Several former Buckeyes' current teams took the field as the playoff kicked off this Wildcard Weekend. Philly Brown and Andrew Norwell's Panthers faced off with Ted Ginn, Jr.'s Cardinals in Carolina. Philly Brown had three receptions for 37 yards for the Panthers, although Brown sadly left the game with a shoulder injury late in the second quarter and was unable to return. Rookie left guard Andrew Norwell, who has had an excellent season with the Panthers, also had a solid performance for Carolina.
For the Cardinals, it was a challenging day for Ted Ginn, Jr. The Cardinals had taken a 14-13 lead into the half, but in the third quarter Carolina extended their lead to 20-14 with a 39-yard touchdown pass from Cam Newton to Fozzy Whittaker. Ted Ginn, Jr. attempted to return the ensuing kick, and Ginn fumbled the ball on the Arizona eight-yard line. The ball was recovered by Carolina, who proceeded to score on a one-yard pass from Newton to Mike Tolbert, and the Panthers extended their lead to 27-14. The final score, following a Carolina safety at the very end of the game, was 27-16, and the Panthers will advance to the divisional round. They will face Seattle on the road next weekend.
The Steelers dropped a tough one at home to their division rivals, the Baltimore Ravens, who will advance to take on the New England Patriots in the divisional round next week. For the Steelers, rookie Ryan Shazier exhibited exceptional awareness defensively. The first-year linebacker had three tackles for the Steelers, and in the fourth quarter Ravens running back Justin Forsett fumbled, and Shazier kept Forsett from recovering the fumble, allowing his teammate, fellow rookie Stephon Tuitt, to recover. Former Buckeye Cameron Heyward also had two tackles for the Steelers. The Ravens won, 30-17.
The Bengals were without two of their most reliable offensive weapons as they fell to the Colts on Sunday afternoon. Former Buckeye Mike Nugent hit a 57-yard field goal, his only attempt of the day, and was also perfect on his single PAT attempt.
For the Colts, rookie left guard Jack Mewhort had a solid day, and Dan "Boom" Herron really contributed. Herron has emerged as the most productive running back on the Colts' roster, and he got it done on the ground and through the air on Sunday, amassing 56 rushing yards and one touchdown on 12 carries. Herron also added 85 yards through the air on 10 receptions, trailing only T.Y. Hilton in total receiving yards on the day. Herron's stellar performance was unfortunately overshadowed by two fumbles. One was recovered by the Bengals, and the other was recovered by Indianapolis, and neither kept the Colts from advancing. Indy won 26-10, and the Colts will face the Broncos in Denver next weekend.
Rob Sims, the starting left guard for the Detroit Lions, was the only former Buckeye on the field as his team fell to the Cowboys 24-20 in Dallas. The Cowboys will face the Green Bay Packers, and former Buckeyes Corey Linsley and A.J. Hawk, next week at Lambeau Field.