Hawks in the NFL | Week 2

A handful of former Hawkeyes seized new opportunities in the NFL’s second week.


George Walker IV/Tennessean-USA TODAY Sports

Tennessee Titans running back D’onta Foreman gets stopped by Houston Texans middle linebacker Christian Kirksey during the first quarter at NRG Stadium on Jan. 9, 2022.

Grant Hall, Sports Reporter

The NFL’s second week of action was a mixed bag for former Iowa football stars.

Ex-Hawkeye tight ends struggled on Sunday. George Kittle of the San Francisco 49ers missed a second straight week with a groin injury.

Lions’ Pro Bowler TJ Hockenson pulled in three catches for 26 yards in a Detroit victory, and third-year tight end Noah Fant had just two catches for 11 yards for the Seahawks in a blowout loss to San Francisco.

Tampa Bay’s All-Pro tackle Tristan Wirfs engaged in a little ‘extracurricular activity’ after the whistle against the Saints. The scrum ended in two ejections and a suspension for Bucs’ receiver Mike Evans.


Dane Belton makes impressive debut

Rookie safety Dane Belton made his presence felt in the first regular season action of his career.

The Giants’ fourth-round pick recorded a fumble recovery on the opening kickoff after the Carolina returner coughed up the ball.


Belton added five tackles to the stat sheet in New York’s 19-16 victory.

Christian Kirksey warrants captaincy

Houston Texans linebacker Christian Kirksey demonstrated his leadership abilities on the defensive side of the ball against Denver.

The 30-year-old racked up five tackles, half a sack, and an interception on Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson in the Texans’ 16-9 loss.

Kirksey was named a captain in his junior and senior seasons in Iowa City and earned the same distinction with the Cleveland Browns and Texans throughout his NFL career.  

Parker Hesse gives Atlanta a chance

Falcons tight end Parker Hesse had one of the more unusual paths to a roster spot this offseason. Hesse starred as a defensive lineman at Iowa, but converted to the offensive side of the ball as a rookie practice squad player with the Tennessee Titans.

Hesse made the tight ends room in Atlanta this offseason, making the 53 man roster against all odds. He rewarded the Falcons with a huge catch on fourth down to give Atlanta a fighting chance in their comeback attempt against the reigning Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams.

Down 14-0 in the second half on fourth and inches in the red zone, Falcons quarterback Marcus Mariota stumbled, recovered his footing, and floated a pass to Hesse past the sticks. Atlanta scored a field goal on the drive en route to a 31-27 loss.


Jackson earns time at guard

Alaric Jackson stepped in for the Rams after starting right guard Tremayne Anchrum was carted off with a leg injury.

The 2020 undrafted free agent held down the fort for Los Angeles as the reigning champs narrowly hung on to a lead over the Falcons.

After the game, Jackson addressed doubters and naysayers on Twitter.


Jackson is expected to start at guard for the foreseeable future, as Anchrum suffered a broken left fibula.