Week 12 in the NFL featured some of the league's oldest rivalries and a bizarre finish at Lambeau Field. The defensive players once again outperformed the former Buckeyes on offense, starting on Thursday night with Malcolm Jenkins, who had five tackles and one deflection in the Saints 17-13 victory against the Falcon.
The Vikings and Packers tied 26-26 this week, the first since the league's new overtime rules were implemented last season. A.J. Hawk was second on the team in tackles, recording 11 (nine solo) with one being just his fourth sack of the season. Ryan Pickett added three tackles of his own on the Packers defensive line.
In the rivalry match between the Steelers and the Browns, Cameron Heyward recovered one of three Cleveland fumbles, adding two tackles and a sack for Buckeye alum Dick LeBeau's defense. Will Allen held down the safety position, recording four tackles.
St. Louis threw down the hammer against Chicago, winning 41-21. The game featured fifth year alum James Laurinaitis, who had seven tackles and one recovered fumble for St. Louis in the contest. Jake McQuaide has proven to be a trusted long snapper for St. Louis, snapping without error eight times in the game (four touchdowns, 2 field goals and 2 punts).
Once again Ted Ginn Jr. was the most targeted Panther receiver, and once again he was towards the bottom in receptions. Ginn Jr. was targeted 10 times but only had three receptions for a whopping 11 yards, dropping a would-have-been 50-yard catch in his first game back in Miami since leaving the team a bust after his abysmal 2009 season. However, Ginn Jr. did have a 41-yard punt return which set up a Carolina field goal late in the first half.
On the other side of the field, Dolphins WR Brian Hartline caught all five of his targets for 78 yards, and continues to be the only former Buckeye receiver to consistently produce in the league. DeVier Posey, just like last week against Oakland, had just one catch for five yards in this week's Toilet Bowl match that pitted Houston against Jacksonville. The one catch trend continued with Santonio Holmes, who had one reception for 12 yards in the Jets loss to the Ravens on Sunday.
Terrelle Pryor was sidelined once again this weekend (though per some reports, he was a healthy scratch), leaving Chimdi Chekwa to be the lone former Buckeye in Oakland's game against Tennessee. Chekwa had two tackles, and is still trying to work into a starting position on the Raiders 25th ranked defense against the pass.
Nate Ebner, former Ohio State walk-on turned special teams standout, may have had the biggest impact of the week. Late in overtime in the Sunday Night Football game between the New England Patriots and the Denver Broncos, Ebner found himself in the right place at the right time as he recovered a punt that inadvertently hit a Broncos defender. After the recovery, the Pats' Stephen Gostkowski hit the game winning field goal to give New England a 34-31 OT win.
This week, Philadelphia and Cincinnati both had bye weeks, keeping Kurt Coleman sidelined for the Eagles and Mike Nugent and Dane Sanzenbacher for the Bengals. Tune in to Monday Night Football tonight to see Donte Whitner and the San Francisco 49ers in action against the Redskins.