Cowboys in the NFL: Week 16
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.
CARL GRANDERSON – New Orleans Saints
Carl Granderson is starting to come on for head coach Sean Payton and the Saints. Following up on a four-tackle performance against the Colts, Granderson racked up two more Sunday against Tennessee, including one for loss in a 38-28 road win. Granderson now has nine tackles and a sack to his credit during his rookie season.
BRIAN HILL — Atlanta Falcons
Wyoming's all-time leading rusher carried the ball seven times for 66 yards Sunday in a 24-12 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. Brian Hill averaged 9.4 yards per rush and finished with a long of 18. Hill also made a big play on special teams Sunday, scooping up a Michael Walker fumble on a kick return. Hill now has 73 carries for 302 yards and a pair of touchdowns this season for the Falcons.
ANDREW WINGARD – Jacksonville Jaguars
Wyoming's all-time tackles leader spent his Sunday afternoon chasing the Cowboys' all-time leading rusher around Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Andrew Wingard racked up six tackles, which was second on the roster for the Jags in the 24-12 road loss. Wingard now has 26 tackles, a sack and a forced fumble during his rookie campaign.
JOSH ALLEN — Buffalo Bills
Close, but no cigar. That's the narrative of the Patriots-Bills rivalry in the young Josh Allen era. Buffalo fell in Foxborough 24-17 Saturday evening. Wyoming's former signal caller completed 13-of-26 passes for 208 yards and two touchdowns in the loss. Allen also carries the ball seven times for 43 yards, including a long of 16. The second-year quarterback in Buffalo has thrown for 3,084 yards and 20 touchdowns this season. Buffalo wraps up the regular season Sunday in Orchard Park against the New York Jets.
TASHAUN GIPSON – Houston Texans
Tashaun Gipson and the Houston Texans are AFC South champions after a 23-20 road win over Tampa Bay Sunday. Gipson chipped in with five tackles from his free safety position in the victory and was on the field for every single play. In Gipson's first season in Houston, he has racked up 49 tackles and picked off three passes.
JACOB HOLLISTER – Seattle Seahawks
Former Wyoming tight end Jacob Hollister snagged a team-high five passes for 64 yards, including a long of 20, in a stunning 27-13 upset loss at home to the Arizona Cardinals. Hollister now has 37 catches on the season for 324 yards and three touchdowns.
MIKE PURCELL — Denver Broncos
Ho hum ... just another five-tackle performance from Denver nose tackle, Mike Purcell. The former Wyoming Cowboy is having his best professional season, tallying 43 tackles for a Broncos front four that has been nothing short of spectacular this season. Denver knocked off Detroit 27-17 Sunday at Mile High, winning 3-of-4 games over the past month. The Lions rushed for just 96 yards on 21 carries.
MARK NZEOCHA – San Francisco 49ers
Mark Nzeocha didn't record any stats in the Niners 34-31 home win over the Rams Saturday afternoon. The former Wyoming linebacker has 10 tackles and an interceptions this season.
CHASE ROULLIER – Washington Redskins
Not much has gone right for the Washington Redskins this season. That continued Sunday with a 41-35 home loss to the lowly New York Giants. Redskins signal caller were sacked three times and the home team rushed for just 80 yards on 26 carries behind Chase Roullier and Co.
MARCUS EPPS – Philadelphia Eagles
The statistics haven't been pilling up for former Wyoming safety Marcus Epps, but his coaches in Philadelphia are trusting the rookie in the most crucial times. With the NFC East basically on the line Sunday night, it was Epps that was lined up against Amari Cooper and the Cowboys wide receiving corps. Epps didn't record any stats, but the Eagles kept Dallas out of the end zone in a 17-9 victory in south Philly. Now, with a win next week in New York, Philadelphia will hoist the division crown. Epps has just two tackles to his credit this season.
RICO GAFFORD — Oakland Raiders
Wyoming's former defensive back hasn't caught a pass in two weeks since hauling in a 49-yard touchdown strike for his first NFL catch. Sunday in a 24-17 win over the Chargers in Los Angeles, Rico Gafford was the "gunner" on special teams. The speedster made one tackle on four Raider punts in the game. Gafford and the Raiders will close out the season Sunday in Denver. Mathematically, somehow, Oakland is still alive in the playoff race. Hopes are on life support.