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An exciting week 4 in the NFL involved a few notable performances turned in by former Buckeyes.
Unfortunately, not all were notable in a good way, but we're still keeping an eye on them anyway! Firstly, the Steelers and Colts had a bye, so former Buckeyes Will Allen, Cameron Heyward and Mike Adams got no shine this week. This is the first week of byes, so we'll see a few more Buckeyes get breaks in the coming weeks until week 11.
As usual, we start with the 49ers. This week, they played the Jets and blew their doors off. Ted Ginn was finally active and had an overall uneventful day on punt returns. He did not have a catch, but did have one carry for 7 yards. Donte Whitner had six tackles (2 solo). Alex Boone started again at left guard and had a solid game, getting up in the grills of the Jets' defensive line and talking smack all game long. On the other side, Nick Mangold started at center and was one of the few bright spots. Santonio Holmes had 4 catches for 29 yards, and unfortunately a disastrous fumble where he injured his foot and just threw the ball away, leading to a Carlos Rogers touchdown return. Holmes did not return to the game afterwards, and x-rays taken after the game were negative. It looks like Holmes is already checking out for the season after his great game in week 1 against the Bills.
The best performance of the day was turned in by Miami's Brian Hartline, who is now the all-time single-game receiving yards leader in Dolphins' history. 80 of those yards came on this play:
Yes, that's the number one Buckeye of the week! Hartline, all told, had 12 catches for 253 yards and that touchdown. Unfortunately, his Dolphins fell in overtime in a tough loss. When told he had the most yards of any Dolphins' receiver ever, however, he asked "How many did I have?" and later expressed that he was "so PO'd" and called the record "bittersweet" after falling to the Cardinals. Hartline currently leads the league in receiving yards and is clearly the favorite target of Dolphins' rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill. We can expect to see more big games out of Brian this year, even if the Dolphins' record isn't very good. Other former Buckyes Chris Wells (Cardinals) and Austin Spitler (Dolphins) did not record a statistic or were inactive for this game due to injury.
James Laurinaitis continues to be a force on the Rams defense. This week, he piled up 8 solo tackles (9 total), which again led the team in their 19-13 victory against the Seahawks. Jake McQuaide was on the field for a trick play touchdown that Danny Amendola caught for the Rams' only touchdown. He didn't contribute any tackles on special teams.
Another Buckeye that continues to be a defensive force is Eagles safety Kurt Coleman. Coleman, despite going undrafted, seems to be the anchor of the Eagles' secondary. The Eagles' depth at corner and their ability to play man coverage allows Coleman to come up to the line and play aggressively against the run or short pass. Coleman again led the Eagles' D in tackles, with 6 (4 solo) and handed out an intimidating hit on a Giants' running back. Laurinaitis and Coleman continue to be solid players for their respective teams.
In Detroit, Rob Sims started again at guard for the 20-13 loss, while veteran corner Antoine Winfield just continues to be ageless. He made 10 stops (6 solo tackles) and had two passes defensed while covering Calvin Johnson. Megatron was held to 5 catches for 54 yards as the Detroit offense struggled. Michael Jenkins (of Holy Buckeye fame) contributed 1 catch for 4 yards for the Vikings.
The Panthers had a tough loss this week against the Falcons, but Chris Gamble contributed 3 tackles (2 unassisted) and held Falcons star Julio Jones to 1 catch. Unfortunately for the Panthers, that one catch was for 30 yards and at a huge moment in the fourth quarter.
For the Packers and Saints, both defenses struggled. The Saints' defense, featuring former Buckeye stars Will Smith and Malcolm Jenkins, was burned for 421 total yards. Jenkins had 8 solo tackles and was second on the team with 10 overall stops. Will Smith had one solo tackle and a good hit on Aaron Rodgers. The Packers' defense gave up even more yards to Drew Brees, but managed to come up with the victory. AJ Hawk and Ryan Pickett had 3 and 2 tackles, respectively. Pickett struggled all game with a lower-body injury. Brandon Saine was active, but did not record a statistic while playing mostly on special teams.
Staying with special teamers and small contributions: Nate Ebner contributed a tackle on special teams for the Patriots, while Ben Hartsock played and recovered a fumble for the Carolina Panthers while on offense.
Michael Brewster came in for the struggling Eben Britton against the Bengals and was subsequently pushed around by their dominant defensive tackles. Bengals kicker Mike Nugent had the orange-and-black faithful singing "Nugent's Golden Toe", as he contributed two field goals in the victory. Nate Clements was inactive for the Bengals due to injury.
Other inactive or injured players included DeVier Posey (Texans), Terrelle Pryor (Raiders), Jim Cordle (Giants), Dane Sanzenbacher (Bears), Brian Rolle (Eagles), Jake Ballard (Patriots) and Justin Boren (Ravens).
And that completes the roundup! See y'all next week. Let us know if there's a specific Buckeye you'd like to hear more about.