Week 3 of the NFL featured some strange results (Cleveland over our Ted Glover's Vikings? The Cowboys crush the Rams? Panthers shut out the Giants?!) and some strange games (Cincinnati had fives turnovers – and won). It also featured some surprising performances by former Buckeyes. We'll get right into it, starting with Thursday night's game.
Thursday night's game marked the return of safety Kurt Coleman. Although he only recorded one tackle and the Eagles lost, it was good to see him back on the field. If Nate Allen keeps playing as badly as he has been, Coleman could work his way back into the starting lineup.
Now, onto Sunday's games.
The best game of the day was right off the bat in Cincinnati, where the Bengals defeated the Packers 34-30 despite having a serious case of fumbleitis. Cincinnati's defense set the tone and forced four turnovers themselves, including a game-winning fumble return for a touchdown. Kicker Mike Nugent had an inauspicious day, however. He missed a 52-yard field goal wide left, and had an extra point blocked. No bueno. Dane Sanzenbacher saw some action at the gunner spot on special teams, with the Bengals hurting at corner and safety. For the Pack, AJ Hawk had a solid if unremarkable game, and got more playing time than usual with Clay Matthews' hamstring problem acting up. Hawk had 9 tackles (6 solo) and one tackle for loss. Defensive tackle Ryan Pickett made a stop, and also batted down a pass from Andy Dalton.
Rob Sims' Lions went in to FedEx Field and got the better of the Washington professional football franchise. Sims had a rough game run-blocking, as the offensive line could not shed Washington's big D-line. However, he was good in pass protection and allowed Matthew Stafford to pick the Washington secondary apart. Doug Worthington did not see any game action for Washington.
The Rams had a terrible game against the Cowboys. James Laurinaitis and the rest of the St. Louis defense was shredded by Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray. Laurinaitis' playmaking and stats have experienced a dip lately, with rookie Alec Ogletree making the majority of the splash plays. However, Lil' Animal managed 4 solo tackles on the day. Jake McQuaide saw a whole lot of action on punts as St. Louis struggled mightily on the road. Cowboys safety Will Allen appears to have lost his starting spot to rookie J.J. Wilcox. It remains to be seen if he can get it back.
The Carolina Panthers crushed Jim Cordle's New York Giants, 38-0. Cordle didn't see the field, but Carolina has a couple of Buckeyes itself. Ted Ginn, Jr. has become a little bit more of a featured player in the Panthers' offense, and he led the team in receiving yards as he caught a 47-yard touchdown from Cam Newton. Ginn finished with 3 catches for 71 yards, and the aforementioned touchdown, 11 rushing yards, and a 12-yard punt return. Tight end Ben Hartsock was inactive for Carolina.
Staying in the NFC early games, New Orleans hardly needed safety Malcolm Jenkins at all, as they cruised to an easy 31-7 win over Arizona. Jenkins finished with 3 tackles and a pass broken up in the blowout.
We'll jump over to the AFC, where Houston's DeVier Posey made a comeback from an Achilles tear and contributed right away. Posey had three catches for 29 yards and was targeted 4 times. However, it was not nearly enough to overcome John Simon's Ravens, as the Texans struggled with turnovers and special teams, losing 30-9.
This week's late games all featured teams with Buckeyes, and those teams went 2 and 2. As generally expected, Michael Brewster's Jacksonville Jaguars got stomped in Seattle, 45-17. Brewster didn't see a whole lot of action, but expect him to see more as Brad Meester is phased out of the center position.
In the Buffalo-New York Jets matchup, Jets center Nick Mangold and wide receiver Santonio Holmes benefited from a long layoff as they defeated Buffalo 27-20. Mangold had a fumbled snap on a weird play, but recovered and had a nice day as the Jets offense was surprisingly competent all game long. They protected well for Geno Smith, who allowed Santonio Holmes to make a comeback in a big way. Holmes had five catches for 154 yards, including a 69-yard touchdown in what was probably the best offensive game of the day by a Buckeye. This makes the Jets the league's worst 2-1 team, but they will be a tough out going forward.
The other AFC East team with a Buckeye made a nice comeback and got a home victory against a solid Atlanta Falcons team. Miami was down 20-10 in the third, but Ryan Tannehill found former Buckeye Brian Hartline for an 18-yard score which tied the score at 20, and the Dolphins went on to win with 38 seconds left. Hartline also had a solid day, making 4 catches for 56 yards and a touchdown, and ensuring his spot in the discussion for best Ohio State alum at the next level of the week.
The last game of the day was a toughie for 49ers Alex Boone and Donte Whitner, as they were outmuscled by the Colts 27-7 on their own home field. Boone was forced to make a tackle on a turnover, and did all he could against the Colts' defensive line, but gave up a coverage sack and struggled when the Colts keyed on the running game. Donte Whitner made 7 solo tackles, but was also flagged for a very questionable personal foul.
Last night, Mike Adams tried to rebound from a disastrous showing against the Bengals' defensive line last Monday night. Problem: He and the rest of the Steelers were facing another excellent defense in the Chicago Bears on a short week. The Bears exploded to a quick lead of their own, but the Steelers fought back to make things more than interesting. The Bears ultimately pulled away to claim a comfortable win, 40-23. Adams and his Steelers head to Wembley to play in London next weekend to face the Minnesota Vikings.
Tonight's game will feature two Buckeyes on the Raiders, as Terrelle Pryor faces a daunting task: going head-to-head with the great Peyton Manning in Denver. We'll see what Pryor can accomplish. Also, Chimdi Chekwa may be activated for the game, as the Raiders could use all the DBs they can get against the Broncos' aerial assault.
Let us know who you think was the most outstanding Buckeye in the NFL from Thursday through Sunday action of Week 3 in the poll and justify your choice in the comments below.