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Nittany Lions In The NFL: Week One Roundup

Football is officially back, baby.

The NFL’s 2020 season finally got underway this week. Many teams featured former Penn State football greats. In fact, nearly 40 Nittany Lions helped give Penn State the fifth-most representation in the league to start the season.

The first week of the season was filled with ups and downs for some Nittany Lions. A few, including Yetur Gross-Matos and John Reid, appeared in their first-ever NFL games, while others, including Saquon Barkley, struggled to kick the rust off a bit.

Here’s a quick look at some of the best performances by former Nittany Lions from the first week of the season.

Saquon Barkley, New York Giants

It certainly didn’t take long for Barkley to show off his legs, hurdles, and overall talent in his first game of the season.

This ridiculous catch and run was realistically Barkley’s only major contribution to the game, unfortunately. Largely due to the daunting Steelers defense, he finished with 15 carries for just six yards on the ground and six catches for 61 yards through the air in the Giants’ 26-16 loss to the Steelers Monday night. He will attempt to bounce back next week when New York takes on the Bears’ stingy run defense.

Allen Robinson, Chicago Bears

Robinson finished with five catches on nine targets for 75 yards in the Bears’ 27-23 victory over the Detroit Lions. He hauled in two passes on the team’s scoring drive at the beginning of the fourth quarter to help Chicago secure crucial points that fueled its 21-point fourth-quarter comeback, highlighted by this 22-yard snag.

Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Godwin turned in a very respectable performance against the Saints on Sunday afternoon. He recorded six catches for 79 yards, headlined by this 29-yard grab in the first quarter, which was Tom Brady’s first completion as a Buccaneer.

Recording 1,333 yards last year, Godwin was the league’s third-leading receiver. In order to reach these gaudy numbers again, Godwin will try to continue to establish a rapport with quarterback Tom Brady.

John Reid, Houston Texans

Reid didn’t wait long to make his mark in the NFL. The No. 141 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft totaled six tackles in the Texans’ Thursday night loss to the Chiefs. With plenty of playing time and some early success, it’s not far-fetched to imagine we’ll see more of Reid on the gridiron soon.

Robbie Gould, San Francisco 49ers

Robbie Gould had a solid day in the 49ers’ 24-20 loss to the Cardinals on Sunday, drilling two field goals as well as two extra points. Gould boomed a 52-yard field goal on the 49ers’ first possession of the game to highlight his performance on the day.

As a veteran kicker playing in his sixteenth NFL season, this showing is everything head coach Kyle Shanahan could ask for. Gould has now made 30 field goals of 50+ yards, further establishing himself as a reliable kicking option for a playoff contender.

Carl Nassib, Las Vegas Raiders

Not to be outdone by Godwin’s claim to the history books, Carl Nassib recorded the first sack in the history of the Las Vegas Raiders.

Nassib recorded two tackles with a half sack in the Raiders’ 34-30 win over the Panthers on Sunday. With nine minutes to go in the third quarter, Nassib and teammate Maurice Hurst brought down Teddy Bridgewater 10 yards behind the line of scrimmage for the historic sack, which led to a Carolina punt.

Troy Apke, Washington Football Team

Troy Apke recorded eight total tackles against the Eagles on Sunday. Sitting atop Washington’s depth chart at the free safety position, Apke has improved his game and is now tied for the team lead in total tackles after the first week of play. He’ll seek to up that total next week against the Cardinals.

Other Notables

Amani Oruwariye posted four total tackles in the Detroit Lions’ loss to Chicago. Meanwhile, Mike Gesicki continued to get involved in the Miami Dolphins’ passing game by catching three passes for 30 yards. Safety Adrian Amos recorded a modest two total tackles in the Packers’ win over the Vikings.

DaeSean Hamilton caught one pass for 18 yards in the Denver Broncos’ Monday Night Football loss to the Titans, while fellow Nittany Lion KJ Hamler was sidelined with a lingering hamstring injury.

Offensive lineman Stefen Wisniewski started his first game with the Steelers Monday night and helped Pittsburgh bulldoze its way to a season-opening win over the Giants. Unsurprisingly, he was pretty damn excited.

Finally, Yetur Gross-Matos earned his first NFL tackle during the Panthers’ 34-30 loss to the Raiders Sunday. The No. 38 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft was listed as a starter on Carolina’s first depth chart and will likely receive many more opportunities to contribute as the season progresses.

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About the Author

Matt Rudisill

Matt is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism from a little town called Parkesburg in Chester County, PA. More often than not, you can catch him yelling about the Phillies and the Steelers on his Twitter (@mrudy26). Matt is also an elite wiffleball pitcher and is not afraid to back up that claim. Direct all wiffleball challenge invitations, or other legitimate requests, to [email protected].

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