The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Hawks in the NFL | Divisional Round

Several former Hawkeyes continued to shine in the second round of the playoffs.
Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 6, 2024; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Houston Texans cornerback Desmond King II (25) is tackled by Indianapolis Colts running back Zack Moss (21) during the second quarter at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

Thirteen former Hawkeyes came into the divisional round of the NFL playoffs with their respective teams, and just five will advance to the conference round.

The Baltimore Ravens and Houston Texans kicked off action Saturday afternoon as defensive back Desmond King II had yet another solid performance for the Texans despite their 34-10 loss in Baltimore, recording five tackles and one sack.

Thus ended King’s second stint in Houston after joining the team mid-season, having been released by the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Ravens safety Geno Stone recorded one tackle during the game. A 2020 seventh-round pick, he finished second in the league in interceptions with seven during the regular season.

Ravens center Tyler Linderbaum paved the way to two rushing touchdowns for quarterback and MVP candidate Lamar Jackson in addition to 352 total yards on offense.

Hailing from Solon, Iowa, Linderbaum was selected to his first Pro Bowl after the Ravens finished as one of the top-rated offenses during the regular season.

Down to the wire in Santa Clara

San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle had a signature performance during his team’s 24-21 win over the seventh-seeded Green Bay Packers on Saturday evening, catching four balls for 81 yards and a touchdown while also being a factor in the run game, helping Christian McCaffrey run for two TDs.

The seven-year NFL veteran played his 10th-career postseason game and will be heading to his third NFC Championship game next weekend.

Packers defensive end Lukas Van Ness ended his rookie campaign with two tackles during the contest. Van Ness recorded 32 tackles and four sacks for a Packers squad that finished 9-8 overall.

Detroit’s historic run

Rookies Sam LaPorta and Jack Campell will be heading to the NFC Championship game after the Detroit Lions beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 31-23 — Detroit’s second-ever appearance in the third round of the postseason in the team’s century-long existence.

A still-banged-up LaPorta finished the game with nine receptions for 65 yards. So far in the playoffs, LaPorta has been targeted 14 times for 12 receptions, not suffering a single drop. Like Kittle, the Highland, Illinois, native was selected to the 2024 Pro Bowl roster.

Campbell matched up again against former teammate and All-Pro offensive lineman Tristan Wirfs and finished the game with three tackles. Fellow teammate and Buccaneers safety Kaevon Merriweather recorded one tackle in the game before being carted off in the third quarter with a leg injury.

Primetime matchup

The Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills matched up for the seventh time since Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen joined the helm for both teams. Mahomes and the Chiefs pulled off a heartbreaker in the Queen City after a missed field goal by Bills kicker Tyler Bass.

Sunday night’s game ended the season for Bills defenders Micah Hyde and A.J. Epenesa, who finished the game with four and one tackle, respectively.

Hyde, who started all but three games at safety for the Bills, finished the season with 54 tackles, seven pass deflections, and two interceptions. Epenesa recorded 20 tackles and completed his second-consecutive season with six-and-one-half sacks.

Under head coach Andy Reid, Kansas City will head to its sixth-straight AFC title game on the road against the Ravens.

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About the Contributor
Cooper Worth, Pregame reporter
Cooper Worth is a Pregame Reporter for The Daily Iowan. He is a senior at the University of Iowa majoring in journalism and mass communication. He is also earning a minor in communication studies and an entrepreneurial management certificate. This is his third year at the DI, previously serving as a News Editor and as a News Reporter covering local government in Johnson County for the DI. Cooper interned for the Telegraph Herald in Dubuque, Iowa during the summer of 2023 as a general news reporter.