Sports

Montgomery provides a big return on the Packers' investment

 

Ty Montgomery is Stanford's all-time leading leader in kickoff return yards. Those skills were on display once again as he helped open the 2015 National Football League season in a big way as his Green Bay Packers posted a 31-23 victory over the Chicago Bears on Sunday.

"I was pumped, to be honest," Montgomery told Mike Spofford of Packers.com in the locker room in Chicago following Green Bay's victory. "I was super-excited. I've been praying about this day since I started playing football. It was a great opportunity. No nerves. I was ready to go."

Montgomery took the first kickoff two yards deep in the end zone and brought it out to the Green Bay 39-yard line. The 41-yard return matched the Packers' longest from all of 2014, when they ranked 31st in the league on kickoff returns.

That's what Montgomery was brought in to do, boost a struggling unit, and the third-round draft pick from Stanford has provided an instant upgrade.

On his next return to open the second half, Montgomery improved upon the first one as he went 46 yards to the Green Bay 41. Six plays later, the Packers were in the end zone and taking the lead.

"I want every day to be like the day we had today on the kickoff return team," Montgomery told to Packers.com. "You never know what can happen, but that's the type of mindset that I want to have, because I want to be that guy for this team."

With Jordy Nelson's season-ending knee injury, there was a possibility Montgomery would move into the No. 3 receiver role on offense, as well. The signing of James Jones after final cuts changed that, but Montgomery isn't down about that in the slightest.

Instead, he's focusing that much more intently on the task at hand as he finished with three returns for 106 yards.

"One thing we talked about is make sure we all embrace our roles, and right now that's my role," he said. "I fully embrace it, and I'm going to put everything I have into that role, because it's very important. You can either score on that, or give the offense great field position."

Palo Alto High graduate Davante Adams also helped the Packers in Week 1 as he caught four passes for a team-high 59 yards. He averaged 14.8 yards per catch, also a team high.

Elsewhere on Week 1 of the NFL season, former Stanford players had mixed results.

The Indianapolis Colts lost their opener against Buffalo, 27-14, with Andrew Luck finishing 26 of 49 passing for 243 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions for the Colts. Former Stanford teammate Colby Fleener finished with a five-yard reception from Luck and a successful two-point conversion.

Henry Anderson was one of Indianapolis' few bright spots. In his NFL debut, he led the Colts defense with nine tackles and three tackles for a loss, while playing on 85 percent of defensive snaps. David Parry also made his NFL against Buffalo and started, finishing with one tackle. He was on the field for 56 percent of Indianapolis' defensive snaps.

Seattle wideout Doug Baldwin was targeted nine times in the Seahawks' loss to the Rams. He finished the day with seven catches for 35 yards. Richard Sherman, Seattle's the All-Pro cornerback showed his versatility against St. Louis, lining up at both left cornerback and in the slot. Sherman finished the day with three tackles, two solo tackles, and a pass defended.

The Steelers lost their opener to the Patriots on Thursday night, but offensive lineman David DeCastro's impact was a positive one. The former All-American at Stanford was integral to Pittsburgh's 134 rushing yards.

Tight end Jim Dray was utilized in both the passing game and the run-blocking game in Cleveland's opener against the Jets. He finished with three targets and one catch for 13 yards while helping the Browns rush for 104 yards.

Chris Owusu was the Jets' second-most targeted receiver with six in a win over Cleveland. He finished the day with four catches for 55 yards, including a 43-yard reception.

Former Stanford tight end Zach Ertz was targeted eight times in a Monday night loss against Atlanta. He finished the night with three catches for 46 yards, including a spectacular 21-yard reception in the fourth quarter.

Ryan Hewitt was on the field for 50 percent of Cincinnati's snaps in a big win over Oakland, mostly as a run blocker. He helped the Bengals rush for 127 yards including two Jeremy Hill touchdowns.

Trent Murphy had three tackles for Washington as the Redskins fell in their opener against Miami.

New Orleans lost its opener to the Arizona Cardinals, 31-19. Andrus Peat, the 13th overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, checked in as tackle-eligible on a crucial Saints third down, which they converted.

Shayne Skov of the San Francisco 49ers made his NFL debut on Monday night against Minnesota. His first career tackle came on an outstanding kickoff coverage in the third quarter.

Michael Thomas of Miami split time with rookie Walt Aikins at free safety. He finished the day with two tackles, including one solo.

Atlanta tight end Levine Toilolo was utilized on both offense and special teams in a 26-24 win against Philadelphia on Monday night. He had one catch for four yards, a special teams tackle and a timely downed punt late in the contest.

Stanford players who did not see action in Week 1 included Johnson Bademosi (DB, Cleveland Browns), Toby Gerhart (RB, Jacksonville Jaguars), Matthew Masifilo (G, Tampa Bay Buccaneers), Josh Mauro (DE, Arizona Cardinals), Jordan Richards (DB, New England Patriots), A.J. Tarpley (LB, Buffalo Bills), Stepfan Taylor (RB, Arizona Cardinals) and Griff Whalen (WR, Indianapolis Colts).

— Palo Alto Online Sports/Stanford Athletics

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