As the end of the 2017 NFL season draws near, injuries have sidelined a good portion of the former Ohio State players in the league, while others continue to best their former career-highs. One Buckeye was a surprise inactive due to “violating team rules” while another stepped up in place of a suspended teammate.
Several Buckeyes participated in the “My Cause My Cleats” campaign, and sported some pretty great footwear to draw attention to various causes, issues, and charities.
Your weekly reminder; Fan voting is open through Dec. 14th for the 2018 Pro Bowl, and there are 20 Buckeyes you can vote for on the ballot.
Here’s how Buckeyes in the NFL fared in Week 13:
Roby back in the spotlight
Despite not being a starter, Bradley Roby has seen plenty of minutes for the Denver Broncos over the past few seasons. The Broncos had (formerly) touted the best secondary group in the league, and Roby steadily contributed to that with the occasional pick and pass break-up.
This has been a tough year for Denver, and last week proved to make things worse with Aqib Talib being ejected and subsequently suspended for a full-on fight with Raiders WR Michael Crabtree. With Talib being out, Roby saw more minutes on Sunday and had a great day with four total tackles, a forced fumble and recovery, along with three big pass breakups.
Looks like @BradRoby_1 still knows how to change a game. Jay Cutler passes to Kenny Stills who goes for extra yards. Roby meets Stills with a fist to the ball and ensures a turnover when he recovers the ball himself.— MileHighReport (@MileHighReport) December 3, 2017
7:29 3rd quarter
Buckeyes flock to Injured Reserve
It seems like every week there’s another former Ohio State player being sidelined for a long stretch. Before the season even started, second-year Taylor Decker was given the IR designation while he underwent surgery. About 10 weeks later, Decker was activated off PUP and was able to make it back on the field for the second-half of the season.
Not everyone is so lucky though. This week alone, two more Buckeyes joined their breatheren on the sideline, as LB Curtis Grant (Giants) and ST Nate Ebner (Patriots) saw their seasons come to an end thanks to injuries sustained last weekend. The list of Buckeyes on IR now stands at 10, which is about 25% of the former Ohio State players suiting up in the NFL.
Buckeyes on IR
|Michael Bennett||Jacksonville Jaguars||Defensive Tackle||Pectoral|
|Gareon Conley||Oakland Raiders||Cornerback||Shin|
|Nate Ebner||New England Patriots||Defensive Back||Knee|
|Curtis Grant||New York Giants||Linebacker||Knee|
|Malik Hooker||Indianapolis Colts||Safety||Torn ACL and MCL|
|Raekwon McMillan||Miami Dolphins||Linebacker||Torn ACL|
|Jack Mewhort||Indianapolis Colts||Offensive Guard||Knee|
|Terrelle Pryor Sr.||Washington Redskins||Wide Receiver||Ankle (surgery)|
|Curtis Samuel||Carolina Panthers||Wide Receiver||Ankle (out for the season)|
|Devin Smith||New York Jets||Wide Receiver||Torn ACL|
More career-high performances from Buckeyes
This week’s Sunday Night Football matchup featured the Philadelphia Eagles (Malcolm Jenkins) and Seattle Seahawks (Nick Vannett). From the start, second-year tight end Nick Vannett was part of the gameplan with two grabs for 19 total yards in the first half, and finished the day with a big 21-yard catch (tying his career-long) in the fourth quarter. Just a week after his first career touchdown, Vannett finished Week 13 with a career-high 40 receiving yards.
After being named the starter for the Bills, DE Adolphus Washington had a career day against the Patriots (of all teams). The Buckeye not only claimed his first sack of the 2017 season, but it was on the oft-coveted, Michigan alum, target, Tom Brady. Despite the final score (23-3), Washington had a career-high game with six total tackles.
Second-year receiver for the Texans, Braxton Miller, also had a career game on Sunday. Against the Titans, the Buckeye put up a career-high 71 yards receiving, including a career-long 57-yard reception (missing the endzone by a yard).
It's good to see Braxton Miller finding some success after dealing with injuries pic.twitter.com/cpYnkTfKgQ— Ian Wharton (@NFLFilmStudy) December 3, 2017
On his way to finally making an impact, after an up-and-down career thus far — and littered with injuries — Miller was once again bitten by the injury bug and missed most of the second-half with a concussion.
Plays of the Week
Despite having a hell of a second season in the NFL, wideout Michael Thomas scored just his second touchdown of the year on Sunday. He continues to prove why “you can’t guard Mike” and displayed an incredible awareness of his feet in order to secure the score. He finished the day with 70 yards and one touchdown.
.@DrewBrees + @CantGuardMike = @Saints TD! #GoSaints pic.twitter.com/18JROBe9GG— NFL (@NFL) December 3, 2017
One of the best DE’s in the NFL, Joey Bosa got back to sacking quarterbacks a week after breaking his streak of doing so. On Sunday against the Browns, the Buckeye recorded a career-high seven solo tackles. He also had a huge hit for a strip sack against QB Deshon Kizer.
Business as usual for @jbbigbear.— Los Angeles Chargers (@Chargers) December 3, 2017
VOTE https://t.co/Dy2G8yxiOA#ProBowl pic.twitter.com/jMaCosre6d
That’s 22 career sacks for @jbbigbear! He’s now tied for 12th in #Chargers history for career sacks. #CLEvsLAC— Los Angeles Chargers (@Chargers) December 3, 2017
- This week’s Monday Night Football matchup is an AFC North showdown between the Pittsburgh Steelers (Cameron Heyward, Ryan Shazier) and the Cincinnati Bengals. Shazier is questionable heading into the matchup, having missed Thursday’s practice with an ankle injury.
- After getting a second chance to extend his NFL career, kicker Mike Nugent was released by the Dallas Cowboys as their franchise kicker (Dan Bailey) is back from an injury. This might have been the veteran’s curtain call on a 12-year career.
- Speaking of the Cowboys, running back Rod Smith is getting plenty of carries now that Ezekiel Elliott is suspended. A week after recording his first NFL touchdown, Smith made his way back into the endzone for the second score of his career — this time on Thursday Night Football — finishing the day with 10 carries and 27 yards. His brother (and teammate) Jaylon Smith was super hyped for Rod’s success.
Jaylon may have been a little excited for his brother Rod's TD. #WASvsDAL pic.twitter.com/Gue788XVBX— Dallas Cowboys (@dallascowboys) December 1, 2017
Injury Report and Inactives
- Giants CB Eli Apple is once again inactive this week, this time due to a hip injury — he’s coming off two weeks missed to tend to his Mom, Annie Apple, after brain surgery.
- Rookie sensation Marshon Lattimore was inactive on Sunday for the Saints, with the team taking things slowly and not rushing his return from an ankle injury.
Source: The #Saints won’t play CB Marshon Lattimore. His ankle isn’t right yet. The team is being smart about it. He’s inactive.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 3, 2017
- Starting linebacker for the Jets, Darron Lee, was a surprise addition to this week’s inactive list. No reason was given ahead of the game, only that it was a coaching decision, but Lee told reporters his benching was due to “violating team rule”.
- As has become the norm, QB Cardale Jones was a healthy scratch in Week 13, as he holds firm to the No. 3 quarterback spot for the Chargers.