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Nittany Lions In The NFL: 2022 Regular Season Recap

The long and winding road known as the 2022-23 NFL regular season has come to a close. While several former Penn State football players are moving onto the playoffs, others are done for the year.

Playoffs or not, there are certainly some Nittany Lions who shined and served as key pieces for their respective NFL teams this season From franchise players to impressive rookies, here are some of the most notable performances from Nittany Lions in the NFL this season.

Saquon Barkley, New York Giants

More often than not, Saquon Barkley is the first name that comes to mind when one thinks of Penn Staters in the NFL. Therefore, his bounce-back season is an important feat not just for his alma mater, but especially for the Giants.

Barkley rushed for 1,312 yards and 10 touchdowns in 16 appearances this season, helping guide the Giants to their first playoff appearance since the 2016 season. After an electric rookie season and a solid 2019, Barkley struggled to stay healthy and effective in 2020 and 2021 under head coach Joe Judge. New York fired Judge and replaced him with Brian Daboll, and so far, Barkley has certainly reaped the benefits.

Barkley and the Giants travel to Minnesota to take on the Vikings in the Wild Card round at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, January 15.

Micah Parsons, Dallas Cowboys

Micah Parsons, the now back-to-back first-team All-Pro honoree, has turned into an absolute star.

And man, Parsons is a menace. Parsons had 65 tackles and 13.5 sacks, the latter ranking No. 7 in the league. Although it’s his second season in the NFL, Parsons has made it abundantly clear that he’ll be a force to be reckoned with for a long time.

The Cowboys face the Buccaneers in Tampa at 8:15 p.m. on Monday, January 16.

Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Coming into the season, there were concerns that Godwin would struggle after he tore his ACL last season. However, the veteran wide receiver hauled in 104 receptions for 1,023 yards in what was a productive season for the sixth-year wideout. Sure, Godwin only had three touchdowns, but Tampa’s offense as a whole was uncharacteristically off this season.

Godwin and the Bucs will try to advance to the Divisional Round of the playoffs with a win over the Cowboys Monday night.

Jahan Dotson, Washington Commanders

Despite below-average quarterback play throughout the season, Jahan Dotson impressed after being drafted at No. 16 overall in the 2022 NFL Draft by Washington.

Dotson managed 523 receiving yards and seven touchdowns in 12 appearances for the Commanders this season. His athleticism and abilities were evident from the start of the season. The rookie turned heads around the league, and Dotson is part of a solid emerging receiving trio alongside Terry McLaurin and Curtis Samuel in Washington.

Miles Sanders, Philadelphia Eagles

Eagles running back Miles Sanders was a key component to the dangerous Philadelphia offense this season.

Sanders rushed for 1,269 yards and 11 touchdowns this season, easily setting new career highs across the board. Sanders, alongside quarterback Jalen Hurts, helped give the Eagles a potent rushing attack.

The Eagles are the top seed in the NFC and are therefore on bye this week.

Jaquan Brisker, Chicago Bears

Bears’ safety Jaquan Brisker had a very impressive rookie season in the Windy City. After being selected with the No. 48 overall pick, Brisker made 104 total combined tackles, had four sacks, and forced a fumble.

There were three games when Brisker had 10 or more tackles. Despite Brisker’s play, Chicago finished 3-14 and currently holds the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. The Pittsburgh native is one of the few bright spots on the roster, and he should continue to be a part of Chicago’s rebuild.

Pat Freiermuth, Pittsburgh Steelers

Pittsburgh Steelers’ tight end Pat Freiermuth continued to play a significant role in the offense this season. Freiermuth caught 63 passes for 732 yards, ranking third in receiving yards on the Steelers behind Diontae Johnson and George Pickens. The second-year tight end had two touchdowns, which is also the third-most on the team.

Other Notables

  • San Francisco 49ers kicker Robbie Gould made 27-of-32 field goal attempts this season.
  • Arizona Cardinals quarterback Trace McSorley came into action a few times after fellow signal-callers Kyler Murray and Colt McCoy got injured. McSorley threw 412 yards and five interceptions in five appearances.
  • Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Allen Robinson II tore his ACL midseason. Prior to that, he had 339 yards and three touchdowns.
  • Atlanta Falcons defensive end Arnold Ebiketie had 30 tackles and 2.5 sacks in his rookie season.
  • Denver Broncos wideout KJ Hamler had 165 receiving yards before suffering a hamstring injury that limited him significantly the rest of the season.
  • Miami Dolphins tight end Mike Gesicki had 362 yards and five touchdowns this season.

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About the Author

Nolan Wick

Nolan is a sophomore majoring in journalism. From the Maryland side of the D.C. suburbs, Nolan likes using Old Bay and is a diehard Washington sports fan, which isn't fun these days. If you want to keep in touch with Nolan, follow him on Instagram @_nolanwick or on Twitter @nolan_wick.

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