Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Iowa in the NFL: Highlights from week one


BySEAN BOCK 10 hours ago (September 14, 2021)


Week one of the NFL season concluded on Monday night. 

There were a handful of former Hawkeyes in action throughout the weekend and a good amount of them put together strong performances. 

Here were some of the highlights of week one. 

TJ Hockenson is poised for a breakout year after strong week one 

Detroit dropped a tough loss to San Franciso, but Hockenson at the tight end position was a big bright spot for the Lions. 

Hockenson finished the game with eight receptions for 97 yards and a touchdown. Detroit's wide receivers are not as strong this year, so the Lions could rely on Hockenson a lot in the passing game. 


Fellow former Iowa tight end George Kittle's team might've won the game, but Hockenson had the better stat line in the game. 

“There’s plenty of meat still on the bone,” Detroit tight ends coach Ben Johnson said previously of Hockenson. “We’re looking forward to getting even more from him. The sky’s the limit for this kid. I really look forward to seeing him take that next step.”


Former Iowa linebackers making plays


Kansas City should be one of the best teams in the NFL this year and likely the Super Bowl favorite. 

Niemann and Hitchens have played key roles for the Chiefs at the linebacker spot the past few years and teamed up on Sunday against. Hitchens forced a Cleveland Broncos' fumble in the third quarter and Niemann recovered it. The Chiefs ended up winning the contest, 33-29.  

In other former Iowa linebacker news, Josey Jewell also forced a fumble in the Denver Broncos' 27-13 win over the New York Giants. 

James Daniels holds his own against one of the league's best 


There wasn't a lot going for the Chicago Bears on Sunday night in the 34-14 loss to Los Angeles Rams, but former Iowa offensive lineman James Daniels did a good job of taming arguably the NFL's most dominant player in Rams' defensive tackle Aaron Donald. 


“I’m stronger,” Daniels said previously. “I feel like my technique is better and so I feel like right now, I’m a way better player than I am when I got hurt last year.”


Riley Reiff plays well in Cincinnati debut 


The story of Cincinnati's Sunday afternoon win against the Minnesota Vikings was the return of quarterback Joe Burrow. The Bengals' run game was also effective, and a big reason for that was the play of former Iowa offensive lineman Riley Reiff. 

However, the biggest impact he had was in the passing game. 

Per Pro Football Focus, Reiff had a pass-blocking grade of 78.8 with no pressures allowed. 


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