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January 16, 2013

Pack Pros: Divisional playoffs

The NFL playoffs started with seven former NC State players on active rosters. Five former Wolfpackers took part in the divisional round of the bracket, but none moved on to the Conference Championship games after Russell Wilson's incredible comeback attempt fell just short in the Seahawks' 30-28 loss to the Falcons.

NFL Wolfpack players
Played at NC State
Steven Hauschka
Seattle Seahawks
Hauschka suffered a calf injury in the second quarter of the 11-5 Seahawks' 24-14 victory over the Redskins in the wild card, but still made all three field goals he attempted in the game ... He also made his lone extra point attempt, and kicked off twice for an average of 60.5 yards before getting hurt and relinquishing kickoff duties ... He was placed on injured reserve after the game, and did not appear in the divisional round ... The fifth-year kicker finished the regular season with a career-best 88.9 field goal percentage and 118 points scored ... He finished the regular season 24-of-27 on field goals with a long of 52 yards and kicked off 87 times with 36 touchbacks for an average of 65.9 yards per attempt ... He eclipsed 100 points scored for the second-straight year, his second campaign as a team's full-time kicker ... His regular season point total tied for 12th best in the league, while his field goal percentage also tied for 12th ... He was a perfect 23-of-23 on attempts from less than 50 yards.
Nate Irving
Denver Broncos
The second-year linebacker played in 15 games during the regular season for the AFC West Champion Broncos, who finished 13-3, and notched 13 tackles, a pass deflection and one blocked punt ... Following their bye, Irving and the Broncos fell in a 38-35 overtime loss to the Ravens ... The defender did not record any statistics in the contest.
Terrell Manning
Green Bay Packers
The rookie recorded one tackle in the Packers' 45-31 loss to the 49ers ... He also tallied a pair of special teams stops in the wild card round, giving him a trio of takedowns in the postseason ... During the regular season, he appeared in five games and notched three tackles for the NFC North division champions.
J.R. Sweezy
Seattle Seahawks
The rookie offensive guard, who played defensive tackle in college, started at guard in each of 11-5 Seattle's playoff games ... However, the Seahawks were bounced from the postseason with a 30-28 loss to the Falcons ... Sweezy and the front line helped pave the way for 123 yards rushing on 28 carries (4.4 yards per attempt), while they allowed just two sacks in the defeat ... The first-year lineman started the season opener, and was back in the opening lineup for the final two contests of the regular season, as well ... The 'Hawks averaged 4.8 yards per rush and tallied 16 touchdowns on the ground en route to 2,579 rushing yards, the NFL's third-best ground total, in the regular season.
Russell Wilson
Seattle Seahawks
Wilson set an NFL record for a rookie in the postseason with 385 passing yards in the Seahawks' 30-28 loss to the Falcons ... The first-year signal caller finished the game 24-of-36 passing (67 percent) with two touchdowns and an interception, which came on a last second hail mary attempt, in addition to rushing for a team-best 60 yards and a score on seven carries ... He had a passer rating of 109.1, and his total quarterback rating, a metric created by ESPN, was 86.4 — the second-highest by a losing quarterback in the last five years ... Wilson nearly completed the fifth comeback in the fourth quarter of his professional career despite being down by 20 points at the start of the fourth quarter, but a Matt Bryant field goal with eight seconds left clinched the Atlanta victory ... Despite the loss, he finished his first professional campaign with 12 wins, including the playoffs — only Ben Roethlisberger and Joe Flacco have recorded more as rookies in the Super Bowl era ... Wilson's lowest quarterback rating in a game since Oct. 18 was 88.0 — in a 58-0 victory ... In two playoff games, Wilson was 39-of-62 passing (62.9 percent) for 572 yards, three touchdowns and an interception for a passer rating of 102.4 ... He also rushed 15 times during those two games for 127 yards and a score ... In the first round of the playoffs, he led the 11-5 Seahawks to a 24-14 win over the Redskins in Washington, the club's first playoff victory on the road since 1983 ... He became the sixth rookie quarterback of the Super Bowl era to win a playoff game, and just the third to win after trailing at the half ... The 14-point comeback that Wilson piloted was the largest-ever for a rookie in the playoffs, according to Elias Sports Bureau ... He finished 15-of-26 passing for 187 yards and a score for a passer rating of 92.9, and he also rushed eight times for 67 yards ... The last NFL signal caller to hit both of those benchmarks in a playoff game was the Eagles' Donovan McNabb in 2003, according to ESPN ... Wilson was also the first rookie in NFL history to account for the game's longest pass and longest run in a playoff game, his 28-yard run was a season-best, and his 33-yard completion to Doug Baldwin in the second quarter led to a field goal as time expired in the first half ... The field general also had a key block on Marshawn Lynch's fourth-quarter touchdown run that put the team ahead for good ... That marked the fourth comeback drive led by Wilson in the final frame this year, and he has totaled five game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime this season ... The quarterback also fired a crucial two-point conversion to tight end Zach Miller in the closing quarter, following Lynch's run ... In the last nine games, Wilson has accounted for 21 touchdowns (17 passing, four rushing) against just two interceptions ... He is the last first-year quarterback standing in one of the most successful classes of rookie signal callers ever ... Wilson's 11 regular season wins is tied for the second-most ever by rookie quarterback in the Super Bowl era, according to ESPN Stats and Information ... Wilson, along with the Redskins' Robert Griffin, III, are the first rookies to ever record a passer rating of at least 100.0 while attempting at least 100 passes; only two rookies have ever recorded a mark of at least 90 (Ben Roethlisberger's 98.1 in 2004 and Dan Marino's 96.0 in 1983) ... In the regular season, Wilson tied Peyton Manning's NFL rookie record with 26 scoring throws ... The 'Hawks were the only team to go undefeated at home this year, while Wilson is the first rookie field general to record an 8-0 record at home in NFL history ... He also set franchise records for rushing yards by a quarterback and passer rating ... In the regular season, Wilson was 252-of-393 passing (64.1 percent) for 3,118 yards, 26 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, which equaled to a quarterback rating of 100.0 ... His touchdown-interception differential of +16 is the best ever for an NFL rookie ... He also rushed 94 times for 489 yards and four scores ... Wilson, the first Seattle rookie QB to lead the Seahawks to the playoffs, won the team's Steve Largent Award, becoming the first rookie to win the award that has annually been given out since 1989 to the player who best exemplifies, "the spirit, dedication and integrity" of the team; the honor is named after the Hall of Fame receiver who first won the award ... He was also named the NFL's Rookie of the Month for December, he was 5-0 on the month and notched a passer rating of 115.2, the best in the league for the month ... Wilson finished the regular season ranked fourth in the NFL for passer rating and yards per attempt (7.93), eighth in completion percentage, tied for ninth in passing scores and 23rd in passing yards ... His touchdown responsibility of 30 ranked seventh in the league and led all rookies ... Pro Football Talk named Wilson their Offensive Rookie of the Year ... The Seahawks travel to Atlanta to take on the Falcons in a 1 p.m. game on Sunday.

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