Hawks in the NFL | Week 6

With Week 6 of the NFL season complete, The Daily Iowan breaks down performances of former Hawkeyes across the league.


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.

Chris Werner, Sports Reporter

Multiple former Iowa football stars contributed to their respective squads during the Week 6 NFL slate.

While former Hawkeye tight ends Noah Fant and TJ Hockenson made waves in the passing game, linebackers Christian Kirksey and Nick Niemann flew around the ball defensively in this edition of Hawks in the NFL.

Tight ends lead teams in receptions

Fant and Hockenson each reeled in the most catches for the Denver Broncos and Detroit Lions, respectively, this weekend. 

Fant recorded nine catches on 11 targets, amassing 97 yards and a touchdown during the Broncos’ matchup against the Las Vegas Raiders.

In a 34-24 Broncos loss, Fant caught the final touchdown of the day — a 4-yard score to bring Denver within ten points. 

The defeat marks the third straight loss for Denver, after the Broncos began the season with a three-game win streak. 

The former Hawkeye is third on the Broncos’ roster with 273 receiving yards through six games. Fant has three touchdowns — tied for the Broncos lead with wide receiver Courtland Sutton.

In his first two years in the league, Fant recorded three touchdowns each season. Now, Fant has three touchdowns through six games of the 2021 season.

Fant’s former Iowa teammate, Hockenson, led the Lions with 74 receiving yards in their 34-11 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.

The Lions are winless this season behind new starting quarterback Jared Goff. Hockenson has been Goff’s most productive target this season, with 32 receptions, 311 yards, and two touchdowns. 

Linebackers productive on defense

Kirksey and Niemann each made four tackles on Sunday for the Houston Texans and Los Angeles Chargers, respectively. 

All four of Kirksey’s stops were solo tackles in the Texans’ 31-3 loss to the Indianapolis Colts. Houston is now 1-5 on the year. 

Niemann’s four-tackle total was a career high. The rookie linebacker tailed two solo tackles and two assists in the Chargers’ 34-6 loss to the Ravens. Los Angeles is now 4-2 on the season. 

Golston records first fumble recovery

Cowboys defensive end Chauncey Golston recorded the first fumble recovery of his NFL career on Sunday in Dallas’ 35-29 overtime win over the New England Patriots. 

Golston, a 2021 third-round draft pick, scooped a fumble from Patriots quarterback Mac Jones — who was tackled by Dallas defensive lineman Randy Gregory.

The former Hawkeye recorded three tackles on the day as well.

The Cowboys are 5-1 after the first six games of the season, dropping only their season-opener to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Hawkeyes face off on Monday Night Football

The Buffalo Bills traveled to Nashville Monday night to take on the Tennessee Titans. The Bills and Titans’ rosters boast two former Hawkeyes each.

Former Iowa safety Micah Hyde made three solo tackles for the Bills Monday. Ex-Hawkeye defensive end A.J. Epenesa was a healthy scratch in Buffalo’s 34-31 loss to Tennessee.

Titan head coach Mike Vrabel didn’t put 2020 Hawkeye running back Mekhi Sargent in the game Monday. Ex-Iowa safety Amani Hooker recorded six solo tackles for Tennessee.

On the season, Hyde and Hooker have recorded 24 and 15 tackles, respectively.

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