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Stanford in the NFL: Colts and Seahawks rebound in crucial matchups

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Though the Colts’ Andrew Luck ’12 may not have put on his best showing against the Tennessee Titans this past Sunday, he left his fans with plenty to be excited about as he led his team to its first win of the season.

The game pitted Luck against his replacement as the highest-rated passer in the Pac-12, former Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota. The would-have-been rivals quickly succeeded in making things exciting, though it was rookie Mariota who appeared to be off to a better start as he led the Titans to a 27-14 lead at the end of three.

Richard Sherman continued his strong defensive play against the Bears with 1 tackle and 1 broken up pass.
Richard Sherman ’10 (above) continued his strong defensive play against the Bears with 1 tackle and 1 broken-up pass. He also ran back a punt to the Bears’ 19-yard line in a trick play from the Seahawks.(BOB DREBIN/isiphotos.com)

Then the Cardinal record-breaker struck back. On three consecutive fourth-quarter drives, Luck reached the end zone to eventually give his team an 8-point lead. The quarterback received plenty of help from former Stanford running mate Coby Fleener ’12, who ended the day as Indianapolis’ second-place receiver with 4 catches for 51 yards.

However, it was defensive linemen David Parry ’15 and Henry Anderson ’15 who truly sealed the deal for Indianapolis. With seconds to go, Mariota drove the length of the field for a touchdown that put the Titans within a 2-point conversion of sending the game to overtime. In a critical play, Parry, Anderson and the rest of the Colts’ front seven turned back the conversion attempt by Tennessee’s Jalston Fowler, and their team held on for a 35-33 win.

Parry had made his first career sack earlier in the game against a familiar opponent when he brought down Mariota for an 8-yard loss. Griff Whalen ’12 also saw his usual reps on punt return duty for the Indianapolis, though he was unable to break free in the face of the Titans’ coverage.

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The Legion of Boom was back on Sunday as the Seahawks took on the Bears, and yet again, Richard Sherman ’10 was never far away from the action.

Sherman played his usual staunch defense, making 1 tackle and breaking up 1 pass as Seattle blanked Chicago. Backup Bears QB Jimmy Clausen, filling in for the injured Jay Cutler, was unable to establish any momentum against the collective effort of the Stanford alum’s unit, and none of his receivers recorded more than 21 total yards.

Sherman biggest impact, however, surprisingly came on special teams.

In a play call perhaps inspired by a similar Utah attempt against Oregon on Saturday, Sherman ran back to field a punt while teammate and dedicated return man Tyler Lockett pretended to be calling for a fair catch on the opposite side of the field. Lockett attracted most of the Bears’ coverage unit, and Sherman found himself with the ball in open field after he brought down the kick with a sneaky catch over his shoulder.

Though Sherman was eventually brought down at Chicago’s 19-yard line, his return gave Seattle an excellent field position that led to its first score of the game.

On the other side of the ball, Doug Baldwin ‘10 caught 3 passes for 35 yards as Seattle’s offense rallied in the second half to score 19 more unanswered points.

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The Green Bay Packers continued to play strong in the face of injuries in their Monday Night Football matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs. Ty Montgomery ’15 had a game he will always remember, scoring his first NFL touchdown in a regular season game.

In the first drive of the game, Aaron Rodgers led the team down the field and shovel-passed to running back Eddie Lacy for a gain of 26, giving the Packers a first-and-goal opportunity. On the following play, Aaron Rodgers found Montgomery with an 8-yard pass for a touchdown reception, putting the team ahead 7-0. The Packers would hold on to win the game 38-28, moving to 3-0 on the season.

Contact Andrew Mather at amather ‘at’ stanford.edu.

Andrew Mather served as a sports editor and as the Chief Operating Officer of The Daily. A devout Clippers and Iowa Hawkeyes fan from the suburbs of Los Angeles, Mather grew accustomed to watching his favorite programs snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. He brought this nihilistic pessimism to The Daily, where he often felt a sense of déjà vu while covering basketball, football and golf.