Proof that Ohio State is now Linebacker U - #55, James Laurinaitis. - US PRESSWIRE
This week was Linebacker week as AJ Hawk and James Laurinaitis came up huge. Who else were the Buckeye stars in the NFL?
Well, fellow Buckeye fans, here we are. If you want to see Buckeyes, as much as some of you may dislike it, you'll have to be watching the NFL now. But fear not! In case you haven't been following the league, we will make sure that you know all the doings of the former scarlet and gray. By the way, in case you were wondering, yes, my Bengals have won four straight games and are now 7-5 on the strength of Mike Nugent's golden toe, thank you for asking.
We'll start on Thursday night, where for once there was a relatively watchable game between the Falcons and Saints. There are no Buckeyes on the Falcons, but Malcolm Jenkins and Will Smith star on D for New Orleans. It was a pretty mediocre week for them both production-wise, however, as Jenkins had only three tackles and Smith contributed one solo with two assists. Jenkins is currently the third-leading tackler, while Smith carries the second-highest sack total on the team. The former Buckeye defensive stars came up on the losing end, 23-13.
There were some early games with former players that may sound familiar. Michael Brewster has entrenched himself at left guard, starting seven games this year. He took over for the ineffective Eben Britton this week. Unfortunately, the Jags lost, but seeing Brew start is a definite plus for the guy who was so highly recruited and started for four years, but ultimately found himself undrafted.
In other former o-lineman news, Rob Sims and his Lions found themselves on the short end of the stick again, this time falling to the Colts on a last-second touchdown. Sims bounced back from his tough week last week though, as Mikel Leshoure found running room and the Colts were held without a sack. Sadly, the Detroit defense could not hold the lead. For the Jets, Nick Mangold found himself on the winning end of the spectrum against the Cardinals in a hard fought and poorly played 7-6 victory over the Cardinals. Former Buckeye Chris Wells is back, and he ran 15 times for a whopping 22 yards. Yuck.
Some more former Buckeyes faced off in an AFC East matchup featuring Miami and New England. Unfortunately, former special teamer Nate Ebner failed to record a statistic for the Patriots, and another former safety Anderson Russell did not have a statistic for the Dolphins. But, wide receiver and breakout star Brian Hartline had five more catches this week for 84 yards. He has quickly become the trusted target in Miami's offense. Additionally, special teamer Austin Spitler recorded a stop for the 'Fins.
Minnesota vs. Green Bay games this year have featured some veteran former Buckeyes in Green Bay's Ryan Pickett and AJ Hawk and Minnesota's Michael Jenkins and Antoine Winfield. Hawk stole the show for Green Bay's defense, recording 10 tackles (8 solo) and chasing around Adrian Peterson all day - unfortunately Peterson was the league's leading rusher in terms of yardage this week, but it didn't earn the Vikings a victory. Pickett made three tackles, but as has been the case most of the year, he was usually engaged with blockers in order to allow Hawk and the rest of the Packer linebacking corps to make tackles. Michael Jenkins was unable to help the Vikings in the passing game, with three targets but zero catches. Veteran Antoine Winfield continues his stellar stat-stuffing, with 9 tackles (5 solo) on the day.
In late-game action, the Niners and Rams again went to overtime. As is the case with all these games, many former Buckeyes were prominently featured. Ted Ginn actually had a reception, albeit for one yard, and returned zero kicks but two punts for San Francisco. Unfortunately, he was a key participant on a comical play, a bad option pitch from the quarterback was returned for a TD by the Rams. Donte Whitner, a regular on this list, made six solo tackles and added an assist. Alex Boone and the rest of the 49er offensive line played well, but not quite as well as we're used to seeing from him. On the other side of the ball, James Laurinaitis was the stat-stuffer, recording ten solo tackles. Long snapper Jake McQuaide continues to play well and delivered a perfect snap on the game-winning field goal for the Rams in overtime.
For the Bengals, Mike Nugent contributed two chip-shot, but important, field goals in their win over the Chargers. Nate Clements did not record a statistic and his career appears to be all but over. For the other teams in the AFC North, the Steelers had their usual rough-and-tumble matchup with the Ravens. Mike Adams had a bit of trouble in his second taste of the best rivalry in the sport, but gave up only one sack to Baltimore rushers and allowed Charlie Batch enough time to get the win. Will Allen had two assisted tackles, while Cam Heyward did not record a statistic.
In the Sunday Night tilt, Kurt Coleman's Eagles lost again, this time to the Cowboys. Coleman had a decent game with 5 tackles, but he did have one bad play where a poor angle led to a Dez Bryant touchdown.
Other former Buckeyes who are either injured or inactive - Terrelle Pryor (Oakland), Chris Gamble and Ben Hartsock (Carolina), Santonio Holmes (New York Jets), Larry Grant (San Francisco), DeVier Posey (Houston), Dane Sanzenbacher (Bears), and Jake Ballard (Patriots).