At one point in time, this award was known as the Buckeye NFLer of the Week. Thanks to a typo and the ensuing LOLsession from the commentariat, it was renamed as the Houndie. Same intent, but now with a better name.
The euphoria of the Urban Meyer hire and Michigan week must have spilled over to the NFL Buckeyes, as several players stepped up this past weekend, after 2 straight weeks of so-so performances.
The bye weeks are over and the playoffs are fast approaching. The playoff teams are starting to seperate themselves from the pack, but it looks like any Super Bowl run will go through Green Bay.
Of course things got started way back on Thanksgiving, where the day featured Buckeyes in all 3 games.
First we start in Detroit, as the Packers stayed undefeated in their 27-15 defeat of the Lions. A.J. Hawk left the game with a calf injury late in the first half after registering 4 solo stops and 2 assists, while also tipping a pass. Ryan Pickett also tipped at pass at the line of scrimmage that lead directly to a Clay Mathews INT. Pickett finished the day with 2 total tackles, the same number as Bobby Carpenter across the field.
However, the big news out of this game was the rushing debut of Brandon Saine for the Packers. Saine has been with the Packers since they signed him as an undrafted FA, playing mostly on the practice squad, but was elevated to the active roster a couple of weeks ago. Saine carried the rock twice for 10 yards and caught a pass for another 9. If the Pack has one weakness, it's running the ball, so look for Saine to potentially get more touches as we creep up on the playoffs.
The second game featured a return of sorts for Brian Hartline in the Dolphins heartbreaking 20-19 loss to the Cowboys. Hartline finished the day with 4 catches for 77 yards, which matched his reception total over the past 5 games. Austin Spitler had a special teams tackle for the 'Fins.
The nightcap pitted the two Harbaugh brothers against each other in Baltimore, as the good Ravens team showed up and defeated the Niners, 16-6. After winning the Houndie last week, Donte Whitner had 3 solo stops and 3 assists, while Larry Grant added an assist. Ted Ginn had 30 yards on offense, between a rush and 2 catches, while also returning 3 kicks for 93 yards.
In Sunday's action, we start for the Battle of Ohio down in Cincy, where it wasn't a shootout like us Andy Dalton owners would have liked, but the Bengals did get back in the win column, with a 23-20 last minute victory. Mike Nugent was huge once again for the Bengals, connecting on all 3 of his FG attempts, including the game winner from 26 yards out with 38 seconds left. All 3 of Nuge's FG attempts came in the second half, as the Bengals clawed their way back from a 10 poit halftime deficit. He has now made 21/22 on the year and his 96% is tied atop the league. On D, Nate Clements had 3 total tackles and 2 PD's.
In Indy, the Colts remained winless, as the Panthers came away with 27-19 win. I know Peyton Manning was great, but I can't believe how much he ahs been missed this season. That franchise was not prepared at all for this and I would be showing the some people the door for the lack of preparedness. Gonzo is just counting down the days before he is gone, as he has yet to catch a pass this year. For the Panthers, Chris Gamble had two total tackles and defended a pass.
Down in Atlanta, the Vikings gave 'em hell, but fell to the Falcons, 24-14. Michael Jenkins was second on the team with 2 catches for 25 yards and sadly on defense, Antoine Winfield has been put on IR, ending his season.
A battle of teams still trying to figure out if they are good or not happened in New York, where the Jets took down the Bills, 28-24, to pull one game ahead of the Bills and a game out of the playoff picture. Overall, Santonio Homes had a quiet stat day, getting targeted 9 times, but only hauling in 2 of those for 22 yards. However, it was his 16-yard TD grab with just over a minute to go that gave the Jets a win and life in their season.
Down in Jacksonville, the Jaguars have now picked up two former Buckeyes who were unemployed earlier this season. Brian Roboskie has not been active for any games, but Ashton Youboty was picked up a few weeks ago, made his debut last week and then a strong case for taking home this week's Houndie.
Youboty lead the team with 8 tackles, including one for a loss, in which he caused a fumble and returned it 38-yards for the opening score and Jacksonville's only TD of the game in their 20-13 loss to the Texans. With injuries piling up and news today of Del Rio being canned, Youboty might have a chance to start the rest of the season and hopefully show what he can do.
Out in Oakland, my Bears lost their first game without Cutler, falling to the Raiders, 25-20. Dane Sanzenbacher has been delegated to special teams with the health of the Bears WR corps and he was credited with a tackle on Sunday. As for the Raiders, they still lead the division by a game and it looks like we won't see the debut of TP any time soon.
In Seattle, Darrion Scott played for the second straight week, as the Redskins beat the Seahawks, 23-17. Scott has recorded a tackle in each of the past 2 weeks.
The struggle continued in Philly, where the Eagles showed a glimmer last week, but fell hard 38-20 to the Patriots. Kurt Coleman continued his strong play, leading the team with 12 total tackles, including 11 solo stops, while Brian Rolle had 4 solo stops, including one for a loss.
I can't believe this Tebow character is still winning games with Denver, but after beating the Chargers, 16-13 in OT, the Broncos are now 5-1 with him as a starter and have won 4 straight. Na'il Diggs continued his productive season with 5 solo tackles for the Chargers, who lost their 6th straight and now sit 3 games back of the Raiders.
In primetime Sunday night, Pittsburgh took down the Chiefs on the road, 13-9. Cameron Heyward saw some extended action and recorded 2 solo stops, while Will Allen didn't have any. For the Chiefs, Donald Washington wasn't active.
On Monday night, the Saints destroyed the Giants, 49-24 and look to be gearig up for the playoffs. Jake Ballard had another strong night, with 3 catches for 47 yeards and could have had a TD, but the ball was slightly under thrown and picked off by the Saints defender.
For the Saints, Malcolm Jenkins was third on the team with 8 total tackles, including 5 solo stops and also had a PD, while Will Smith had his best game in weeks, going for 5 total tackles and a sack.
This week's winner was a no brainer for the first time in a few weeks, as Beanie Wells takes home his third Houndie of the year and put himself in the driver's seat to take home the annual award.
On the strength of an early 71 yard scamper, Beanie set the Cardinal franchise mark with a career high 228 yards on 27 carries. The Cards had struggled on their first three possessions and found themselves down 7-0, but Beanie took the handoff at the 18 on the second play of the fourth possession and raced his way to the St. Louis 11. Unfortunately, the Cardinals would only manage a FG, but the tone had been set for the afternoon, as the Cards went on to win, 23-20.
James Laurinaitis had a front row seat for Beanie heroics Sunday, posting 6 total tackles and second pick on the season.
Beanie also found the endzone for the 8th time this season, which puts him tied for fourth in the league. Unfortunately, he also sat out briefly after tweaking his knee and fumbled, which was his fourth and the most among RB's this season. With his knee injury, Wells will probably remain questionable heading into each week and the Cardinals are clearly out of the playoffs, but he now sits at 849 yards on the year, which is already a career high and good for 8th in the league.