Hawks in the NFL: Week 9

November 6, 2018

Written by Sean Neugent

Hawkeye rookies are getting significant playing time this season. Second-year Hawkeyes are making a lot of noise in the NFL. And, Hawkeye veterans are literally sacking the competition. Two of which came against the best quarterbacks in football: Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady.

All this and more in Hawks in the NFL: Week 9.

Let’s span the NFL:

In San Francisco: There is good and bad news in the Bay Area. The good? TE George Kittle is looking like the best tight end in football. He had another tremendous week after catching all four targets for 108 yards (long of 71) and a touchdown.

Here is where Kittle ranks amongst tight ends in 2018 (note he has the longest reception in all of pro football this year):

  • Yards: 692 (2nd)
  • Yards Per Game: 76.9 (3rd)
  • Long: 82 (1st )
  • Receptions: 41 (3rd)
  • Touchdowns: 3 (T-5th)
  • Average Yards Per Catch: (T-1st for TE with 10+ receptions)
  • Plays of 20+: 9 (T-2nd)
  • Plays of 40+: 3 (1st)

Now for the bad news: QB C.J. Beathard was held out of Thursday Night Football with a wrist and thumb injury. The injury allowed undrafted QB Nick Mullens to start, who had a big day in leading the 49ers to a 34-3 victory over Oakland. Mullens has already been named the starter for the upcoming game on Monday Night Football vs. the woeful Giants. However, it is likely any major struggles could result in Beathard getting the starting job back. After all, the 49ers would much rather see their third round draft pick succeed and get playing time over a guy who was not drafted.

CB Greg Mabin showed the highs and lows of being an NFL player. He went from starting corner just a few weeks ago to being cut by the 49ers.

In Buffalo: The Bills continue to look dreadful and have the worst offense in recent memory. That is making it tough for Buffalo and its defense. Against the Bears, S Micah Hyde contributed one tackle and defended a pass in a 41-9 loss.

In Chicago: Rookie G James Daniels continues to see a majority of snaps for the Bears. He is improving each week and made a big block to open a hole for RB Jordan Howard’s second touchdown in the game. The Bears remain alone in first place in the NFC North.

In Denver: The Broncos are high on rookie LB Josey Jewell, who received his third start of the season. With a lack of depth at the position, they held their breath when Jewell left the game to go to the concussion tent for examination, but fortunately he came right back out. Jewell finished with three tackles, including a tackle for loss. The Broncos lost 19-17 to Houston and are now 3-6.

In Cleveland: LB Christian Kirksey recorded three tackles before leaving the contest with a hamstring injury. The five-year veteran has been beat up this year and has already been out two games, the only time he has missed in his career. The Chiefs beat the Browns 37-21, dropping Cleveland to 2-6-1.

In Green Bay: RT Bryan Bulaga injured his knee early on when playing New England on Sunday Night Football. He did not return in the Packers 31-17 defeat.

Defensively, DE Mike Daniels and CB Josh Jackson played well in limiting QB Tom Brady who only had a late touchdown pass. Daniels created two tackles, one tackle for loss, one sack and QB hurry. Jackson made two tackles and broke up two passes. Green Bay fell to 3-4-1.

Just for fun: Daniels does not like getting chop blocked:

In Los Angeles: CB Desmond King continues a strong 2018 campaign. On Sunday, he cut off a pass from QB Russell Wilson for a 42-yard pick six, in addition to having three tackles, breaking up a pass and had a fumble recovery. The Chargers beat the Seahawks 25-17, improving to 6-2 and right behind the Chiefs.

In Los Angeles: The Rams are no longer undefeated, as the Saints now own the tie-breaker for home field advantage in the playoffs. Offense certainly was not the problem in the 45-35 loss. RT Austin Blythe helped protect QB Jared Goff, allowing him to throw for nearly 400 yards and three touchdowns, while RB Todd Gurley rushed for a 5.2-yard average.

Blythe, who entered the lineup for suspended OL Jamon Brown at the beginning of the year, has cemented himself into the position. Before being replaced by Blythe, Brown started every game for the Rams in 2017. And, if it is any indication of the Rams belief in Blythe, LA decided to cut ties with Brown last week. He was subsequently picked up by the New York Giants, going from one of the best teams to one of the worst.

*Notice Baltimore’s Marshal Yanda also making the PFF list.

In Kansas City: LB Anthony Hitchens was questionable going into the game, but played and made eight tackles during the 37-21 win over Cleveland. The LB remains third in the NFL with 79 tackles, nine shy of leader Darius Leonard.

LB Ben Niemann is continually creeping up with snaps played each passing game. On Sunday, he played 11 snaps and recorded his first tackle.

In New England: DE Adrian Clayborn is quietly having a strong season for the Patriots. His pressure on opposing QBs has been relentless, and on Sunday Night Football he was credited with three tackles, a half sack on QB Aaron Rodgers, a stuff and forced fumble.

On Saturday, the Patriots promoted OL James Ferentz from the practice squad to the active roster. He did not play against the Packers.

In Washington: RG Brandon Scherff suffered a season ending torn pectoral during the Redskins 38-14 loss. Scherff has been a standout in the NFL this season, so it is a major blow to a team sitting in first place in the NFC East. Last week, NBC Sports even had an article making the case that Scherff is the second-best pick from the 2015 NFL Draft behind only RB Todd Gurley of the Rams.   

Continue reading below

In Minnesota: After missing three weeks due to a foot injury, OT Riley Reiff was back in the lineup and played 49 snaps. The Vikings beat Detroit 24-9, keeping pace with the first place Chicago Bears.

HawkeyeNation.com’s Week 9 Game Ball:

Tough question: do you go with Kittle or King? Neither answer is wrong. On one hand, Kittle made Nick Mullens comfortable on his way to a big day and made an incredible one hand grab, turning it into a 71-yard gain. But, King’s pick-6 was the difference in the Chargers victory over the Seahawks.

Desmond is the King of week 9.

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

*Follow Sean Neugent on Twitter: @SeanNeugentHN

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Cover Photo: © Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

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