We’re at the halfway point of the NFL season and players are certainly feeling the effects. Week 8 saw a number of ex-Hawks get banged up, as well as some other injuries that created opportunities for Hawkeyes.
Anthony Hitchens had a team-high nine tackles for the AFC-leading Chiefs in their 30-23 victory against the Broncos, but exited due to bruised ribs. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that Hitchens is week-to-week, but coach Andy Reid sounded a little more optimistic, saying, “We’ve done a couple of preliminary things last night and it looked like we’re heading in the right direction.”
Here's the Anthony Hitchens injury. Goes to tackle Lindsay and ends up with Speaks' full body weight on top of him. pic.twitter.com/td1SBldz1L— Craig Stout (@barleyhop) October 29, 2018
Hitchens’s 72 tackles are tied for the third-most in the NFL, trailing only Miami’s Kiko Alonso (76) and Indianapolis’s Darius Leonard (88).
Replacing Hitchens was another Hawkeye in rookie Ben Niemann, who is still without a tackle in 14 defensive snaps this season, playing primarily on special teams.
“Ben’s done a nice job,” Reid said. “Smart kid. Coach’s kid. He doesn’t say much, but I like the way he goes about his business. The way he talks and when he makes calls, people listen. He’s done a nice job. ... So I think everybody has confidence if that comes about. Hopefully Hitch will be OK. I’m not saying Hitch isn’t OK.”
Josey Jewell drew his second start of the season Sunday for Denver and collected five tackles in a 30-23 loss at Kansas City. Jewell played 37 snaps while normal starter Brandon Marshall was limited to 17 due to a knee injury. Whispers continue to be heard about Marshall possibly being moved before the trade deadline, though it’s unclear how his injury might affect that possibility.
James Daniels had seen a near-weekly increase in snap count at left guard for the Bears, but saw his first NFL start Sunday against the Jets due to Eric Kush’s neck injury. Daniels helped clear the way for a Chicago rushing attack that tallied 179 yards on 34 rushes in a 24-10 win — but he also gave up a team-high three pressures against quarterback Mitch Trubisky.
Coach Matt Nagy had plenty of positives to share earlier in the week about Daniels, who just turned 21 last month.
C.J. Beathard was 14 of 28 for 190 yards and a touchdown in San Francisco’s 18-15 loss at Arizona. He also was sacked four times — pushing his season total to 18 in six games — and his health could be worth monitoring as the 49ers said he wouldn’t have been able to practice Monday due to a right wrist issue.
George Kittle caught five passes from Beathard for 57 yards.
Mike Daniels’s 83.6 Pro Football Focus rating tied him with Jaire Alexander for the highest by a Green Bay defender in a 29-27 loss to the undefeated Rams. ESPN’s Booger McFarland also offered high praise for Daniels, who had three tackles.
One of the most underrated players in NFL. Mike Daniels Love his game— Booger (@ESPNBooger) October 28, 2018
Meanwhile, Daniels’s teammate Josh Jackson curiously played a season-low three snaps for the Packers.
Brandon Scherff helped spring Adrian Peterson for this 64-yard touchdown run in Washington’s 20-13 victory over the Giants. Coach Jay Gruden called Scherff the “best pulling guard in football.”
Christian Kirksey totaled seven tackles, including one-half for loss, with one pass defended in 33-18 loss at Pittsburgh. Kirksey and teammates talked afterward about moving forward following the loss, but it’s going to be an interesting week around the Browns facility with head coach Hue Jackson and offensive coordinator Todd Haley both being fired.
Adrian Clayborn registered his second sack of the season late in New England’s 25-6 win against Buffalo on Monday. He also recorded another tackle and a quarterback hit. Micah Hyde tallied six tackles in the Bills’ loss.
Desmond King and the Chargers were on a bye, but King had been the NFL’s highest-graded corner according to PFF over the previous two games. He has 24 tackles, five passes defensed, and two interceptions on the season.
Over the last two weeks Desmond King II is the highest graded cornerback in the #NFL (92.1)— PFF LA Chargers (@PFF_Chargers) October 24, 2018
King has turned it on heading into the #Chargers bye week following the first five games where he earned a 66.9 grade. pic.twitter.com/73A4VFzxee
Riley Reiff missed his third consecutive game for Minnesota with a foot injury. Jaleel Johnson had one tackle in the Vikings’ 30-20 loss to New Orleans, reprising his substitute duties with Linval Joseph returning from knee and ankle ailments.