PENN STATERS AT THE NEXT LEVEL 2021: WEEK 1

The NFL season is up and running, which means we bring back our Penn Staters At The Next Level series. Similar to last season, we’ll bring you a quick overview of some of the best performances from Nittany Lions in the NFL each week.

Fourty-One Penn Staters appear on NFL rosters to start the season, and you can see the full list by clicking here.

Let’s get started with a recap from Week 1!

Chris Godwin, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Steve Manuel/The Football Letter

The Buccaneers started off their Super Bowl defense with a thrilling 31-29 win over the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday Night.

Chris Godwin got the first points of the new season with a five-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter. Despite an untimely fumble late in the game, he got his season off to a strong start with 121 yards and that score. He also caught the game-clinching first down reception that secured the victory for Tampa Bay.

Juwan Johnson, Tight End, New Orleans Saints

Outside of the Raiders’ win over the Ravens on Monday Night Football, there might not have been a more stunning result in Week 1 than the Saints win over the Packers. Not because the Saints aren’t a good team, but because of how they just completely dismantled Green Bay from start to finish.

One of the many standout performers for New Orleans was former Nittany Lion, Juwan Johnson. A wide receiver in his college days, Juwan has made the switch to tight end for the Saints and it’s paid off massively for his career.

Juwan caught two touchdown passes from a terrific Jameis Winston to help propel the Saints to the 38-3 win.

Check out the first of two of his touchdown receptions below, which also marked the first TD catch of Johnson’s career.

Carl Nassib, Defensive End, Las Vegas Raiders

Speaking of that upset win for the Raiders that I mentioned earlier, it was Carl Nassib who came up with perhaps the play of the night.

It was his sack/forced-fumble that gave Las Vegas the ball inside Ravens territory. That set up the eventual game-winning touchdown for the Raiders.

Miles Sanders, Running Back, Philadelphia Eagles

Steve Manuel/The Football Letter

Part of a revamped Philadelphia offense, Miles Sanders shined to the tune of 113 scrimmage yards and a two-point conversion as the Eagles walloped the Falcons, 32-6.

While quarterback Jalen Hurts and first round pick DeVonta Smith will generate much of the headlines (and probably rightfully so), Sanders demonstrated why he can definitely be Philadelphia’s lead back this season.

Odafe Oweh, Defensive End, Baltimore Ravens

Steve Manuel/The Football Letter

While the Ravens ultimately came up short to Nassib and the Raiders, it was a solid debut for former Nittany Lion Odafe Oweh in Baltimore.

Much was talked about Oweh’s lack of sacks in college, but he showed why Baltimore selected him in the first round of this spring’s draft with this burst and pursuit of David Carr for a sack late in the second quarter.

The sack resulted in Las Vegas settling for a field goal.