Hawks in the NFL | Week 12

With the 12th week of NFL action in the books, The Daily Iowan breaks down the 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

Former Hawkeye tight ends helped the University of Iowa make its mark on Week 12 of the NFL season, as Noah Fant and T.J. Hockenson led the Denver Broncos and Detroit Lions’ passing games.

Chauncey Golston, an ex-Hawkeye defensive lineman and 2021 third-round NFL Draft pick, also impacted the Dallas Cowboys’ contest with the Oakland Raiders on Thanksgiving Day.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive lineman and former Hawkeye All-American Tristan Wirfs also made his mark in Week 12.

Fant and Hockenson productive in the pass game

Fant and Hockenson each represented “Tight End University” well during the NFL’s Thanksgiving weekend slate of games. Each former Hawkeye caught three passes during Week 12. Both Fant and Hockenson now lead their teams in receptions.

Fant totaled just 12 receiving yards in the Broncos’ 28-13 victory over the Chargers. Hockenson accounted for 35 yards through the air, including a 17-yard touchdown catch for his third score of the season. 

Hockenson’s Lions remain winless. Detroit dropped its Thanksgiving Day matinee to the Chicago Bears, 16-14. Chicago kicker Cairo Santos knocked a 28-yard field goal through the uprights as the game clock expired, propelling the Bears to a two-point victory. The Lions are now 0-10-1 on the season.

RELATED: Hawkeyes in the NFL | Week 10

Hockenson leads the Lions in receiving yards, racking up 534 yards on 57 catches.

Fant is second on the Broncos’ roster in receiving yards accumulating 391 yards on 45 receptions.

Fant missed Denver’s Week 11 game because he tested positive for COVID-19 shortly before the Broncos placed him on the NFL’s Reserve/COVID-19 list on Nov. 2.

Golston racks up four tackles

Chauncey Golston made four total tackles this week as his Dallas Cowboys dropped an overtime thriller, 36-33, to the Las Vegas Raiders on Thanksgiving night. The loss moves the Cowboys to 7-4. Dallas went 6-1 in its first seven games of the year.

Golston has played in all but two of the Cowboys’ games this season. He’s recorded 22 tackles, a fumble recovery, and half a sack.

Golston’s career-high for tackles in a single game is five. The 6-foot-5, 258-pounder made five stops in the Cowboys’ Week 4 win over the Carolina Panthers.

Wirfs continues to impress

Wirfs wasn’t mentioned very often during the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ 38-31 win over the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday. And that’s a good thing. 

As a general rule, offensive linemen are only noted when they give up a sack or commit a penalty. Wirfs hasn’t done either very much this season.

The 6-foot-5, 320-pound right tackle has been tasked with protecting 44-year-old quarterback Tom Brady. And he’s done just that.

In two seasons, Wirfs has allowed two sacks and been flagged for only six penalties: Two holding calls and four false starts. 

Wirfs has a Pro Football Focus overall grade of 80.3. Wirfs’ rating is one of the ten best among NFL tackles.

Wirfs already has a Super Bowl ring on his finger. The Buccaneers won the 2020 Super Bowl in Wirfs’ rookie season, downing the Kansas City Chiefs, 31-20.

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