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Northwestern in the NFL, Week 10: Igwebuike finds the endzone, Skowronek’s role expands

The ‘Cats are taking over the league. 

NFL: Detroit Lions at Pittsburgh Steelers Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Want more Northwestern content and more football content, but not Northwestern football content? If that’s the case, welcome back to Northwestern in the NFL, our weekly look at how former ‘Cats have been playing at the next level. Here are the all of the performances from Week 10:

Godwin Igwebuike: Detroit Lions, RB/KR

Where else could we possibly start? Usually limited to special teams, Igwebuike played offensive snaps for the second game in a row as a result of Jamaal Williams’s thigh injury. At the beginning of the second half, he broke off a 42 yard touchdown run, breaking All-Pro Minkah Fitzpatrick’s ankles in the process.

Igwebuike finished with two carries for 56 yards and a touchdown and 122 yards on five kick returns as the Lions picked up their first non-loss in a 16-16 tie against the Steelers. As long as Williams is sidelined, Igewbuike should retain his minor offensive role. He’ll look to top his career-best game when the Lions travel to Cleveland next week.

Greg Newsome II: Cleveland Browns, CB

Newsome II played a season-high 96% percent of the team’s snaps and recorded three solo tackles in the effort, but it was a game to forget for the Browns defense. Mac Jones and the Patriots offense posted over 450 yards and six touchdowns in a dominant 45-7 victory.

The Browns have now allowed over 33 points in four of ten games this year on the way to a 5-5 start. If they want to make a playoff push, the defense needs to step up, and Newsome will need to continue to play a large role.

Trevor Siemian: New Orleans Saints, QB

Siemian again started for the Saints in place of the injured Jameis Winston, throwing for 298 yards on 19-of-34 passing and two touchdowns. The Saints dropped a second consecutive game by two points in a 23-21 loss to the Titans, but Siemian finished with a season-high 104.8 passer rating nonetheless .

It appears Touchdown Trevor has a shaky hold on the quarterback spot for the time being, although Taysom Hill still lurks in the background. With games against the Bills, Cowboys and Buccaneers still left on the Saints’ schedule, we’ll have multiple opportunities to assess Siemian’s resilience as a starting quarterback.

Rashawn Slater: Los Angeles Chargers, OT

Another Chargers game, another reliable Slater performance. The superstar tackle allowed no sacks while playing every snap in the Chargers’ 27-20 loss to the Vikings.

Through nine games, Slater has exhibited the two qualities most important in a lineman: reliability and durability. He’s only allowed two sacks the entire year and has not missed a single snap. It’s up to the rest of the team to match Slater’s level of play throughout the rest of the season.

Anthony Walker Jr.: Cleveland Browns, LB

In the aforementioned thrashing at the hands of the Patriots, Walker compiled eight tackles, seven of which were solo. He paced the linebacker corps by playing 78% of the team’s defensive snaps.

Despite missing three games, Walker leads Cleveland in tackles with 65, and no other Brown has more than 45. When he’s healthy, Walker is one of the most reliable pieces on an inconsistent-at-best defense. Next week he’ll face the Lions in a chance to add to his impressive statistical season.

Dean Lowry: Green Bay Packers, DE

Lowry recorded a single tackle as the Packers shut out the Seahawks 17-0 in Russell Wilson’s return from injury. Despite the lack of impact plays this week, Lowry still managed to get on the field for 69% of Green Bay’s defensive snaps.

After posting three sacks in the month of November, Lowry has cooled down and returned to his normal defensive output. However, his heavy involvement on a red-hot defensive unit bodes well for his future as a Packer and NFL player in general.

Tyler Lancaster: Green Bay Packers, DL

Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for Lancaster. He played only six snaps against the Seahawks, down from his average of 21 through the first eight games of the season. In limited action he managed to record one solo tackle.

The benefit of playing on one of the best teams in the league is that Lancster will have plenty of chances to play well on big stages. If his playoff performance is impactful, his regular season woes won’t matter.

Ifeadi Odenigbo: Cleveland Browns, DE

Odenigbo finished the week with three tackles, including two on kickoff coverage. He was active on 36% of the Browns’ defensive plays.

If there’s a bright side to Odenigbo’s restricted performance, it’s that he’s not liable for the Browns’ atrocious performance. However, it’s still good to see his on-field performance improving every week considering he was unsigned at the beginning of September.

Ben Skowronek: Los Angeles Rams, WR

On Monday night, Skowronek caught one pass for eight yards in the Rams’ 31-10 loss to the 49ers. The rookie wideout saw a career high five targets in the effort, including a deep ball in the first quarter.

With receiver Robert Woods likely out for the season, the Rams are likely going to ask Skowronek to play a larger role in the offense. If he can build some chemistry with Matthew Stafford, Skowronek will see consistent targets, perhaps into the postseason.

Blake Hance: Cleveland Browns, OL

For the second consecutive week, Hance played every snap on the Browns’ offensive line. The line struggled against the Patriots pass rush, giving up five sacks and 10 quarterback hits, most of which came on Hance’s side.

With Jack Conklin on injured reserve, Hance will continue to fill in on the line, but unless his play drastically improves, he’ll return to a backup role when Conklin returns.

Joe Jones, Tennessee Titans, LB

Jones played about 80% of the Titans’ special teams snaps and got in on two defensive plays but recorded no other stats. Although his defensive appearances have been unpredictable, the fifth year linebacker has carved out a nice special teams role for himself this season in Tennessee.

‘Cats that didn’t play or record stats this week: Justin Jackson, Los Angeles Chargers; Joe Gaziano, Los Angeles Chargers; Ibraheim Campbell, Indianapolis Colts; John Raine, Atlanta Falcons; Earnest Brown IV, Los Angeles Rams; Blake Gallagher, Baltimore Ravens.