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Stanford in the NFL: Offensive alumni shine despite being plagued by injuries

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Former Stanford offensive skill position players had several strong performances this week around the NFL. Seattle receiver Doug Baldwin eclipsed the 100-yard mark receiving again this week while adding a touchdown throw. Philadelphia and New Orleans tight ends Zach Ertz and Coby Fleener both added touchdown catches and Indianapolis quarterback Andrew Luck led the Colts to a quick start and a win, headlining Stanford alumni’s offensive efforts. Seattle’s Richard Sherman, Stanford wideout-turned-cornerback, led the way on defense with an interception.

Seahawks wideout Doug Baldwin caught four of his five targets for 104 yards. He also threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to quarterback Russell Wilson on a trick play. The trick play was set up by a 34-yard Baldwin catch-and-run on a broken 3rd-and-11 play in which Baldwin found open space as Wilson was scrambling around the pocket. The connection got Seattle down to the Philadelphia 26 yard line. Three plays later, Baldwin was sent in motion from the left side of the field and received the backwards lateral from Wilson. Baldwin faked as if it were and end-around run as Wilson leaked out towards the front left corner of the end zone. Baldwin was pressured, released the ball quickly across his body moving to his right to find an open Wilson, who dove into the end zone for the score. The Seahawks beat the Eagles 26-15 for their third straight win, improving to 7-2-1 overall.

Staying in the receiving corps, Eagles tight end Zach Ertz reeled in six catches for 35 yards, including a touchdown, on 11 targets. The touchdown came in with 14:13 left in the second quarter. Ertz took a few steps as if he were running a flat, then planted his foot and cut to the inside, where he caught the pass at the two yard line, lowered his shoulder against the defender and stretched the ball for the goal line. The Eagles, however, would fall to the Seahawks 26-15. Ertz also had a 57-yard touchdown catch on a screen that was called back due to an illegal formation.

Also at the tight end position, Saints player Coby Fleener caught three passes for 17 yards, including an eight-yard touchdown. The touchdown came with 2:56 remaining in the fourth quarter. Quarterback Drew Brees stepped back in the pocket and fired a bullet in the middle of the end zone to hit Fleener right out of his break on the curl route.

Colts quarterback Andrew Luck threw for 262 yards, two touchdowns and one interception in a 15-for-28 showing that saw the Colts beat the Titans 24-17 as Indianapolis improved to 5-5 on the season. He also ran for 22 yards on eight carries. Both of Luck’s touchdown passes came in the first half, as he hit both wideout Dante Moncrief and T.Y. Hilton for two yard scores in the first and second quarters, respectively. Luck was placed in concussion protocol after the game, however, and his status for Indianapolis’ Thanksgiving tilt against the Steelers is in question.

Also on offense, the Packers’ versatile wide receiver/running back Ty Montgomery ran for 17 yards on four carries while reeling in three catches for 27 yards, but the Packers fell to the Redskins 42-24.

On the other side of the ball, Seahawks defensive back Richard Sherman led the way, contributing to the Seahawks winning effort with four tackles and an interception. His interception came with 9:56 to go in the third quarter as Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz was being pressured at his own goal line. Wentz heaved the ball downfield into double coverage towards receiver Bryce Treggs. Seattle safety Earl Thomas was running in front of Treggs, while Sherman was running deep. The throw was slightly too far, and Sherman made the over-the-shoulder catch at the Seattle 35-yard line before being immediately dragged down by Treggs. The Sherman interception led to the aforementioned Baldwin catch and touchdown pass.

Also in the secondary, Browns safety Ed Reynolds got the start and played 100 percent of defensive snaps and over half of special teams snaps, logging five tackles. However, the Browns remain winless at 0-11. And Dolphins safety Michael Thomas registered two tackles in Miami’s 14-10 win over the Rams.

On the front seven, Packers linebacker Blake Martinez racked up five tackles, including one tackle for loss, before exiting the game against the Redskins due to a knee injury. Martinez was seen on crutches after the game, and reports say that he has a sprained MCL and is expected to miss several games.

In the same game, Redskins linebacker/defensive end Trent Murphy contributed two tackles, including a half tackle for a loss in the Redskins’ beatdown of the banged-up Packers.

Colts defensive tackle David Parry contributed to Indianapolis’ win with three tackles, including a sack, his second of the year.

San Francisco 49ers linebacker Shayne Skov only saw one snap on defense and added 26 more on special teams, but made the most of his limited action by tallying two tackles in the Niners’ 30-17 home loss to the New England Patriots.

 

Contact Jamie MacFarlane at jamiemac ‘at’ stanford.edu.