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Northwestern in the NFL Playoffs, Wild Card Round: Hance helps Browns upset Steelers

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The former Northwestern offensive tackle had an impressive first showing for his new team.

Playoff time is here, and there are seven former Northwestern players who are on playoff teams. On Wild Card weekend, four of them—Anthony Walker Jr, Ibraheim Campbell, Sherrick McManis and Blake Hance—suited up while the other two—Dean Lowry and Tyler Lancaster—had a bye.

Blake Hance: Cleveland Browns, OT

After being called up from the Jets practice squad a week before the game and meeting quarterback Baker Mayfield for the first time in the locker room right before kickoff, Hance got his moment toward the end of the game, when he replaced injured third-string offensive lineman Michael Dunn.

Hance only played 14 snaps, but he largely held his own against Cam Heyward and the talented Steelers defensive line, not allowing a single sack or pressure. It remains to be seen whether or not Hance will get a chance to play at Kansas City this weekend, but after Sunday, nothing is out of the realm.

AFC Divisional Playoffs vs. Kansas City Chiefs (2:05 pm CT, 1/17)

Anthony Walker Jr.: Indianapolis Colts, LB

Walker did not record a stat in the Colts’ loss to the Bills on Saturday. He played just 31% of defensive snaps, his lowest mark of the season, while playing 42% of snaps special teams snaps. After a stellar 2019 campaign, the former Northwestern linebacker has seen his role decrease this season in a crowded position group, but he’ll hope to regain a larger role in defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus’ defensive game plan next year.

Sherrick McManis: Chicago Bears, S

McManis played 33% of special teams snaps and just one defensive snap in the Bears’ 21-9 loss to the Saints on Sunday. He did not record any type of statistic for the first time in four weeks.

Ibraheim Campbell: Indianapolis Colts, S

Campbell was a healthy scratch from the Colts’ contest against the Bills on Saturday. The safety has only seen the field in five weeks this season, and he has also missed some time due to COVID-19 protocols.