The Wolverine

February 2017

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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FEBRUARY 2017 THE WOLVERINE 69 BY CHRIS BALAS F ormer Michigan quarterback Tom Brady headed a list of five U-M alums still alive in the NFL playoffs heading into the Jan. 22 AFC and NFC title games. The New England Patriots star struggled, but com- pleted 18 of 38 passes for 287 yards with two touchdowns and two inter- ceptions in a 34-16 win over Houston Jan. 15. Brady and head coach Bill Belich- ick advanced to their 11th confer- ence championship game together. No other head coach and starting quarterback duo have gone to more than six since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970. Only four teams have quali- fied for more games with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line during that span than Brady and Belichick (Steelers 16, 49ers 15, Cowboys 14 and Patriots 13). "We're going to have to play better than we played tonight on offense [to win a championship]," Brady said after the win over the Texans. Former Michigan defensive tackle and Brady's New England teammate Alan Branch notched seven tackles (two solo) in the win. The Patriots were slated to play Pittsburgh, which was an 18-16 win- ner over Kansas City Jan. 22. Former U-M running back Fitz Toussaint plays for the Steelers, primarily re- turning kicks. He did not carry the ball or catch a pass in the win over the Chiefs, nor in a 30-12 wild card win over Miami a week prior. In the NFC, Green Bay linebacker Jake Ryan and fullback Joe Kerridge will represent the Wolverines in the title game. Ryan notched 12 tackles (nine solo) in a wild card win over the New York Giants and four stops (three solo) in a 34-31 victory at Dal- las in the divisional round Jan. 15. The undrafted rookie Kerridge was used primarily on special teams and also as a lead blocker on occasion. HANDFUL OF WOLVERINES EXIT PLAYOFFS • Former Wolverine defensive end Frank Clark was held without a tackle in Seattle's 26‑6 win over Detroit in the wild card round Jan. 7, and had one tackle with a forced fumble in a 36‑20 loss at Atlanta in the divisional round Jan. 14. Running back Thomas Rawls finished with 161 rushing yards in the win over the Lions, but had only 34 at Atlanta. • Leon Hall notched six solo tackles and broke up a pass in a 38‑13 loss for the New York Giants at Green Bay in the wild card round Jan. 8. • Graham Glasgow started at center for the Detroit Lions in their 26‑6 loss at Seattle in the wild card round Jan. 7. • Defensive lineman Richard Ash was a member of the Dallas Cowboys' ros‑ ter, but did not play in their 34‑31 loss to Green Bay in the divisional round Jan. 15. FORMER WOLVERINES ON NFL ROSTERS Final regular-season stats • Richard Ash (Played at U-M from 2010-13), DT, Dallas Cowboys: Started the season as a member of 3‑13 Jack‑ sonville's practice squad for the second straight year and was promoted to the active roster in week eight … Played in one game and registered four tack‑ les (one solo) … Was released follow‑ ing week 11 and signed back to the Jaguars' practice squad … Was then signed by 13‑3 Dallas before week 17 and notched two solo stops in a 27‑13 loss at Philadelphia … Finished the sea‑ son with six tackles (three solos). • Brennen Beyer (2011-14), DE, Baltimore Ravens: Signed to the 8‑8 Ravens' practice squad for the second straight year and was added to the ac‑ tive roster in week 16 … Notched three tackles (two solo) in a 27‑10 loss at Cin‑ cinnati Jan. 1 in his only game action of the year. • Tom Brady (1996-99), QB, New England Patriots: Connected on 291 of 432 passes (67.4 percent) for 3,554 yards with 28 touchdowns and only two interceptions in 12 games after returning from a four‑game suspen‑ sion resulting from the Deflategate in‑ vestigation … The Patriots were 11‑1 with him in the lineup and finished 14‑2 overall … Ranked second in the league in passer rating (112.2), fourth in pass‑ ing yards per game (296.2) and tied for seventh in touchdowns despite missing the four games. • Alan Branch (2004-06), DT, New England Patriots: Started all 16 games for 14‑2 New England … Recorded 49 tackles (26 solo), 1.5 sacks, three passes broken up and a forced fumble. • Frank Clark (2011-14), DE, Seattle Seahawks: Recorded 47 tackles (25 solo), 10 sacks and one forced fumble in 15 games (five starts) for 10‑5‑1 Seattle. • Blake Countess (2011-14), DB, Los Angeles Rams: Cut by Philadelphia fol‑ lowing the preseason and signed to the 4‑12 Rams' practice squad … Was el‑ evated to the active roster prior to week 11 and played in five games, including a pair of starts … Notched 20 tackles (12 solo) and one sack. • Devin Funchess (2012-14), WR, Carolina Panthers: Started seven of 15 games in which he appeared for 6‑10 Carolina … Hauled in 23 passes for 371 yards and four touchdowns. • Graham Glasgow (2012-15), OG, Detroit Lions: Star ted the last 11 games, two at center, and played in 15 for the 9‑7 Lions. • Brandon Graham (2006-09), LB, Philadelphia Eagles: Started all 16 games for 7‑9 Philadelphia … Recorded 59 tackles (41 solo), 5.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and one pass broken up. • Leon Hall (2003-06), CB, New York Giants: Played in 12 games and started two for 11‑5 New York … Notched 29 tackles (21 solo), two sacks, one inter‑ ception, one forced fumble and two passes broken up.   MICHIGAN IN THE PROS And Then There Were Five To m B r a d y w i l l s t a r t h i s 1 1 t h A F C Championship Game Jan. 22 — that is the most by any player in NFL history, and also more than all but four teams since the AFL- NFL merger in 1970. PHOTO BY DAVID SILVERMAN/ COURTESY NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

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