In 2013, there are more pro teams employing former Buckeyes than there have been in the past five years. The landscape of the NFL is dotted with the scarlet and gray. Each game this week, except for one, featured a team that has a former Buckeye on its roster. This week's games featured some star performances, including a name that all Buckeye fans should be familiar with.
The first game of the week was a travesty and an insult to all things football-related. However, the game was still played, and Buckeyes participated, so we must cover the action. Nate Ebner was active for the victorious Pats, but failed for the second week in a row to record a statistic. For the Jets, Santonio Holmes was back, and caught 3 passes for 51 yards. Nick Mangold was, again, the best piece on a struggling offensive line. However, controversy struck on the last play of offense for the Jets when Geno Smith threw a game ending interception, and Mangold took a frustration penalty, hitting Pats corner Aqib Talib out of bounds. This caused a scrum which ended in punches being thrown and an ejection of another Jets player for hitting an official. It may be a long season in New York.
In Baltimore, John Simon saw his first game action in the NFL against his hometown Browns. The Ravens came away with an ugly 14-6 victory, and Simon made a tackle on special teams. He'll no doubt remember his first game action in the NFL for the rest of his life, and certainly had a much more satisfying outcome than his first NFL game.
In other early AFC action, Ryan Tannehill's big game led to a nice game for former Buckeye Brian Hartline for Miami. He had five catches for 68 yards, and was targeted eight times in Miami's 24-20 victory. Other AFC South action involved the Texans vs. Titans, but DeVier Posey is still recovering from an Achilles injury and, according to Gary Kubiak, is "a few weeks away" from contributing to the team at full capacity.
In Buffalo, the Panthers could not defend a game-winning drive by the Bills, but their loss was not the fault of Ted Ginn, Jr. Ginn caught three passes for 62 yards and a pretty 40-yard touchdown, and had a total of 100 yards on kick and punt returns, with a long kick return of 36 yards. This was Ginn's best game in terms of statistical output since he played in Miami.
Doug Worthington's Washington professional football team had its doors blown off in Green Bay, and he did not record a snap. However, Buckeyes were represented on the Packers' side by AJ Hawk and Ryan Pickett. Hawk had 5 tackles (2 solo) and Pickett recorded a pass defensed in the 38-20 victory.
In other NFC East action, a pair of Buckeye safeties suffered close losses to AFC West squads. Kurt Coleman's starting spot in Philadelphia has been wrested away, and he did not record a statistic in the Eagles' 33-30 loss to San Diego. Will Allen fared marginally better against Kansas City, with four tackles (2 solo) and a pass defensed.
The last early game of the day featured the Rams and Falcons, and although the Rams did not win, James Laurinaitis made five solo tackles, and snapper Jake McQuaide - well, he didn't do anything terrible.
Each late game featured a former Buckeye, and except for one, all featured major contributions. Jim Cordle plays in New York, and played a couple of snaps in the in the Manning Bowl, but did not start.
Terrelle Pryor once again started for the Raiders at quarterback, but did not have to do all the heavy lifting in Oakland's 19-9 win against the team which employs his former center, Michael Brewster. Brewster is a backup guard and did not play, but Pryor contributed 9 rushes for 50 yards, and was 15 of 24 passing for 126 yards. Pryor managed the game and did not throw an interception or touchdown, instead allowing kicker Sebastian Janikowski to do the legwork. (Har.)
Starting guard Rob Sims and the Detroit Lions suffered a tough loss to Arizona, as the defense could not hold Carson Palmer out of the end zone in the fourth quarter. Sims had a decent game pass blocking, and the offensive line only allowed one sack of quarterback Matthew Stafford. The run game was the real struggle, as Reggie Bush was hurt in the first quarter, and the Cardinals defense made six tackles for loss.
The final late game we'll cover concerns the New Orleans Saints, which got a 16-14 victory on a last second field goal. Safety Malcolm Jenkins finished the game with two solo tackles and a pass defensed.
In the late games, we'll see three teams which have Buckeyes. Donte Whitner suited up for the Niners and started at strong safety, making a tackle and defending two passes, while guard Alex Boone struggled along with his offensive linemates to open up running lanes against a physical Seahawks defensive line. Monday night, Steelers offensive lineman Mike Adams will be tested against a formidable Bengals defense, while on the Bengals' side, kicker Mike Nugent hopes to contribute a few good kicks, while sixth receiver Dane Sanzenbacher is hoping to contribute on special teams and in the slot. We may see him on punt returns as well.