Former Esks Brandon Zylstra, Duke Williams rip it up in NFL regular season finale

A pair of former Edmonton Eskimos had impressive performances on Sunday, the final day of the 2019 NFL regular season.

Brandon Zylstra caught six passes for 96 yards in Carolina’s season-ending 42-10 loss to the New Orleans Saints. The Panthers finished the year 5-11 with head coach Ron Rivera having been fired earlier this month.

Sunday marked one of the first real opportunities Zylstra has had to make an impact in the NFL following two standout seasons with the Eskimos (2016-2017).

The 26-year-old dressed for sixteen games with his hometown Minnesota Vikings last year, recording one catch for 16 yards. Waived by the Vikes following training camp in August, Zylstra joined the active roster in Carolina and dressed for eight games.

Considering how the Panthers struggled through the air this year — only two wide outs surpassed the 300-yard mark this season — one could argue Zylstra should have been given a larger role.

Williams made six receptions for 108 yards in the Buffalo Bills’ season-ending 13-6 loss to the New York Jets. The 26-year-old is in his first season with the Bills and dressed for the first time since October following eight weeks as a healthy scratch. He finished the regular season with 12 catches for 166 yards and a touchdown.

Buffalo finished the season 10-6 and will visit the 10-6 Houston Texans in next week’s AFC wild card game. It remains unclear whether or not Williams will dress for the post-season contest, which will be just the second such game for Buffalo in 20 years.