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Two Buckeyes have career-high days in Week 16 of the NFL

Plus Malik Hooker makes a game-winning interception.

Atlanta Falcons v Carolina Panthers Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

After tonight’s “Monday Night Football” game, there will be just one week left in the 2018 NFL regular season, and with teams scratching their way towards the playoffs, some former Ohio State players are just beginning to peak. A couple of Buckeyes claimed career-high’s in Week 16, Michael Thomas continues to do big things, and Malik Hooker made a game-winning interception.

Here’s a breakdown of Buckeyes in the NFL this week:


Week filled with personal bests

The Dolphins may have lost to the Jaguars 17-17, but former Buckeye linebacker Raekwon McMillan had a career-best day. After missing his entire rookie season, McMillan has been having a great “second” year in 2018. On Sunday, he recorded a 10 total tackles, reaching 98 for the season.

Wide receiver Curtis Samuel was more popular than ever on Sunday for the Panthers under back-up QB Taylor Heinicke. The Buckeye was targeted a career-high 13 times, coming down with the ball seven times for 41 yards, as he continues to get more involved in Carolina’s offense.


Hooker makes game-winning pick

The Colts’ safety Malik Hooker missed over half of his rookie season, but he’s had moments of greatness in his second. He did miss a couple of games with injuries in 2018, but had a career-high 12 tackles against the Patriots in Week 5, and so far, has totaled 41 total tackles on the year.

In Sunday’s contest against the Giants, Hooker not only recorded six tackles, but also snagged his second interception of the season, returning it for seven yards and securing the win for the Colts.

Not bad for the second-year player, who’s finally bringing some of interception magic to the NFL.


Roster moves

After recently being dropped by the Jets practice squad, Tyvis Powell re-signed with the San Francisco 49ers. Powell first joined the 49ers in November 2017, and spent the next year bouncing from the practice squad and active roster.

Linebacker Chris Worley was activated from the practice squad by the Bengals — although didn’t really get a chance to help during the team’s 26-18 loss to the Browns.

For the Saints, the once again removed QB J.T. Barrett from the practice squad (as they do weekly before re-adding him in days) and activated Ted Ginn Jr. from IR.


Saints v. Steelers

The New Orleans Saints bested the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 16, 31-28, and Buckeyes contributed throughout the contest.

For the Saints offense, Ginn jumped right back into a rhythm with Drew Brees. His first catch since Week 4 was for a big 15-yard gain, and he finished Sunday’s game against the Steelers with five catches for 74 yards.

Michael Thomas had his first 100-yard game in over a month, and in just 11 catches, totaled 109 yards and one touchdown.

On defense for New Orleans, Eli Apple had 9 tackles on the day — but continues to draw flags for being a little too handsy —, Vonn Bell made 10 tackles, Marshon Lattimore notched 6 total tackles and a pass breakup against Pittsburgh, and Kurt Coleman forced a fumble.

For Pittsburgh’s defense, Buckeye and Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee Cameron Heyward had three total tackles on the day and one pass defended.


Other notables

  • Three Buckeyes will suit up for “Monday Night Football” this week when the Oakland Raiders (Gareon Conley, Johnathan Hankins) take on the Denver Broncos (Bradley Roby).
  • One week after being inactive for the Jaguars, running back Carlos Hyde was back in the lineup on Sunday, and had eight carries for 47 yards, including a 19-yard run on the day. It still doesn’t appear that El Guapo is Jacksonville’s rusher of the future, but it’ll be good for him to “audition” for other teams to finish out the season.
  • The Cowboys captured the NFC East with a win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 16, and Ezekiel Elliott led the way with 18 carries for 85 yards, plus 5 catches for 24 yards. Rod Smith had two carries for Dallas, but actually finished with negative (-7) rushing yards on the day, and receiver Noah Brown had one catch for six yards.
  • After missing two weeks with a concussion, Browns rookie Denzel Ward was back against the Bengals, and recorded five tackles in his return.