Donte Whitner, making plays. - John David Mercer-US PRESSWIRE
Donte Whitner had a great game this week. So who else were the big former Ohio State stars this week in the biggest of leagues?
All three games on Turkey Day involved teams with former Buckeye stars on their rosters. Starting with the Texans and Lions, Rob Sims struggled against the Texans' defensive line all day, especially J.J. Watt. Watt had three sacks, one of them given up by Sims. Sims' play has unfortunately fallen off of late, as he has struggled against tough defensive lines. Each team has a former Buckeye receiver on its inactive roster, with De'Vier Posey on the Texans and Brian Robiskie for the Lions. The Washington Redskins defeated Dallas on Thanksgiving as well. Unfortunately, defensive tackle Doug Worthington was inactive for Washington and did not get to take part in the victory. The Buckeyes on the biggest stage played for the New York Jets and the New England Patriots in the night game. Unfortunately the Jets were crushed in a farcical Thanksgiving "game". There were no bright spots for the Jets - not even Nick Mangold could save them from being destroyed. For the Patriots, Nate Ebner was active but did not record a statistic for the Patriots. Both Jake Ballard (Pats) and Santonio Holmes (Jets) are out for the season, in case you forgot.
In the early Sunday games, many former Buckeyes took the field for AFC North teams. For Cincinnati's blowout victory against the Raiders, Mike Nugent missed a field goal, but drilled a 55-yarder and made another one contributing to the victory. Nate Clements appears to have given up his spot as a starting safety with the play of Chris Crocker, as he only saw one snap. Unfortunately, his career appears to be winding down. Quarterback Terrelle Pryor was inactive as the 3rd quarterback. However, he did have something to say after the game.
Some of you all are undoubtedly Browns fans, and the result against the Steelers certainly made y'all happy. The result was not likely to make Mike Adams, Will Allen, or Cameron Heyward happy as the Steelers turned the ball over a whopping eight (!!!) times. Adams played well, and has been for the past few weeks. It seems that Mike Tomlin is trusting Adams more and more as the season goes on. On defense, Will Allen contributed three tackles, while Cameron Heyward made a stop in the loss.
The Vikings and Bears played in another early game, and the Bears got the best of the Vikings. Dane Sanzenbacher was not active, but it did not matter as the Vikings were dominated. Antoine Winfield did have seven tackles, a pass defensed and an interception, but he was also victimized on a horrible pass-interference call that really set the tone for the game. Veteran Michael Jenkins caught two balls for 17 yards, but unfortunately it was not enough as the Bears won by 18.
In other early action, Miami's Brian Hartline equaled Jenkins' performance of 2 catches for 17 yards against Seattle. Neither Austin Spitler nor Anderson Russell recorded a statistic, but the Dolphins did get the victory. Elsewhere in Florida, Jacksonville's Michael Brewster played a few snaps as his team got a victory against Tennessee.
Many Buckeyes played in the late games on Sunday, as the Saints, 49ers and Rams all played. Malcolm Jenkins and the Saints took on the 49ers and Donte Whitner. Jenkins and fellow Saints defender Will Smith had an impact in the game, as Jenkins made 7 tackles and had a pass defensed. Will Smith made six tackles (2 solo). For the 49ers, Ted Ginn returned two punts for 13 yards but did not record a catch as Thomas Morstead (kickoff specialist/punter for the Saints) tends to not allow many returns. Ginn did, however, make a tackle on special teams. The big star was Whitner, who made eight tackles, five solo stops, and a spectacular interception return for a touchdown. Whitner caught a pass that was deflected off Marques Colston's hands due to a big hit and ran it back in astounding fashion, making several hapless Saints players miss and diving in to the end zone. Alex Boone continues his stellar play along the offensive line, and Larry Grant continues to not record statistics for the Niners.
In other late action, James Laurinaitis and his Rams defeated the Cardinals, 31-17. Laurinaitis was a big-time contributor, making 14 stops (7 solo) and a pass defensed. Jake McQuaide has not had a bad snap yet this season. The big story, though, at least for Buckeye fans, was the return of Beanie Wells to action. Wells is finally back and somewhat healthy, and contributed 17 carries for 48 yards and two touchdowns, making fantasy owners scramble for a late-season pickup.
On Sunday night, Jim Cordle's Giants rebounded from a tough few weeks and shellacked AJ Hawk's Packers, 38-10. Hawk led the team with 10 tackles, but most of his stops were made downfield against running backs and receivers on the second level. Ryan Pickett got the start on defensive line for the Pack, making two tackles in the blowout loss. For the other prime-time game, Kurt Coleman and the rest of the Eagles' secondary has been burned again, this time by Carolina's Brandon LaFell for a 43-yard touchdown. The Eagles are just playing worse and worse, and Coleman may be in danger of losing his starting spot next season. Neither Chris Gamble nor tight end Ben Hartsock were active for the Panthers.