Hawkeyes in the NFL Week 2: Christian Kirksey Shining in Green Bay

September 22, 2020

Written by Rob Howe

Hawkeye Nation

Christian Kirksey became a leader of the Cleveland defense during his six years there. After a season-ending injury in 2019, the floundering franchise cut loose the former Hawkeye linebacker.

Green Bay swooped in and signed him this past offseason. The Packers have shown after two weeks why they’re not the Browns.

Kirksey (6-2, 235) helped Green Bay move to 2-0 Sunday with a 42-21 victory against visiting Detroit. The St. Louis native recorded a team-best 12 tackles (10 solo), three times more than anybody else on his defense. His 17 solo stops this season are the fourth most in the NFL.

Kirksey played all 59 defensive snaps for the Packers and added five more on special teams. He has not left the field on defense through two weeks.

Former Hawkeye Josh Jackson played five snaps on defense for the winners and 19 more (63 percent) on special teams. He was credited with a pass defended.

For the Lions, second-year tight end T.J. Hockenson hauled in all four of his targets for 62 yards. He’s caught all nine of the passes thrown to him this season. He logged 41 (69 percent) snaps on Sunday.

Tackle Matt Nelson played two snaps on offense and four on special teams for Detroit.

Here’s a look at how other former Hawkeyes performed on the NFL this week:

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-Adrian Clayborn, 32, continued chugging along in his 10th season. The defensive end posted a sack, a quarterback hit and 1.5 tackles for loss during Cleveland’s 35-30 Thursday night victory against Cincinnati.

The St. Louis native started in place of the injured Olivier Vernon but played just 18 snaps after suffering a hip flexor injury. It’s been reported that he’s hoping to play through it.

Defensive tackle Mike Daniels sat out the game for Cincinnati with a groin injury.

-Second-year tight end Noah Fant continued his fast start, finding the end zone for a second week in a row. The Omaha product caught four of five targets for 57 yards, which included a 20-yard touchdown grab in the third quarter of a 26-21 loss at Pittsburgh.

Fant has hauled in nine of 11 targets through two weeks. Seven of his receptions have gone for first downs.

Rookie cornerback Michael Ojemudia was credited with seven tackles (six solo) and a pass defended for the Broncos. Linebacker Josey Jewell totaled four tackles (three solo) in the losing effort.

-The Rams improved to a 2-0 with a 37-19 victory at Philadelphia. Center Austin Blythe played all 69 offensive snaps for the winners, who put up 449 yards of offense and recorded 30 first downs.

-Buffalo also remained unbeaten after two weeks with a 31-28 triumph in Miami. Safety Micah Hyde posted nine tackles (six solo) and a pass defended for the Bills.

Rookie defensive lineman A.J. Epenesa was active in Week 2 after being inactive for the opener and saw 17 snaps (12 pass rush) without recording any statistics. Buffalo offensive lineman Ike Boettger was inactive against the Dolphins.

-Chicago moved to 2-0 for the first time since 2013 with a 17-13 win against the visiting Giants. Guard James Daniels played all 65 offensive snaps with four more on special teams for the Bears, grading out as the Pro Football Focus No. 29 player at his position. His 69.1 run blocking grade is 21st.

Long snapper Casey Kreiter saw seven plays for New York.

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-The defending Super Bowl Champion Chiefs squeaked out a 23-20 overtime victory at the Los Angeles Chargers. Linebackers Anthony Hitchens and Ben Niemann logged 65 (78 percent) and 46 (55 percent) snaps, respectively, for Kansas City. Hitchens left the game briefly with a stinger.

Hitchens and Niemann were credited with nine tackles apiece. Hitchens recorded seven solo stops while Niemann had five.

For Los Angeles, right tackle Bryan Bulaga (knee) left the game for good after one series and eight snaps. Defensive back Desmond King recorded six tackles (all solo) in 44 of 77 defensive snaps, a number that did not please the fourth-year pro.

King was fifth in the Chargers’ secondary pecking order. He played most of his snaps after an injury to teammate Rayshawn Jenkins in the second half. King played 41 of 68 snaps in Week 1.

-Tampa Bay got in the win column, 31-17, against Carolina. Rookie right tackle Tristan Wirfs played all 61 offensive snaps for the winners. The 21-year-old is Pro Football Focus’ No. 13 graded offensive tackle (76.4) after two weeks.

Second-year outside linebacker Anthony Nelson saw 11 snaps for the Buccaneers, up from three in Week 1. He recorded a tackle for loss on Sunday.

-The Titans improved to 2-0 with a 33-30 win against visiting Jacksonville. Second-year safety Amani Hooker was credited with two solo tackles and a pass defended. The Minneapolis native doubled his snaps from Week 1 to 22.

-Minnesota fell to 0-2 after a 28-11 loss at Indianapolis. Tackle Riley Reiff played all 54 offensive snaps in a losing effort. Defensive tackle Jaleel Johnson recorded six tackles (four solo), including one for loss.

-Washington fell to 1-1 with a 30-15 setback at Arizona. Guard Brandon Scherff logged 29 snaps on offense before leaving with a knee injury that’s expected to sideline him for multiple weeks.

-San Francisco slammed the home-standing Jets, 31-13, without the services of star tight end George Kittle. He was expected to return from a sprained MCL in Week 3. Third-team quarterback C.J. Beathard did not play for the 49ers.

-Baltimore rookie safety Geno Stone was inactive for a second week in a row.

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