Another week, another opportunity for Hawaii’s NFL representatives to shine on the gridiron.
The state’s most recognizable face in the league, Marcus Mariota, is a game-time decision to suit up tomorrow night for the Tennessee Titans as they take on the Indianapolis Colts. Colts punter Rigoberto Sanchez, the former standout kicker/punter for the Rainbow Warriors, will play tomorrow as well.
But there are other players with ties to the islands who did play earlier today, and some of them showed up big for their respective teams.
Here’s a Week 6 update on Hawaii’s homegrown talent in the NFL:
Note: Only players who made an impact in Week 6 are on this list.
DeForest Buckner, DT, San Francisco 49ers
The Punahou graduate recorded four tackles for the 49ers in a tightly-contested 26-24 loss to the Washington Redskins. Buckner had the third most tackles for San Francisco and now has 24 total tackles on the season, along with 1.5 sacks.
Not only does DeForest Buckner's 23 QB pressures lead all interior defenders, it's more than every edge rusher except DeMarcus Lawrence (30)— Jeff Deeney (@PFF_Jeff) October 4, 2017
Kamu Grugier-Hill, LB, Philadelphia Eagles
The Kamehameha graduate saw the field for the Eagles this past Thursday night against the Carolina Panthers, appearing mostly on special teams.
The 23-year-old registered two tackles on the game as the Eagles went on to defeat the Panthers, 28-23.
Shawn Lauvao, OL, Washington Redskins
The Farrington High School graduate has been a consistent presence on the Washington Redskins’ offensive line over the past couple of years and today was no different.
Lauvao and the rest of Washington’s offensive line had to deal with the likes of Buckner from the 49ers all game, but that didn’t stop the Redskins from coming away with 26-24 the victory. Lauvao and his fellow linemen did a solid job protecting quarterback Kirk Cousins, who threw for 330 yards, three total touchdowns (two pass, one touchdown) and one interception.
Manti Te’o, LB, New Orleans Saints
While the New Orleans Saints defense did give up 38 points to the Detroit Lions today, they still came away with the 52-38 win.
Former Punahou standout Manti Te’o performed admirably for the Saints, recording two tackles on the game. On the season, Te’o has 14 total tackles in three games played.
Hau’oli Kikaha, LB, New Orleans Saints
Joining Te’o in the linebackers unit for the Saints earlier today was Kahuku graduate, Hau’oli Kikaha.
The former Red Raider didn’t record a tackle for the Saints, but has been in the news today as NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported earlier today that Kikaha could be traded soon.
With the #Saints in the trading mood following the Adrian Peterson deal, here is a possible trade name to keep an eye on: LB Hau'oli Kikaha.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 15, 2017
All eyes will be on Kikaha over the next week to see if Kikaha holds his place in New Orleans or finds a new team.
Max Unger, C, New Orleans Saints
The third Saints player with ties to the island was instrumental on the offensive line for New Orleans, protecting quarterback Drew Brees and creating running lanes for Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara.
A graduate of Hawaii Preparatory Academy, Unger plays center for the Saints and helped his offense drop 52 points on the Lions this week, the team’s highest total of the season.
Kaimi Fairbairn, K, Houston Texans
After winning the kicker battle in Houston during training camp, Punahou graduate Kaimi Fairbairn hasn’t looked back. In Houston’s 33-17 win over the Cleveland Browns earlier today, Fairbairn converted a 40-yard field goal for the Texans.
While he did miss one of his three extra points attempts, Fairbairn has clearly established himself in the NFL this season, currently 9-of-9 on field goal attempts this season.
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