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SALT LAKE CITY — In the NFL, there is always talk of a “Super Bowl hangover,” affecting defending champions.
Leave the Seattle Seahawks out of that talk. The defending Super Bowl champions are heading into the NFC playoffs as the conference’s top seed, after a 20-6 victory over the St. Louis Rams.
Former Utah State linebacker Bobby Wagner registered 10 tackles in the game, while Robert Turbin rushed for 53 yards in the Seahawks' win.
Several Utah alumni qualified for the playoffs Sunday. Carolina’s Star Lotulelei made seven tackles and had two sacks in a 34-3 win over the Atlanta Falcons, giving the Panthers the NFC’s fourth seed. Paul Soliai made a tackle for the Falcons.
Baltimore receiver Steve Smith made eight catches for 90 yards in a 20-10 win over the Cleveland Browns as the Ravens earned the final spot in the AFC playoffs. Also, the Browns' Paul Kruger made five tackles and a sack in the game.
New England’s Sealver Siliga made five tackles in the Patriots’ 17-9 loss to the Buffalo Bills. However, New England is the AFC’s top seed. Also, Pittsburgh's Brice McCain intercepted two passes in the Steelers' win over Cincinnati.
Three former Utes weren’t able to qualify for the playoffs, thanks to a former BYU offensive lineman. Former Utah quarterback Mike McCoy’s San Diego Chargers needed to beat Andy Reid’s Kansas City Chiefs to qualify for the playoffs, but fell 19-7 to Kansas City. Eric Weddle contributed five tackles for San Diego, while Kansas City’s Sean Smith made four tackles.
Rookie linebacker Trevor Reilly made three tackles in the New York Jets’ 37-24 win over the Miami Dolphins. Koa Misi made three tackles for Miami, while Derrick Shelby made a tackle.
Also, Oakland cornerback Keith McGill scored a touchdown and made five tackles in the Raiders’ final game of the season. Despite McGill’s contributions, the Raiders fell to the Denver Broncos 47-14.
BYU alumnus Ezekiel Ansah made six tackles for the Detroit Lions, but Detroit fell to Green Bay 30-20. The Lions will face the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC playoffs.
Also, Utah State alum Kerwynn Williams rushed for 67 yards in Arizona’s 20-17 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Arizona will face the Carolina Panthers in the opening round of the playoffs.