After many stellar performances in last week's contests, there were only a handful in week 12, allowing me to give some credit to a former Buckeye whose team is making a steady climb towards the top.
In the special mention category, Shawn Springs returned from his injury to help lead Washington to a 20-17 win in Seattle. After appearing in only four games thus far, Springs was credited with three tackles and had the game saving interception with 1:28 to play. It was a huge win for the Redskins, keeping them in that 6th and final playoff spot.
Ted Ginn had another decent game in Miami's 48-28 loss to New England. Ginn once again lead the team in receiving, hauling in 5 catches for 88 yards, including a 46-yarder to start the 2nd half. He was also busy on kickoffs, returning 8 for an average of 19 yards, but muffed one and did his famous east-west tango before being tackled at his own 4 in the second half.
After jumping out to a 14-0 lead within the first two minutes at Jacksonville, you knew Antoine was going to be busy, as the Jags took to the air for their failed comeback in a 30-12 win for Minnesota. He registered 11 solo tackles and 1 assist, while also causing a fumble from the crackhead Matt Jones. The win allowed Minny to keep pace with the Bears atop the NFC Norris.
There is no doubt Anthony Gonzalez had the numbers to win the award this week, snagging 6 passes for 95 yards and a 13 yard touchdown in Indy's 23-20 win at San Diego. All five non-TD catches were for first downs, including a 19 yarder on 3rd and 12 in the fourth quarter. The Colts have won four straight to climb back into the playoff picture, but they are not the hottest team in the AFC right now, that goes to the Jets, where Nick Mangold is leading the way at center.
In tribute to the level of play from the current Buckeye linemen in the last month, I thought it would be appropriate to show some love to the only former Buckeye currently starting at the pro level. The Jets handed Tennessee their first lost of the season, using a blend of short passes and explosive running attack in the 34-13 win.
Mangold was up against Albert Haynesworth, perhaps the best defensive player in the NFL, but held his own, as the Jets rolled to 402 total yards and a TOP of 40:30, while allowing only 2 sacks. In his third season, Mangold has started every game of his career and benefited from the additions of Alan Faneca, Damien Woody and of course Brett Farve.
The Jets have won five straight and are tied for the second best record in the AFC. As a team, they are averaging 4.5 yards a carry, have given up only 21 sacks and Farve is completing over 70 percent of his passes. With upcoming games against Denver and San Fransisco, the Jets should be at 10-3 and battling for that precious bye week.