Multiple NFL players with local ties had strong games as the playoffs kicked off with two wild-card games Saturday.
Former Utah State linebacker Bobby Wagner, named an All-Pro earlier in the week, led Seattle with 10 tackles in the Seahawks’ 26-6 win over Detroit. Wagner led the NFL with 167 tackles during the regular season; that season total was a career high for the former Aggie.
Eight of Wagner’s tackles against Detroit were solo tackles. He also had a tackle for a loss when Wagner teamed with K. J. Wright to stop Matthew Mulligan for a loss of 2 yards on a fourth-down pass at the Seattle 40 on the first play of the second quarter. That stop helped lead to the Seahawks’ first touchdown of the game.
He added a quarterback hurry in leading a Seahawks defense that didn’t allow the Lions a touchdown.
On the losing end, former BYU defensive end Ezekiel Ansah had his best game of the year as the Detroit pass rusher finished with two sacks on Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson.
The first sack, a loss of 4 yards, came on a third-and-8 at the Seattle 41 near the end of the first quarter. The second sack, also a loss of 4 yards, came on a third-and-11 at the Detroit 35 and forced the Seahawks to punt the ball.
Ansah had nine tackles, including five solo tackles, in the game and also had five quarterback hurries.
Here’s a look at how the other Utah ties performed in Saturday’s games:
NFC: SEAHAWKS 26, LIONS 6
Bobby Wagner, LB, Utah State: See above.
On injured reserve: Will Tukuafu, FB, East High
Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU: See above.
Miles Killebrew, SS, Southern Utah: Had a solo tackle in his first postseason appearance.
Nevin Lawson, CB, Utah State: Started at cornerback and had seven tackles, including five solo tackles. One of his solo tackles, for a gain of no yards on a second-and-1 early in the second quarter, helped forced a Seattle punt.
Haloti Ngata, DT, Highland High: Had a sack when he tackled Wilson for a loss of 6 yards on a second-and-2 at the Seattle 47 in the first quarter. He also had three tackles, including two solo tackles, and a pair of quarterback hurries, as well as a tackle for no gain on a third-and-1 in the second quarter.
AFC: TEXANS 27, RAIDERS 14
Tony Bergstrom, C, Utah and Skyline High: Came on as a reserve in his first postseason appearance.
Xavier Su’a-Filo, OG, Timpview High: Started at left guard, his second start in a playoff game.
James Cowser, LB/DE, Southern Utah and Davis High: Played but did not record any statistics in his first playoff appearance.
Keith McGill, DB, Utah: Played but did not record any statistics in his first playoff appearance.
Donald Penn, T, Utah State: Penn, the starter at left tackle all season, missed the game after injuring his knee in the regular-season finale. It was the first missed game for Penn in 10 seasons.
Sean Smith, CB, Utah: Started at cornerback and had two tackles, including a solo tackle, and a pass deflection. His solo tackle stopped Houston wide receiver Will Fuller 1 yard short of a first down on a third-and-4 in the third quarter.