Sports

Stanford in the NFL: Nine heading to the playoffs

As the current Stanford squad enjoyed Rose Bowl preparations, 18 former Cardinal played in NFL games on Sunday.

Six teams with a total of nine ex-Stanford players who were active in the league's final week will be in the playoffs. Indianapolis, the AFC's No. 4 seed, leads the way with three Cardinal on its active roster, while the NFC's No. 1-seeded Seattle Seahawks have two.

Seattle breezed into the playoffs with a 27-9 win over St. Louis. Pro Bowl corner Richard Sherman and wide receiver Doug Baldwin, who started in Week 17, can watch the 100th Rose Bowl Game during the comfort of a bye week.

In Indianapolis, Andrew Luck found Griff Whalen and Coby Fleener a total of five times on Sunday, including a seven-yard touchdown pass on a slant route to Whalen. Indianapolis opens the postseason with Kansas City in the wild-card round.

Luck completed 26 of 37 passes for 282 yards and a touchdown in a 30-10 win against Jacksonville. Luck increased his two-year total to 8,196 yards passing, the most in history for a quarterback in his first two seasons. He passed Cam Newton, who had 7,920.

Whalen caught four passes for 32 yards, including a seven-yard touchdown, for the Colts while Fleener caught one pass for 25 yards.

Sherman made two tackles and defended a pass in Seattle's win while Baldwin started at wide receiver.

Other Stanford players in action:

Linebacker Thomas Keiser of the San Diego Chargers had a tackle in a 27-24 overtime win over Kansas City.

David DeCastro started at right guard in Pittsburgh's 20-7 win over Cleveland.

Alex Smith caught one pass for seven yards in Cincinnati's 34-17 win over Baltimore.

Chris Owusu caught one pass for five yards in Tampa Bay's 42-17 loss at New Orleans while Erik Lorig caught one pass for three yards.

Stepfan Taylor rushed twice times for seven yards and caught a pass for seven yards in Arizona's 23-20 loss to visiting San Francisco while tight end Jim Dray of the Cardinals caught one pass for 18 yards.

Tight end Levine Toilolo started at tight end in Atlanta's 21-20 loss to Carolina.

Defensive back Johnson Bademosi made two special teams tackles in Cleveland's 20-7 loss to Pittsburgh.

Offensive tackle Will Svitek played in New England's 34-20 win against Buffalo.

Safety Michael Thomas played in Miami's 20-7 loss against the New York Jets.

Running back Jeremy Stewart played in Oakland's 34-14 loss to visiting Denver.

Tight end Zach Ertz caught three passes for 43 yards in Philadelphia's 24-22 win at Dallas.

Former Stanford players who were inactive on Sunday included Minnesota running back Toby Gerhart (hamstring); Cincinnati wide receiver Ryan Whalen; Denver defensive tackle Sione Fua; and Tampa Bay defensive tackle Matthew Masifilo.

— Stanford Athletics

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