A handful of NC State players played in the wildcard round of the 2020 NFL Playoffs, and for the most part delivered strong all-around performances. Even in the case of teams that were sent packing after the first round of the playoffs, NC State alumni left it all on the field. Let’s take a look at how each player did in the first round.
Russell Wilson, Quarterback, Seattle Seahawks
Wilson helped lead the Seahawks to a 17-9 victory in a grueling win over a banged-up Philadelphia Eagles team. Wilson looked incredible in his second straight playoff appearance and his seventh overall trip in just eight years in the league. Impressively, Wilson has played and started in every possible game in his career so far, including postseason.
Also impressive is the fact that Wilson has been to the Super Bowl twice in this period of time, losing once, and boasts an 86-41 record in the regular season and a 9-5 record in postseason play. Wilson has also never posted a losing season with the Seahawks.
Wilson went slightly under the radar heading into the postseason, with Lamar Jackson surging in the MVP race, but Wilson made sure to silence any doubts about his potential performance, posting 370 all-purpose yards, 60% completion and one passing touchdown, a 53-yard bomb to DK Metcalf.
Metcalf was Wilson’s favorite receiver in the game, with the pair connecting on 160 of Wilson’s 325 passing yards. Next up, Wilson and the Seahawks will travel to Green Bay to take on the Packers, who finished with a 13-3 regular-season record.
Garrett Bradbury, Center, Minnesota Vikings
Bradbury did not finish his rookie season with the best of performances, often struggling with pass protection, but he helped make up for it during the Vikings’ 26-20 wildcard victory over the NFC South champion New Orleans Saints. Bradbury had a particularly great block on Saints linebacker A.J. Klein, who was driven back about ten yards, and Bradbury looked dominant for the duration of the game. The Vikings will travel to San Francisco next for the divisional round to face the one-seed San Francisco 49ers and fellow Pack alum Kentavius Street, who earned a bye week for the first round of the playoffs.
Stephen Hauschka, Kicker, Buffalo Bills
Hauschka continued to be perfect in the postseason, as the Bills kicker delivered a strong performance during a disappointing and messy 22-19 loss to the Houston Texans. Hauschka is now 5 for 5 in the postseason with the Bills, having gone 1 for 1 in a wildcard round loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2017.
In the game against the Texans, Hauschka connected on four field goals and one extra point for the Bills, including a clutch field goal at the end of the fourth quarter to send the game to overtime. Hauschka accounted for 13 of the Bills’ 19 points in the game.
Joe Thuney, Guard, New England Patriots
Thuney and the Patriots’ offensive line didn’t allow a single sack on quarterback Tom Brady in its 20-13 loss to the Tennessee Titans, and when the line was healthy, did a fine job of protecting Brady despite a disappointing end to the season. There is an aura of uncertainty surrounding the Patriots for next season, with Brady unsure of his own future in New England. Thuney’s importance to the Patriots O-line cannot be overstated, and the fact that he enters the offseason as a free agent only adds to the uncertainty of the future of the Patriots.