Kene Nwangwu – RB
Kene Nwangwu entered this game with plenty of buzz surrounding him. He had already established himself as an elite kick returner, who had gotten the attention of every NFL team. He now rarely gets a returnable kickoff as teams are scared of what he can do with the ball in his hands.
Nwangwu was also coming off an impressive running performance against the Chicago Bears in Week 15. He only toted the rock three times in Chicago, but he averaged 11 yards per carry. Nwangwu ran with toughness and even carried guys on his back showing he is more than just a speed and finesse guy.
With Dalvin Cook on the Reserve/COVID-19 list, Nwangwu was expected to see an increased role against the Rams, and there was some hope he could bust off a big play or two.
Those hopes were quickly dashed as Nwangwu carried the ball five times for just e yards. His plays were often blown up in the backfield by Aaron Donald, and he wasn’t able to get much going at all.
Nwangwu also caught two passes for just five yards and was brought down quite easily by Rams defenders. He also had one kick return for just nine yards and probably should’ve just let it bounce through the end zone.
What was the most disappointing thing about Nwangwu’s day was his lack of effort on the punt return touchdown by Los Angeles in the second half.
Nwangwu was the personal protector of Minnesota punter Jordan Berry on that punt and he was the last line of defense. He had a chance to take Rams returner Brandon Powell out, but he gingerly ran towards him, and he just let him go by. That was extremely disappointing to see.
Nwangwu is a rookie and he is very much still learning his stripes. That means he needs to get down and dirty on special teams and make those tough tackles.
Maybe the talk of almost getting into the Pro Bowl got to his head a bit, but that return touchdown proved to be very costly. Hopefully, it’s something Nwangwu will remember and never let happen again.