Some strong games from veterans and surprises from Buckeye rookies abounded in Week 3 of the NFL, as well as yet another inactive day for Ted Ginn and a few other ex-collegiate stars. 49ers-Vikings involved 6 former 'Shoe residents, and other teams who formerly had their rookies inactive suddenly gave those players starting jobs.
Let's take a game-by-game look at how the former Scarlet and Gray played:
Thursday night's blowout Giants victory against Carolina involved three former Buckeyes, but only one recorded any statistics. Carolina cornerback and former Buckeye two-way star Chris Gamble recorded 5 tackles (2 solo) and helped hold New York's Victor Cruz to 7 yards per catch. Unfortunately, the Carolina secondary had more trouble with Ramses Barden. Center Jim Cordle and tight end Ben Hartsock were inactive for the Giants and Panthers, respectively.
49ers-Vikings, as previously mentioned, involved six former Buckeyes. Four of six of these players did not put forth notable performances: Ted Ginn was inactive for the 'Niners, special teamer Larry Grant made one tackle, Alex Boone started at guard but only had an average game by Pro Football Focus' grades, and on the other side for the Vikings, Michael Jenkins only had one reception for eight yards. The notable performances were in the secondary for both teams. Antoine Winfield continues to put up big tackle numbers for Minnesota, making 8 stops (4 solo), with one tackle for loss and one pass defensed. More importantly, he held Michael Crabtree to a 6.7 yards per catch average. Donte Whitner contributed 4 solo tackles, but also had a bad missed tackle on Christian Ponder and a really bad dropped interception.
Elsewhere among the early games, the St. Louis Rams really struggled with a strong Chicago defense. Jake McQuaide was on the field for both Rams scores, as the Rams offense could only muster two field goals against a stout Chicago D. However, James Laurinaitis made 11 (!) solo tackles, leading his team. Dane Sanzenbacher remains inactive for the Bears.
For the Cincinnati Bengals, Mike Nugent contributed a field goal to the winning effort against RGIII's Redskins. Nate Clements was the third-leading tackler on the team, contributing 9 stops (5 solo) and playing a little bit of safety.
Jacksonville has a new starter on the offensive line. Michael Brewster made his first NFL start against the Indianapolis Colts and played pretty well for his first time in an overtime victory. No, there were no high snaps over quarterback Blaine Gabbert's head, as Brewster actually started at left guard.
The Dolphins and Jets' overtime "thriller" (haha, no.) involved four former Bucks. Brian Hartline was unable to repeat his performance of last week, as he only caught one pass. That pass, however, was for 41 yards. Austin Spitler recorded one assisted tackle on special teams. Nick Mangold, as usual, started at center. However, the Jets' offensive line struggled mightily against the surprising Dolphins run defense. When the Jets passed, they had a little more success. Santonio Holmes had an excellent day and probably the best day of any former Buckeye, torching Miami's secondary to the tune of 9 catches for 146 yards.
In NFC news, the New Orleans Saints suffered a tough loss. However, it was not the defensive Buckeyes' fault, as they put up great individual statistics. Will Smith recorded six tackles (3 solo) and a sack, while Malcolm Jenkins had seven solo stops and a pass defensed. Jenkins was mostly on Jon Baldwin all day, holding him to three catches in the Chiefs' overtime victory. Elsewhere, Rob Sims played pretty well in the Lions' loss against the Titans in what was definitely the most exciting game of the day. He and the rest of the Lions' line helped contribute to former Illini RB Mikel Leshoure's breakout game. Unfortunately it was not enough to bring a Detroit victory.
The Eagles and Cardinals featured three former Bucks as well, although only one player had a good game. Brian Rolle, who lost his starting spot to rookie Mychal Kendricks week 1, had 2 solo special teams tackles. Chris Wells has clearly lost the trust of his coaches and only contributed 18 yards on 8 carries. Clearly, something is wrong with Beanie. Safety Kurt Coleman had the best game, leading his team with 9 tackles and 7 solo stops, plus a pass break up. Unfortunately, he was one of the lone bright spots, as the Eagles lost big.
The Steelers and Raiders had four former Buckeyes, but only Will Allen recorded a statistic - one single tackle before he was promptly injured. Mike Adams, Cameron Heyward and Terrelle Pryor did not record any stats. Heyward only played five snaps, while Adams and Pryor didn't get on the field.
Other players that remained inactive, injured or did not record a stat were: Jake Ballard (Patriots), Justin Boren (Ravens), Nate Ebner (Patriots), and DeVier Posey (Texans). At the time of this writing, Brandon Saine has earned punt-team snaps for the Packers, while Ryan Pickett started on their defensive line and AJ Hawk has already recorded one hard tackle against Seattle.