The Houndie is an award formerly known as the Buckeye NFLer of the Week. After 2 years of existence, we searched for a catchier name, so with the help of a well placed typo and the ensuing 11W comments, the current title was created.
Entering week 13, there were an NFL record 19 teams either tied or within a game of first place, with 4 falling off after Sunday's games. There are plenty of Buckeyes vying for playoff spots to give us something to root for before the Sugar Bowl.
We start off today with the disappointing news of Troy Smith losing his starting job to Alex Smith, after a chilly 34-16 loss at Green Bay. Smith struggled in the 16 mph winds and 20 degree temp, connecting on just 10 of 25 with a TD and a pick. Troy went 3-2 as a starter and clearly had the team behind him, completing 52 percent of his passes for an 80.2 QB rating, 5 points higher than Alex. With Singletary fighting for his job and the 49ers still with a chance at the division crown, it will be interesting to see how the team reacts to the guy who lead them to a 1-6 start.
Also for the Niners, Ted Ginn averaged just 16 yards on 5 kick returns, along with 30 yards on a pair of punt returns, while Nate Clements had 5 solo stops. For the Packers, A.J. Hawk had 4 solo tackles, while Ryan Pickett chipped in with 2 solos and an assist.
Down in Cincy, the Saints took advantage of a stupid offsides penalty by the Bungles and scored a late TD win 34-30. Malcolm Jenkins registered 6 total tackles, while Will Smith contributed a couple of solo stops in the Saints fifth straight win. The Bengals cut Aaron Pettrey earlier in the week, instead of Marvin Lewis.
In Minnesota, the Vikings 38-14 win over Buffalo featured picks by Buckeyes on both teams. Antoine Winfield made 3 solo stops and got his second INT on the year in the second and returned it 41 yards to the Buffalo 5 yard line. The Vikings would punch it in 2 plays later and take a 28-7 lead. Donte Whitner snagged his first of the season, while also taking credit for another 7 total tackles. Whitner’s 111 on the season now has him tied for 4th in the league.
The Rams stayed tied for the division lead with a 19-6 road win in Arizona. Laurinaitis helped hold the Cards to 225 total yards with 6 solo tackles and Na’il Diggs had his best game of the year with 5 solo stops, but injured his shoulder and is probably out for a while. Larry Grant got in the action with an assist and Beanie toted it just 3 times for 24 yards and no catches for Arizona.
In other defensive news, Bobbby Carpenter got 1 tackle in Detroit’s 24-20 controversial loss to the Bears, Chris Gamble was benched last week and “sat out” this week with a hamstring issue, while Mike Vrabel was shutout and Donald Washington had 1 tackle in KC's win over Denver.
On offense, Brain Hartline dislocated some fingers, sitting most of the second half and was held without a catch for the first time since week 1. Brian Robiskie caught 2 passes for 10 yards in the Browns 13-10 win over Hatline’s Dolphins. In Monday night’s action, the lone bright spot for the Jets may have been Santonio Holmes. The Jets couldn’t do anything and got whipped 45-3 by the Patriots, but Holmes had 7 catches for 72 yards to continue his strong play.
It's not always the flashy stats that take home the Houndie, sometimes a single play can capture the coveted award. Such is the case this week, as Michael Jenkins wins his first Houndie of the year for his game winning TD catch. Trailing 24-21, Matt Ryan hit Jankins towards the sideline at the 3 and MJ tip toed his way to the endzone. Cleary the 3rd option in the Falcons passing game, it was his first TD grab of the season and he finished the day with 3 catches for 30 yards. The win however was huge for Atlanta, keeping them one game in front of NO for the division lead and ahead of the Bears forhome field in the playoffs.