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Nittany Lions In The NFL: Week 18 Recap

The regular season in the NFL is officially over, and things ended with a relatively quiet week for the former Nittany Lions stars.

From a game-winning field goal to clinching playoff berths, here’s how Penn State’s NFL representatives fared in the final week of the 2021 regular season.

Pat Freiermuth, Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers may have Pat Freiermuth to thank for partially saving their season. The tight end caught a crucial overtime pass on third down, gaining 14 yards on the play to eventually help set up a game-winning field goal from Chris Boswell.

Freiermuth finished the game with six catches for 53 yards in the Steelers’ 16-13 overtime victory over the Ravens, which eventually sent Pittsburgh to the playoffs.

Juwan Johnson, New Orleans Saints

Former Penn State wide receiver Juwan Johnson also helped send his team to the playoffs by hauling in a touchdown late in the second quarter to put the Saints ahead of the Falcons by three scores in their 30-20 victory. The five-yard touchdown catch was Johnson’s only reception of the day, and it turned out to be the game-winning score.

Johnson finished the regular season with 12 receptions for 154 yards and three touchdowns.

Robbie Gould, San Francisco 49ers

Robbie Gould also helped punch a ticket to the playoffs for his team. The kicker went for a perfect 3-for-3 on extra points and 2-for-2 on field goals, including a game-winning 24-yard overtime kick that put the 49ers ahead in their 27-24 victory over the Rams.

Gould also contributed to the punting game, too. The Pennsylvania native punted twice for 90 yards, with his longest punt coming in at 47 yards.

Saquon Barkley, New York Giants

After crossing more than 100 rushing yards in week 17, Saquon Barkley had an underwhelming finish to the regular season in the Giants’ 22-7 loss to the Washington Football Team. The former No. 2 overall draft pick picked up just 30 yards on 11 carries and added 19 receiving yards on three catches.

Mike Gesicki, Miami Dolphins

After a solid week 17 performance, Gesicki also had a quiet finish to the regular season. The tight end hauled in two passes for 22 yards in the Dolphins’ 33-24 victory over the New England Patriots.

Gesicki finished the 2021 season with a career-high 73 receptions, a career-high 780 yards, and two touchdowns.

Allen Robinson, Chicago Bears

Continuing a disappointing trend all season, Allen Robinson hauled in just two catches for 22 yards in the Bears’ 31-17 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. Outside of his injury-shortened 2017 season, the wide receiver finishes the 2021 season with career-low marks in receptions (38), targets (66), receiving yards (410), and touchdowns (1).

Other Notables:

  • Micah Parsons entered COVID-19 protocols earlier in the week and did not play for the Dallas Cowboys in the team’s victory over the Philadelphia Eagles.
  • Wrapping up a phenomenal regular season, Blake Gillikin nailed two punts for 100 total yards. The punter’s season is not over, however, since the Saints are heading to the playoffs.
  • The New York Giants’ Austin Johnson, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Marcus Allen, and the Carolina Panthers’ Yetur Gross-Matos all had solid weeks with four total tackles for their respective teams. The Green Bay Packers’ Adrian Amos and the Los Angeles Rams’ Nick Scott edged them out with five total tackles each.

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About the Author

Frankie Marzano

Frankie is a senior accounting and economics major from Long Island, NY. You can probably recognize him as the typical Italian-American with slicked back black hair. He is an avid fan of the New York Rangers and Mets, along with every Penn State Athletics team. Follow him on Twitter @frankiemarzano for obnoxious amounts of Rangers and Penn State content or email him at [email protected]

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