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Nittany Lions In The NFL: Week One Recap

Football is back in full swing, folks.

During an eventful first week of the NFL season, many Nittany Lions returned to the gridiron, including several some making their first-ever professional starts.

From the highly anticipated return of Saquon Barkley to Chris Godwin’s game-sealing heroics, here’s how several former Penn Staters fared during week one.

Miles Sanders, Philadelphia Eagles

After an offseason of learning a new offensive system, Sanders shined in the Eagles’ dominant 32-6 victory over the Falcons.

The third-year back racked up 15 carries for 74 yards in the winning effort and added four receptions for 39 yards. He had a two-point conversion, too. Despite speculation surrounding Sanders’ involvement with Philadelphia’s addition of Kenneth Gainwell in the backfield, the Western Pennsylvania native’s showing certainly helped his case for more touches in the coming weeks.

Saquon Barkley, New York Giants

The former Rookie of the Year made his first start since suffering a torn ACL just over a year ago, but his return was spoiled by the Broncos’ stout defensive front.

Barkley totaled just 10 carries for 26 yards in the 27-13 loss. The former All-American’s usage was certainly limited, as the typically active receiver caught just one pass for a single yard on three targets.

Micah Parsons, Dallas Cowboys

Parsons made the first tackle of the NFL season Thursday night against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and continued to show his worth by racking up six additional stops in the contest.

The former All-Big Ten linebacker added a pass defended on the night, but it wasn’t enough to lift the upset-minded Cowboys over the defending Super Bowl champions.

Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Godwin was busy as Tom Brady’s most consistent target on Thursday, finishing with 9 receptions for 121 yards and a touchdown.

Despite dropping a surefire touchdown late in the second half, Godwin ultimately redeemed himself by converting a game-sealing first-down with seconds remaining, allowing the Buccaneers to secure a 31-29 opening-day victory.

Allen Robinson, Chicago Bears

The veteran receiver struggled with his matchup against opposing cornerback Jalen Ramsey, who limited Andy Dalton’s top receiver to six receptions for 35 yards on 11 targets.

Although Robinson is slotted as the undisputed go-to target for Chicago, his ongoing production might fluctuate this year given the franchise’s instability under center.

Robbie Gould, San Francisco 49ers

The 17-year journeyman helped the 49ers grab an opening weekend road win by converting two field goals on three attempts, including a long-range 52 boot.

Gould also nailed all five extra-point tries in the 41-33 win over the Detroit Lions.

Adrian Amos, Green Bay Packers

There wasn’t a lot to like in the Packers’ 38-3 loss to the New Orleans Saints this weekend, but Amos’ performance was stunning. The Nittany Lion led Green Bay with nine tackles (seven solo) and played all but two of the Packers’ defensive snaps.

Odafe Oweh, Baltimore Ravens

Oweh finished his first career game with two solo tackles, a sack, and a tackles-for-loss. His sack at the end of the second quarter helped limit the Raiders to a last-second field goal try.

Carl Nassib

In the same game as Oweh, Nassib finished with three solo tackles and a sack. He also helped force a massive fumble that inevitably let the Raiders win in overtime.

Other Notables

  • Both Juwan Johnson and Chris Hogan caught touchdown passes for the New Orleans Saints in their 38-3 victory over the Green Bay Packers. Johnson had two, while Hogan grabbed his first score since 2018 in the outing.
  • Pittsburgh Steelers rookie tight end Pat Freiermuth caught his first NFL reception on a 24-yard snag in the Steelers 23-16 win in Buffalo.
  • Yetur Gross-Matos tallied two tackles for the Panthers in their 19-14 win against the Jets.
  • Denver Broncos second-year wide receiver KJ Hamler finished with three receptions for 41 yards in a 27-13 victory against the Giants. Hamler came close to hauling in a massive touchdown but couldn’t come up with the grab.

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About the Author

Ethan Bell

Ethan is a freshman majoring in journalism at Penn State. He loves all things Pittsburgh sports and is the best league commissioner of all time in Fantasy Football. He is from Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania, and he swears that Fiori's in Pittsburgh is the best pizza in the world. If you want to get a hold of him, follow him on Twitter @EBell45 or email him at [email protected]

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