Which former Buckeye stars had the best games in week 9 (!!) of the NFL?
We're starting this week in an unfamiliar locale - Kansas City. That's because in a move to prepare them for the eventual release of starting corner Stanford Routt, KC signed former Buckeye Donald Washington to their squad. He did not record any statistics in Thursday night's game, but it's good to hear that D-Wash is back in the league.
The Arizona-Green Bay game featured two former defensive stars with running backs Brandon Saine (Packers) and Beanie Wells (Cardinals) beset by injuries. Ryan Pickett made two stops, and AJ Hawk contributed three solo tackles and added an assist. Green Bay played its way to a 31-17 victory.
In other early games, Brian Hartline returned to his early-season form against the Colts in the Dolphins' 23-20 loss. Hartline contributed eight catches for 107 yards. After his two tackles last week, Austin Spitler made no stops. We'll see if this performance last week can get Hartline back on the Pro Bowl track he was flying on earlier this season.
In Detroit, two former Buckeye offensive linemen squared off (not literally) as the Jags came in with rookie guard Michael Brewster. Brewster and his line mates only gave up one sack to the Lions' vaunted defensive line, but the running game struggled in the absence of Maurice Jones-Drew. Rob Sims and the rest of his line mates allowed former Illini star Mikel Leshoure to run for 70 yards and 3 touchdowns, along with Joique Bell's 73 yards and a touchdown. The Lions were dominant in the running game all day long, defeating the Jaguars 31-14.
Elsewhere in the AFC, the Bengals were defeated by the Broncos in a game that Peyton Manning simply refused to lose. Nate Clements had three solo tackles and a pass defensed while still playing at safety for the men in stripes, while Mike Nugent had an up-and-down day. He made three field goals (one from 49 yards) and had two extra points, but also missed a relatively easy 40-yarder. Clements, Nugent and the Buckeyes dropped the game, 31-23.
For the Vikings, the offense was aboard the struggle bus all game long up in Seattle. Quarterback Christian Ponder had tough sledding, only throwing for 63 yards. "Holy Buckeye" star Michael Jenkins was affected by Ponder's awful day, only accumulating 2 catches on 8 yards. Antoine Winfield didn't make his usual splash plays but still had a solid five tackles (3 solo).
In other late-game action, the Giants brought center Jim Cordle in for a few snaps and he acquitted himself decently against a tough Steeler defense. On the other side of the ball, Mike Adams struggled mightily against Justin Tuck. Tuck whipped Adams for two sacks, and the rest of his line struggled equally as much. Safety Will Allen made three stops and two assists, while Cameron Heyward did not record a statistic. The Giants lost, and will be angry next week when they face the Bengals.
The Eagles and Saints clashed on Monday night, and both former Buckeye secondary players had their struggles. Malcolm Jenkins had a miscommunication with some of his secondary mates that allowed a big DeSean Jackson touchdown, and Kurt Coleman had his hands full all night with a high-powered Saints offense that found new life against the Eagles defense. Will Smith contributed a sack of Michael Vick and had two more quarterback hits, while Jenkins led his team in tackles despite the big play given up.
If you're wondering why this week seems so light, four teams with two or more former Buckeye stars are all on bye. The Jets, Patriots, 49ers and Rams all did not play this week, leaving out stars like James Laurinaitis, Ted Ginn and Nick Mangold. Former Buckeye linebacker and current Columbus radio personality Bobby Carpenter had a job again briefly, this time with the Pats, but was let go after just a few weeks with the club. Best of luck to him if this is the end of the road for the former 1st round pick.