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Nittany Lions In The NFL: Week 12 Roundup

Many Penn Staters are playing vital roles for their respective NFL teams as we approach the stretch run of the 2018 season. Let’s check in on how each one performed over Thanksgiving break.

Saquon Barkley, New York Giants

Saquon Barkley finished Sunday with 13 carries for 101 yards and a score against the Philadelphia Eagles. He also added seven receptions for 41 yards and a second touchdown. No. 26 exposed the Philadelphia defense for 100+ yards, just as he did in the teams’ first meeting of the season. He couldn’t be stopped in the first half, almost single-handedly carrying the Giants to a 19-11 lead at the break.

After halftime, Barkley inexplicably only touched the ball five times for a total of 15 yards. The Giants managed to score only three points despite an injury-ridden Eagles secondary in the final 30 minutes of the game. If the G-Men want to win more games, it may be in their best interest to feed the ball to the second overall pick as much as possible.

Barkley will perhaps face his toughest test of the season next weekend against the Chicago Bears, who have the second-best run defense in the league.

Allen Robinson, Chicago Bears

Allen Robinson finished the week with two catches for 37 yards in the Bears’ fifth straight win. A-Rob was without starting quarterback Mitch Trubisky on Thanksgiving, but backup Chase Daniel played well enough to help his team escape Detroit with a victory.

Offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich likes to spread the ball around to a variety of receivers, often limiting Robinson’s production. He’s broken the 100-yard mark only once this season, but is poised to have a better game next week against the New York Giants.

Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Chris Godwin pulled down four catches for 42 yards in a 27-9 win over the San Francisco 49ers. The victory breaks Tampa Bay’s four-game losing streak, putting the team at 4-7 on the season.

His performances aren’t always flashy while he sits behind Mike Evans, but Godwin’s been extremely reliable when called upon. The Buccaneers will try to win consecutive games for the first time since the first two weeks of the season when they take on the Carolina Panthers next Sunday.

Jesse James, Pittsburgh Steelers

James hauled in four receptions for 35 yards in a crushing 24-17 loss to the Denver Broncos. The bulk of Pittsburgh’s targets went to JuJu Smith-Schuster and Antonio Brown, but James managed to be the team’s best tight end on the day.

The Penn State product has competed with Vance McDonald for touches on offense, but both have been reliable enough to lead the Steelers to a 7-3-1 record. Pittsburgh will return home to face the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday Night Football next weekend.

Mike Gesicki and Cameron Wake, Miami Dolphins

The duo struggled to make much of an impact against the Indianapolis Colts, eventually falling 27-24 on a last-second field goal. Gesicki had one catch for five yards, but he lost a fumble on the play.

Wake, on the other hand, finished with a strip-sack of Andrew Luck. It was the first one allowed by Indianapolis since week 5, allowing Wake to show his elite versatility off the edge. The Dolphins have now lost four of their last five games, but have a great opportunity to bounce back against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.

Other Notables

DaeSean Hamilton hauled in one catch for 13 yards — the Broncos continue to look for a bona fide target in the passing game aside from Emmanuel Sanders.

Veteran Adrian Amos led the way with four tackles, as Chicago improved to 8-3 on the year with a Thanksgiving victory over the Detroit Lions.

Rookies Grant Haley and Jason Cabinda have gotten extensive playing time with the Giants and Raiders, respectively. Cabinda had four tackles against the Baltimore Ravens, while Haley finished with three stops and a pass deflection against the Philadelphia Eagles.

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About the Author

Austin Smith

Austin Smith is a junior broadcast journalism major. He grew up in New Jersey and is a writer for Onward State. He specializes in football, basketball, and the New York Knicks.

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