Former Hawkeye Desmond King makes immediate impact for Titans

In his first game with his new team, the former All-Pro returned a fumble for a touchdown.



Bears kicker Eddy Pineiro and Chargers defensive back Desmond King react differently after Pineiro missed the would-be game-wining kick. The Bears lost to the Chargers 17-16 at Soldier Field.

Chris Werner, Sports Reporter

Former Iowa defensive back Desmond King had a pedestrian 2020 season — until Sunday. It ended quickly in King’s first appearance as a member of the Tennessee Titans.

After playing the first six games of the year as a member of the Los Angeles Chargers, and making 19 tackles while seeing action on 62 percent of the Chargers’ defensive snaps, the former All-Pro selection made his presence felt in his first appearance with the Titans.

After being acquired by Tennessee on Nov. 2, just before the league-wide trade deadline, in exchange for a sixth-round pick in the 2021 draft, King made a game-deciding play in his first appearance for the first-place Titans.

In the third quarter of the Titans’ game against the Chicago Bears, after teammate Jeffery Simmons forced Bears (and former Iowa State) running back David Montgomery to fumble, King scooped the ball up and was never stopped.

King returned the ball 63 yards for a touchdown to give the Titans a 17-point lead at the time. Despite a late comeback effort from the Bears, the Titans held on to win 24-17 and improved to 6-2 on the season.

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“Scoring a touchdown, that’s what you expect. I know my ability, what I can do,” King told the media after the game. “To come here and put that to use and contribute to the team’s success, that’s what it’s all about.”

The former first-team All-American and Jim Thorpe award winner was on the field for 70 percent of the Titans’ defensive snaps. King is now teammates with Amani Hooker, who he patrolled the defensive backfield with in Iowa City.

Although King did not return punts for the Titans last week, he had done so in his time with the Chargers and could see time on special teams with the Titans later in the season.

Hockenson continues successful second season

George Kittle is sidelined with an injury, but Noah Fant and T.J. Hockenson continued to represent the Iowa tight-end tradition last weekend. While Fant only reeled in three receptions for 45 yards in the Broncos losing effort to the Atlanta Falcons, Hockenson was more productive – in terms of putting points on the board – for his Lions team.

Although, like Denver, Detroit added a tally to the loss column this week against the Minnesota Vikings – dropping a divisional game 34-20 – Hockenson caught five passes for 39 yards and a touchdown. Hockinson scored the final points of the game for either team.

In the fourth quarter, with his team trailing 34-13, Hockenson caught a two-yard pass from Chase Daniel in the end zone on a route where he got in front of the defender and boxed him out like a basketball player, a route that has become common in the red zone for the league’s tight ends and bigger receivers.

Hockenson’s touchdown came after Detroit blocked its second punt of the game and fellow former Big Ten star Quintez Cephas from Wisconsin returned the ball to the two-yard-line. The loss drops Hockenson’s team to 3-5 on the season, three games behind the Packers for the NFC North lead.