Under the bright lights of prime time, Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck ’12 delivered another record-setting performance, earning his first win on Monday Night Football and continuing his ascent to the pinnacle of the sport.
With a 25-for-46, 354-yard performance, Luck led his Colts to a 40-24 rout of the New York Giants on the road, extending his franchise record of seven straight 300-yard passing performances and joining Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Peyton Manning as the only players to throw for over 3,000 yards through the first nine games of the season.
Luck extended his league-leading total of 3,081 passing yards, thanks in large part to his former Stanford teammate Coby Fleener ’12, who finished with a season-high 77 yards on four receptions with one touchdown.
One of Luck’s favorite targets during his time on the Farm, the 6-foot-6, 250-pound tight end was targeted early and often against the Giants, scoring the game’s first touchdown early in the second quarter. In total, Fleener was targeted a game-high 11 times.
With the crucial road win, the Colts improved to 6-3 on the season and moved past their 51-34 throttling at the hands of the Pittsburgh Steelers the week before. Indianapolis now enters a bye week before a crucial showdown with the New England Patriots.
Sunday was a particularly memorable day for former Cardinal outside linebacker Trent Murphy ’14, who recorded his first career NFL sack in the Washington Redskins’ 29-26 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. Murphy, who earned his second career start following Brian Orakpo’s season-ending injury, blew past Vikings offensive lineman Matt Kalil en route to taking down quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.
Murphy, the FBS sack leader in his senior year on the Farm, has made huge marked improvements with each passing week and remains the only member of the 2014 Stanford draft class to hold down an NFL starting job.
Murphy and the Redskins will now enter a bye week before returning to action on Nov. 16 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
In a 30-24 victory over the Oakland Raiders, Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman ’10 picked up his first interception of the season, reeling in a back-shoulder throw intended for Andre Holmes with his left hand. After two straight eight-interception seasons, Sherman has seen his targets diminish considerably in 2014.
Meanwhile, Seattle wide receiver Doug Baldwin ’12 led all Seahawks wide receivers with five receptions for 38 yards as the defending Super Bowl champions held off the Raiders.
With the win, the Seahawks improved to 5-3 on the season and will take on the New York Giants next Sunday at CenturyLink Field.
Just as for his former team on the Farm, it’s been a rough year for head coach Jim Harbaugh and the San Francisco 49ers. Following a Colin Kaepernick fumble at the goal line in the final moments of the game, the 49ers fell to the St. Louis Rams 13-10. With the loss, the 49ers fell to 4-4 on the season and questions surrounding Harbaugh’s future with the team continued to mount amongst members of the media.
For his part, the former Stanford head coach, who led the team to an Orange Bowl victory in 2010, remains focused on the remainder of the season.
“We have to suck it up. That’s a tough loss, but we have to play better football,” Harbaugh said after game.
The 49ers will get their next chance at turning around their season on Sunday against the New Orleans Saints in the Superdome. That game will provide one of the last opportunities for Harbaugh and company to right the ship before a colossal division showdown with Sherman, Baldwin and the Seahawks.
Contact Vihan Lakshman at vihan ‘at’ stanford.edu.