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Ohio State alumni take center stage on ‘Sunday Night Football’

It was a good week for Buckeyes in the NFL, with several making a trip overseas and others making big plays.

NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Seattle Seahawks Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

The Buckeyes got the win over Rutgers on Saturday, and on Sunday, several former Ohio State stars made waves in the NFL. It was Week 4 of the regular season and four alumni made the trip to London to play in Wembley Stadium, while other Buckeyes made their mark back at home.

It was a bit of a weird week for the league, which saw the Patriots lose to the Panthers, the Bengals not sucking, the Bills taking the lead in the AFC East, Houston putting up 57 points, and the Jets actually winning. It might be cliche to claim “any given Sunday” but this week reinforces the point. From one game to the next things can change, but for now at least, many of the Ohio State alumni are on the brighter-side of things.

‘Sunday Night Football’

The Indianapolis Colts and Seattle Seahawks faced off in primetime on Sunday, and there were a lot of Buckeyes claiming ‘THE Ohio State University’ during team introductions. The Colts boast one of the more alumni-loaded teams in the NFL, with Johnathan Hankins, Malik Hooker, Jack Mewhort and John Simon (with Joshua Perry on the practice squad) in the lineup.

The rookie Malik Hooker spent most of the offseason rehabbing, but has made every moment that he’s been back special. The Colts defense has seen a significant improvement over last season and the Buckeye will be a big reason the team succeeds. Hooker made the third interception of his early career in the third quarter of Sunday’s game, and returned it for 29 yards.

In a losing effort for the Colts, John Simon and Johnathan Hankins had four total tackles apiece, including a sack by Hankins. It wasn't the finest of outings for the Indianapolis D, but the Buckeye alumni acquitted themselves well.

Buckeyes take London

The NFL is still trying to make international football a thing, and this week several former Buckeyes made the trip across the pond to show off in front of their London fans. The New Orleans Saints (Vonn Bell, Ted Ginn Jr., Marshon Lattimore and Michael Thomas) shutout the Dolphins during their trip, finishing the day 20-0.

Saints’ QB Drew Brees has a duo of Buckeye receivers to count on, including Ted Ginn Jr., who left London with two receptions for 25 yards and nine yard rush. Second-year WR Michael Thomas continues to be the highlight though. Thomas finished the day with eight receptions for 89 yards and the team’s first touchdown of the day.

On the defensive side of the ball, Vonn Bell recorded four solo tackles, and rookie Marshon Lattimore snagged five solo tackles and forced a fumble. Lattimore is back after missing last week’s contest due to a concussion he sustained in Week 2 — another reminder he was concussed after running into teammate and Buckeye Vonn Bell.

Steelers defense led by Buckeyes

He may have spent the latter-half of the 2016 on injured reserve, but Buckeye alum Cameron Heyward continues to prove he’s back and better than ever for the Steelers this season. The Buckeye finished Week 4 with 2.0 (!!) sacks and a forced fumble against the Ravens.

Teammate LB Ryan Shazier has been equally electric thus far in 2017. His 11 total tackles (10 solo), three pass break-ups, and an interception continue the case for the Buckeye to be called one of the NFL’s most prolific linebackers.

Shazier might not have gotten credit for two interceptions on the stats sheet, but he was the only reason they got a second one later in the game.

El Guapo is back in a big way

After being questionable in the week leading up to Sunday’s matchup, Niners running back Carlos Hyde didn’t let his hip injury keep him from 16 carries for 68 yards. The Buckeye also claimed five receptions for 27 additional yards and is well on his way to a career-high season so long as he can stay healthy. (I know, I know. Knock on wood, spit over my shoulder, rub a rabbit’s foot.)

Plays of the Week

Zeke scores and shades

After an offseason filled with distractions, and a continued legal battle over his ability to play now (and/or later), Ezekiel Elliott has taken a lot of heat over the last few weeks about his seemingly growing midsection. When the man’s hashtag is #FeedZeke a larger belly should be expected, but the running back used his TD celebration on Sunday to show he’s ready for seconds.

Zeke’s mom is the real MVP

The woman who taught the Buckeye running back how to hurdle over defenders and the one always in his corner got a little lovin’ Sunday. Elliott ran over and gave his mom, Dawn Elliott, the ball after his second score of the day.

Injury Report and Inactives

  • Panthers receiver Curtis Samuel was on the sideline yet again on Sunday after injuring his back during practice earlier in the week. Cardinals guard Alex Boone missed Sunday’s game and could miss more with a pectoral injury.
  • Gareon Conley was inactive Sunday due to a re-aggravated shin injury from training camp. The rookie has already shown his value to the Oakland Raiders’ secondary, and the team should be eager to get him back on the field.
  • Week 4 is the final game of the suspension for Jets’ WR Jalin Marshall, who should be back on the field next week for New York.
  • Braxton Miller was listed as inactive for the Houston and was a surprisingly healthy scratch for the Texans, who haven’t seen the production they had hoped after drafting him in 2016. Sitting at QB No. 3 for the Chargers, 12-gauge Cardale Jones was inactive in Week 4.
  • Another surprising move was the Buffalo Bills deciding to list second-year DE Adolphus Washington as inactive.