Hawkeyes in the NFL | Week 7

With Week 7 of the NFL season complete, The Daily Iowan breaks down the performances of former Hawkeyes across the league.

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Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

Detroit Lions tight end T.J. Hockenson (88) makes a catch against Los Angeles Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey (5) during the second half at the SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif. on Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021.

Chris Werner, Sports Reporter


Former Iowa tight ends highlighted the Hawkeyes’ presence in the NFL yet again during Week 7, but ex-Hawkeyes also made plays defensively on Sunday as well.

Here are some notable performances from former Iowa football players from this weekend of NFL action.

Tight ends produce again

With George Kittle still on injured reserve for the San Francisco 49ers, it was up to Noah Fant and T.J. Hockenson to carry the “Tight End U” torch during the seventh week of NFL regular-season action. And they did. 

Fant caught five Teddy Bridgewater passes for 39 yards in the Broncos 17-14 loss to the Cleveland Browns on Thursday night. Fant is second on the team with 35 receptions and third in receiving yards with 312. The Broncos have lost four straight games after beginning the regular season with three straight victories. 

T.J. Hockenson continued his impressive season with the Detroit Lions on Sunday. The third-year pro reeled in six catches for 48 yards in the 28-19 Lions loss to the Los Angeles Rams. The matchup marked the first time Jared Goff faced off with Matthew Stafford since the two swapped teams. Hockenson, like Fant, is second on his team in receptions through Week 7. The Lions are still winless this year. 

Kirksey, King defend for Texans

Former Hawkeyes Christian Kirksey and Desmond King continue to be two of the Texans’ most productive defensive players. In Sunday’s 31-5 loss to the undefeated Arizona Cardinals the duo combined for 14 total tackles. Kirksey accounted for four solo stops and four assists and King tallied six solo tackles with one assist. 

Kirksey and King are the top two tackles in Houston right now as Kirksey leads King 51-36 in that category. The Texans sit at 1-6 and have dropped their last six contests. Week 1 starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor could play again for Houston next week though after missing the last five weeks because of a hamstring injury sustained during the Texans’ Week 2 matchup against the Cleveland Browns. 

RELATED: Iowa football team ranked No. 9 in Week 9 AP Poll

Ben Niemann records first sack of season

Former Hawkeye linebacker Ben Niemann scored his first sack of the season and just the second of his four-year NFL career during Kansas City’s 27-3 loss to the Tennessee Titans. Niemann was the only Chief to get to Titans’ quarterback Ryan Tannehill during the rout. In all, Niemann recorded four solo tackles and an assist Sunday. 

With under 30 seconds left in the first half, Niemann came on a linebacker blitz and the Titans weren’t ready for it. Niemann ran unblocked and tackled Tannehill for an 11-yard loss. The sack nearly drove Tennessee out of field goal range but Titans placekicker Randy Bulloch nailed a 51 yard attempt as the first half came to a close. 

The Chiefs stand at 3-4 after seven games. Kansas City lost just six games in the last two regular seasons combined. 

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