Indiana Daily Student

Hoosiers in the NFL: Regular season recap and playoff preview

<p>Then-sophomore quarterback Nate Sudfeld prepares to pass the ball during IU's 41-35 loss to Navy in 2013 at Memorial Stadium. Sudfeld threw his first touchdown pass in the NFL this weekend for the Philadelphia Eagles.</p>

Then-sophomore quarterback Nate Sudfeld prepares to pass the ball during IU's 41-35 loss to Navy in 2013 at Memorial Stadium. Sudfeld threw his first touchdown pass in the NFL this weekend for the Philadelphia Eagles.

Sunday marked the end of the 2018 NFL regular season, and several former IU football players marked the occasion by finding the end zone and having their best games of the season.

Tevin Coleman, running back — Atlanta Falcons

After reaching the second round of the playoffs last season, Tevin Coleman and the Atlanta Falcons won't make a postseason appearance in 2018.

The Falcons finished the season in second place in the NFC South division with a 7-9 record. 

Coleman scored his fourth rushing touchdown of the season in Atlanta's final game, a 34-32 road win against Tampa Bay. The game was Coleman's 14th start of the season and he posted 45 rushing yards to go with the touchdown.

He finished the regular season with 167 rushing attempts for 800 yards, an average of 4.8 yards per attempt, along with 32 catches for 276 yards and five touchdowns. 

Coleman now has 29 career NFL touchdowns.

Cody Latimer, wide receiver — New York Giants

It was thought Cody Latimer's season came to an end in October after he was placed on injured reserve with a hamstring injury.

Before the injury he played sparingly, making six catches in four games for a little more than 100 yards combined.

But, Latimer returned for the Giants' final two games of the season, after the team was eliminated from playoff contention. He made his second start of the season in New York's week 17 home loss to the Dallas Cowboys, but it was also the best game of his pro career.

He recorded four catches for 72 yards and made an impressive one-handed touchdown catch for his first score as a Giant. 

It was the most catches and receiving yards in a game in Latimer's five-year career.

His 2018 season is now over, though, with 11 catches for 190 yards as the Giants went 5-11 and finished in last place in the NFC East division. 

Jason Spriggs, offensive tackle — Green Bay Packers

Former IU offensive lineman Jason Spriggs now has 36 game appearances in his three-year career. He played in 13 games and made two starts this season for Green Bay.

Spriggs' last appearance of 2018 was a start in Green Bay's week 15 loss at Chicago, which came after the team fired head coach Mike McCarthy in early December.

Green Bay finished the season third in the NFC North division with a 6-9-1 record.

Ian Thomas, tight end — Carolina Panthers

The Carolina Panthers selected Ian Thomas in the fourth round of the 2018 NFL Draft, and despite spending most of the season as a backup, Thomas made six starts and played all 16 games for the Panthers.

Thomas closed the season strong, recording a touchdown catch in both week 16 and week 17. During Carolina's 33-14 road victory against New Orleans in week 17, Thomas posted the longest catch of his young career with a 31-yard reception. 

For the season, the rookie had 36 catches for 333 yards and a pair of touchdowns as the Panthers went 7-9 and finished third in the NFC South division.

Simmie Cobbs Jr., wide receiver — New Orleans saints

The Washington Redskins signed former IU wideout Simmie Cobbs Jr. as an undrafted free agent following the NFL Draft, and also signed Cobbs to the team's practice squad after waiving him in early September.

On Dec. 14, Cobbs jumped Washington's sinking ship as he was signed by the New Orleans Saints from the Washington practice squad.

Cobbs is yet to make an appearance in an NFL game, but there's still a chance he makes his NFL debut this season. 

The Saints went 13-3 this season to win the NFC South division and secure the conference's number one overall seed.

New Orleans plays its first playoff game Jan. 13.

Chris Covington, linebacker — Dallas Cowboys

Unlike Cobbs, Chris Covington was selected in this past year's NFL Draft, in the sixth round by the Dallas Cowboys, and has played this season.

Covington last played back in week 10, but he played in five games this season, making one tackle in that week 10 game at Philadelphia.

Postseason football is also a possibility for Covington, as Dallas went 10-6 to win the NFC East division, setting up a home playoff game Saturday against Seattle.

Dan Feeney, offensive guard — Los Angeles Chargers

In his second season, Dan Feeney will make his first playoff appearance. The reliable Los Angeles Chargers offensive lineman has started 25 of his 31 games, including starting all 16 games this season.

Behind a secure offensive line featuring Feeney, Los Angeles quarterback Philip Rivers was sacked an average of only 2.1 times per game, tied for the eighth-best rate in the league.

Feeney and the Chargers went 12-4 this season, but settled for second in the AFC West division. This means Los Angeles travels to Baltimore for a first-round playoff game Sunday.

Rodger Saffold, offensive guard — Los Angeles Rams

Just like Feeney and in the same city, Rodger Saffold continued his stellar professional career by playing and starting all 16 games for the Los Angeles Rams this season. This gives the IU product 114 game appearances and 111 career starts, all with the Rams franchise.

Rodger Saffold runs through some drills during minicamp for rookies at the St. Louis Rams' training facility April 30, 2010, in Earth City, Missouri. Tribune News Service

Saffold is also bound for the postseason as the Rams won the NFC West division and secured the conference's number two seed with a 13-3 record, giving them a first-round bye in the playoffs.

Jordan Howard, running back — Chicago Bears

The strong possibility exists for Saffold to face Jordan Howard and the Chicago Bears in the second round of the playoffs, if Chicago wins its first-round game.

Chicago finds itself in the postseason following a 12-4 regular season record, which gave the Bears the NFC North division title.

Howard contributed significantly to this achievement, rushing for 935 yards on 250 attempts this season.

His performance in a week 17 road win at Minnesota was among his best of the season. He had 21 rushes for 109 yards, a season-high, and two touchdowns.

Howard also had his longest rush of the season at Minnesota, bursting loose for a 42-yard gain. He finishes his third regular season with nine rushing touchdowns, 20 catches for 145 yards and a pair of 100-yard rushing games.

Nate Sudfeld, quarterback — Philadelphia Eagles

An opening round playoff meeting pits Chicago against Philadelphia, and Howard against former IU teammate Nate Sudfeld, who suddenly may have an important role to play for the visiting Eagles.

Sudfeld has played just three total games, all with Philadelphia, during his three-year career. After playing one game and winning the Super Bowl last season with Philadelphia, Sudfeld was once again the third quarterback on the depth chart this season.

But, like in 2017, an injury to starting quarterback Carson Wentz meant backup quarterback Nick Foles took over on a regular basis, and Sudfeld found himself as the backup.

Sudfeld threw a lone, incomplete pass in a week 16 home win against Houston after Foles left the game briefly.

Philadelphia then earned a playoff spot in week 17 by winning at Washington, 24-0, while Minnesota lost its game.

The Eagles finished second in the NFC East division with a 9-7 record.

Sudfeld had a crucial role in the road win, playing most of the fourth quarter after Foles left the game with bruised ribs.

Sudfeld threw one pass, which went for a 22-yard touchdown to wide receiver Nelson Agholor. 

It was Sudfeld's first NFL touchdown pass, following the 61 touchdown passes he had at IU.

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