Stanford in the NFL: McCaffrey breaks through the tackles

Sept. 25, 2018, 1:45 a.m.

Week three of the NFL is in the books, and there were some absolutely shocking results in the world of football. The New England Patriots lost to the Detroit Lions, the Minnesota Vikings lost to the Buffalo Bills, and the Jacksonville Jaguars lost to the Tennessee Titans in pretty shocking upsets. Through all of the insanity, the 28 former Stanford players still rostered to NFL teams had some incredible performances, and some fairly disappointing ones as well. Let’s take a look at who stood out from the pack this week.

People have been saying it since he was breaking rushing records on the Farm, Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey is too undersized to be running through the tackles like an NFL back. In week two, McCaffrey was still used in that mold, an undersized back more suited for catching passes. He rushed only eight times for 37 yards and caught an insane 14 passes out of the backfield. In week three, he made every draft scout eat their words. McCaffrey stepped onto the field as a workhorse running back for the first time, carrying a career high load of 28 carries, taking them for 184 yards and an absurd 6.6 yards per carry. He only caught two passes for 10 yards but absolutely gashed the Cincinnati Bengals on the ground. In all of last year, McCaffrey only had 117 carries through 16 games. He nearly rushed one fourth of that amount in one game on Sunday. The sky’s the limit for this former Cardinal superstar.

Offensive studs tight end Zach Ertz and quarterback Andrew Luck squared off this weekend as the Philadelphia Eagles took on the Indianapolis Colts in the city of brotherly love. Neither had a particularly remarkable day, but Ertz did seem more comfortable on the field with his QB, Carson Wentz, back in the lineup. He was targeted 10 times by Wentz during the game, hauling five of those targets in for 73 yards. On the other side, Luck was somewhat stymied by the stout defense of the Eagles, completing 62.5 percent of his passes for only 164 yards and one touchdown. We’ve seen these players produce more on offense, so maybe Sunday was just a slow day at the office.

It certainly wasn’t a slow day at the office for the San Francisco 49’ers cornerback Richard Sherman, who was assigned to cover the fastest player in the NFL on Sunday, Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill. Sherman, despite his age and injury history, managed to hold his own in the matchup, particularly during one deep post route where Sherman held Hill step-for-step and registered a pass breakup. Sherman would leave the game with tightness in his calf but played tough while he was in the game.

And Blake Martinez of the Green Bay Packers continued his quest to lead the NFL in tackles, registering four total tackles and five assists during the Packers’ contest against the Washington Redskins. The Packers’ defensive front was tasked with stopping the legendary (but aged) running back Adrian Peterson. Their level of success was not as high as they would have hoped as Peterson smashed through for 120 yards and two touchdowns.

As week four approaches, another chance arises for new and old Stanford players alike to have breakout games and star performances. Only time will tell if it will be as chaotic as last week.


Contact Bobby Pragada at bpragada ‘at’

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