By James Hemker
The football gods must always take more than they give. After Stanford earned the right to keep the Axe for another year, it was only fair that nearly every former Cardinal in the NFL would lose. Despite the list of L’s, the following alumni were still able to make an impact for their team.
Carolina Panthers’ running back Christian McCaffrey had a game that would have been impressive had it not come directly after his record-setting Sunday last week. McCaffrey was the lone source of promise for the Panthers, who dropped a 17-24 decision to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. McCaffrey ran for 106 yards on just 10 carries, marking his third 100-yard rushing game of the season. He was Cam Newton’s second favorite target, behind the Bucs’ defense, with nine receptions for 55 yards and a touchdown.
Stanford’s newest defensive star safety, Justin Reid, helped the Houston Texans contain the upstart Cleveland Browns in a 29-13 victory. Reid had a relatively quiet game with just four tackles; however he also defended two passes and forced a fumble late in the third quarter.
Green Bay Packers’ linebacker Blake Martinez tallied double digit tackles for the fifth game this year. His 10 tackles were not enough to stop the Arizona Cardinals, who won 20-17 in Green Bay for the first time since 1949. Martinez continues to be one of the most productive players in the league. His 106 tackles are the second most in the NFL and the most in the NFC.
Tight end Austin Hooper brought the Atlanta Falcons their only offensive touchdown during their 16-26 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. Hooper successfully hauled in all five of his targets for 44 yards. His touchdown was ultimately inconsequential as he scored during garbage time with just four minutes left in the game.
The Seattle Seahawks had their way with the San Francisco 49ers in a 43-16 rout. Wide receiver Doug Baldwin had a quiet day with only two catches for 22 yards, but the veteran was still able to pick up his second touchdown of the year. This victory for a Stanford player came at the hands of another as 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman could not stop his team from being defeated.
In the strangest game of the week, the Indianapolis Colts were held scoreless by the Jacksonville Jaguars, who in turn only managed to score six points. Quarterback Andrew Luck fired the ball 52 times, but he only procured 248 yards on 33 completions. He threw an interception on the Colts’ first drive of the game. This was Luck’s first game of the season in which he was kept out of the end zone and also ended his streak of consecutive games with 3+ touchdowns thrown.
McCaffrey will get another shot at a big day next week when the Panthers travel to Cleveland. Luck will need to have a stellar day to lift the Colts over Reid and the Texans, who are on a franchise record nine game win streak. Hooper and Martinez will also be on opposite sides of the ball. Baldwin and the Seahawks will host the Vikings.
Contact James Hemker at jahemker ‘at’ stanford.edu.