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Stanford in the NFL, Week 13: Cardinal excel in Seattle, Ertz returns

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Sunday marked the second straight day the Cardinal emerged victorious in Seattle, but this time it was on the professional side.

The New York Giants took down the Seattle Seahawks 17-12 Sunday afternoon and were led by former Cardinal on both sides of the ball. Linebacker Blake Martinez ’16 recorded 10 tackles and a forced fumble in the victory and was the highest-graded defensive player for the Giants, according to Pro Football Focus. Their highest-graded offensive player was also a former Cardinal, offensive tackle Cameron Fleming ’14. Also on offense, tight end Kaden Smith ’20 picked up a 3-yard reception in his return after testing positive for COVID-19. The win put the Giants at 5-7, tied atop the NFC East standings with the Washington Football Team.

The return of Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz ’13 brought the Cardinal tight end corps back to full strength. Ertz, a three-time Pro Bowler, missed the last six weeks with an ankle injury and registered two receptions for 31 yards in his return, a 30-16 loss to the Green Bay Packers.

Cleveland Browns tight end Austin Hooper ’17 also made his presence felt on Sunday, recording two receptions for 24 yards in a 41-35 statement victory over the Tennessee Titans that placed the Browns securely into the playoff picture at 9-3. With Sunday’s win, the Browns guaranteed that they would finish the season with a winning record for the first time since 2007. Dallas Cowboys tight end Dalton Schultz ’18 rounded out the Cardinal offense in a rare Tuesday night game, picking up four receptions for 44 yards in a 34-17 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.

On the defensive side of the ball, Houston Texans safety Justin Reid ’18 led the way for his team with eight tackles, his third straight week with eight or more, in a 26-20 loss to the Indianapolis Colts. San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman ’10 also found his way onto the stat sheet this weekend, picking up three tackles in his second week back from a calf injury that kept him off the field from Weeks 2 through 11.

Two former Cardinal and current AFC East defensive lineman made contributions Week 13. Henry Anderson ’15 of the New York Jets recorded a tackle in a heartbreaking 31-28 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders. With 19 seconds left, Raiders quarterback Derek Carr found an open Henry Ruggs III for a 46-yard game-winning touchdown, sending the Jets to 0-12. Buffalo Bills’ Harrison Phillips ’18 also picked up a tackle this week as the Bills took down the 49ers 34-24 on “Monday Night Football.”

On special teams, the New England Patriots received a stellar performance from punter Jake Bailey ’19. The 2019 fifth-round pick placed three of his four punts inside the 20-yard line and hit his season-long 65-yard punt. Their 45-0 shutout of the Los Angeles Chargers sent the Patriots to 6-6, which currently places them outside of the playoff picture.

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Jibriel Taha is a staff writer for the sports section. He is from Malibu, California and studies economics and political science. He also co-hosts The Stanford Daily's men's basketball podcast series. Contact him at jtaha ‘at’ stanforddaily.com.