The final week of the regular season proved very eventful for former Florida Gators around the NFL. And perhaps the most critical play came from a special teams player.
Eddy Pineiro (kicker, Chicago Bears) converted all four of his field goal attempts on Sunday, including a 22-yarder with 10 seconds left, to help the Bears to a 21-19 victory at the Minnesota Vikings. Pineiro’s 26 and 33-yard field goals were the game’s only points in the first quarter. He also made a 34-yard kick in the second and converted an extra point in the third.
After mid-season struggles, Pineiro is making a case for a return in Chicago. He made his last 11 field goals, with his last miss occuring in Week 11 at the Los Angeles Rams.
Defensive linemen Carlos Dunlap (defensive end, Cincinnati Bengals) and Taven Bryan (defensive tackle, Jacksonville Jaguars) each had whales of games in their own respects.
Dunlap had five tackles (four solo), but he was a mainstay in the Cleveland Browns’ backfield. He sacked Baker Mayfield 2.5 times (including a sack-fumble), had two additional tackles for loss and deflected a pass in the Bengals’ 33-23 win.
Meanwhile in Jacksonville, Bryan had easily the best game of his career in a 38-20 win over the Indianapolis Colts. He had four tackles (three solo), including a sack, a tackle for loss, a forced fumble and a pass defended. The pass defended and forced fumble were both the first of his career.
Jacoby Brissett (quarterback, Indianapolis Colts) did not fair well against Bryan and the Jacksonville defense. He had possibly his worst performance of the year, completing just 12 of 25 passes for 162 yards (no touchdowns or interceptions). He also had more sack yardage (19) then rushing yards (17).
Demarcus Robinson (wide receiver, Kansas City Chiefs) had the best day of any former Florida offensive players. He only caught one pass in a 31-21 win over the Los Angeles Chargers, but it was a significant one. Robinson hauled a 24-yard strike from Patrick Mahomes for his first touchdown since Week 3 against the Baltimore Ravens.
Speaking of the Ravens, Joe Haden (corner, Pittsburgh Steelers) played well despite suffering a 28-10 loss in Baltimore. He had three tackles (all solo), an interception and a fumble recovery.
Haden finished with five interceptions in 2019, the most since his rookie season in 2010 (six).
Former-Giant Janoris Jenkins (corner, New Orleans Saints) also had a decent day in the defensive backfield. Jenkins secured his first interception as a Saint in addition to five tackles (all solo). He also defended another pass in the 42-10 trouncing of the Carolina Panthers.
Mark Stine is a contributing writer for Chomp Talk. Follow him on Twitter @mstinejr.