Running back Christian McCaffrey ‘17 had a historic performance in the 49ers’ 41-23 win over the Seahawks, amassing 136 total yards and scoring one touchdown. He set the tone for the offense with a 68-yard rush with eight minutes left in the first quarter, resulting in a receiving touchdown for McCaffrey a few plays later. During the 68-yard rush, Christian McCaffrey reached a top speed of 20.80 mph, his fastest speed since Week 8 in 2019. And despite wide receiver Deebo Samuel returning to the lineup, McCaffrey remained a vital part of the offense, handling the bulk of the ground game with 15 rushing attempts. We hope to see a similar performance in the divisional round, as the 49ers take on Dalton Schultz ‘18 and the Dallas Cowboys. If McCaffrey scores against the Cowboys, it will be his eighth touchdown in eight games.
Similar to McCaffrey, Schultz had a standout performance in the Cowboys’ 31 -14 wild-card win over the Buccaneers, catching seven out of eight targets for 95 yards and two touchdowns (22 yard catch in the first quarter and 11 yards in the second quarter). He led the Cowboys receiving core in all targets, receptions and total yards gained, even with star receivers Ceedee Lamb, Tony Pollard and Michael Gallup in the lineup. He is likely to play a significant role in the Cowboys’ divisional round game against the 49ers defense on Sunday, both on-and-off the ball. Below, he drew coverage for an easy touchdown for Ceedee Lamb during the fourth quarter of the wildcard game.
Wide receiver Trenton Irwin ‘18 played 12 of the 64 offensive snaps during the Bengals’ 27-16 win over the Ravens. With Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd at full health, Irwin will likely remain the fourth string receiver, maintaining a limited role for the Bengals.
Seahawks tight end Colby Parkinson ‘20 had a lackluster performance against the 49ers. In Saturday’s loss, he caught three targets for 14 yards. Comparatively, in the last three regular season games, Parkinson had outperformed Seahawks’ first string tight end Noah Fant, recording 16 targets. He will need to perform better next year, as the Seahawks ponder over who will serve as their number one tight end, Parkinson, Fant or Dissly.
The Kansas City Chiefs, who received a first-round bye in the AFC playoffs, will play the Jaguars in the divisional round this week. Their secondary will be led by safety Justin Reid. Through 17 games this season, Reid recorded 59 solo tackles, a sack and seven pass breakups. We are looking forward to a productive game, where Reid will play 50+ defensive snaps, maybe even catching an interception thrown by Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawerence, who threw four against the Chargers in a miracle comeback win.
We want to also take this time to congratulate Blake Martinez ’16 on an amazing career. In early November, the 28 year-old linebacker announced he was retiring to “focus on [his] family and future passions.” He played seven seasons, four with the Packers and recorded 442 solo tackles, 13 sacks, four interceptions, four forced fumbles. We wish him the best in his future endeavors.
Let’s hope for a strong divisional round for all our fellow Cardinals in the NFL. GO STANFORD!