There is only one game left to play ahead of the Super Bowl, and no matter how the division titles shake out, there will be at least one former Ohio State player in the biggest game of the year. In fact, some former Buckeyes have been critical to their teams wins.
The remaining players in the Super Bowl hunt are Nate Ebner, Corey Brown, Ted Ginn Jr, Kurt Coleman, Andrew Norwell and Bradley Roby. Ebner's Patriots and Roby's Broncos will face off in the AFC title game next weekend, and the remaining Buckeyes will battle the Cardinals for the NFC Championship..
Steelers vs Broncos
With the Steelers offense banged up, the defense -- led by former Buckeyes Ryan Shazier, Cameron Heyward and Will Allen -- was tasked with stepping up if they had any chance to win. The team was the underdog going into the Mile High city to face off against Bradley Roby and the Broncos, but wasn't able to put together enough offense to best Denver at home.
The first penalty of the game for the Broncos came late in the third quarter on Bradley Roby for a pass interference. The pass wasn't exactly catchable anyway, but a slight push out bounds was enough to draw the flag. He made up for it in the fourth quarter by forcing a fumble on Fitzgerald Toussaint -- a former Wolverine(!) -- giving the Broncos a chance to take the lead and get the win.
What a play buckeye ! @BradRoby_1— Terrelle Pryor (@TerrellePryor) January 18, 2016
One of the good parts of watching Pittsburgh play football, is hearing Ryan Shazier's name on almost every other defensive play. That's how it was at Ohio State, and that's how it is in the League; Shazier is healthy and has completed his transition to key player in the NFL. His season might be over, but it's just the start of a successful career.
Seahawks vs Panthers
Carolina has a hand full of former Ohio State players, including some critical playmakers. The team got off to a rocket start, scoring 31 points in the first 25 minutes of the game, and were able to hold the Seahawks back from completing their second-half comeback.
The Panthers welcomed back Ted Ginn Jr and Kurt Coleman ahead of the divisional round matchup; joining fellow Buckeyes Corey Brown and Andrew Norwell in the action for the team win. Ginn only had 11 yards on one reception and a fumble on the day, and Brown only snagged two passes for 22 yards.
Despite the low stats, Corey "Philly" Brown was able to best one of the loudest secondary players in the game, completing a 17 yard reception on Richard Sherman coverage.
Philly Brown's turn to torch Sherman pic.twitter.com/7PTcq0qjn1— marshall (@marshallsheldon) January 17, 2016
At the end of the day, the team got the win, and Buckeye Nation got to hear the best introduction four times.
Going to THE Championship Weekend! #GoBucks #KeepPounding @Panthers @k4coleman @TedGinnJr_19@phillybrown10 pic.twitter.com/Mjlc4lsEZj— Brutus Buckeye (@Brutus_Buckeye) January 17, 2016
The Panthers will face the Cardinals in Arizona to shore up an NFC title.
Chiefs vs Patriots
There was only one former Buckeye in this matchup, defensive back Nate Ebner, who saw 22 snaps on special teams against Kansas City. The Patriots were able to pull off the win, and are one step closer to the Super Bowl, but first, they'll have to face the Broncos for the AFC title.
Ebner was seen wearing a cast on his right arm in the week ahead of divisional round of the playoff, but was able to get back in action when it mattered most. Even head coach Bill Belichick was happy about the safety's return.
BB said it was "certainly good" to have Nate Ebner back from injury.— Adam Kurkjian (@AdamKurkjian) January 17, 2016
Packers vs Cardinals
Green Bay's offense had a hard time getting started in Saturday's game against Arizona, despite former Ohio State center Corey Linsley's best effort. The second half resulted in two touchdowns for the Packers, leaving them six points shy of the win. Linsley and the Packers are no longer in the 2015 postseason run.