Entering the NFL’s Super Wild Card Weekend, 17 former Cardinal were either on the active roster or practice squad of a playoff team. Six of these alumni appeared in the stat-sheet as they fought to extend their respective seasons.
The NFL playoffs began on Saturday afternoon with defensive tackle Solomon Thomas ’17 and the Las Vegas Raiders traveling to Cincinnati to take on Michael Thomas ’12, Trenton Irwin ’19 and the Bengals. Both Solomon Thomas and Michael Thomas recorded a tackle as the Bengals defeated the Raiders 26-19. Cincinnati will travel to Tennessee next week to take on the top-seeded Titans.
Soon after the Bengals’ win, two more former Cardinal were in action as the Buffalo Bills hosted the New England Patriots. Harrison Phillips ’18 helped the Bills’ defensive line shut down a powerful Patriots’ ground game and force Jake Bailey ’19 onto the field. Bailey punted three times for 142 yards for the Patriots in their 47-17 loss. Next up for Buffalo will be a road match against the reigning AFC-champion Kansas City Chiefs.
The early game on Sunday featured the Philadelphia Eagles and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Although none of them saw the field, there were three former Cardinal on the rosters of these two teams. The Bucs’ 31-15 win ended the seasons of Eagles’ offensive lineman Nate Herbig ’19 and wide receiver J.J. Arcega-Whiteside ’19. Herbig finished the year with five starts, and Arcega-Whiteside saw his season end with two catches for 36 yards. Richard Sherman ’11 and the Bucs will host the Rams in the divisional round.
Despite a game-high 89 receiving yards, Cowboys’ tight end Dalton Schultz ’18 also saw his season come to a close this weekend following a 23-17 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Schultz had seven receptions for Dallas, including a 38-yard grab late in the fourth quarter to propel a comeback attempt.
Fellow tight end Zach Ertz ’13 also saw his season end in the Wild Card Round, as his Cardinals were defeated by the Los Angeles Rams 34-11. Ertz hauled in three receptions for 21 yards for Arizona, and he finished the year with 74 receptions for 763 yards and five touchdowns. Ertz’s teammate, Josh Mauro ’14, was also eliminated from the postseason, after recording three total tackles and a sack this year.
Four former Cardinal will be on active rosters next weekend — Michael Thomas, Irwin, Sherman and Phillips — and will seek to keep their respective teams’ Super Bowl hopes alive.