Stanford alumni on the Seattle Seahawks stole the show this week, as wide receiver Doug Baldwin and cornerback Richard Sherman, who tallied seven tackles and a key fumble recovery, played big-time roles in Seattle’s 31-24 road win against the Patriots. However, on an otherwise quiet offensive day, Stanford alumni produced several strong defensive efforts with key contributions from Green Bay’s Blake Martinez, Washington’s Trent Murphy, Cleveland’s Ed Reynolds and Arizona’s Josh Mauro.
Baldwin hauled in a monstrous three total touchdown catches, with six catches for 59 yards overall. The receiver’s first touchdown came with 10:52 to go in the second quarter, where quarterback Russell Wilson hit him on a back shoulder throw in the front left corner of the end zone, beating star cornerback and Seattle-enemy Malcolm Butler to put the Seahawks up 12-6 early.
His second score provided a huge momentum shift for the Seahawks, as Wilson scrambled to his left and desperately heaved across his body to find a wide-open Baldwin in the front right corner of the end zone for an 18-yard score with just six seconds remaining in the first half. The Seahawks had no timeouts remaining and had Baldwin not found open space, there was a good chance the Seahawks would’ve ended the drive empty-handed heading into the half but instead went into the locker room up 19-14.
Baldwin’s third touchdown catch was an equally crucial 15-yard catch on third down with 4:24 to go in the fourth quarter, giving Seattle a 31-24 lead that carried them throughout the rest of the game. Baldwin gained several steps on Patriots cornerback Logan Ryan, and Wilson beautifully put some air under the ball, letting Baldwin run under it for the over-the-shoulder catch. The touchdown was set up by Richard Sherman’s fumble recovery, which gave Seattle fantastic field position.
Sherman’s fumble recovery came at a crucial time as New England was vying to take the lead back from Seattle, driving into Seahawks territory down only 25-24. With 8:45 to go in the fourth quarter, Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady hit Julian Edelman for a five-yard completion to the Seahawks 38-yard line, but Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor punched the ball out before Edelman was down. Sherman picked it up at his own 36-yard line and returned it for 17 yards to the Patriots’ 47, setting up the following Baldwin score.
Elsewhere on defense, Packers linebacker Blake Martinez had a game- and career-high 10 tackles, but the Green Bay defense had a tough time containing the Titans offense, losing 47-25. Fellow linebacker Shayne Skov of the 49ers made the most of his four defensive snaps, logging 1.5 tackles overall for the loss as the Niners fell to the Cardinals 23-20.
Also on the front seven, Redskins pass-rushing linebacker Trent Murphy had four tackles on the day, including a sack. The sack was his seventh of the season, tied for eighth best in the league. Arizona defensive tackle Josh Mauro registered three tackles, including 1.5 tackles for loss as the Cardinals squeaked by the 49ers.
In the secondary, Cleveland safety Ed Reynolds got his first start of the season and tallied a season-high six tackles, but the Browns remain winless as the Ravens got the best of them 28-7. Reynolds logged a team-high 96 snaps in the game between defense and special teams. Dolphins safety Michael Thomas also got the start, registering two tackles in Miami’s 31-24 road win over San Diego.
On offense, Eagles tight end Zach Ertz headlined Stanford’s non-Doug Baldwin efforts. Ertz caught six of his seven targets for 55 yards receiving as the Eagles beat the Falcons 24-15. On the other side of that game, Falcons tight end Austin Hooper reeled in one catch for 8 yards in Atlanta’s loss.
Saints tight end Coby Fleener caught two passes for 18 yards, while left tackle Andrus Peat got the start as well. However, New Orleans lost in stunning fashion as their extra point was blocked with 1:22 to go in the fourth quarter and returned for two points by the defense, breaking the tie and giving the Broncos a 25-23 victory.
Packers running back/wide receiver combo Ty Montgomery saw a reduction in playing time out of the backfield as James Starks returned from injury, but still had three rushes for nine yards and two catches for 11 yards in their loss.
Also of note: Chargers wideout Griff Whalen caught his second pass of the year for a 10-yard gain.
Stanford alumni will take the field again in NFL Week 11 action starting this Thursday as Coby Fleener’s Saints take on the struggling Carolina Panthers in a clash of the NFC South.
Contact Jamie MacFarlane at jamiemac ‘at’ stanford.edu.