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Stanford in the NFL: Ertz, Thomas face off in Philly, Seahawks suffer at hands of Cardinals

PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 1, 2013: Zach Ertz during the 99th Rose Bowl Game against Wisconsin. The Cardinal defeated the Badgers 20-14.

Around the NFL this weekend, Stanford alumni helped decide games with playoff implications and last-second, outcome-altering plays. A barn burner in Philly, a last-second field goal in East Rutherford and a Sunday night showdown in Seattle all headlined Week 10 in the NFL.

PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 1, 2013: Zach Ertz during the 99th Rose Bowl Game against Wisconsin. The Cardinal defeated the Badgers 20-14.
Zack Ertz ’13 (left) of the Philadelphia Eagles had a strong performance on Sunday, recording 7 receptions for 68 yards in the Eagles’ 20-19 loss to the Miami Dolphins. (JIM SHORIN/stanfordphoto.com)

The early kickoff of the day was in Philadelphia, where the Eagles took on the Dolphins. Cardinal teammates from the ’13 draft class, Miami safety Michael Thomas and Philadelphia tight end Zach Ertz, battled all game. Ertz had 7 receptions for 68 yards and helped the Eagles build an early 13-point lead.

After halftime, the Eagles came out with a quick 27-yard strike from Sam Bradford to Ertz, but that couldn’t help the team from collapsing. It was Thomas and Miami’s defense that stood out as the game progressed, as Miami held the Eagles to just a field goal after some first-quarter readjustments.

Thomas recorded 6 tackles and shut the Eagles down for most of the second half. After battling back offensively, the Dolphins scored a go-ahead touchdown early in the fourth quarter and never relinquished the lead, even intercepting Mark Sanchez, the Eagles’ QB, in their own end zone late in the fourth quarter, eventually winning by a final score of 20-19.

The Eagles are now third in the NFC West, only in front of the 2-7 Dallas Cowboys. Miami, on the other hand, occupies last place in the AFC East, despite coming out with the win against Philadelphia. The Dolphins play the reeling Cowboys next week, while the Eagles host the Buccaneers.

In primetime Sunday night, the Cardinals delivered a vintage performance, dispensing of the Seahawks in dramatic fashion and probably ending any hopes of Seattle returning to the Super Bowl for a third consecutive year. Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin ’10 was explosive in the game, catching 7 receptions for 134 yards and scoring an exciting 32-yard touchdown late in the third quarter to pull Seattle back within striking distance. Cornerback Richard Sherman ’10 recorded 5 tackles and was again not targeted often by the Cardinals’ Carson Palmer. Arizona’s Josh Morro ’14 got 3 tackles as defensive end and also stuffed one of Russell Wilson’s passes in the second half. Stepfan Taylor ’13 briefly went in for the Cardinals but did not see any plays as running back.

The Cardinals have opened an almost insurmountable three-game lead in the NFC West and look to continue their path towards a first-round bye in the playoffs. They host the undefeated Bengals next week in the Desert. And the Seahawks and their Stanford alumni return to Santa Clara County next week when Seattle takes on the 49ers at Levi’s Stadium, the site of this season’s Pac-12 championship game and the Super Bowl.

The Colts had a bye week and look to regroup after concerning news that QB Andrew Luck ’12 will be out for at least a month with a kidney injury that could be very serious. Defensive tackle Henry Anderson ’15 may also be out for the rest of the season with a possible torn ACL. At 4-5, the Colts are in first place in the dismal AFC South. They have an important game in Atlanta next week and hope to get healthy for the season-ending stretch against two division foes. By Thanksgiving, football fans should have a clearer picture of the NFL playoff race both in the AFC South and around the league.

 

Contact Michael Spelfogel at mspel ‘at’ stanford.edu.

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