Stanford in the NFL, Week 17: Tight ends dominate

Jan. 5, 2022, 10:19 p.m.

With the NFL postseason rapidly approaching, Stanford alumni continue to lead their teams toward playoffs berths.

Tight end Dalton Schultz ’18 hauled in six receptions for 54 yards, which led the Cowboys in both categories in their game against the Cardinals. Another former Cardinal tight end shined on the same field as well, as the game leader in receptions was Zach Ertz ’13. His seven receptions and 41 receiving yards helped the Cardinals snap their losing streak as they defeated the Cowboys 25-22. Both the Cowboys and Cardinals have already clinched a spot in the postseason and could meet again in the first round of the playoffs. 

In Seattle, tight end Colby Parkinson ’20 had his third catch of the season for the Seahawks. His 12-yard reception contributed to an avalanche of offense, as Seattle put up 51 points in a win over the Lions. Tight end Austin Hooper ’16 added two catches for 28 yards for the Cleveland Browns, but the Browns lost to the Steelers 26-14. 

Quarterback Davis Mills ’21 made his return to the Bay Area as his Texans traveled to San Francisco to take on the 49ers. Mills threw a touchdown to Brandin Cooks in the second quarter to give Houston an early 7-0 lead. However, the 49ers came back to secure a 23-7 win. Mills finished with 163 passing yards, one touchdown and an interception, and he completed 21 of 32 passes.

On the offensive line, Nate Herbig ’19 started and played nearly every snap for the Eagles in their 20-16 playoff-clinching victory over the Washington Football Team. The Eagles have won all four of their games since Herbig entered the starting lineup in Week 13. 

Walker Little ’21 got his second career start and played every snap for the Jaguars’ offensive line in a 50-10 loss to the Patriots. Cameron Fleming ’14 also played every snap, starting at tackle for the Broncos in their 34-13 loss to the Chargers. 

Wide receiver/running back Ty Montgomery ’15 had just one carry in the first half for the Saints, but he was brought down for a loss of 4 yards and did not see more playing time against the Panthers. 

On the defensive side of the ball, Harrison Phillips ’18 led the defensive linemen, posting four tackles, one sack and three quarterback hits for the Bills in their 29-15 win over the Falcons. 

Washington defensive end Casey Toohill ’20 had four total tackles, three of which were solo in his team’s loss to the Eagles.

Defensive tackle Solomon Thomas ’17 had a solo tackle for the Raiders in their 23-20 win over the Colts. After an up and down season, the Raiders enter the final week of the regular season in control of their destiny; Las Vegas will make the playoffs if they defeat the Los Angeles Chargers next week. 

Although the Raiders got the best of the Colts on Sunday, Indianapolis is also in control of its destiny, and a win over Jacksonville in Week 18 would send Indy to the playoffs. Linebacker Bobby Okereke ’19, who had a game-high nine solo tackles in their Week 17 loss, will look to continue leading a stellar Colts defense to the postseason.

Texans safety Justin Reid ’18 and Saints cornerback Paulson Adebo ’21 both had five solo tackles for their teams. Two of Reid’s tackles were for a loss, and Adebo added a pass deflection as the Saints shut down a Panthers’ offense that has struggled since Christian McCaffrey ’17 saw his season end due to an ankle injury. The Saints won 18-10 and were able to keep their playoff hopes alive. New Orleans will need a win over Atlanta and a 49ers loss to the Rams in order to make the postseason.

The defensive back performances were rounded out by Michael Thomas ’12, who had three tackles for the Bengals in their AFC-North clinching 34-31 victory over the Chiefs.

It was a relatively quiet week for Stanford special teams, as punter Jake Bailey ’19 was not needed very often in a game where the Patriots scored 50 points. His lone punt went for 40 yards and pinned the Jags on their own 20 in a blowout win for New England.

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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