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Nittany Lions In The NFL: Week 16 Recap

Penn State’s presence in the NFL continued over the holiday weekend.

Besides the usual Nittany Lions that make highlight-reel plays on Sundays, former Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley drew the most attention from Nittany Nation when he made his first career NFL start Sunday night, as he and the Arizona Cardinals took on Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Christmas.

In addition, Saquon Barkley and Jahan Dotson continued to find the end zone in another packed weekend for Penn Staters across the country.

Trace McSorley, Arizona Cardinals

Most Penn State fans around the country tuned in to watch Nittany Lions legend Trace McSorley make his first NFL start Sunday night, as the Cardinals fell 19-16 to the Buccaneers at home. The Ashburn, Virginia native completed 24-of-45 passes for 217 yards and one interception, but that pick came on the last play of regulation on a potential game-winning hail mary attempt. His best throw of the night came on a 47-yard dime to Marquise Brown to set up a fourth-quarter field goal.

Despite the fact that the stats might look poor on the surface, McSorley really did what he needed to give himself and the Cardinals the best chance to win by limiting critical mistakes. There were a few times when the Tampa Bay defense dropped some potential interceptions, but other than that, McSorley handled the ball well and made smart plays. For a third-string quarterback, he did a great job.

Saquon Barkley, New York Giants

Saquon Barkley continued to dominate on the ground in the Giants’ game against the Minnesota Vikings Saturday afternoon, rushing for 84 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries. He scored a game-tying late in the fourth quarter touchdown in typical Saquon fashion.

The Giants went on to lose to the Vikings 27-24 on a game-winning field goal.

Jahan Dotson, Washington Commanders

How can anyone not love Jahan Dotson?

The rookie wide receiver is quietly making his case for Offensive Rookie of the Year. Despite the Commanders’ 37-20 loss to the San Francisco 49ers, Dotson made six catches for 76 yards and a touchdown. His lone touchdown of the day was set up by an unreal juggling catch he made earlier in the drive.

Saturday marked the third consecutive game where Dotson found the end zone. Over the last three games, the rookie has amassed 15 catches for 235 yards and three touchdowns.

Jaquan Brisker, Chicago Bears

After being drafted by the Chicago Bears in the second round of the 2022 NFL Draft, Jaquan Brisker is becoming a fan favorite on the defensive side of the ball.

The safety recorded four solo tackles and a sack in the Bears’ 35-13 loss to the Bills on Saturday afternoon. Brisker now leads the team in sacks on the season with four and his second in total tackles with 86.

Other Notables

  • Micah Parsons had a relatively quiet day in Dallas’ 40-34 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles, recording only three total tackles.
  • On the other sideline, running back Miles Sanders picked up 65 yards on 21 carries.
  • Wide receiver Chris Godwin caught eight passes for 63 yards against the Cardinals Sunday night.
  • Pat Freiermuth contributed well to the Steelers’ passing game with 66 receiving yards on seven receptions in Pittsburgh’s 13-10 win over the Raiders Saturday night.
  • Mike Gesicki only caught one pass for 24 yards in the Dolphins’ 26-20 loss to the Packers on Sunday.
  • Adrian Amos recorded 11 total tackles, including nine solo tackles, against the Dolphins.

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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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