Ohio State Buckeyes in the NFL: Keeping Up, Week 4

Donte Whitner got his first interception of the season on Thursday night. Was it enough to earn him an Eddie Award? - Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The Dolphins and Saints feature two Buckeyes on Monday Night Football, while the Packers and Panthers had a bye. Who stepped up with so many Bucks out this week?

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This week was marked by a serious lack of Ohio State players. With Terrelle Pryor out concussion aftermath, and with four Buckeyes – AJ Hawk, Ryan Pickett, Ted Ginn and Ben Hartsock on a bye week in Carolina and Green Bay, plus two more starters playing head-to-head in the Monday Night game in Malcolm Jenkins and Brian Hartline for New Orleans and Miami, respectively, some other Buckeyes would have to step up and put in some work this week. We'll start with the Thursday night game, and recap from there.

In 49ers vs. Rams, James Laurinaitis and the Rams defense again had a tough time stopping the run. While Lil' Animal led the Rams in tackles and accumulated the best statistics, he also had trouble getting his defense in position to make stops in the run game. Laurinaitis finished with 12 tackles (9 solo), 2 tackles for loss and two pass breakups. Long snapper Jake McQuaide missed a tackle on special teams but otherwise had a fine game. On the Niners' side, Alex Boone had a dumb personal foul penalty, as is his wont, but also helped the 49ers offensive line overwhelm a talented Rams front in the second half. Boone was a road-grader. Safety Donte Whitner also had a nice game, making 3 tackles, defending 2 passes, and intercepting Sam Bradford, along with an extremely unfortunate personal foul on a "late hit" that really wasn't. Whitner has greatly improved his play this year with Dashon Goldson's departure.

In the early games, the AFC North struggled. John Simon made a stop for the Ravens against the Bills, but his playing time has been limited early on. The Bills defeated Baltimore. In London, two 0-3 teams slugged it out in a point-fest. Cameron Heyward batted down yet another pass at the line, as is his new specialty, but failed to record a tackle. Mike Adams had a decent game, but gave up 2.5 sacks to Minnesota defensive end Jared Allen. In a game that was horrifically ugly for the Bengals, Dane Sanzenbacher did make his first catch of the season for 11 yards. Mike Nugent added two field goals, but the Bengals lost to the Browns, 17-6.

The ugliness continued for the New York Giants, as they were blown out by the undefeated (!!!) Kansas City Chiefs. But for the first time, Jim Cordle got an NFL start. With multiple injuries along the offensive line, the Giants started Cordle at center. Still inactive was defensive tackle Jonathan Hankins, who the Giants might as well try if they're going to start tanking the season.

Michael Brewster's Jaguars started out fast, with an opening field goal. Unfortunately, they didn't score after that. The Jags lost 37-3 as Brewster played a limited amount of snaps.

Rob Sims was another active O-lineman, and he led his Detroit Lions to their third win, taking down the Chicago Bears 40-32. The interior lineman did not give up a sack, and it certainly helped that Henry Melton is out for the season. We'll see what kind of grade Sims gets from PFF, but he had a solid game to the eye.

Moving on to the later games, there was not a whole lot of production from ex-Bucks. Will Allen's Cowboys got out to an early lead but the defense allowed 20 straight points and lost to the San Diego Chargers. Allen wasn't much of a contributor, making one tackle.

The New York Jets got crushed by the Tennessee Titans, and Santonio Holmes couldn't get open. He was targeted 5 times, but could only make 1 catch for 25 yards. Nick Mangold tried his best to anchor the line, but struggled against dominant (and mammoth) defensive tackles Ropati Pitoitua and Jurrell Casey

Last night, Nate Ebner was active for the Patriots against the Falcons and was playing on kickoffs.

Other Buckeyes who were inactive or did not record statistics include: Justin Boren (DEN), Chimdi Chekwa (OAK), Doug Worthington (WAS), Kurt Coleman (PHI), and Devier Posey (HOU).

Don't forget to vote for who you think was the best Buckeye in the NFL for Week 4 below. Past winners include Ted Ginn Jr., Brian Hartline and Santonio Holmes.

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