As the 2021–22 NFL regular season came to a close last weekend, several former Cardinal rookies and tight ends were able to guide their teams to victories.
The final week of the NFL season featured a Cardinal tight end battle in Seattle. Colby Parkinson ’20 had two receptions for 14 yards, while Zach Ertz ’13 had a game-high seven receptions for 84 yards. In the end, Parkinson’s Seahawks came out on top, 38-30. The Cardinals finished the season at 11-6 with the No. 5 seed, and they will travel to Los Angeles next weekend to take on the Rams in the first round of the playoffs.
Another tight end in action this weekend was Dalton Schultz ’18. Two of his three catches ended up in the end zone for the Cowboys. His 21 receiving yards and two scores propelled the Cowboys to a 51-26 victory over the Eagles.
Cameron Fleming ’14 and Walker Little ’21 both started and played every snap for their respective offensive lines. Fleming’s Broncos fell to the reigning AFC-champion Kansas City Chiefs, while Little’s Jaguars were able to spoil Indianapolis’s playoff hopes with a 26-11 win. Despite Jacksonville’s disappointing season in which they finished with the worst record in the NFL, the Jaguars were successful in games that Little started. The Jaguars posted a 2-1 record in his three starts this season, compared to a 1-13 record in all other games.
Fellow offensive lineman Nate Herbig ’19 was inactive for the Eagles in their regular season finale, as he was placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list prior to gametime. He has since been elevated to the active roster and should be ready to go in the Eagles’ playoff matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Texans’ rookie quarterback Davis Mills ’21 continued to impress, completing 23-of-33 passes for 301 yards and three touchdowns with no turnovers. This was Mills’ second time recording a statline of 300+ passing yards, three touchdowns and no turnovers. No other rookie quarterback this season has achieved this even once.
Wide receiver Trenton Irwin ’19 had a nine-yard reception for the Bengals in their 21-16 loss to the Cleveland Browns. Safety Michael Thomas ’12 had eight total tackles, four of which were solo, for Cincinnati. Despite the loss, Cincinnati’s season can be viewed as a resounding success. After being projected to finish last in the division in the preseason by various sportsbooks, the Bengals finished atop the AFC North with a 10-7 record. Thomas, Irwin, and the Bengals will host Solomon Thomas ’17 and the Las Vegas Raiders on Saturday afternoon in the first round of the playoffs.
Wide receiver/running back Ty Montgomery ’15 had a one-yard reception for the Saints, as well as a tackle on special teams.
On the D-line, defensive end Casey Toohill ’20 had a pass deflection for the Washington Football Team in their 22-7 victory over the Giants. Defensive tackle Harrison Phillips ’18 had two tackles and a quarterback hit. His efforts on the defensive line helped Buffalo secure the AFC East title, and Phillips made sure to celebrate with the rest of the Bills in the locker room afterwards.
In the secondary, cornerback Paulson Adebo ’21 had five tackles and two pass deflections in the 30-20 win over Atlanta. Adebo also added a one-handed interception on Falcons’ quarterback Matt Ryan.
Rookie linebacker Curtis Robinson ’21 had a solo tackle for the 49ers in their playoff berth clinching overtime victory over the Rams, 27-24. Fellow linebacker Brennan Scarlett ’16 had two tackles for Miami in their 33-24 win over the division-rival Patriots. Bobby Okereke ’19 added four total tackles for Indianapolis in their loss.
On special teams, Patriots’ Jake Bailey ’19 punted three times for a total of 138 yards.