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Hawks in the NFL: Week 14

December 11, 2018

Written by Sean Neugent

Hawkeye Nation

ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt may have said it best about TE George Kittle: “He’s like a fast rhinoceros.”

In yet another dark year for the 49ers franchise, Kittle is giving fans something to smile about.

The second-year player is on his third quarterback this season, which have a combined 25 starts in the NFL. Nonetheless, it doesn’t seem to matter who is throwing his way; Kittle is going to get open and catch the ball. Currently, both Kittle and Kansas City TE Travis Kelce are both in line to break the NFL record for receiving yards by a tight end of 1,327 yards, set by New England’s Rob Gronkowski.

Additionally, two former Hawkeyes were honored in a bigger than football type of way this weekend.

All this and more in Hawks in the NFL: Week 14.

Let’s span the NFL:

49ers 20, Broncos 14: In week 14, Kittle was the talk of the NFL. For good reason after he caught seven balls for 210 yards and a touchdown…all in the first half. He did not have any catches in the second half and fell four yards short of the NFL record for a single game by a tight end. However, his monster first half propelled the 49ers to a win. They beat a surging Broncos team who went into San Francisco riding a three-game win streak.

Overall, Kittle has 69 receptions for 1,103 yards and four touchdowns. He did break three franchise records: most receiving yards by a tight end, most receiving yards by a tight end in a game and longest touchdown (85 yards) by a player at his position.

On defense, CB Greg Mabin collected two tackles. For the Broncos, LB Josey Jewell combined for five tackles and one pass defended.

Bears 15, Rams 6: LG James Daniels had a heck of a game on Sunday Night Football against the top team in the NFC. He had a mountain of a task to keep the best defensive player in the NFL, DE Aaron Donald, at bay.

Donald is a legitimate MVP candidate this year with 16.5 sacks, four forced fumbles and 46 tackles. He went up against Daniels, and came away with only two tackles. Sure, Donald may have been double and triple teamed, but Daniels and the Bears offensive line did a nice job all night long in getting a big W.

“He (Donald) didn’t have any game-destructive plays that he usually causes,” says Mitch Trubisky, QB for the Bears. “That is something we definitely kept in the back of our minds. If we just play smart, take care of the football, create positive plays on offense, get a few more scores, then we can come out and get a W, which we did.”

The Rams offense performed poorly against the Bears, but OG Austin Blythe continues to be one of the best guards in football this year. In the third quarter, Blythe recovered a fumble that could have turned real ugly for the Rams when Khalil Mack sacked Jared Goff at their own 18-yard line.

Packers 34, Falcons 20: The Joe Philbin-era kicked off with a nice victory on Sunday. The former Iowa offensive line coach was named interim head coach last week.

CB Josh Jackson is the only healthy former Hawk on the Packers roster. The rookie had three tackles, bringing his total to 43 on the year. He also deflected two passes from Matt Ryan.

The Packers have struggled at safety this year and there is talk about Jackson potentially sliding into that role to see how he performs since the Packers have bleak playoff hopes remaining.

Dolphins 34, Patriots 33: DE Adrian Clayborn had one tackle on the game. He was the closest defensive lineman to putting pressure on QB Ryan Tannehill in what they are dubbing as “The Miami Miracle.”

Kansas City 27, Baltimore 24: The Chiefs continue to find wins and LB Anthony Hitchens continues to force a lot of tackles. He added nine on Sunday for 104 on the season, which ranks ninth in the NFL.

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Despite the loss, RG Marshal Yanda is the Ravens’ 2018 recipient of the Ed Block Courage Award. This is presented to the player who exemplifies a commitment to the principles of sportsmanship and courage, while also recognizing a player’s efforts on the field and his ability to overcome adversity.

Jets 27, Bills 23: S Micah Hyde had two tackles in the loss and now has 41 on the season to go along with two interceptions.

Chargers 26, Bengals 21: The Chargers were primed for a letdown after a huge win in Pittsburgh. But, they escaped with the W. CB Desmond King combined for three tackles and averaged 33 yards on two kickoff returns.

Browns 26, Panthers 20: LB Christian Kirksey might be out the rest of the season, but he was honored during the pregame as the Browns’ 2018 Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee. His Kirkoland Foundation strives to provide opportunities for local kids in need.

Seahawks 21, Vikings 7: DT Jaleel Johnson had one assisted tackle on Monday Night Football. OT Riley Reiff and the offensive line struggled to get separation vs. the Seahawks, as the Vikings only put up a touchdown and totaled 276 yards of offense.

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Injuries: OT Bryan Bulaga, Packers (held out Sunday), DE Mike Daniels, Packers (out for season), LB Christian Kirksey, Browns (out for season), OG Brandon Scherff, Redskins (out for season)

HawkeyeNation.com’s Week 14 Game Ball:

This week’s game ball is a no-brainer: TE George Kittle. He is quickly becoming the face of the 49ers franchise. For Kittle to break the NFL record by Rob Gronkowski, he will need to average 75 yards a game. The mark is certainly doable, considering he averages 84 per game this year. But, Travis Kelce stands in his way and is 56 yards ahead of Kittle.

HawkeyeNation.com Game Balls:

Week 1: George Kittle, 49ers

Week 2: Josh Jackson, Packers

Week 3: Christian Kirksey, Browns

Week 4: C.J. Beathard, 49ers

Week 5: Christian Kirksey, Browns

Week 6: Desmond King, Chargers

Week 7: Jaleel Johnson, Vikings

Week 8: Brandon Scherff, Redskins

Week 9: Desmond King, Chargers

Week 10: Ben Niemann, Chiefs

Week 11: Bye Week

Week 12: James Daniels, Bears

Week 13: Desmond King, Chargers

Week 14: George Kittle, 49ers

*Follow Sean Neugent on Twitter: @SeanNeugentHN

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Cover Photo: © Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

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