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Pitt in the Pros

Tyler Boyd Stands Out During Impressive Weekend for Pitt Alum in the NFL



It was a good day for former Pitt stars in the NFL on Sunday (and Saturday) as new stars (Tyler Boyd) and old (Larry Fitzgerald) made their marks on the league while another ex-Pitt stand out is making the most of his opportunities.

Former Panthers wideout Tyler Boyd had arguably his best day as a pro as he caught nine balls for 128 yards and two touchdowns as the Bengals came back from a 23-point fourth quarter deficit before eventually succumbing in overtime to the Dolphins 38-35. Boyd, however, was a monster all game and despite the Bengals’ struggles and wildly inconsistent quarterback play, should eclipse 1000 yards receiving for a second consecutive year. Boyd has already set a career high in receptions (85) with one game to play.

Future Hall-of-Famer Larry Fitzgerald continues his assault on the NFL record books as he broke 17,000 career receiving yards with a four reception, 48 yard day that included his fourth touchdown of the season. Fitzgerald now has 17,038 yards on 1,374 catches on his career, ranking 2nd in each category. The former Pitt should-have-been Heisman winner also ranks 6th all-time with 120 receiving touchdowns.

Qadree Ollison may appeared in only five games on the season for the Atlanta Falcons, but he’s made the most of his opportunities, racking up four touchdowns on the ground so far. Despite only getting 18 carries on the season to go along with one catch, Ollison seems to have carved out a niche as a goal line bruiser in his first pro season.

Aaron Donald continues to do Aaron Donald things as the two-time defending Defensive Player of the Year added a sack and a half and three tackles to his impressive totals. The future three-time DPOY (check after the season) has 12.5 sacks, 46 tackles, two forced fumbles, a safety and a league-leading 20 tackles for loss.

James Conner’s tough third season may be over after another injury felled the Steelers starter after six carries. Playing in only 10 games, the former Pitt legend has 715 yards from scrimmage and 7 total touchdowns on the season.

On the other side of the ball, former Pitt cornerback Avonte Maddox continued his strong play as a nickel corner for the Eagles. Maddox had seven solo tackles and a big pass defensed on third down as the Eagles shutdown the Cowboys 17-9 and took control of the NFC East.

Central Valley and Pitt star Jordan Whitehead’s strong sophomore season came to an end last week against Detroit, but the talented safety continued his progression starting every game and playing virtually every snap en route to 68 combined tackles, four tackles for loss, nine passes defensed and one pick for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Tight end J.P. Holtz, who has caught on with the Chicago Bears this season after starting it with the Redskins had one catch for 13 yards in a 26-3 loss to Kansas City. Holtz has seven receptions for 91 yards on the season.

Now on his third team, LeSean McCoy still has some of the shake and bake that made him famous as a Panther and served him so well in the NFL. The leading rusher for the Chiefs, McCoy has 465 yards on 101 carriers, 28 catches and five touchdowns. However, with the Chiefs pretty secure in their position, the team held out Shady to give him some rest for the playoffs.

The man who stepped in for McCoy at Pitt, Dion Lewis had his strongest game of the season with 15 carries for 68 yards. Lewis added a catch for 19 yards as he got the start for the Titans in a 38-28 loss to the Saints.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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