With just a few weeks left in the 2016 NFL regular season, there is officially no stopping Ezekiel Elliott or his campaign for postseason awards — including Offensive Rookie of the Year. Pro Bowl voting has started and Elliott, along with 17 other former Ohio State stars have made the ballot. It’s been a good year for a lot of Buckeyes in the NFL and it doesn’t look like they’re slowing down anytime soon.
Buckeyes load SNF
This week’s primetime game featured five former Ohio State players as the Seattle Seahawks (Tyvis Powell, Nick Vannett) hosted the Carolina Panthers (Corey “Philly” Brown, Ted Ginn Jr., Andrew Norwell) at CenturyLink Field. Panthers’ safety Kurt Coleman was out with a concussion and missed the Week 13 loss.
Ginn got his third touchdown in as many games early in the second quarter, coming up with a big 55-yard score. Last week, the Buckeye had a career-high 88-yard touchdown catch, making him the fourth player in NFL history to have a receiving touchdown, punt-return touchdown and kickoff-return touchdown of at least 85 yards each in his career.
Seahawks’ tight end Nick Vannett has earned more playing time, and proved he can do more than just block effectively. The rookie had his first two-reception game for 25 yards; the first being a long 21-yard catch in the first half.
Philly Brown finally saw a target on a swing route to start the second half, but was hit just before he was able to make the catch. He did have one rushing attempt in the matchup, but it resulted in a three yard loss.
Big day for Eli Apple
The cornerback had a big game in Week 13 against the Steelers, when he came up with a fumble recovery, only to follow that up with his first career interception. So far this season, the rookie Giant now has 36 total tackles, three passes defended, a forced fumble and an interception.
He even got some love from former teammates Bradley Roby — who had his own interception this week -- and Cardale Jones.
Congrats @EliApple13 on your first career pick and many more to come, just not on me lol— Cardale Jones (@Cardale7_) December 5, 2016
Pro Bowl campaigns
Not only has talent out of Ohio State loaded the NFL, especially the past few years, but they’ve also become some of the best in the league. Of the 39 Buckeyes on active rosters — not including those on IR (Cam Heyward and James Laurinaitis) — 18 made the ballot for the Pro Bowl. Of those, five earned the nod in their rookie season.
Rookies: Joey Bosa (Chargers), Taylor Decker (Lions), Ezekiel Elliott (Cowboys), Michael Thomas (Saints) and Jalin Marshall (Jets).
Veterans: Alex Boone (Vikings), Kurt Coleman, Ted Ginn Jr., Andrew Norwell (Panthers), Johnathan Hankins (Giants), Carlos Hyde (49ers), Malcolm Jenkins (Eagles), Nick Mangold (Jets), Jack Mewhort (Colts), Mike Nugent (Bengals), Terrelle Pryor (Browns), John Simon (Texans), and Ryan Shazier (Steelers).
Don’t forget to vote for your favorite Buckeye.
Everyone’s trolling Pryor
The quarterback turned wideout tends to take the high road when things get a little snarky — especially on Twitter. But that didn’t keep one player from poking a little fun and another from straight up disrespecting Pryor.
His first bout of Twitter beef involved the Colts’ hilarious punter Pat McAfee. Pryor tweeted that McAfee must’ve been watching film of Marquette King on the sideline after seeing him celebrate of a fake punt. To which McAfee replied to perfectly.
Child please.. I've been doing this since you were still a quarterback https://t.co/naxpnMTIr9— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) November 28, 2016
The second instance was just before the Browns faced the Giants and Janoris Jenkins decided to take to Twitter to call Pryor “a sh*t eater” not once, but twice. And this was after saying he wasn’t worried about covering Pryor during interviews. If Jenkins was trying to get a rise out of Pryor, it clearly didn’t work.
You are a great corner. Solid defender! You played a solid game. God Bless !! Good luck rest of year https://t.co/Lomh8ke4YW— Terrelle Pryor SR (@TerrellePryor) November 27, 2016
Another shoulder injury for Miller
Former Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller made the position switch to wide receiver in large part due to the shoulder injury that kept him sidelined in 2014 and the long recovery he had with it. His new spot at wideout couldn’t keep Miller’s shoulder safe when he went down hard against Green Bay on Sunday.
Plays of the week
The Broncos cornerback recorded his second Pick-6 of the season on Sunday against the Jaguars, becoming the ninth player in franchise history to have multiple interceptions for touchdowns in a season. In just his third year, he has cemented himself as a big part of one of the League’s most dangerous secondaries.
The first round pick for the Chargers has 5.5 sacks in just eight games. He’s definitely in the running for Defensive Rookie of the Year and is earning his No. 3 overall pick for San Diego. In Week 13 he was able to grab onto Buccaneers’ quarterback Jameis Winston for the takedown.
Pretty much everything the Buckeye running back does at this point is amazing and exciting and worthy of fans attention. After yet another impressive — and now expected — performance, Zeke continues to trounce existing franchise and league records. With his touchdown on ‘Thursday Night Football’, Elliott tied Dallas’ franchise record for most rushing touchdowns by a rookie (12), sharing the honor with Tony Dorsett from 1977.
- Lots of Buckeyes should see playing time on ‘Monday Night Football’ when the New York Jets (Darron Lee, Nick Mangold) host the Indianapolis Colts (Jack Mewhort) at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford. Wideout Devin Smith (Jets) was inactive last week as he gets back into training, but could see playing time in Week 13 — especially with former and current teammate Jalin Marshall still in concussion protocol.
- The last and final bye week is among us, and only one team gets a break this late in the season — the Cleveland Browns (Terrelle Pryor). Maybe they’ll come back well rested and get their first win of the year...maybe.
- John Simon (Texans) missed Sunday’s game against the Packers with a chest injury.
- DT Johnathan Hankins was sidelined in the first half of the Giants game against the Steelers with a bruised thigh.