By Jibriel Taha
Eleven former Cardinal were on active rosters when the NFL regular season came to a close, but “Super Wild Card Weekend” trimmed the list to six.
The first two former Cardinal players to advance to next weekend’s Divisional Round were defensive linemen Harrison Phillips ’18 and Trent Murphy ’14 of the Buffalo Bills. Phillips found his way onto the stat sheet, recording two tackles in his team’s 27-24 victory over the Indianapolis Colts on Saturday morning. For the Colts, linebacker Bobby Okereke ’18 picked up five tackles in a game that his team lost despite entering Bills territory on every possession except one.
Later that day, Saturday afternoon’s game ended the rookie season of Seattle Seahawks tight end Colby Parkinson ’20. The fourth-round pick finished the season with two receptions as the Los Angeles Rams pulled off the upset in Seattle.
Another Cardinal drafted in 2020 also saw his season come to a close on Saturday. Washington Football Team defensive end Casey Toohill ’19 picked up two tackles during his rookie season, but the Tampa Bay Buccaneers took down Washington 31-23 on Saturday night.
On Sunday morning, Baltimore Ravens safety Jordan Richards ’15 recorded a tackle and played in 20 of 25 special teams snaps as his Ravens exacted revenge in a 20-13 victory over the Tennessee Titans. Last year, the Titans pulled a stunning upset over the Ravens in the Divisional Round. The Ravens will now travel to Buffalo for next Saturday’s primetime matchup. The Ravens and Bills ride six and seven-game win streaks, respectively.
The Sunday afternoon slot saw the New Orleans Saints defeat the Chicago Bears 21-9. Former Cardinal James Vaughters ’15 of the Chicago Bears did not record a tackle and the Saints’ Ty Montgomery ’15 was a healthy scratch as Alvin Kamara and the rest of the Saints running backs returned from the COVID-19 list.
Finally, Cleveland Browns tight end Austin Hooper ’17 delivered in the Browns’ first playoff game since 2002. Hooper recorded seven receptions for 46 yards and a touchdown in a 48-37 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Browns will head to Kansas City next to face Patrick Mahomes and the defending Super Bowl Champion Chiefs next week.