Stanford in the NFL, Week 13: Reid, Phillips finalists for Walter Payton Man of the Year

Dec. 9, 2021, 3:34 p.m.

Despite solid performances in Week 13, the greatest contributions from Houston Texans safety Justin Reid ’18 and Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Harrison Phillips ’18 were made off the field. 

Reid, a Louisiana native, organized a relief event at the Texans’ home stadium at the beginning of the season for families affected by Hurricane Ida last summer. Reid’s teammates helped him raise over $10,000 and fill two 18-wheeled tractor trailers with nonperishable food, water, dog food and toiletries for the victims. Reid has also contributed to other Houston organizations, such as Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Family Alliance, The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Houston and Kids’ Meals. Reid’s work in the community earned him a nomination for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award, given annually to the NFL player that exhibits excellence both on the field and in the community, and is considered by many to be the NFL’s most prestigious honor.

Reid’s former Stanford teammate Phillips was also nominated for the award. The majority of Phillips’s work in the community was through his Playmakers Organization, which helps to support children that are mentally or physically different. Over Thanksgiving weekend, Phillips rented out a Dave & Busters for his “playmakers” and their families. Phillips has also previously hosted kickball games for children with disabilities, had “Galentine’s Day” with teenage girls with cancer and served as the keynote speaker at the 2020 Special Olympics New York Winter Games. Phillips’s efforts in the community also earned him a nomination last season.

The winner of the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award will be announced on Feb. 10.

Regarding the performance of Reid and Phillips on the field in Week 13, the duo did not disappoint, either. Both recorded seven tackles for their respective teams, but Reid’s Texans fell 31-0 to the Colts while Phillips’s Bills were bested 14-10 by the Patriots. 

Solomon Thomas ’17, a fellow Stanford alumnus on the defensive line, had another solid performance, making four total tackles and recording a quarterback hit for the Raiders in their 17-15 loss to Washington.

Bengals’ safety Michael Thomas ’12 and Saints’ cornerback Paulson Adebo ’21 accompanied Reid on the statsheet for Cardinal secondary players. Both Thomas and Adebo had a tackle each, albeit the Bengals lost 41-22 to the Chargers and the Saints lost 27-17 to the Cowboys on Thursday Night Football.

Linebacker Bobby Okereke ’19 rounded out the Stanford defensive contributions, leading the Colts with six total tackles in their blowout victory over the Texans.

On the offensive side of the ball, some familiar faces returned to action.

Quarterback Davis Mills ’21 relieved Tyrod Taylor in the Texans’ blowout loss to the Colts, completing six of 14 pass attempts for 49 yards. Mills added two rushes for 11 yards in his first appearance since Week 8.

Tight end Zach Ertz ’13 and the Cardinals made their return to the field after a bye in Week 12. Ertz had a 10-yard reception for the Cardinals as they defeated the Chicago Bears 33-22. The Cardinals moved to a 10-2 record on the season, maintaining their place as the best team in the league. 

On the subject of tight ends, Dalton Schultz ’19 had five receptions for 43 yards in the Cowboys’ 27-17 win.

On the other sideline, Saints’ running back/wide receiver Ty Montgomery ’15 had four carries for 21 yards and four receptions for nine yards.

For the offensive linemen, center Drew Dalman ’21 played 26 snaps for the Falcons in their 30-17 loss to Tampa Bay. Nate Herbig ’19 played every snap for the Eagles in a 33-18 win over the New York Jets.

Special teams was once again highlighted by punter Jake Bailey, who punted six times for 252 yards for the Patriots. Bailey was forced to deal with inclement conditions, punting in 30-degree weather with 25-35 mile-per-hour winds. 

Bengals’ wide receiver Trenton Irwin ’19 returned a punt for five yards.

Drew Silva is a writer for the sports section. He is a junior from Pawtucket, Rhode Island studying computer science and symbolic systems. In his free time, he enjoys watching Executive Editor Tammer Bagdasarian play blackjack. You can find him watching NFL Redzone on Sundays.

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