Colts pick Downs in third round; highest for UNC wide receiver in 13 years

Wide receiver Josh Downs will continue his football career with the Indianapolis Colts, who took him Friday with the 16th pick of the third round and the 79th overall selection at the NFL Draft in Kansas City, becoming the 10th Carolina player drafted in the last three years. That’s the highest a UNC wide receiver has gone since Greg Little was the 27th second-round pick and 57th overall selection of the Cleveland Browns in 2010. Downs was the ninth ACC player selected.

Tar Heels in NFL: Loss by Coach Jeff Saturday’s Colts caps a frustrating Week 16 that started with Carter’s 50 yards

Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky was back on the Pittsburgh Steelers’ bench. The hopes of making the playoffs for Coach Arthur Smith’s Atlanta Falcons ended. Interim Coach Jeff Saturday’s Indianapolis Colts lost their fifth straight. Texans defensive back M.J. Stewart Jr. suffered a concussion. It was that kind of week with few highlights other than wins by the teams of two offensive linemen who played every offensive snap — Houston’s Charlie Heck and New Orleans’ James Hurst — and Michael Carter’s 50 totals yards to start the NFL week in the New York Jets’ 19–3 Thursday home loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Tar Heels in NFL: Trubisky is efficient, turnover-free in Steelers win; Hollins has TD reception in wacky Raiders win

Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky knew after throwing three interceptions a week earlier in a loss that he had to play a clean game if the Pittsburgh Steelers were going to rebound. Mission accomplished. In his first start since Week 4, he led three long, time-consuming drives and was efficient in a turnover-free game to lead the Steelers to a 24–16 road victory Sunday over the Carolina Panthers.

Tar Heels in NFL: Colts hold off Raiders in Saturday’s NFL coaching debut; Hurst hurt

There were many doubters when the Indianapolis Colts named Jeff Saturday their interim coach, but there was no doubt that his debut went well. The Colts held on to win 25–20 on the road against the Las Vegas Raiders to snap a three-game losing streak in their first game under Saturday, who is the first NFL head coach since 1961 with no college or pro coaching experience. His only previous coaching experience was as the head coach for Hebron Christian Academy in Dacula, Ga., going 20–16 over three seasons.

Tar Heels in NFL: Hollins plays well; Dalton makes NFL debut; Ezeudu gets first NFL start; Fox has best NFL game

On a day that UNC alums didn’t put up big numbers, there were some nice stories with defensive end Jalen Dalton finally making his NFL debut, rookie offensive lineman Joshua Ezeudu making his first NFL start and rookie linebacker Tomon Fox playing his best professional game. Wide receiver Mack Hollins was one of the few bright spots for the Las Vegas Raiders in their 24–0 road loss to the New Orleans Saints. Hollins caught seven passes on eight targets for a team-leading 64 yards, including a 14-yard reception. Star wide receiver Davante Adams, who battled through sickness last week, only had one catch on five targets for three yards.