The Houndie is an award formerly known as the Buckeye NFLer of the Week. After two 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 one, there were 37 former Buckeyes who had made active rosters in the NFL, including seven rookies. Not all of them were active the first week, including Donald Washington for the Chiefs, Na'il Diggs of the Chargers, Jermale Hines of the Rams, Anthony Gonzalez for the Colts and Darion Scott of the Redskins.
The week started way back on Thursday, when Green Bay hosted New Orleans to kick off the season, in a matchup of the past two Super Bowl champs. The game was an instant classic that came down to the wire, with A.J. Hawk and Ryan Pickett having an impact on the final two plays. As time expired and the Packers clinging to a 42-34 lead, Hawk was called for pass interference in the end zone and the Saints got an untimed down from the 1-yard line. On the final play, Ryan Pickett used all 340 lbs. to blow up the Saints O-Line, allowing Hawk and crew to stop Mark Ingram short of the goal line.
For the game, Hawk and Pickett both finished with a solo tackle and 3 assists, while Hawk also added half a sack. Malcolm Jenkins finished with 4 solo stops and an assist, as the Saints became the first of many teams to get torched by Aaron Rodgers this season. Meanwhile, Will Smith served the first of his two game suspension, as a result of his two year Starcap saga and Brandon Saine made the Packer's practice squad.
Cam Heyward made his pro debut for Pittsburgh, as the Ravens destroyed the Steelers, 34-7. Heyward was credited with one tackle, as he will used situationally this year, behind plenty of existing talent on that Steeler's D. Will Allen also made the Steeler's roster for the second straight year as a special teamer, while Justin Boren is on the Ravens practice squad.
The Battle for Ohio took place in Cleveland, in a game that featured another 3 Buckeyes. Brian Robiskie ended last season on a positive note, hauling in three TD's over the final three games and by all accounts, he had a pretty solid camp. Unfortunately, the Browns were a mess on Sunday in Pat Shurmur's first game, as Colt McCoy only completed 19 of 40 passes and Robo didn't catch any of them. For the Bengals, Nate Clements made his debut and was third on the team with 4 total tackles, while Nuge made both his FG's (24,47) and 3 XP's in Cincy's 27-17 win.
In St. Louis, Brian Rolle and Jake McQuaide got their first taste of NFL action, as the Eagles defeated an injury delpleted Rams, 31-13. Laurinaitis ended the day with 5 solo stops and an assist, to go along with a fumble recovery. KC4 is officially the starting FS in Philly, where he will try to anchor perhaps the league's best secondary. Coleman finished the day with 4 solo tackles and Rolle chipped in with a single stop.
Rob Sims is once again the starting RG for the Lions this year, as they went down to Tampa and held off the Bucs, 27-20. The Lions could be a team to watch this year as they have a legit shot to erase more than a decade of suckiness with that offense and D-Line. Bobby Carpenter also made the Lions roster, but didn't record any stats.
In Washington, Jake Ballard made his first pro start for the Giants, getting the chance out of camp to replace Kevin Boss, who left for the Raiders to become TP's future target. Though the Giants struggled offensively, Ballard was second on the team with 59 yards on 2 catches, including a 41-yarder in the 3rd quarter in the 'Skins 28-14 win. The Giants aren't blessed with many receivers and with the potenital loss of Hakeem Nicks, Ballard could get plenty of chances this year. Doug Worthington is on the Redskins practice squad.
In Sunday night's action, it was great to see the Cowboys implode after being up 24-10, allowing the Jets to rally and come out on top, 27-24. The Jets are loaded with playmakers on offense, so Santonio's numbers might be down slightly this year, but he came up with 6 catches for 70 yards, including a key 28-yarder at the start of the 4th that helped lead to a Jets TD. Of course Nick Mangold will hold down the center position once again for the Jets and is still considered one of the best in the league.
On Monday night, Brian Hartline and the Dolphins faced the incedible ariel attack of Tom Brady and the Patriots. The Dolphins held strong for a while, but Brady threw for 514 yards and the Patriots won 38-24. Hartline caught 4 balls for 47 yards and a 10-yard TD in the 3rd to tie the game at 14. The Dolphins showed that they might get it done through the air a well, with Henne throwing for 416 yards to just 5 different receivers. While it was fun watching Wes Welker lift my fantasy team up, it disgust me that I had to watch two Michigan QB's light up the night, while Ohio State continues to struggle putting quarterbacks in the NFL. In the other Monday night game, Chimdi Chekwa is listed as a backup corner, but I didn't hear his name called and he ended with no stats.
This week's award was a tight one, coming down to 4 different players, but was ultimately won in less than a minute of action.
First, just because I'm a huge Bears homer, I threw Dane into the mix this week, even though he had just 1 catch for 6 yards and a carry for minus 4. I was estatic when he signed with the Bears, but became a bit nervous when they also signed Roy Williams and Sam Hurd right after Dane. However, from day one of camp, Sanzo received praise from the coaches and teammates, securing a roster spot as the 6th receiver. Luckily we got the game locally in Cbus and I was pleasantly surprised how much Dane played, as Martz had no problems using all his weapons in Chicago's 30-12 home win over Atlanta. Dane also played some special teams and from the looks of it, will get planty of chances this year.
Out in San Diego, Antoine Winfield showed once again he has plenty of gas left in the tank. I don't think the Vikings are going to be very good this year, as McNabb isn't what he used to be. Winfield led the Viking with 10 total tackles, including 7 solo stops, while also creating a fumble and picking off Phillip Rivers in San Diego's 24-17 win. The pick was at the end of the first half, as San Digo was at the Minnesota 17, while the fumble trickled out of bounds and SD kept possesion. Also for the Vikings, Michael Jenkins lead the team with 3 catches for 26 yards, including a 3-yard TD in the second. Jenkins had all but 13 of McNabb's 39 passing yards on the day.
In Arizona, Beanie Wells is going to get every chance this year to prove he is the man, after the Cardinals let Tim Hightower go to Washington. Coming into the year, Beanie has eclisped the century mark just once in his 29 career games, but he came close on Sunday. Wells finished the day with 90 yards on 18 carries and scored the game's first TD, with a 7-yard run in the first. Wells also caught 4 balls for 12 yards as the Cardinals topped the Panthers, 28-21. While Cam Newton stole the show for the Panther's, the new coaching staff has given Chris Gamble a fresh start, but he recorded just 2 tackles, as Kevin Kolb threw for 309 yards on the Panthers D. Meanwhile, Ben Hartstock is now with the Panthers.
While Beanie and 'Toine were good, Ted Ginn stole the show in the opening week and brings home the Houndie, after returning 2 kicks in a 59 second span to help lift the 49ers over the Seahawks, 33-17. After Seattle closed within 2 points with 4 minutes left, Ginn took the ensuing kickoff 102 yards, showing that blazing speed up the right side. Then after the Seahawks went 3 and out, Ginn took the punt back 55 yards to seal the win. Ginn didn't have any catches, continuing his trend from last season, but Alex Smith only threw for 124 yards. Also for the Niners, Donte Whitner made his debut and had 5 solo stops, while Alex Boone is listed as the backup LT. This is the start that Ginn needed, after being shutout from the Houndie's last year. This is the second time in his career that Ginn took back 2 kicks in a game and he now has 6 career returns.