Week 8 had some wild finishes and major blowouts. With six teams on a bye week, the pickings were slim, but only Dan Herron, John Simon and DeVier Posey were on teams that didn't have games. The Rams will play tomorrow night, and as such, James Laurinaitis & Jake McQuaide will be playing the role of Sir-Not-Appearing-In-This-Recap. However, the beat goes on for the rest, and we'll see the aforementioned players back next week.
We'll start with the Thursday night game. Despite a lack of fancy ejection hand motions and a lack of targets, Carolina Panthers tight end Ben Hartsock had a solid game and was wide open in the end zone for a touchdown, but Panthers QB Cam Newton decided to throw to Greg Olsen instead. Ted Ginn Jr. appears to finally be making the plays he has been expected to since he was drafted. Ginn led the Panthers with 5 catches for 80 yards, but dropped a sure touchdown on a long bomb from Newton. Ginn also had 2 kickoff returns for 44 yards total and 2 punt returns for a total of 7 yards. He'll need to start shaking his reputation for stone hands, and making a sure TD catch would have bolstered his stock.
Brian Hartline and the Miami Dolphins dropped a tough one today to Nate Ebner's New England Patriots. After being up 17-3, the 'Fins gave up 24 straight points and lost. Hartline contributed 4 catches for 37 yards and no TDs. Ebner had a nice day, getting some playing time in an injury-riddled secondary and making four tackles (2 solo) - his first playing time of the season. This week also marked the return of Austin Spitler (!!!) who made one solo stop on special teams.
In New Orleans, the Buffalo Bills came in and thought they would try to pass the ball on the Saints. Unfortunately it was not to be, as New Orleans took care of business and won 35-17. Malcolm Jenkins had 5 tackles (4 solo) in the Saints' victory.
Apparently, there was a horrifically ugly game that you could have watched if you were of some kind of masochistic bent. This game was between the Giants and Eagles, and involved the Giants winning 15-7. There were zero offensive touchdowns scored in this game. However, three former Buckeyes did play, so, that's something. Jim Cordle started for the victorious Giants at center, and looks like he's going to be the starter going forward due to regular center David Baas' injury. Also, Johnathan Hankins played a few snaps at defensive tackle. He did not record any statistics. For the Eagles, Kurt Coleman returned to the stat sheet with one tackle.
The wildest game of the day involved Detroit and Dallas, where guard Rob Sims' Lions managed to overcome four turnovers and get a big one-point, last second victory. Detroit QB Matthew Stafford snuck across the goal line with four seconds left after faking a spike play. Sims contributed in his own way, making a few key blocks on Dallas' defensive line and keeping Stafford upright for the most part. We'll see where he's graded when the PFF grades come out, but expect it to be positive.
The Jaguars and Michael Brewster made a jaunt across the pond to Jolly Old England to get beaten down by Alex Boone and Donte Whitner's 49ers. Brewster did not see any action, but Boone helped pave the way for four rushing touchdowns - two each by Frank Gore and Colin Kaepernick. Boone had a great day against a depressing Jaguars front four. Donte Whitner also had a small contribution, making one tackle and defending a pass.
Moving to the late games: Santonio Holmes is still hurt for the Jets, and they went to Cincinnati for a game against the Bengals. Cincinnati was a juggernaut on this day and could not be stopped. Dane Sanzenbacher made two catches for 18 yards in a slot receiver position, and Mike Nugent contributed seven extra points in the Bengals' 49-9 victory in a game that probably should have had the mercy rule. For the Jets, Nick Mangold and the rest of his linemen struggled against the Bengals' active front four, allowing pressure in his quarterback's face and not opening up very many holes for the running game.
The game which involved the most former Buckeyes was a battle of 2-4 teams in Oakland as the benched Mike Adams and his Steelers took on Terrelle Pryor and the Oakland Raiders. Pryor shocked the Steelers on the first play from scrimmage, making what is definitely the best play of the year so far by a former Buckeye:
In case you weren't counting and were simply in awe of the Steelers' utter failure to defend the quarterback on the option, that was 93 yards for Terrelle Pryor. The Raiders would hang on for a 21-18 win and Pryor was a big part of that, rushing 8 times for 106 yards and the touchdown you see there. He struggled passing the ball, however, as he only went 10/19 for 88 yards and two interceptions. The Raiders had only 13 first downs and still won. Raider CB Chimdi Chekwa did not record a statistic, but did get some playing time on punt returns. For Pittsburgh, Cameron Heyward had his best pro game statistically speaking, with 6 tackles (3 solo). The aforementioned Mike Adams did not play. Safety Will Allen had an unassisted tackle in a backup role as well.
Finally, in the late Sunday game, A.J. Hawk was tasked with leadership of the most banged-up linebacking corps in the league. With 3 starters out, Hawk has had to step up his game. Fortunately for him and running mate Ryan Pickett, the Packers have not played a whole lot of defense against our Ted Glover's Vikings. Hawk made 5 tackles and 2 of them were solo stops, while Pickett had 2 tackles (1 solo). Jake Stoneburner was active but did not make any stats.
Be sure to make your pick for the best Buckeye performance of Week 8.