The NFL kicked off Week One of the 2021-22 season this weekend, with 15 Huskers active for their respective teams.
Here is a look into a few notable Husker football alums with big season-opening performances in the second installment of Huskers in the NFL for the 2021-22 season.
Lavonte David, LB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
David, in a tight game to open up the regular season against the Dallas Cowboys, shined last Thursday night in a 31-29 win for the Buccaneers. David finished with 11 total tackles, five solo and six assisted, also adding one quarterback hit and a pass defended.
One of David’s most significant contributions came at the end of the first half. The Cowboys were driving down the field in a one-score game when Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott stepped back and threw a ball on third-and-six. David extended his hands to break up the pass intended for Cowboys wide receiver CeeDee Lamb, crucially ending the drive and holding the Cowboys to a field goal.
David also played all of the defense’s snaps, ending at 84. He will continue to play a huge role in the success that the Buccaneers defense has this season.
The Buccaneers will look to continue their undefeated start against the Atlanta Falcons, who lost to the Philadelphia Eagles in Week One, on Sunday, Sept. 19 at 3:05 p.m. on Fox.
Nick Gates, C, New York Giants
The Giants were not able to corral the Denver Broncos in their Week One matchup, losing 27-13. The Giants offense was not able to get much going, but Gates was a highlight in the disappointing opening weekend.
Gates’ performance elevated the offensive line, but even with his contribution the unit would end the game having given up two sacks to Broncos veteran linebacker Von Miller.
Gates will look to build off his performance going into a tough matchup against the Washington Football Team’s furious defensive line when they face off on Thursday, Sept. 16 at 7:20 p.m. on NFL Network.
Sam Koch, P, Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens were not able to hang on to a lead it built against the Las Vegas Raiders in a 33-27 loss on Monday. The game ended with an overtime 31-yard toss from Raiders quarterback Derek Carr to wide receiver Zay Jones for the game-winning touchdown.
Koch, coming into his 16th year in the NFL, is still extremely consistent in his craft. He had four punts for 179 yards for an average of just under 45 yards per punt.
The Ravens’ offense was the 12th best in the NFL for total yards, so Koch was not needed much, but when he was used he did his job, placing one kick inside the Raiders’ 20-yard line.
The Ravens will look to even out their record this weekend against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday Night Football, kicking off on NBC at 7:20 p.m. on Sept. 19.
Andy Janovich, FB, Cleveland Browns
Janovich played 11 snaps on offense and 15 special teams snaps in the Browns’ 33-29 loss to the Chiefs last Sunday. In those snaps, he played a huge role in the Browns’ run game.
The Browns rushed for 153 yards on Sunday against the Chiefs behind running backs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. On the Browns opening drive, Janovich had the lead block for Chubb to get into the end zone.
The Browns will look to get back to .500 this upcoming weekend as they face the Houston Texans at noon on Sunday, Sept. 19 on CBS.
Zac Taylor, Head Coach, Cincinnati Bengals
After a disappointing 4-11-1 season in 2020, the Bengals, led by former Nebraska quarterback Zac Taylor, wanted to capitalize on their Week One matchup, and that is exactly what they did. Cincinnati beat the Minnesota Vikings 27-24 in an overtime thriller.
Running back Joe Mixon stole the show, rushing for his first 100-yard game in just under a year, finishing with 129 yards and a touchdown.
Quarterback Joe Burrow, coming off of a brutal knee injury, threw for 261 yards on 27 pass attempts with two touchdowns. Bengals rookie wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase caught 5 passes, for 101 yards and a touchdown.
On the defensive side of the ball, safety Jessie Bates led the team with nine total tackles and linebacker Germaine Pratt forced a fumble that resulted in a turnover as well.
Taylor and the Bengals look to add to their performance with a game against the Chicago Bears on Sunday, Sept. 19 at noon on Fox.