By Shan Reddy
This week six in the NFL saw former Cardinal Doug Baldwin return to the starting lineup for a depleted Seattle Seahawks wide receiver corps that desperately missed him last week. Baldwin picked up right where he left off, reeling in six catches for 91 yards, including a 42-yard bomb right over top of Oakland Raiders cornerback Darryl Worley. Baldwin currently leads the NFL in receiving touchdowns from the slot since 2015 with 21, just ahead of the Green Bay Packers’ Randall Cobb and the Washington Redskins’ Jamison Crowder.
Former Cardinal tight ends continued to produce this week in the NFL, with the Atlanta Falcons’ Austin Hooper and Philadelphia Eagles’ Zach Ertz putting out another consecutive week of solid stats for their teams. In a tight win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sunday, Hooper pulled in nine catches for a touchdown and 71 yards. This was the third best receiving performance in the NFL this week among tight ends after the New England Patriots’ Rob Gronkowski and the Packers’ Jimmy Graham. Ertz solidified his spot at number one in receptions and receiving yards among tight ends this week with seven receptions for 43 yards and a touchdown. Ertz is second out of any player in the NFL in receptions this season with 48.
Indianapolis Colts’ quarterback Andrew Luck had another high volume passing game this week, throwing for more than 300 yards for the third week in a row, this week tearing up a New York Jets secondary en route to a tough 34-42 loss. Luck is currently second in the NFL in passing touchdowns with 16, second only to Kansas City Chiefs’ quarterback and current league MVP frontrunner Patrick Mahomes.
Packers’ middle linebacker Blake Martinez racked up 12 tackles this week in a last minute win over the San Francisco 49ers on Monday night. After leading the NFL in tackles last season, Martinez currently sits atop the NFC in combined tackles.
This week also saw a strong performance from Pittsburgh Steelers’ guard David DeCastro, the only Stanford offensive guard ever drafted in the first round of the NFL draft. Decastro is the strongest player on an offensive line that didn’t allow a single sack this week against the Cincinnati Bengals front seven, and helped pave the way for running back James Conner’s two touchdowns and 111 yards on the ground. DeCastro is currently the ninth highest rated guard in the NFL by PFF, and held his own against one of the NFL’s best nose tackles in Geno Atkins, a six-time Pro Bowler feared for his pass-rush prowess.
Keep an eye out for the Cardinal this week, including Andrew Luck, who’ll be looking to post up big numbers against the Buffalo Bills’ weak secondary as well as a clash of offensive studs in Zach Ertz and Carolina Panthers’ running back Christian McCaffrey, who will be facing off in Philadelphia this Sunday.
Contact Shan Reddy at rsreddy ‘at’ stanford.edu