Monday, December 2, 2019

TD Horsted

TAGD is tomorrow. It's Tiger Athletics Give Day No. 6, and it's been an extraordinarily successful addition to the Princeton Athletics calendar. And one that's been a lot of fun.

For information on TAGD, click HERE.

The weather forecast for snow and ice in the Northeast yesterday resulted in new worst travel day of the year.

Instead of the Sunday after Thanksgiving, it became the Saturday after Thanksgiving. TigerBlog heard of and read about horror stories of drives that normally take two or three hours drifting past five.

The Thanksgiving weekend ended with some awful weather as November turned to December. TB hopes that you had a great holiday and that any travel woes weren't so bad.

As for Thanksgiving Day itself, the best part wasn't necessarily anything to do with turkey or stuffing or even green bean casserole. Nope. It had to do with Jesper Horsted, a rookie tight end with the Chicago Bears.

A year ago, Horsted was a senior wide receiver at Princeton, record-setting receiver at that. Horsted is the Tigers' career leader in both receptions (196) and receiving touchdowns (28), and he was a Bushnell Cup finalist a year ago, losing out on the honor to his teammate, quarterback John Lovett.

The other starting receiver opposite Horsted was Stephen Carlson. Lovett, Carlson and Horsted all made it to the NFL this year - essentially all three as tight ends (though it's really hard to assign a position to what Lovett does, though, with a uniform number of 40, he's definitely not a quarterback).

Lovett has spent the entire season on injured reserve with the Kansas City Chiefs, but all indications are that he has a nice future there. Carlson was activated three weeks ago from the Cleveland Browns' practice squad and now has four catches, including a touchdown reception, in three games.

Carlson caught two passes for 28 yards in a 20-13 loss to Pittsburgh yesterday. His first catch went for 21 yards and included a massive stiff arm.

If you're keeping track, by the way, Carlson had one fewer catch for one fewer yard than Odell Beckham Jr. did in the game. Carlson also averaged 14 yards per catch, compared to 9.7 for Beckham.

As for Horsted, he was injured on his pro day and went undrafted. The Bears, who signed him and saw him have a big end to the preseason, released him and brought him back to the practice squad at the first opportunity.

Like Carlson, Horsted spent much of the season on the practice squad, and he had to wait an extra week for his first NFL appearance. His debut came two weeks ago in a win over the Giants, a game in which he caught one pass for four yards.

That game was followed by the Thanksgiving Day game against the Lions in Detroit. On this huge stage, Horsted did more than just make a name for himself. He may have saved the Bears' entire season.

Overstatement? Nope.

Chicago trailed 17-10 late in the third quarter when Horsted hauled in an 18-yard TD pass from Mitchell Trubisky. The catch, like Carlson's TD, was not an easy one.

Trubisky dropped the ball over two defenders, leading Horsted into the end zone. Horsted had to catch it with two defenders who were closing in on him and the his back to Trubisky.

Horsted's catch tied it at 17-17. Chicago would win 24-20. Trubisky finished with 338 passing yard and three TDs and was the hero of the day ... but how different it could have been.

Had Horsted not caught the ball and allowed a Detroit defender to take it away from him, then it's likely that Chicago loses that game. A loss would have taken Chicago to 5-7 on the year and essentially out of the playoff race.

Instead, Chicago is now 6-6, and a late-season playoff run is still a possibility. At the very least, Chicago finishes the season at Minnesota, a team the Bears have already beaten once this year. The Vikings are 8-3, with a game at Seattle tonight.

The Bears need to be within a game of Minnesota for the final wild card spot heading into that last game. They'd have no chance had they lost Thursday.

Would they have lost had Horsted not made that catch? There's obviously no way to know, but his catch was as big a play as the Bears had in their biggest game so far.

1 comment:

Steven J. Feldman '68 said...

The Princeton 2020 baseball schedule was released yesterday and it is certainly interesting. Princeton is scheduled to play 57 games which is a lot more games than were scheduled in previous seasons. A late season visit in May to play three games at Miami(Fla.)is different. In past seasons, Princeton has played about 40 games. Of course rainouts have cancelled out games, but 57 games is still well above the number of scheduled games in those seasons.