Buffs In The NFL: Bannan Helps Broncos to Top Seed
Former University of Colorado defensive lineman Justin Bannan helped the Denver Broncos capture the No. 1 overall seed in the AFC playoffs and home field advantage throughout the postseason in a 38-3 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday.
The 11-year NFL veteran has had one of the best seasons of his career with him starting 15 games, recording 42 tackles, deflecting four passes and forcing a fumble.
His 42 tackles are the second most he has ever recorded in a single season and is only three tackles shy of his career-high 45 during the 2008 season with the Baltimore Ravens.
The four pass deflections of Bannan ties a career-high during a season. He last accomplished the feat in 2010 when he last played in Denver.
Bannan recorded one tackle against the Chiefs, marking the 15th game of the season that he has recorded a tackle. Bannan and the Denver defense have frustrated opposing offenses all season and their success is a huge reason why the Broncos enter the playoffs with the top seed.
Denver ranks in the top five of the league in all major defensive statistics: second in yards per game (290), third in passing yards per game (199), third rushing yards per game (91) and fourth in points allowed per game (18).
The Broncos finished the regular season on an 11-game win streak and with a 13-3 record. The New England Patriots and the Houston Texans were in the hunt for the No. 1 seed but both finished the season at 12-4.
Former Buffalo Nate Solder and the Patriots earned the No. 2 seed in the AFC and will host a divisional game in the playoffs. Solder could return to the Rocky Mountains to face the Broncos in the AFC Championship game if both Denver and New England win their divisional contests.
Notable: In the loss to the Broncos, Jalil Brown recorded three tackles while playing for the Chiefs. Brown finished his second season with the Chiefs with 25 total tackles after only recording eight tackles in his rookie season... Jimmy Smith recorded four tackles in Baltimore's final game of the regular season against Cincinnati. Baltimore will play host to Indianapolis in an AFC Wild Card playoff matchup on Sunday (11 a.m. MST)... Tyler Polumbus and the Washington Redskins won the NFC East division on Sunday night in a victory over the Cowboys. They will play Seattle (Polumbus' former team) this Sunday in an NFC Wild Card game (2:30 p.m. MST)... Brad Jones finished the season with 77 tackles, marking a new career-high in his four-year NFL career with Green Bay. The Packers reached the playoffs for the third consecutive year and will face division-rival Minnesota in an NFC Wild Card game on Saturday (6 p.m. MST)... Mason Crosby, the Green Bay placekicker, will be making his fourth appearance in the playoffs.