Hawks in the NFL | Week 2

Former Hawkeyes Josey Jewell, A.J. Epenesa, T.J. Hockenson, and Noah Fant all made headlines in Week 2 of the NFL season.

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Mark Rebilas/USA Today

Sep 19, 2021; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Denver Broncos tight end Noah Fant (87) scores a touchdown against Jacksonville Jaguars defensive tackle DaVon Hamilton (52) during the third quarter at TIAA Bank Field.

Austin Hanson, Sports Editor


Forty-one former Iowa football players currently reside on active National Football League rosters or practice squads. In Week 2 of the NFL season, four former Hawkeyes made headlines.

Jewell out for season

Former University of Iowa linebacker turned Denver Bronco Josey Jewell is going to miss the remainder of the 2021-22 NFL season, per the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

In the Broncos’ 23-13 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars Sunday, Jewell suffered a torn pectoral muscle.

Before he went down, Jewell had recorded a forced fumble, a pass break up, eight total tackles, and two tackles for loss in 2021-22.

Jewell racked up 112 tackles — 67 of which were unassisted — and two sacks in 2020.

2021-22 is the last year Jewell is contractually obligated to play for the Broncos. If Jewell’s contract with Denver is not extended, he’ll be a free agent when the NFL’s new league year kicks off March 16, 2022.

Epenesa flashes pass rush potential

Ex-Hawkeye defensive end and current Buffalo Bill A.J. Epenesa ravaged the Miami Dolphins’ quarterbacks and offensive linemen Sunday. 

The 6-foot-6, 260-pound pass rusher only registered one tackle in the Bills’ 35-0 victory over the Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami. Epenesa did, however, produce nine quarterback pressures in the Sunshine State.

Epenesa was also responsible for the hit that knocked Miami QB Tua Tagovailoa out of Sunday’s game.

In total, the Bills’ defense sacked Tagovailoa and Miami backup QB Jacoby Brissett six times. The Dolphins netted just 216 total yards of offense — 71 rushing and 145 passing.

Hockenson, Fant score once each

Former Hawkeye tight ends T.J. Hockenson and Noah Fant both found their way into the end zone in Week 2. 

On Sunday, Fant scored a 15-yard touchdown in the third quarter of Denver’s matchup with Jacksonville. Fant’s touchdown gave the Broncos a 17-7 lead.

Fant caught the ball at the 10-yard line, slipped a tackle and dove into the end zone at Mile High Stadium to score.

Fant finished the game with four catches for 33 yards.

Hockenson’s touchdown came via an eight-yard throw to the corner of the end zone at Lambeau Field from quarterback Jared Goff. 

Hockenson’s score gave the Detroit Lions a 14-7 lead over the Green Bay Packers Monday night. The Lions would ultimately lose the game, 35-17.

Hockenson led the Lions in receiving Monday night, hauling in eight passes for 66 yards.

Hockenson and Fant were both selected in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft. The Lions spent the eighth overall pick on Hockenson, and the Broncos selected Fant 20th in the draft.

The pair played together at Iowa in 2017 and 2018. Fant caught 78 passes for 1,083 yards and 19 touchdowns in three years at Iowa. Hockenson hauled in 73 passes for 1,080 yards and 10 touchdowns in two seasons with the Hawkeyes.

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