as a Philadelphia Eagle during a 37-27 road win in Washington.
BRIAN HILL — Atlanta Falcons
Wyoming's all-time leading rusher, Brian Hill, touched the ball just one time in Sunday's 29-22 road upset in San Francisco. That was one rush for 16 yards. To make matters worse, despite the victory, Atlanta rushed for just 89 yards on 20 carries. Remember, 16 of those came on one rush. Hill now has 66 carries for 236 yards and two touchdowns this season.
RICO GAFFORD — Oakland Raiders
Former Wyoming defensive back Rico Gafford still has just one NFL catch. That was a 49-yard snag and score last Sunday in a loss to his former team, the Tennessee Titans. Gafford was held off the stat sheet Sunday in the Raiders final game in Oakland. "Raider Cody" didn't get any of his wishes against the Jaguars, who overcame a 16-3 deficit to pull off the last-minute win, 20-16.
CARL GRANDERSON – New Orleans Saints
Carl Granderson and the Saints will take on Indianapolis tonight on Monday Night Football. We will update following the game.