Troy Niklas caught his first two career touchdown passes in Arizona's Week 8 win. Scott R. Galvin USA TODAY Sports
Tight end Troy Niklas understands he'll never be confused with Rob Gronkowski, but for one game he got a taste of what it feels like to be more than just a blocker.
Niklas played an integral role in the Arizona Cardinals 34-20 victory at the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, hauling in the first two touchdown catches of his career. Given that they were only the second and third receptions of the season for Niklas, it was easy to understand his satisfaction.
"It was pretty awesome," Niklas told reporters after becoming the second tight end with multiple receiving touchdowns since Arizona moved to the desert in 1988. "Words can't really describe it, but I was happy to get a couple of scores for the team."
The 6-foot-6, 270-pound Niklas, in his second season out of Notre Dame, has seen a rise in playing time since starting tight end Darren Fells sustained a shoulder injury in Week 6 at Pittsburgh. Even then, Niklas has served primarily as a blocker in two-tight end sets with Jermaine Gresham.
Niklas had three receptions in his rookie season and one catch this year before latching onto an 11-yard scoring pass from Carson Palmer in the first quarter. He also caught the go-ahead touchdown on a 1-yard toss in the third quarter.
"It's huge for me," Niklas said. "Just having all my injuries and kind of breaking away a little bit. It's just a start -- I've still got a lot of work to do -- but it's a good start."