Arizona rookie wideout Michael Floyd got hot in the second half of the 2012 season.
This kind of list is meant to spark debate. Perhaps some of you would replace one of the big performances on this list with another former Notre Dame star, or rearrange the order. But here are my top-five individual Fighting Irish performances of the 2012 NFL season.
1. Michael Floyd, WR, Arizona Cardinals — Setting the tone for 2013, Floyd’s final game of his rookie campaign was one to remember. Notre Dame’s most prolific receiver in history had season highs in receptions (eight) and yards (166) and scored his second touchdown in 27-13 loss at San Francisco on Dec. 30.
2. Harrison Smith, S, Minnesota Vikings — Seven weeks after returning an interception 31 yards for his first career touchdown (college or NFL) in a victory over Arizona, Smith took another pick 56 yards to the house in a critical win over NFC North Division foe Chicago with three regular season games remaining.
3. Golden Tate, WR, Seattle Seahawks — In the third game of the season, Tate hauled in three passes for 68 yards and two touchdowns against visiting Green Bay. His 24-yard touchdown snag in the final seconds secured a Monday Night Football victory.
4. Kyle Rudolph, TE, Minnesota Vikings — Rudolph pulled in five receptions for 36 yards, but two of them went for touchdowns in a 24-13 victory over vaunted San Francisco on Sept. 23.
5. Golden Tate, WR, Seattle Seahawks — This time Tate was on the opposite end of an exciting touchdown throw. On Nov. 11 against the visiting New York Jets, Tate, who made a touchdown snag in the first quarter, received a quick pitch and threw a 23-yard touchdown pass to Sidney Rice in the fourth quarter to cap a 27-7 win.