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Nittany Lions In The NFL: Week Five Recap

The NFL had another exciting week of competition in week five with 11 games being decided by one score or less.

With Nittany Lions around the league leading their respective teams toward the midseason mark, let’s take a look at the best individual performances of Penn Staters from around the league.

Micah Parsons, Dallas Cowboys

Micah Parsons has been hard at work on his resume for Defensive Player of the Year, setting the tone for the now-4-1 Cowboys against the defending Super Bowl champion Rams. The sophomore linebacker made it a long night for Matthew Stafford in this week’s matchup, recording five tackles with one in the backfield, three quarterback hits, two sacks, and a forced fumble.

After his efforts this week, Parsons leads the NFL in sacks this season. The Cowboys are in second place in an unusually competitive and skillful NFC East. The team will take on its undefeated rivals in Philadelphia next week and try to give the Eagles their first loss.

Saquon Barkley, New York Giants

Saquon Barkley is back as one of the NFL’s most electric rushers, and in this week’s matchup against the Packers, he put up the numbers to back it up. Utilized out of the wildcat formation on at least two occasions, Barkley made the Packers’ defense pay in a major way.

Barkley rushed for 70 yards on 13 carries and took command of the offense on the game-winning drive, racking up a long 41-yard catch-and-run and capitalizing with a slick dash to the end zone.

Barkley has been the go-to option thus far for the Giants, carrying the football 97 times and rushing for 533 yards, the league’s third and second-best totals, respectively. Next week, Barkley and the Giants face the Ravens at home.

Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Chris Godwin played his third game of the season this week after recovering from an early-season hamstring issue and showed that he is still the reliable threat that he was as a younger player. While he only participated in 52% of snaps, he hauled in all six balls thrown his way for a total of 61 yards. His longest play came on a third-and-short deep ball, going for 20 yards even.

Godwin was also called upon in the run game once, grabbing the jet sweep in the red zone. He only netted two yards, but the play call promises more flexible usage for the sixth-year veteran in the future.

Yetur Gross-Matos, Carolina Panthers

After getting picked No. 38 overall in the 2020 draft, Gross-Matos has had a tough, injury-filled NFL career, starting only nine games in two years for the Panthers. However, the defensive lineman has started strong this season and showed a glimpse of his promising potential this week. Charging 15 yards back into the secondary and coming all the way from the other end of the formation, Gross-Matos corralled a lively fumble through contact in the first quarter.

In addition to the turnover, Gross-Matos also posted four tackles, one being for a loss, but his efforts weren’t enough to stop the 49ers in their 37-15 win.

Other Notables:

  • Rookie punter Jordan Stout was instrumental in the field position battle for the Ravens in their matchup against the Bengals, pinning his opponents inside the 20 on both of his punts.
  • Defensive end Carl Nassib posted four tackles and a quarterback hit on only 20 snaps. The Westchester native is still adjusting to his new team in Tampa Bay, but his share of plays has been steadily increasing through the season.
  • Miles Sanders rushed for 58 yards for the Eagles in their win over the Cardinals. While he failed to make a house call, Sanders is still tied for second in the league in first-down conversions, making him a reliable option in Shane Steichen’s offense.
  • Denver Broncos wide receiver KJ Hamler only posted one catch for 10 yards in his team’s 12-9 loss to the Colts Thursday night. On the last play of the game, he might have had the game-winning catch if quarterback Russell Wilson looked his way. Despite Hamler being wide open, Wilson went elsewhere and left the Nittany Lion infuriated.
  • Tight end Mike Gesicki was only targeted twice in the Dolphins’ loss to the Jets, with his 30-yard reception coming on the final drive of the game. His quiet day might have to do do with the third-string quarterback, Skylar Thompson, playing for three-and-a-half quarters.

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About the Author

Jack Scott

Jack is a junior industrial engineering major from Pittsburgh, PA. Sometimes, he enjoys the misunderstanding of his friends and family that Penn State Club Ski Racing may be a D1 sport and usually won't correct them. Jack is way too into Thundercat for his own good. Follow him on Twitter @joscottIV and Instagram @jackscott._iv

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