Stanford in the NFL, Week 5: Another top performance from a Cardinal linebacker

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The Indianapolis Colts fell short of a victory on Sunday, but that didn’t stop former Cardinal linebacker Bobby Okereke ’18 from putting together a standout performance.

The 2019 third-rounder recorded a season-high 10 tackles, eight of which were solo. He also recorded his first career interception off of Browns quarterback and former number one overall pick Baker Mayfield in the third quarter.

Okereke played all 73 of the Colts’ defensive snaps despite nursing a broken thumb, which he wore a cast to protect. His 3-2 Colts will look to add to their win total at home next week against the Cincinnati Bengals.

The remaining former Cardinal linebacker corps put on a strong showing as well last weekend. Despite a strong performance from Blake Martinez ’16 that included seven tackles and a fumble recovery, his New York Giants fell to 0-5. Chicago Bears linebacker James Vaughters ’15 picked up two tackles, and Brennan Scarlett ’15 of the Houston Texans recorded three tackles. The Texans notched their first win of the season over the Jaguars under interim head coach Romeo Crennel.

Scarlett’s Texans teammates were productive as well on Sunday, with safeties Michael Thomas ’12 and Justin Reid ’18 recording five and six tackles, respectively. 

Along the defensive line, Henry Anderson ’15 of the New York Jets made a tackle in a 30-10 loss to the Arizona Cardinals, while Buffalo Bills teammates Trent Murphy ’14 and Harrison Phillips ’18 registered three and one tackles, respectively.

Offensively, former Cardinal tight ends continued to make contributions. Austin Hooper ’17 of the Browns caught five passes for 57 yards to help his team improve to 4-1 for the first time since 1994. Dalton Schultz ’18 of the Dallas Cowboys and Kaden Smith ’20 of the Giants each recorded a reception in their head-to-head matchup that resulted in a 37-34 Cowboys victory. Zach Ertz ’13 of the Philadelphia Eagles also picked up a 6-yard reception in a 38-29 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. 

In the late first quarter of the game, Pittsburgh Steelers guard David DeCastro ’12 was taken out for an abdomen injury.

Ertz’s teammate, wide receiver J.J. Arcega-Whiteside ’19 recorded his first catch of the season: a 37-yard reception with seven seconds to go in the first half.

Multiple former Cardinal stars are still recovering from injury. Carolina Panthers superstar running back Christan McCaffery ’18 will undergo tests this week for his high ankle sprain and is now eligible to be removed from injured reserve. 

Cornerback Richard Sherman ’10 of the San Francisco 49ers reportedly suffered a setback in his recovery from a calf injury and will likely miss another week of action as the 49ers look to bounce back from their 43-17 loss to the Miami Dolphins.

Contact Jibriel Taha at jtaha “at” stanford.edu.

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Jibriel Taha ’24 is a contributing writer for the sports section. He is from Malibu, California and studies economics and political science. In his free time, he enjoys watching football, baseball, basketball, hockey, and tennis. He also umpires and referees youth sports. Contact him at jtaha ‘at’ stanford.edu.