Hawks in the NFL: Week 17
The NFL Playoffs are cemented. Eight Hawkeyes punched their tickets, including: Austin Blythe (Rams), Adrian Clayborn (Patriots), James Daniels (Bears), James Ferentz (Patriots), Anthony Hitchens (Chiefs), Desmond King (Chargers), Ben Niemann (Chiefs) and Marshal Yanda (Ravens).
But, the biggest story on Sunday was George Kittle, who broke the NFL season receiving record by a tight end. All this and more in Hawks in the NFL: Week 17.
Let’s span the NFL:
Bills 42, Dolphins 17: The Bills ended a tough year on a high note by crushing the Dolphins. S Micah Hyde collected four tackles, one tackle for loss and one pass defensed. He finished the season with 58 tackles, two interceptions, one fumble recovery and defended five passes.
OG Ike Boettger has some new fans after he was the first player to come to the defense of his QB Josh Allen after a dirty hit.
— Devon Goffman (@DevonGoffman) December 31, 2018
Lions 31, Packers 0: The Packers disappointing season came to a bitter end when QB Aaron Rodgers suffered a concussion early on and the game went downhill from there. CB Josh Jackson made one tackle and defended one pass. The rookie finished with 49 tackles and defended 10 passes. A player who feasted on interceptions at Iowa, did not record any this season.
With big changes likely looming, it is possible RT Bryan Bulaga played his last game as a Packer.
Patriots 38, Jets 3: DE Adrian Clayborn was a healthy scratch for the second consecutive week. Derek Rivers, who was active over Clayborn, logged his first NFL sack. Clayborn finished the regular season with 11 tackles, 2.5 sacks and one forced fumble.
Ravens 26, Browns 24: The Ravens won the AFC North title and could not have done it without Pro Bowl OG Marshal Yanda. He is one of the best players on the team and one of the best offensive linemen in the NFL. After missing 2017, he continues to be a staple of consistency for the Ravens franchise. Baltimore averaged 6.3 yards on the ground against Cleveland.
Chiefs 35, Raiders 3: The Chiefs have home field advantage in the playoffs with a 12-4 record. LB Anthony Hitchens forced nine tackles, including a half tackle for loss. He has 135 tackles on the year, fifth best in the league.
Bears 24, Vikings 10: A game featuring two former Hawkeyes offensive linemen on the opposite ends of the spectrum this season. OG James Daniels is having an outstanding year and seems to improve with each game for the NFC North champion Bears. OT Riley Reiff is having a tough season after a strong 2017.
The Vikings controlled their own destiny at home: win and they were in. But, the offense struggled mightily to get anything going and will have to watch the playoffs at home.
Chargers 23, Broncos 9: The Chargers tied for the best record in the AFC, but unfortunately did not win the division as the Chiefs owned the tiebreaker. So, they went from potentially having home field in the playoffs to not even hosting a playoff game.
CB Desmond King had six tackles and one tackle for loss in the win. He forced 61 tackles on the season, including two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and three interceptions. He also had a punt return for a touchdown.
Rams 48, 49ers 32: In only his second year in the pros, TE George Kittle just had the best season ever by a tight end. What is even crazier? He did it with three different quarterbacks in 2018. On the day, Kittle caught nine of 14 targets for 149 yards and a touchdown. For the year, Kittle recorded 88 receptions for 1,377 yards and five touchdowns.
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— San Francisco 49ers (@49ers) December 31, 2018
Kansas City TE Travis Kelce surpassed the NFL record originally held by Rob Gronkowski earlier in the day. Kittle’s record came on the final 49ers possession, when he caught a pass and ran it 43 yards for the touchdown. The story on how it all came to fruition is pretty unbelievable.
George Kittle finishes with most yards after the catch in the NFL, becoming the first tight end in NFL history to do so.
2018 standings (SportRadar):
1. George Kittle, 49ers – 870 YAC
2. Christian McCaffrey, Panthers – 851 YAC
3. Saquon Barkley, NYG – 768 YAC
— David Lombardi (@LombardiHimself) December 31, 2018
49ers CB Greg Mabin had one tackle as did Kittle.
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Injuries: 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 17 Game Ball:
The new record-holder, George Kittle of course.
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
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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
Week 15: Marshal Yanda, Ravens
Week 16: George Kittle, 49ers
Week 17: George Kittle, 49ers
*Follow Sean Neugent on Twitter: @SeanNeugentHN
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Cover Photo: © Mark Barron-USA TODAY Sports