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Hawks in the NFL - Week 8

Sam LaPorta and Geno Stone headline a big week 8 for the former Hawkeyes.

Las Vegas Raiders v Detroit Lions Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

There is nothing going on with Iowa football at all right now. Nope. Nothing. So let’s look at former Hawks tearing it up in the NFL!

Anthony Nelson, Tristan Wirfs, AJ Epenesa, and Micah Hyde

More Hawkeye reunion this week, starting last Thursday in Buffalo. Wirfs has been one of the top left tackles in the league this year. Are you surprised? Certainly you aren’t surprised by that development. Going into Thursday night’s game against the Bills, he had allowed zero sacks on the year.

Until he ran into former teammate AJ Epenesa! Epenesa registered two tackles and a sack in a 24-18 win that had a near-Hail Mary miss from the Bucs as time expired - I guess you can grab receivers on a Hail Mary and PI won’t be called - and that sack came against Wirfs.

It’s a tad unfair to stick blame for that sack on Wirfs - that’s 100 percent a coverage sack. But it goes on his ledger, and against Epenesa. Hawk on Hawk violence. Epenesa is having an excellent season for the Bills. He’s now up to 5 sacks on the year. His career high was 6.5, set last year. He should sail past that.

Anthony Nelson also registered a sack in this game, a 10-yard loss for Josh Allen. Nelson finished the game with 4 tackles, all solo, 2 tackles for loss, and a sack.

Lastly, Hyde finished the game with 4 tackles, a defended pass, and a quarterback hit.

Tight Ends Galore

Week 8 saw some huge games from Iowa’s cast of tight ends.

We’ll start with TJ Hockenson. Hock snagged 6 passes for 88 yards and a touchdown, a 3-yard reception in Minnesota’s 24-10 win over the struggling Green Bay Packers (Lukas Van Ness was also in this game and had no tackles, but did have a pass defended).

We’ll see how things shift for the Vikings given Kirk Cousins suffered a torn Achilles in this game. Hock was one of his favorite targets, but with Cousins now out for the season, do we see a drop in targets to Hockenson? We’ll see - the Vikes just traded for Josh Dobbs and he’s at least a serviceable option for the rest of the season. After a 2-1 start, the Packers have fallen off a cliff and now sit at 2-5, with only the Bears keeping them out of the NFC North cellar.

George Kittle had a huge day for the 49ers in their 31-17 loss to the Bengals (Cincy is alive and well after their bumpy start). Kittle ended with 9 receptions for 149 yards. He still has a great connection with Brock Purdy, though Purdy is showing some legitimate struggles in this stunning San Francisco losing streak.

Rob Gronkowski Sam LaPorta continued his spectacular rookie season as the Lions bounced back from their big loss in Baltimore last week by beating the awful, no good Las Vegas Raiders 26-14 on Monday night. He closed the night with 8 receptions for 57 yards and a touchdown, scored right before halftime.

LaPorta is now at 43 receptions for 434 yards and 4 touchdowns on the year.

Lastly, Noah Fant had 2 receptions for 32 yards in Seattle’s win over Cleveland. Seattle’s now leading the NFC West by a half-game over San Francisco, and those two have yet to play this season.

Geno Stone

More from Geno. Last week he notched his league-leading fourth interception of the year. Make that five for Mr. Stone, as Baltimore edged the try hard Arizona Cardinals, 31-24.

In addition to that fifth interception of the season, Stone also lodged 4 tackles. His five picks still leads the National Football League. Bravo to Geno Stone!

Broncos Corner

Denver ended their 16-game (!!!!!) losing streak to the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, a 24-9 win in a cold, snowy Mile High City. Josey Jewell finished with 5 tackles and a forced fumble. They’re not a good team at 3-5, but Denver’s also had some weird sliding doors moments this year - they missed a field goal and an extra point in their 1-point loss Week 1 to Las Vegas, and they had a big lead on the Washington Commanders Week 2 before blowing that, but then they scored on a Hail Mary at the end of regulation but couldn’t convert a 2-point conversion to tie the game. And I must say, Russell Wilson has not been the problem this year - he’s at 16 touchdowns to just 4 interceptions for the season. They just have to get this defense figured out - of course, they gave up 70 points in a game this season and lost that by 50. In case you forgot.

In another bit of good news for former Hawks, the Broncos added Ben Niemann to the 53-man roster this week.

To the comments!