Rookie quarterback Davis Mills ’21 did not look like a 10.5 point underdog when his Houston Texans took the field on Sunday versus the Los Angeles Chargers. Mills led the Texans’ offense to an impressive 41-point performance, completing 21 of 27 passes for 254 yards and two touchdowns, as he posted a 130.6 passer rating. Houston’s 41-26 victory over Los Angeles marked Mills’ second consecutive win as a starter.
Tight end Dalton Schultz ’18 and the Dallas Cowboys continued their hot streak, winning their fourth straight game to clinch the NFC East and maintaining the second overall seed in the conference. Schultz had eight catches, 82 yards and a touchdown in a historic night for the Cowboys’ offense.
Dallas tied the franchise record for most points in a half, entering halftime with an astounding 42-7 lead over Washington. Because of this comfortable lead, Schultz spent a good portion of the second half on the sidelines with the rest of the starters, and the game finished 56-14. Schultz’s Dallas teammate Simi Fehoko ’21 probably would have had the opportunity to bring in his first NFL catch, but he was inactive after being placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list.
Unlike the Dallas Cowboys, the Arizona Cardinals have been trending in the wrong direction, losing their past three games. Despite Arizona’s recent struggles, tight end Zach Ertz ’13 has continued to thrive for a Cardinals offense that has stumbled recently. Ertz’s eight receptions were tied for a game high, and his 54 receiving yards helped move the chains for the Cardinals. However, Arizona fell to the Indianapolis Colts 22-16.
Other former Cardinal tight ends who took the field include Austin Hooper ’16 and Colby Parkinson ’20. Hooper registered three catches for 26 yards for the Browns in a 24-22 loss to the league-leading Green Bay Packers, while Parkinson played a key role as a blocker for the Seahawks in their 25-24 loss to the Chicago Bears.
On the offensive line, Nate Herbig ’19 started for the Eagles and helped fuel their dynamic run-heavy offense to a 34-10 win over the Giants. After a 2-5 start to the season, the Eagles now sit at 8-7 and would make the playoffs if the season ended today. This season turnaround is powered by their past three games, which have featured three Herbig starts and three victories.
Linebacker Bobby Okereke ’19 highlighted the defensive side once again, recording five solo tackles and eight overall for the Colts as they continued their hot streak and defeated the Cardinals 22-16 on Christmas Day.
Fellow linebacker James Vaughters ’15 had a quarterback hit for the Falcons in their 20-16 win over the Detroit Lions.
Defensive tackle Harrison Phillips ’18 led the way for Cardinal defensive linemen with five solo tackles for the Bills in their 33-21 win over the division-rival Patriots. With the win, the Bills soared to the top of the AFC East standings, and moved up from the seventh seed to the fourth seed in the conference.
Defensive tackle Solomon Thomas ’17 had two tackles for the Raiders in their 17-13 win over the Broncos. Las Vegas’ postseason hopes are still alive, as the team currently sits at 8-7 and could move into a playoff position with a win over the Colts in Week 17.
Defensive end Casey Toohill ’20 had three tackles for Washington in a blowout loss, while Josh Mauro ’14 played for the first time since Week 9. Mauro was elevated to the Cardinals’ active roster the day of the game and sacked Colts’ quarterback Carson Wentz in the red zone in the fourth quarter.
Safety Justin Reid ’18 made his return to the field and had seven total tackles for the Texans in their win. Cornerback Paulson Adebo ’21 had three total tackles for the Saints, but they were unable to defeat the red-hot Miami Dolphins. Miami earned their seventh straight win as they took down the Saints 20-3.
On special teams, Jake Bailey ’19 had three punts for 158 yards for the Patriots.
Wide receiver/running back Ty Montgomery ’15 returned a kick for 26 yards for the Saints, which ended up being the second biggest play of the night for a depleted New Orleans offense.
Shortly after being elevated to the active roster, safety Jordan Richards ’15 took the field for the Baltimore Ravens. In his first game since Week 5, Richards made a tackle for the special teams unit in a 41-21 loss to Cincinnati.