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Hawks in the NFL: Week 7

October 23, 2018

Written by Sean Neugent

Hawkeye Nation

On Saturday, the Hawkeyes completely shut down the Terrapins offensive attack. On Sunday, former Hawk defenders did much of the same. From Minnesota’s Jaleel Johnson receiving his first career NFL start to Cleveland’s Christian Kirksey creating turnovers, week seven featured several strong performances.

All this and more in Hawks in the NFL: Week 7.

Let’s span the NFL:

In San Francisco: QB C.J. Beathard had his worst game of the season and continues to turn the ball over at an alarming rate. Against the undefeated Los Angeles Rams, the second year QB hit on 15 of 27 passes for 170 yards, including one touchdown to former Hawks TE George Kittle and ran twice for 13 yards. He also threw two picks and fumbled twice, losing one. The turnovers attributed to a 39-10 defeat, moving the 49ers to 1-6.

“It’s inexcusable,” says coach Kyle Shanahan. “It’s impossible to win in this league when you turn the ball over like we are and we don’t get any [takeaways]. We had four today, 4-0, and I think it was 24 points off turnovers. … In order for us to be able to play in a football game, we have to tighten up with the ball and get the ball.

“We have to fix the turnovers. Once we fix the turnovers then we have a chance to start playing football.”

The 49ers 18 giveaways are most in the NFL. And, at this point in the season, the turnover differential ties their 1980 team for worst in franchise history. However, Beathard still has Shanahan’s vote of confidence.

It may not have been a great day for Beathard, but George Kittle continues to rip it up with 5 catches for 98 yards, one touchdown and a long of 35. The tight end already has 32 receptions for 527 yards and two touchdowns.

Kittle has been physically dominating this year, including this stiff arm he gave on one of his receptions.

“If you don’t play angry then you’re not playing,” says Kittle. “If a guy is not going to throw his body at me and he’s just going to sit there with his chest open, I’m going to put my helmet through his chest. That’s his fault if he’s sore in the morning.”

After being tortured by Aaron Rodgers on Monday Night Football, CB Greg Mabin had a much better game. He started in place of injured Richard Sherman and had one tackle in 49 snaps. Considering Mabin allowed 46 yards in the final series against the Packers, he was only targeted four times and gave up 31 yards on two receptions against QB Jared Goff and the Rams offensive attack.

In Buffalo: S Micah Hyde had five tackles, but lost 37-5 at Indianapolis. The Bills continue to be the worst offensive team in football and had five turnovers on Sunday, which is keeping the defense on the field early and often.

In Baltimore: After missing a majority of last season, OG Marshal Yanda has played every game this season and continues to perform at a high level at the age of 34. In seven games, he has committed one holding penalty and is yet to allow a sack. The Ravens lost a close one at home 24-23 to New Orleans. 

In Chicago: OG James Daniels played 44 snaps, up from 39 a week ago. The rookie is yet to have a penalty or sack allowed. The Bears lost another heartbreaker 38-31 to New England. QB Mitch Trubisky heaved up a Hail Mary on the final play caught by WR Kevin White, but he was tackled one yard short of the end zone.

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In Denver: LB Josey Jewell’s playing time has been reduced the last few weeks. The rookie only played seven snaps on Thursday Night Football, down from 20 in week six. During weeks three through five he averaged nearly 30 snaps per game. The Broncos embarrassed Arizona 45-10.

In Cleveland: LB Christian Kirksey now has back-to-back weeks with a pick and is playing well in a move to middle linebacker following an injury to Joe Schobert last week. Kirksey had a nicely timed interception for 13 yards, in addition to 10 total tackles, one pass deflection and a fumble recovery.

Down 16-2 against Tampa Bay, Kirksey recorded the interception on an underthrown ball by QB Jameis Winston that would help get the Browns back in the game. Ultimately, they lost 26-23 in overtime.

In Los Angeles: CB Desmond King accounted for seven total tackles, one pass deflected, two kickoff returns for 47 yards and two punt returns for 14 yards. The Chargers moved to 5-2 on the year with a narrow 20-19 victory.

In Los Angeles: OG Austin Blythe is playing very well for the undefeated Rams. He has not had a penalty called on him or given up a sack this season. The Rams blew by the 49ers 39-10. 

In Kansas City: Due to a groin injury, LB Anthony Hitchens’ playing time was reduced from 78 snaps a week ago to 38 against Cincinnati on Sunday Night Football. He finished with three tackles.

Rookie LB Ben Niemann received his first action with nine snaps on Sunday, but did not record any stats.

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In New England: DE Adrian Clayborn has been putting pressure on QBs all season long, but with little to show for it. On Sunday, he finally was able to get to the QB for his first sack on the season. He also had two tackles and one QB hurry. In total on the year, he has 21 hurries. The Patriots beat the Bears 38-31.

In Washington: OG Brandon Scherff has been banged up, but continues to play well for the Redskins. The first rounder has yet to commit a penalty and has only allowed 1.5 sacks this year. Washington beat its rival Cowboys 20-17 and now lead the NFC East with a 4-2 record.

In Minnesota: DT Jaleel Johnson received his first career start, replacing injured Linval Joseph and he made the most of it. He was credited with four tackles, a half sack and one hurry in a 37-17 win over the Jets.

On the offensive side of the ball, OT Riley Reiff remained out for the second consecutive week with an injured foot.

Byes: Green Bay (CB Josh Jackson, DE Mike Daniels and OT Bryan Bulaga)

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HawkeyeNation.com’s Week 7 Game Ball:

It was a tough call, but this week’s honors go to DT Jaleel Johnson who may have earned starting consideration in the future. Johnson helped shut down the rushing attack for the Jets, limiting them to 2.9 yards per rush.

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

*Follow Sean Neugent on Twitter: @SeanNeugentHN

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Cover Photo: © Kelly L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

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