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Utahns In The NFL: Ex-Utah Ute Sealver Siliga helps Pats reach AFC title game

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A few years ago New England Patriots defensive tackle Sealver Siliga was out of football entirely. The Seattle Seahawks had cut him in 2012 and he was forced to move back home. After a journey that included stops in Denver and now in New England -- where he's been since October -- Siliga has found his place with the Patriots, having helped them to a 44-23 win over the Indianapolis Colts Saturday, January 11 in the AFC divisional playoffs.

Siliga had a quiet game, registering two tackles, one for a loss. More important, he's found a starting job on New England's defensive line it seems, a sight better than what he was doing two years ago, or even last year in Denver.

It was as if the rainstorm everyone anticipated to hit Foxboro Stadium stayed away long enough to allow sunshine and 60-degree temperatures instead, which made for a high-scoring game that the Patriots controlled throughout.

And for Siliga, he has a spot on the D-line after having so much uncertainty.

Siliga wasn't the only player from Utah who had a big day. Also on Saturday in the NFC divisional playoffs, linebacker Bobby Wagner and running back Robert Turbin of Utah State and offensive tackle Paul McQuistan of Weber State helped lead the Seattle Seahawks to a tense 23-15 win over the New Orleans Saints.

Wagner had another solid day with seven tackles, and Turbin had a highlight reel run called back by a holding penalty, a 37-yard run in which he burst through several tackles before finding daylight. (He had nine yards on four carries.)

As for other Utahns in the NFL, it was a rough day for former Utah products Eric Weddle and Mike McCoy as well as ex-SUU QB Brad Sorensen as the San Diego Chargers went home for the season on Sunday, January 12's AFC divisional playoff game after losing 24-17 to the Denver Broncos -- and ex-Ute and offensive tackle Zane Beadles.

Beadles is becoming a playoff veteran, having now protected Tim Tebow and Peyton Manning in just a few short years.

And Utah products Steve Smith and Star Lotuleiei also saw their seasons end as the Carolina Panthers lost 23-10 Sunday to the San Francisco 49ers, with Smith on the sidelines in tears at one point, punctuating a topsy-turvy but nonetheless solid year for the Panthers that ended rather abruptly in these NFC divisional playoffs.

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