This past weekend in the NFL playoffs was one for the ages. As crappy as the first round games were, these games were at worst entertaining and at best, instant classics. The Ravens-Broncos and Seahawks-Falcons games, the early games on Saturday and Sunday, will be talked about for years to come. Both games were back and forth, with many "oh, surely team X will win now" moments. I counted about 4 "GAME OVER" moments in each game's fourth quarter alone. Unfortunately (or fortunately) Ohio State fans had no rooting interests in either of those two games, as none of the above four teams currently actively play former Buckeye players (though the Broncos signed former Buckeyes guard Justin Boren to a future contract last week). However, those two games are likely to be remembered as two of the most exciting playoff games in NFL history.
But of course that's not what you're reading this article to hear, Buckeye faithful. So, let's get down to the business of finding out which former Buckeyes were heroes, which were (God forbid) goats, and which were somewhere in between, shall we?
On Saturday night, it was a Buckeye bonanza as a total of six former Buckeyes were active and recorded statistics – two Packers and four 49ers. On the losing side, AJ Hawk made 8 total tackles (6 solo) and was in coverage on the 49ers' oft-used tight ends most of the night. Hawk did a nice job clogging up running lanes and excelled in two one-on-one matchups with Vernon Davis and Delanie Walker – although he was burned for one big 44-yard catch down the sideline by Davis – for the most part he helped keep the 'Niners tight ends in check. The big problem was catching Colin Kaepernick, as Hawk and the rest of the Green Bay defense were running the wrong way all night long on the read-option. Ryan Pickett fought hard against a tough 49er o-line and made three solo tackles.
For the victorious 49ers, they have been the team to watch for Buckeye fans all season. Ted Ginn was on punt returns all night but only got a chance to return one – the rest were fair catches – and was targeted twice for one catch and a three-yard gain. Ginn also had a (shocking) block of consequence, that Packers fan undoubtedly thought was a hold. Alex Boone, along with the rest of his fellow 49er linemen, played a solid game and contributed to Kaepernick's all-time QB rushing record for the playoffs. And they said run options wouldn't work in the NFL. On the defensive side of the ledger, Donte Whitner made 4 tackles but was more visible when he was beaten for a touchdown by the crafty Greg Jennings. Atlanta's passing game is not quite as dynamic as Green Bay's, but Whitner is going to have to play much better in coverage next week. Larry Grant showed up again on the stat sheet, as he made one tackle on special teams. The game was close and back and forth for the first half, but the Niners wound up pulling away in the second half and are one game away from the Super Bowl.
Luke's Texans were the last hope of the LGHL denizens in this year's playoffs, as they looked to rebound from their beating against the Patriots earlier in the year. Unfortunately it was not to be again, as they fell completely to pieces in the third quarter and turned a close game into a rout. DeVier Posey finally had himself a solid outing, making three catches for 47 yards including his first career touchdown. Unfortunately, the ending was bitter for him as he went down late in the fourth quarter with what appeared to be an Achilles injury. Posey was carted off the field just as the going was getting good for him – hopefully he will be able to come back stronger and have a more consistent season next year after no doubt earning the trust of his coaching staff in just the fourth playoff game in Texans history. Conversely, on the other side of the matchup, special-teams ace Nate Ebner contributed no statistics for the victorious Pats, but he's next man up in the secondary. If a safety should go down, Ebner will have to be ready to play as he'll suddenly find his way into the two-deep.
That's it for this weekend; two teams with Buckeyes are left. Will any of them be playing in the Super Bowl? Who are you rooting for during the rest of the 2012-2013 NFL Playoffs?