Three former Tennessee Volunteers in the NFL — Jauan Jennings, Emmanuel Moseley and Cameron Sutton — came up clutch to propel their teams into the playoffs, highlighting the final week of the regular season.
Jennings, in his first season, had a career output with the San Francisco 49ers fighting for a Wild Card berth in the NFC. He hauled in six passes for 94 yards and two touchdowns, both to tie up the game. The first came on a trick play as fellow wide receiver Deebo Samuel took the handoff and found Jennings in the endzone.
Then, with 26 seconds left in regulation down a touchdown, Jimmy Garoppolo found Jennings over the middle and he ran free into the endzone to tie it again.
To get to that point, it took a strong defensive effort from the San Francisco secondary and the biggest defensive play in regulation came from another former Vol, Emmanuel Moseley. With just under a minute left in the third quarter, Moseley flew in on a 50/50 ball intended for Cooper Kupp and snared it out of the air. The pick was Rams’ quarterback Matthew Stafford’s first of the game and brought energy to the 49ers sideline in a win-or-go-home ballgame.
Another big defensive play came in one of the biggest storylines of the weekend as Cameron Sutton’s interception turned the tide for an improbable playoff appearance for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Down 10-6 with the Ravens in the red zone, Sutton jumped a pass from Baltimore QB Tyler Huntley in the endzone to get the ball back. The interception was critical as it was the Ravens last red zone opportunity in the game.
Alvin Kamara also got it done in a week 18 win for the Saints. He ran for 146 yards on 30 tries, averaging 4.9 yards per rush. It was his second-best rushing output ever, and while the Saints did not make it to the playoffs, the fifth-year back will suit up again in the 2022 NFL Pro Bowl in Las Vegas in February. Kamara concluded his fifth season with 898 rushing yards and 439 receiving yards to go along with nine total touchdowns.
Josh Palmer concluded his rookie season with the Los Angeles Chargers with a clutch 23-yard touchdown catch late in the fourth quarter that kept the Chargers playoff hopes alive. Palmer finished the contest with four catches for 45 yards as Los Angeles lost a heartbreaker in overtime. Palmer finished the year with 33 receptions for 353 yards and four scores.
As the regular season concludes, a number of former Tennessee Vols will be represented in the playoffs. A preview of Wild Card weekend action will be available on UTsports.com later this week.
Derek Barnett – DE – Eagles
Did not play against Dallas after the team already clinched a playoff spot
Tyler Bray – QB – 49ers
Marquez Callaway – WR – Saints
Did not have a catch in the win over Atlanta
Justin Coleman – DB – Dolphins
Played in his 16th game of the season, a 33-24 win over New England
Dustin Colquitt – P – Browns
Recorded four punts for 150 yards, with a long of 56, in a 21-16 win over the Bengals
Morgan Cox – LS – Titans
Had eight snaps (five PATs, two field goals, one punt) in Tennessee’s 41-38 win over Houston to clinch the top seed in the AFC
Jason Croom – TE – Eagles
Joshua Dobbs – QB – Steelers
Alex Ellis – TE – Cardinals
Malik Jackson – DT – Browns
COVID-19 reserve list
Ja’Wuan James – OL – Ravens
Jauan Jennings – WR – 49ers
Posted a career day making six catches for 94 yards and two touchdowns, helping the 49ers clinch a playoff trip
Alexander Johnson – LB – Broncos
Jakob Johnson – FB – Patriots
Played in his 17th game of the season, logging 13 snaps
Alvin Kamara – RB – Saints
Had the second-best rushing day of his career, gaining 146 yards on 30 attempts. Added two receptions for 16 yards
John Kelly – RB – Browns
Josh Malone – WR – Packers
Khalil McKenzie – G/DT – Ravens
Emmanuel Moseley – CB – 49ers
Returned from injury and made an interception late in the third in a tie game to help San Francisco earn a playoff spot. Also tallied five tackles
Michael Palardy – P – Dolphins
Boomed four punts for 209 yards (52.3 average) and a long of 63. Pinned two more inside the 20, finishing the year with 31 punts inside the 20, the third most in the NFL
Joshua Palmer – WR – Chargers
Nabbed four passes for 45 yards and a touchdown in an overtime loss to the Raiders on Sunday night
Cordarrelle Patterson – WR – Falcons
Only made five touches for 12 total offensive yards
Kyle Phillips – DL – Jets
Tied a season best with three total tackles against Buffalo
Jalen Reeves-Maybin – LB – Lions
Posted six tackles in a 37-30 win over the Packers
Trey Smith – OL – Chiefs
Played 78 snaps at right guard, finishing the season with 1,194 total. Did not allow a sack for the 10th-straight week in a Kansas City win over Denver
Luke Stocker – TE – Vikings
Saw his 12th game of action this season, a 31-17 win over Chicago
Cameron Sutton – CB – Steelers
Recorded his second interception of the season in the endzone to help push Steelers to the playoffs. Also made five tackles in the overtime win
Darrell Taylor – DE – Seahawks
Posted a half sack and three tackles in a win over Arizona, also broke up a pass
Bryce Thompson – CB – Saints
Shy Tuttle – DL – Saints
Made three tackles and recovered the first fumble of his career in a 30-20 win over the Falcons
Kendal Vickers – DE – Raiders
COVID-19 reserve list
Nigel Warrior – DB – Seahawks
Played in his fourth game of the season against Arizona
Ethan Wolf – TE – Saints