Each week the Illini in the NFL update will provide coverage on how former Fighting Illini football players fared during the previous week. In week 16, Tavon Wilson returned his first pick-six of his career, Whitney Mercilus tallied his seventh sack of the season, and Alan Ball reeled in his fifth career interception.
Tavon Wilson, FS, New England Patriots - In his 12th game of the season, Wilson recorded his first career pick-six, returning the interception for 76 yards. It was his fifth career interception. Wilson also had one tackle in the Patriots 41-7 win over the Ravens.
Mercilus, DE, Houston Texans - In his
15th start, Mercilus tallied his seventh sack of the season, taking
down Peyton Manning for a three-yard loss. It was his 13th
sack of his career. Mercilus also recorded two tackles in the Texans 37-13 loss
to the Broncos.
Alan Ball, CB, Jacksonville Jaguars - In his 14th start of the season, Ball reeled in his second interception of the season, fifth in his career. Ball also recorded one pass deflection and two tackles in the Jags 20-16 loss to the Titans.
Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Arizona Cardinals - Mendenhall had 21 rushes for 63 yards in Sunday's upset win at Seattle. Mendenhall rushed for 50+ yards for the fourth time in the past five games. The Cardinals can make the playoffs 1)if the 49ers lose on Monday Night football then to the Cardinals in week 17 or 2) Cards beat 49ers then Saints lose to Bucs.
Jeff Allen, OT, Jon Asamoah, OG, Kansas City Chiefs - Allen started in his 14th game as Asamoah sat out in the Chiefs 23-7 loss to the Colts. Despite, the loss, the Chiefs offensive line once again dominated in the rushing game, accumulating 155 yards on the ground. Watch Allen help create a large hole for Jamaal Charles to run through on this 31-yard TD run.
Vontae Davis, CB, Indianapolis Colts - In his 15th start, Davis recorded his second straight game with three tackles while also tacking on two pass deflections to bring his season total to 12. Colts defeated the Chiefs 23-7.
Pierre Thomas, RB, New Orleans Saints - Thomas had four carries for eight rushing yards and five catches on five targets for seven receiving yards in Sunday's loss to the Panthers. Thomas is averaging 6.7 yards per catch this season, good for 510 total yards.
Corey Liuget, DE, San Diego Chargers - Started in his 15th straight game for the Chargers where he tacked on two more tackles to bring his season total to 38. Chargest defeated the Raiders, 26-13.
Hoomanawanui, TE, New England Patriots - Hoomanawanui recorded his second straight game with a reception,
reeling in a 9-yard catch from Tom Brady. Patriots won 41-7 over the Ravens.
Akeem Spence, DT, Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Spence played in his 15th game of the season, 13th start in the Bucs 23-13 loss to the Rams. Spence tallied his second straight game with three tackles to bring his season total to 28.
Steve Weatherford, P, New York Giants - Weatherford punted the ball six times in the Giants 23-30 upset win over the Lions. Weatherford 46.5 yards per punt and punted a long of 54 yards.
Michael Buchanan, DE, New England Patriots - Buchanan returned to action this week in the Patriots blowout win over the Ravens. Buchanan achieved two tackles, his first multi-tackle game since week 4.
Tony Pashos, OL, Oakland Raiders - Started in his 11th game of the season in the Raiders 26-13 loss to the Chargers. Oakland surrendered just one sack in the game.
AJ Jenkins, WR, Kansas City Chiefs - Played but recorded no statistics.
Glenn Foster, DL, New Orleans Saints - Saw some playing time for the 11th time this season but recorded no statistics.
David Diehl, OG, New York Giants - Inactive due to knee injury
Hugh Thornton, OL, Indianapolis Colts - Inactive due to injury
Martez Wilson, LB, Dallas Cowboys - Inactive
Mikel Leshoure, RB, Detroit Lions - Inactive
Former Illini on Injured Reserve
Arrelious Benn, WR, Philadelphia Eagles - Out for season with torn left ACL suffered during training camp.
Kelvin Hayden, CB, Chicago Bears - Out for season with a torn left hamstring suffered in early August.
Graham Pocic, OL, St. Louis Rams - Out for season is injury suffered during training camp.
Former Illini on NFL Practice Squads
Justin Green, DB, New England Patriots
Jack Cornell, OL, Oakland Raiders
Justin Staples, DL, Cleveland Browns