Cal Football NFL Player of the Week: Last Bear Standing

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 19: Jeremy Langford
CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 19: Jeremy Langford /

Only one former Cal football player remains standing in the NFL playoffs, with his five counterparts heading home after defeats.

Six former Cal football players entered the Divisional round of the playoffs, but only one still stands, going to the Conference Championships. Philadelphia Eagles’ linebacker Mychal Kendricks, a Golden Bear from 2008 to 2011, is heading to the NFC Championship game as the only Bear to make it out of the weekend.

Kendricks, a second-round pick in the 2012 draft, was back in the middle of a stout Eagles’ defense on Saturday, making his second career playoff start. He recorded four solo tackles, as well as a pass defense, as the Eagles held on and beat the Atlanta Falcons 15-10.

Kendricks started 13 games during the regular season, and recorded 77 tackles (55 solo, 22 assisted), four tackles for loss, two sacks, and seven pass defenses, his most since his rookie season of 2012. He was part of a strong Philadelphia defense that finished fourth in the NFL in total yardage in the regular season, allowing 306.5 yards per game. They were the top-ranked run defense, giving up a league-low 79.2 yards per game on the ground.

The Eagles are looking to get back to the Super Bowl for the first time since 2005, when they lost to the New England Patriots 24-21. To do so, they have to beat the Minnesota Vikings, who miraculously beat the New Orleans Saints on an improbable walk-off touchdown as time expired on Sunday.

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On the Eagles’ practice squad, wide receiver Bryce Treggs is also hoping to get a Super Bowl ring. He’s in his second stint with the Eagles, after playing nine games with the team in 2016. He made three catches for 80 yards after signing with the San Francisco 49ers and being cut before the season. He was signed from the Eagles’ practice squad earlier in the 2017 season by the Cleveland Browns, and made five catches for 79 yards in six games before being released and signed to the Eagles’ practice squad again.


Tyson Alualu is in his first season out of a Jacksonville Jaguars’ uniform, but those Jaguars sent him and the Pittsburgh Steelers packing. Jacksonville beat Pittsburgh 45-42 in what turned out to be a surprising offensive display on Saturday, with defensive lineman Alualu contributing a tackle in his playoff debut.

The Eagles sent the Atlanta Falcons home on Saturday, ensuring they don’t get a second chance at the Super Bowl. Alex Mack, the Falcons’ center and former first-round pick out of Cal, won’t get another opportunity at earning a ring. He will get to play in his fifth Pro Bowl in nine seasons, however.

Cameron Jordan put together a Defensive Player of the Year-worthy season for the New Orleans Saints, but couldn’t come up with the huge play that his team needed near the end of the game. He recorded just one tackle and hit Case Keenum once to cause an incompletion and bring a drive to an end. He’s also free to play in the Pro Bowl now, his third in seven seasons.

The Tennessee Titans were steamrolled as the New England Patriots advanced to their seventh consecutive AFC Championship, sending utility offensive lineman Brian Schwenke and running back Khalfani Muhammad home. Schwenke’s role was limited all season, and he saw the field only twice on Saturday on special teams plays.

Muhammad was activated from Tennessee’s practice squad in week 17 after DeMarco Murray was injured, but didn’t get onto the field in the following three games. Overall, he didn’t appear in a game in his rookie season after the Titans made him a seventh-round pick.

Next: Is Bowers the Man for the Job?

Good luck to Mychal Kendricks and the Philadelphia Eagles, and Go Bears!