On a day where many Americans gathered around their dining room tables with loved ones, two Northwestern alums made their presence known on the gridiron. Later on in the holiday weekend, many other former Wildcats joined in the fray. Here is this week’s look at Northwestern in the NFL:
Godwin Igwebuike: Detroit Lions, RB/KR
The former NU safety saw an enhanced role in the atrocity that was Bears vs. Lions on Thanksgiving when regular starter D’Andre Swift went down early for Detroit and did not return. He saw the field on eight percent of the Lions’ offensive snaps (up from just 2 percent the previous week) and gained 11 yards on his lone carry of the day. He was also efficient in the kick return game, as he returned three kicks for a total of 84 yards. With Swift likely out for another week, he could see a more prominent role soon.
Trevor Siemian: New Orleans Saints, QB
In what was likely his worst performance of 2021, Siemian completed 17-of-29 passing attempts for just 163 yards and one touchdown, tossing an interception and getting sacked twice in New Orleans’ blowout loss to the Buffalo Bills. With reports that Taysom Hill has been receiving first-team reps in practice this week for Sean Payton’s team, the latest chapter in the journeyman’s career could be coming to a close.
Greg Newsome II: Cleveland Browns, CB
Playing 95 percent of Cleveland’s defensive snaps against the Baltimore Ravens, Newsome had three solo tackles. His assignments saw him frequently matched up against Marquise Brown, who was held to just 51 yards receiving, well short of his average of 77. Though the Brownies ultimately fell by way of a 16-10 rock fight, Newsome continues to be an intimidating force in the defensive secondary.
Anthony Walker Jr.: Cleveland Browns, LB
Alongside Newsome on the most Northwestern-dense unit in the league, Walker recorded 12 total tackles while playing 84 percent of defensive snaps. His 85 tackles on the season are the most recorded by a player on the Browns this season and rank 21st in the NFL.
Blake Hance: Cleveland Browns, OL
Hance, who has become Cleveland’s go-to fill-in lineman in case of injuries to their starters, played 83 percent of the Browns’ offensive snaps this week after right tackle Jack Conklin was forced out of the game due to injury. With Conklin expected to miss the remainder of the season, expect Hance’s playing time to become more steady.
Rashawn Slater: Los Angeles Chargers, OT
Once again, the standout rookie played all of the Chargers’ offensive snaps as they fell on the road to the Denver Broncos. His play has elevated him into All-Pro consideration, as he’s yet to miss a snap this year for Los Angeles and has dealt with a variety of difficult assignments like a seasoned-veteran.
Justin Jackson, Los Angeles Chargers, RB
Jackson wasn’t especially active in the Chargers’ loss, as he took the field for no offensive snaps and recorded no stats in the 30 percent of special teams plays he participated in.
Joe Gaziano, Los Angeles Chargers, DL
Much like JJTBC, Gaz wasn’t up to much this week, recording no stats while playing 11 percent of LA’s defensive snaps and 25 percent of its special teams snaps.
Dean Lowry: Green Bay Packers, DE
Playing in a more diminished capacity than he had the prior two weeks, Lowry had one QB hit and no other stats recorded while playing 47 percent of Green Bay’s defensive snaps in its win against the Los Angeles Rams.
Tyler Lancaster: Green Bay Packers, DL
Playing 33 percent of Green Bay’s special teams snaps and 10 percent of its defensive plays, Lancaster accumulated no statistics against the Rams.
‘Cats that didn’t play this week: Joe Jones, Tennessee Titans; Ben Skowronek, Los Angeles Rams; Ifeadi Odenigbo, Cleveland Browns; Ibraheim Campbell, Indianapolis Colts; John Raine, Atlanta Falcons; Earnest Brown IV, Los Angeles Rams; Blake Gallagher, Baltimore Ravens.