Stanford in the NFL Week 8: Christian McCaffrey named NFC Player of the Week

Nov. 2, 2022, 8:15 p.m.

Christian McCaffrey ‘17 did it all this week. In the 49ers’ 31-14 win over the Rams, McCaffrey became the fourth NFL player since 1970 to record a rushing, receiving and passing touchdown in a single game. Through 42 snaps, he was targeted 27 times and carried the ball 18 times for 94 yards and a touchdown. He also gained an additional 55 yards and a touchdown on eight catches on nine targets. And to complete the trifecta, he completed a pass for a 34-yard touchdown during the first quarter against the Rams.

After getting McCaffrey only 10 touches last week, head coach Kyle Shanahan utilized McCaffrey on over 64% of offensive snaps, and his immediate impact brought him NFC Player of the Week for the first time this season. Now with Garoppolo at quarterback and multifaceted offensive threats in Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk and George Kittle, the 49ers can make a playoff run this year.

This is not the first time McCaffrey has completed the trifecta during his football career. In 2015, during the Pac-12 Conference Championship, the then-sophomore McCaffrey threw a touchdown pass to quarterback Kevin Hogan ‘15 in the second quarter to help give Stanford a 10-0 lead. In the end, the Stanford Cardinal won 41-22 against the USC Trojans, behind McCaffrey’s 461 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns.

Out in the NFC West, Zach Ertz ‘13 continues his under-production following the return of wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins and the resurgent route-running of wide receiver Rondale Moore. In the Cardinals’ 26-34 loss against the Vikings, Hopkins had 12 receptions for 159 yards and a touchdown, and Moore had seven receptions for 92 yards and a touchdown. On the other hand, Ertz secured only four targets for 34 yards and a touchdown, placing him far third in overall receiving yards. In the coming Week 9 matchup versus the Seahawks, we will see if Ertz’s production continues to stay low, and moreover what will occur when star wide receiver Marquise Brown returns in late November from a foot injury.

After Davis Mills ‘21 completed 28 of 41 passes for 302 yards and two touchdowns in Week 7, we were hoping for Mills to carry this momentum into the Week 8 AFC South clash with the Titans. However, Mils barely reached half of that total this week. In the 17-10 loss to the Titans, Mills completed 17 of 29 passes for 152 yards and an interception. The Houston Texans have only one win this year following the loss to the Titans, and thus a personnel and lineup shakeup is forthcoming. Mills must perform at a high level, consistently, to keep his roster spot. He will be tested in Week 9 at home against the undefeated Philadelphia Eagles.

Out in the NFC East, Cowboys tight end Dalton Schultz ‘18 led his team in receptions in their 49-29 win over the Chicago Bears. He recorded six receptions for 74 yards. After Prescott’s return in Week 7, he has made it obvious that Schultz continues to be his favorite target. This will likely increase Schultz’s production during the Cowboys Week 10 matchup with the Packers, where we hope to see him bring in some touchdowns (Week 9 is a bye week for the Cowboys). In the video below, much of Schultz’s production came on a drive midway through the third quarter, when he managed successive 30 and 14 yard catches, to set up Tony Pollard’s touchdown run.

After having his best game of the season last week, Tennessee tight end Austin Hooper ‘16 recorded one catch on one target for five yards in Sunday’s 17-10 win over the Texans. This is largely because quarterback Ryan Tannehill was out this week with an ankle injury and moreover, the Texans could not defend Derrick Henry and the run game. And as Titans replacement quarterback Malik Willis, who only threw 10 passes in his debut, said post-game, ‘If they can’t stop the run, why would we not run it?’

Seahawks third string tight end Colby Parkinson ‘20 caught his 10th reception of the season in Sunday’s 27-13 win over the Giants (his only reception during game). And offensive tackles Nate Herbig ‘19 and Andrus Peat ‘15 did not allow a sack or a hit to their quarterbacks through all snaps played. On special teams, Patriots Punter Jake Bailey ‘19 recorded four punts for an average of 40.8 yards and two landed inside the 20. 

Broncos offensive tackle Cameron Fleming ‘14 suffered an injury to his quadriceps against the Jets during Week 7, and he is set to return Nov. 13 against the Titans. On Sept. 13, Patriots running back Ty Montgomery ‘15 was placed on injured reserve with a right knee injury and was expected to return in Week 6, but now the estimated return has been moved to Week 9.

Defensively, former Stanford players had some strong performances this week. Through a season low 37 snaps, Colts linebacker Bobby Okereke ‘19 recorded eight tackles, four solos and four assists and still recorded the second-most tackles for the Colts defense. And even as Colts veteran linebacker Shaquille Leonard returns from injury, we are likely to see high production from Okereke for the rest of the season. 

Saints cornerback Paulson Adebo ’21 also recorded eight tackles and one pass deflection on Sunday. This is the third time this season Adebo has recorded eight tackles, and he continues to solidify his role on the team, playing 100 percent of New Orleans’ defensive snaps in their 24-0 win against the Raiders. With cornerback Marshon Lattimore likely out against the Ravens in Week 9, Adebo’s production will remain consistent, maybe even recording more tackles this upcoming week. 

Besides these performances, Jets defensive end Solomon Thomas recorded one assisted tackle through 19 snaps. Raiders linebacker Blake Martinez ‘16 played 20 snaps and recorded four tackles, two solos and two assists. Lastly, rookie defensive tackle Thomas Booker ‘22 recorded two solo tackles and two assists for the Texans through 20 snaps. Cincinnati Bengals safety Michael Thomas ‘11, played 14 snaps against the Browns, recording an assisted tackle. Lastly, defensive tackle for the Vikings, Harrison Phillips ‘18 played a total of 43 snaps against the Cardinals recording two solo tackles and two assisted tackles.

Let’s hope for a better week and healthy season for all our fellow Cardinal in the NFL. GO STANFORD!

Amsal Ali is a writer for the sports section. He is from Los Angeles and studies economics, political science and data science. His favorite sports are basketball, football, soccer and water polo. Contact him at [email protected].

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