Cal Football in the NFL: Jackson Reaches 10K, Giorgio Returns

ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 22: Giorgio Tavecchio #4 of the Atlanta Falcons reacts after kicking a field goal in the fourth quarter against the New York Giants at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on October 22, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 22: Giorgio Tavecchio #4 of the Atlanta Falcons reacts after kicking a field goal in the fourth quarter against the New York Giants at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on October 22, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

Representing Cal football in the NFL, DeSean Jackson reaches a major career milestone while Giorgio Tavecchio hits big in his season debut.

DeSean Jackson, formerly an All-American with the Cal football team, entered Tampa Bay’s Sunday matchup against the Cleveland Browns with 9,988 career receiving yards. That left him 12 yards shy of becoming the 47th player, and second former Golden Bear, to reach the 10K mark in the NFL.

Jackson was held without a catch in regulation, and was only targeted once in the first 60 minutes, but got on the board in overtime. On the first drive in the extra period, quarterback Jameis Winston hit Jackson for an 11-yard gain. On the play play before the game-winning field goal, Winston and Jackson hooked up for 14 yards, putting Jackson over that incredible milestone. That set up kicker Chandler Catanzaro, who made a 59-yarder to end the game.

In his 11th pro season, Jackson is fifth among active players in receiving yards, behind only some of the NFL’s best (Larry Fitzgerald, Brandon Marshall, Antonio Gates, and Antonio Brown). Among former Golden Bears, only the legendary Tony Gonzalez was able to accumulate more yards than Jackson has to this point, with 15,127 yards to his record.

Jackson also ran for a touchdown on Sunday, taking an end-around to the house for a 14-yard score for the game’s first touchdown. It marked his fourth career rushing touchdown, and his first since 2010.

Forza Giorgio!

Giorgio Tavecchio is back in the NFL, and he made a huge impression in his season debut on Monday night. Filling in for injured Falcons’ kicker Matt Bryant, the Italian Golden Bear was perfect on his kick attempts during the night.

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Tavecchio was good on two extra point attempts, and nailed all three of his field goal tries. He hit from 40 yards on his first attempt as the second quarter ended, then drilled one from 50 yards out as the fourth quarter began. He set a new career-high with two minutes left in the game, nailing a 56-yard kick, the longest make of his career. That final kick proved to be the difference as the Falcons beat the Giants 23-20 on Monday Night Football.

Tavecchio spent last season with the Raiders, and had a tremendous 2018 debut for Atlanta. 17 games into his NFL career, Tavecchio has hit on 19 of his 24 field goal attempts (79.2%). He’s been at his best from long range, making five of his six tries from 50 yards or longer.

Long Snapper Blues

Dallas long snapper L.P. Ladouceur participated in his 212th consecutive game on Sunday, and he’s finally getting some mainstream recognition. Unfortunately, it’s not the kind he wants.

He has been everything a long snapper should be over his 14-year career. Quiet. Consistent. Almost anonymous and as reliable as they come. But on Sunday, with Dallas in position to kick a 47-yard field goal that could tie the game late in the fourth quarter, he was flagged for a snap infraction. That penalty moved Dallas back five yards, and kicker Brett Maher hit the upright from 52 yards out.

Ladouceur was adamant after the game that he didn’t do anything differently on that snap from every other snap he had made in his career. Video evidence backed that up, as replays later showed Ladouceur making the exact same motion on the snap before the penalty, and the snap after. Analyst Tony Dungy called it a “terrible call” during the Sunday night broadcast.

Still, it goes down as the sixth accepted penalty in Ladouceur’s 14-year, 212-game NFL career. Considering the thousands of snaps he’s made over the years, that’s a great record. This one just so happened to come at the worst possible time.

Around the League

The Rams took advantage of an overmatched 49ers’ squad, beating them 39-10 to remain the NFL’s long undefeated team at 7-0. Quarterback Jared Goff was efficient against a depleted secondary, connecting on 18 of his 24 pass attempts (75%) for 202 yards and a couple touchdowns without an interception. Goff crossed 2,000 passing yards on the season, is hitting on nearly 70% of his attempts, and is halfway to matching his personal best in touchdowns.

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Chargers wideout Keenan Allen caught five passes for 72 yards, putting him over 500 receiving yards on the season…Lions receiver Marvin Jones Jr. caught three balls for 29 yards…Washington receiver Maurice Harris matched his career-high by catching three passes on Sunday, giving him three straight games with a trio of receptions.