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Stanford in the NFL, Week 8: McCaffrey nears return, Mills impresses

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The Carolina Panthers’ 19-13 victory over the Atlanta Falcons marked the team’s first win without Christian McCaffrey ‘17, who has been out with a hamstring injury since the team’s Week 3 victory over the Houston Texans. McCaffrey is eligible to come off of Injured Reserve for the Panthers’ Week 9 matchup with the New England Patriots, and Panthers’ head coach Matt Rhule said in his Monday press conference that they are hopeful McCaffrey will be available, but his return might have to wait until the Week 10 game against the Cardinals.

Rhule also made sure to shut down some trade rumors surrounding McCaffrey after speculation that Carolina could include him in a trade for Texans’ quarterback Deshaun Watson. If the rumors had been true, McCaffrey could have potentially linked up with former Cardinal players Davis Mills ‘21 and Justin Reid ‘18.

Speaking of Mills, he played his best game since Week 5, completing 29-of-38 passes for 310 yards and two touchdowns, including a 45 yard pass to Brandin Cooks, despite an interception in the first half. 

However, Mills’ impressive second half proved to be too little too late, as the Texans suffered their seventh straight loss, 38-22, at the hands of the Los Angeles Rams.

As usual, multiple Stanford tight ends played a role in their teams’ offenses this week. Zach Ertz ‘13 had four catches for 42 yards, but the Cardinals suffered their first loss of the season, falling 24-21 to the Green Bay Packers. Dalton Schultz ‘18 caught two of seven targets for 11 yards as the Cowboys took down the Vikings 20-16. Austin Hooper ‘16 caught four of his six targets for 26 yards, but the Browns fell to the Steelers 15-10.

Ty Montgomery ‘15 only had one reception, but it came late in the fourth quarter and helped set up the go-ahead field goal for the Saints.

Montgomery’s teammate Andrus Peat ‘15 did not suit up for the Saints in their 36-27 win over the Buccaneers due to a pectoral injury he suffered last week that will require season-ending surgery.

On a more positive note, Nate Herbig ‘19 stepped in to provide protection for quarterback Jalen Hurts after the Eagles’ offensive lineman Jack Driscoll was forced to exit the team’s game against the Lions due to a hand injury. Following the Eagles’ 44-6 win, Herbig was praised by both Hurts and head coach Nick Sirianni for his role in the success of the Eagles run game. 

Linebacker Bobby Okereke ‘19 once again led the way defensively for the former Cardinal. He had 12 total tackles — 10 being solo — but the Colts fell to the Titans in overtime 34-31.

Brennan Scarlett ‘16 had three tackles for Miami, one being for a loss. James Vaughters ‘15 had two tackles for the Atlanta Falcons in their loss to Carolina.  Harrison Philipps ‘18 added two tackles of his own for the Bills’ defensive line.

For the defensive backs, Paulson Adebo ‘21 contributed with four tackles against an elite Buccaneers receiving corps. Justin Reid ’18 had 10 total tackles for Houston in the loss. Richard Sherman ‘11 continues to be sidelined with a hamstring injury.

Both offensive lineman Walker Little ‘21 and tight end Colby Parkinson ‘20 played a handful of special teams snaps for their respective teams. Parkinson’s Seahawks came out on top, defeating Little’s Jaguars 31-7. 

Jake Bailey ‘19 punted three times for 146 yards, including a 62 yard punt as the Patriots defeated the Chargers 27-24.

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Drew Silva is a writer for the sports section. He is a sophomore from Pawtucket, Rhode Island studying computer science and symbolic systems. His favorite teams include the New England Patriots and Boston Celtics. You can find him watching NFL Redzone on Sundays.