Hawks in the NFL: Week 4

October 2, 2018

Written by Sean Neugent

If you tuned into the San Francisco 49ers at Los Angeles Chargers game on Sunday, it might have felt a little like watching the 2016 Iowa Hawkeyes team. That is because four former Hawkeyes provided some of the biggest moments of the game.

All of this and more in the week four recap. So, Let’s span the NFL:

In San Francisco, C.J. Beathard made his first start since last year following a season-ending injury to Jimmy Garoppolo. Overall, Beathard had a good day going 23 of 37 for 298 yards, two touchdowns and hit nine different receivers. He kept the 49ers in the game, ultimately losing 29-27 to the Chargers.

He threw two interceptions on the day. One bounced off Garrett Celek’s hands. The other proved costly at the end of the game when he was immediately rocked in the pocket by a Chargers blitz. The second-year QB also had a fumble.

“The last play was unfortunate, I wish he got rid of it,” says Kyle Shanahan, head coach of the 49ers. “He played very tough, and made some big plays. He handled adversity well and some chaos with injuries. I was proud of how he played.”

If anyone was not aware before, they are now: Beathard is up at the top when it comes to toughness. Just look at this blow he received on a run below that knocked the wind out of him. The QB was only sacked once, but hit eight times.

“He’s a bad ass,” says George Kittle, Beathard’s tight end and former teammate at Iowa. “He’s got more grit than anyone I know.”

“Like I said, he ain’t no roody-poo,” says Reuben Foster, linebacker for the 49ers. “He ain’t sweet, ain’t nothing sweet about Beathard. That’s why we’ve got faith and believe in him.”

Beathard is happy to have Kittle by his side. He should be, Pro Football Focus (PFF) gives the tight end the highest rank in the NFL through week four. Kittle scorched the Chargers for 125 yards on six catches, including an 82-yard touchdown. On the season, Kittle has 316 yards and his 218 yards after the catch ranks third in the league behind Alvin Kamara of the Saints and Saquon Barkley of the Giants.

CB Greg Mabin has been playing well of late in practice and was rewarded with some 29 snaps. Chargers QB Philip Rivers targeted Mabin five times, but his receivers only caught two passes for 18 yards. Mabin also forced a fumble.

“We had a plan to put Mabin in going in,” says Shanahan. “It was more about Mabin (as opposed to injuries), and how he has been practicing the last couple of weeks. He had a great week at practice, and we thought he deserved it. When he did go in and got his opportunity, he was playing at a pretty high level so we kept him in.”

In Buffalo, Bills Pro Bowl S Micah Hyde injured his groin against his former employer in a 22-0 loss at Green Bay. He is considered week-to-week. Not a great homecoming for the safety.

In Chicago, OL James Daniels rotated with LG Eric Kush on the offensive line. It was the rookie’s first time playing with the starting offense this year. The Bears demolished Tampa Bay 48-10.

“Every day I go to practice, I just try to think about getting better and better,” says Daniels. “I just feel like over the past couple of weeks, I have been improving. When I improve every day, I know I can help the team win.”

In Detroit, there was good and bad news. The good? OT Andrew Donnal was finally cleared from a knee injury. The bad? The Lions decided to wave him to make room for DE Eric Lee on the active roster.

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In Denver, rookie LB Josey Jewell had two tackles in a 27-24 loss to the Chiefs. Credit the Broncos defense for limiting QB Patrick Mahomes who has been super human in their first three games. KC went in averaging 40 points, while Mahomes was averaging four touchdowns per game through the air. The Broncos held him to 300 yards and one touchdown.

In Cleveland, LB Christian Kirksey returned from injury only to see his defense lit up by Derek Carr and the Raiders. On the day, Kirksey recorded four tackles and one assist as a two game win streak for the Browns was just out of reach, losing 45-42 in OT.

In Los Angeles, CB Desmond King was so close to taking one to the house on a 56-yard punt return, just getting tripped up by the 49ers punter Bradley Pinion. King played well as the Chargers beat Beathard and the 49ers 29-27.

In Kansas City, LB Anthony Hitchens recorded three tackles in a 27-23 over rival Denver Broncos on Monday Night Football. After week two, Hitchens ranked second in tackles, but currently ranks eighth in the NFL. The Chiefs move to 4-0 on the season.

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In Green Bay, CB Josh Jackson and DE Mike Daniels helped the Packers defense to its first shutout since 2010 in a 22-0 win vs. Buffalo. Daniels had one tackle and knocked down one pass, while Jackson had five tackles.

Byes: Washington Redskins (Brandon Scherff)

HawkeyeNation.com’s Week 4 Game Ball:

C.J. Beathard because “he ain’t no roody-poo.” He went into the game on Sunday facing a lot of adversity and doubt from around the country. He held up well and earned a lot of respect after the hits he took. Not to mention, the 49ers nearly knocked off a solid Chargers team on the road. His teammates and coach cannot say enough good things about the second year QB. He already looks more comfortable than in his rookie season. Credit to Kittle for taking some pressure off his new QB1.

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

*Follow Sean Neugent on Twitter: @SeanNeugentHN

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Cover Photo: © Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

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