After the Carolina Panthers’ 24-10 loss to the Rams last week, there was speculation that Christian McCaffrey ‘17 would be traded. Though teams like the Rams and Eagles were in the McCaffrey trade talks, in the end, the 49ers outbid every other team, sending their 2023 second, third and fourth-round picks, plus a fifth-rounder in 2024, for McCaffrey. The trade ensures that the 49ers can boost their offense right away in hopes of turning their season around and competing for a playoff position. Moreover, this is a long-term move by the 49ers who now have to deal with McCaffrey’s four-year, $64 million extension, which includes $11.8 million in 2023, $11.8 million in 2024 and $12 million in 2025.
On Sunday, McCaffrey suited up for the 49ers, and we immediately saw the impact he made on the field. McCaffrey rushed eight times for 38 yards, caught both of his targets for 24 yards, and picked up three first downs all while splitting running back duties with Jeff Wilson.
Next week, the 49ers take on the Rams. As Rams head coach Sean McVay described, “You thought, ‘Oh, s—. They’re getting another great player,’” after the trade. The Rams are getting ready for an offensive battle, especially since McCaffrey now has a full week to become acquainted with the 49ers’ playbook and 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan now having offensive weapons in McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk and George Kittle.
Out in the NFC West, Zach Ertz ‘13 under-produced this week due to the return of wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins. While Hopkins finished first on the team in targets during Thursday night’s 42-34 victory over the Saints, Ertz only caught two of four targets for 21 yards and a two-point conversion. Moreover, via trade from the Carolina Panthers, wide receiver Robbie Anderson has joined the Cardinals’ offense and will likely split some of the target share with Ertz. We will see if Ertz’s production continues to stay low during Week 8 as Hopkins, Anderson and maybe even injured Marquise Brown take the field together.
After a bye-week, Texans quarterback Davis Mills ‘21 returned in peak form in Sunday’s 38-20 loss to the Raiders. During the game, Mills completed 28 of 41 passes for 302 yards and two touchdowns. This marks a season high in completions and yards. And through seven weeks, Mills continues to outperform most from his 2021 quarterback class. He is second in passing yards (1350 passing yards), second in passing touchdowns with seven, second in passer rating (83.6), and second in attempts to completion ratio (63.8% completion). Though the Texans lost, we will see if Mills can carry this momentum in a Week 8 AFC South clash with the Titans.
After missing Week 6 due to a Posterior Cruciate Ligament strain, Cowboys tight end Dalton Schultz ‘18 made his return in Sunday’s win over the Lions. He caught all five of his targets for 49 yards, leading the team in receptions. Prescott also made his return during Week 7, and he made it obvious that Schultz continues to be his favorite target. This will likely increase Schultz’s production during the Cowboys Week 8 matchup with the Bears. Yet, there is still a question about whether or not Schultz is the future tight end of the Cowboys, as the Cowboys have yet to extend Schultz’s contract and drafted Wisconsin Badgers tight end Jake Ferguson this past year. There are increasing questions about his production in the absence of Dak Prescott and because of increased injuries.
On Sept. 13, Patriots Running Back Ty Montgomery ‘15 was placed on IR with a right knee injury and was expected to return in Week 6, but now the estimated return has been moved to Oct. 30 (Week 8). Broncos offensive tackle Cameron Fleming ’14 suffered an injury to his quadriceps against the Jets this Sunday, and he is set to return Nov. 13 against the Titans.
On Special Teams, Patriots Punter Jake Bailey ‘19 had four punts for a total of 160 yards. His longest punt was 47 yards, and none landed inside the 20.
Tight end Austin Hooper ‘16 recorded three receptions on three targets for 56 yards (receptions of 23, 19 and 14 yards respectively) in Sunday’s 19-10 win over the Colts. On average, he plays 30 snaps a game and records between 5-19 yards caught, and this week he finally surpassed 19 receiving yards. This solidifies his position as Tight End 2 for the Titans, behind Geoff Swaim.
On the Defensive side, Stanford had a lackluster week outside of Colts linebacker Bobby Okereke’s ’19 performance. During the Colts’ 19-10 loss to the Titans, Okereke recovered a fumble during the fourth quarter, had two pass deflections and moreover, he recorded six solo tackles and four assisted tackles (his second straight double-digit tackle performance). He also played every single defensive snap!
Chiefs safety Justin Reid ‘18 recorded seven tackles, five solos and two assists in a total of 64 snaps against the Bills. Jets defensive end Solomon Thomas recorded one solo tackle and one assisted tackle through 26 snaps. Raiders linebacker Blake Martinez ‘16 played 15 snaps and recorded four tackles, three solos and one assist. Lastly, rookie defensive tackle Thomas Booker ‘22 recorded one solo tackle and one assisted for the Texans through 26 snaps.
Saints cornerback Paulson Adebo ’21 played through a knee injury in Week 6 during Sunday’s loss to the Bengals. He was a limited participant on Week 7’s Monday practice, but he was officially ruled out of the Thursday matchup against the Cardinals. He is likely to return on Oct. 30 for a matchup against the Raiders. Panthers DE Henry Anderson ’15 was also inactive this week due to illness.
Let’s hope for a better week and healthy season for all our fellow Cardinal in the NFL. GO STANFORD!