By Jibriel Taha
After a stellar performance in his return from a high ankle sprain last week, Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey is set to spend more time on the sidelines.
McCaffrey was ruled out of Sunday’s game, a 46-23 defeat at the hands of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, with a shoulder injury. On Monday, it was reported that he will again miss multiple weeks, a major blow to the 3-7 Panthers’ playoff hopes.
In more positive injury news, Cleveland Browns tight end Austin Hooper ’17 returned after missing two games due to appendicitis. The former third-round picked up one reception for 11 yards as the Browns snuck by the Houston Texans, 10-7.
The only other member of the former Cardinal tight end corps who was in action last weekend, Kaden Smith ’20, recorded two receptions for 12 yards in a 27-17 win for his New York Giants over the Philadelphia Eagles. The victory narrowed the gap in the NFC East, as the Giants now sit in second place at 3-7 behind the 3-5-1 Eagles.
Notably along the offensive line, guard David DeCastro ’12 and the Pittsburgh Steelers surged to 9-0 with a comfortable 36-10 win over the Cincinnati Bengals.
On the defensive side of the ball, Buffalo Bills defensive end Trent Murphy ’14 recorded a season-high four tackles after being a healthy scratch for a game in mid-October. It wasn’t enough, however, to lead his team to victory as the Bills fell in heartbreaking fashion to the Arizona Cardinals. Down by four with 11 seconds left in the game, Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray escaped from the pocket and launched the ball toward the end zone. Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins leaped over triple coverage and came down with the 43-yard decisive touchdown with one tick left on the clock.
Although the linebacking duo of Blake Martinez ’16 and Bobby Okereke ’18 did not put up the flashy numbers we have become accustomed to seeing this season, they nevertheless helped secure victories for their teams. Both linebackers finished with four tackles, as Martinez’s Giants defeated the Eagles, and Okereke’s Indianapolis Colts took down the Tennessee Titans 34-17 to move into first place in the AFC South.
In the secondary, Texans teammates Justin Reid ’18 and Michael Thomas ’12 recorded four and two tackles respectively. However, the efforts of the two safeties were not enough, as the Texans fell to 2-7 on the season.
On special teams, New England Patriots punter Jake Bailey ’19 averaged 43.3 yards in his four punts, two of which landed inside the 20-yard line. The Patriots notched an upset victory over the 2019 MVP quarterback Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens.
Contact Jibriel Taha at jtaha ‘at’ stanford.edu.