Matt Jones is the online sports director for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A double graduate of the University of Arkansas, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, and voter for the Biletnikoff Award.
Davis starts fast in first start
Kansas City Chiefs running back Knile Davis, center, jumps in the end zone as he scores a touchdown against the San Diego Chargers during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 29, 2013, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)
FAYETTEVILLE Knile Davis' first career NFL start turned into a tale of two halves.
Davis rushed 15 times for 79 yards and 2 touchdowns in the first half, but had only 2 yards on 12 carries afterward in the Chiefs' 27-24 overtime loss at San Diego. Davis added a pair of catches for 5 yards and a kick return for 25 yards.
The carries were the most Davis has had as a pro and the most he has had in a game since a 2010 win as Arkansas' featured back against LSU.
“You got the adrenaline pumping in the game, but as soon as it's over, you feel it,” Davis told the Kansas City Star.
The rookie's start came after the Chiefs decided to inactivate 10 starters prior to the game, including running back Jamaal Charles. Davis had three carries for 32 yards on the opening possession, capped by a 17-yard touchdown. He also had a 2-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.
He didn't fumble the football after doing so twice and losing one the week before against the Colts.
“Oh yeah, I was hungry this week,” Davis told the Kansas City Star. “All week in practice I was holding the ball high and tight because I feel like I didn’t get a chance to redeem myself this last game and that's not me. I'm not a fumbler. So I came out with that mindset, with a chip on my shoulder, and I ran hard today.”
Davis has rushed for 242 yards on 70 carries this season. He has five all-purpose touchdowns with all coming since Nov. 24.
Season-high for Hillis
Peyton Hillis played his biggest role of the year in the Giants' season finale against Washington.
Hillis, who was sidelined the week before with a concussion, rushed 17 times for 56 yards in New York's 20-6 win. He also recorded a tackle when an Eli Manning pass was intercepted.
Hillis had runs of 13 and 14 yards in the game. He was targeted six times in the passing game, but came away with just one reception for 6 yards.
The Conway native had success this season against Washington, turning in two of his best games in an abbreviated stint with the Giants. He rushed for 45 yards on six carries and had a 6-yard reception in a win over the Redskins on Dec. 1.
In seven games with the Giants, Hillis rushed for 247 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 73 carries.
At least five former players will represent Arkansas in the playoffs.
Brett Goode (Packers), Jason Peters (Eagles), Knile Davis (Chiefs), Ryan Mallett (Patriots) and Alvin Bailey (Seahawks) are on active rosters. D.J. Williams and Jake Bequette were inactive in New England's regular season finale and Cobi Hamilton is on the Bengals' practice squad.
The Razorbacks have been represented on rosters of the last three Super Bowl champions.
Other notable performances Sunday
Darren McFadden rushed 7 times for 6 yards in the Raiders' 34-14 loss to the Broncos.
Jarius Wright caught 2 passes for 31 yards in the Vikings' 14-13 win over the Lions.
George Wilson recorded 2 tackles in the Titans' 16-10 win over the Texans.
Dennis Johnson missed the Texans' game against the Titans with a hip injury.
Felix Jones rushed 2 times for 11 yards in the Steelers' 20-7 win over the Browns.