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Hawks in the NFL: Week 8

October 30, 2018

Written by Sean Neugent

Hawkeye Nation

There are currently 25 former Hawkeyes on NFL rosters, many of which are starting or receiving significant playing time. Those players are scattered between 15 teams, which are 60-52 overall with five in first place. Compare that to 17 teams without a former Iowa player that have gone 59-67 with only three in first place.

The Hawkeyes difference is real. Well, we can pretend it is any way. All this and more in Hawks in the NFL: Week 8.

Let’s span the NFL:

In San Francisco: Another week, another loss. This time, the 49ers had a 15-3 lead heading into the fourth quarter. The result? Well, just look at the headline in The Mercury News following the game: 49ers report card: Blame Beathard, Shanahan, pass defense. This loss was ugly against an Arizona team that only has two wins, both coming against the 49ers. San Francisco on the other hand only has one win, while QB C.J. Beathard is winless as the starter.

The Mercury News goes on to discuss how ‘poor and skittish’ the 49ers second year QB played, other than a 55-yard touchdown pass to WR Marquise Goodwin. On the day, Beathard completed 14 of 28 for 190 yards, one touchdown and five rushes for nine yards. It was the fist time he did not commit any turnovers this year.

Beathard’s biggest weapon, TE George Kittle, had one of his lowest outputs in 2018. Still, he had a solid game with five receptions on eight targets for 57 yards. Meanwhile, CB Greg Mabin who started last week was inactive on Sunday.

In Buffalo: S Micah Hyde and the Bills defense did a nice job limiting the Patriots offensive attack on Monday Night Football. They held Tom Brady and the Patriots to one offensive touchdown in a 25-6 loss. The touchdown also did not come until fourth quarter, while New England added on with an 84-yard interception return. Heading into the final quarter, the Bills only trailed 12-6. On the day, Hyde logged six tackles.

In Chicago: For the third week in a row, OL James Daniels increased his snaps in addition to making his first career start. He was in for 44 plays last week before playing 66 in week eight. The Bears beat the Jets 24-10 and now lead the NFC North.

 In Denver: Former Hawkeye linebackers were on display, including Denver’s Josey Jewell and Kansas City’s Anthony Hitchens and Ben Niemann. Jewell received the start and had five total tackles on the day. The Broncos ultimately lost 30-23 to the Chiefs.

 In Cleveland: Things remain ugly. Head coach Hue Jackson and offensive coordinator Todd Haley were fired following the Browns 33-18 loss to Pittsburgh. LB Christian Kirksey had seven tackles in the game and one pass deflected.

In Green Bay: RT Bryan Bulaga struggled in a 29-27 loss to the Rams. Leading 10-0, the Packers were backed up to its own one-yard line in the first half. Bulaga missed Rams blitzing LB Mark Barron who tackled RB Aaron Jones for a safety. The play changed momentum and the two points eventually proved to be the difference in the ball game.

On defense, DE Mike Daniels collected three total tackles, while his teammate CB Josh Jackson surprisingly only played three snaps. He came in averaging 39 snaps.

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In Los Angeles: RG Austin Blythe continues to have an incredible season and is a huge boost to the Rams offensive line. Despite the team allowing five sacks against the Packers, the Rams continue to have the best O-line in football. They remain perfect at 8-0 with a showdown in New Orleans on tap.                                                                         

In Kansas City: LB Anthony Hitchens recorded a team-high nine tackles in the Chiefs win over rival Broncos. He left the game with severely bruised ribs, but head coach Andy Reid is optimistic about the injury. Hitchens ranks third in the NFL with 72 tackles.

Rookie LB Ben Niemann continues to get some time on defense and was in for five snaps against Denver. Coach Reid is excited about his LB.

“Ben has done a nice job,” says Reid. “Smart kid, coach’s kid. He doesn’t say much, but I like the way he goes about his business. The way he talks and when he makes calls, people listen. He’s done a nice job, so I think everybody has confidence if that comes about. Hopefully Hitch will be okay. I am not saying Hitch isn’t okay though.”

In New England: DE Adrian Clayborn is starting to find his groove. All season long he has put a ton of pressure on the opposing QB, but wasn’t able to finish with a sack. That changed last weekend when he recorded his first sack of the year. On Monday Night Football, Clayborn added another to his resume and had two tackles in the 25-6 victory over Buffalo.

In Washington: The first place Redskins are thriving and G Brandon Scherff has been a beast on the O-line. Count RB Adrian Peterson and head coach Jay Gruden as more than pleased with their guard. On one drive, Scherff pulled and opened up a key block for Peterson to run 64-yards for the score, which would make the difference in a 20-13 victory over the New York Giants. It was Peterson’s longest run since Nov. 15, 2015. 

“I saw the hole develop, and I saw Brandon ready to hunt,” says Gruden. “Once you see the hole is ready, and Brandon with his eyes on the target, you know something good is about to happen. Brandon is the best puller in pro football. There was a great hole — a great call.”

“He’s very dependable, and he gets around anything,” says Peterson. “We were talking earlier this week, and it wasn’t the play that we called. It was a counter play where he was pulling. I told him, ‘Hey, you do you and I’ll play off of you.’ The last play was a great example of that.” 

In Minnesota: DT Jaleel Johnson had one tackle in a loss to the Saints. He only played seven snaps after starting last week for injured DT Linval Joseph, who is now healthy.

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

Byes: Los Angeles Chargers (Desmond King)

HawkeyeNation.com’s Week 8 Game Ball:

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Brandon Scherff’s block propeled the Redskins to win the game and keep pace in the NFC with the third best record. For that, he earns the week 8 game ball.

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

*Follow Sean Neugent on Twitter: @SeanNeugentHN

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Cover Photo: © Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

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