Across the Shield: Eli Apple and Ryan Shazier Highlight Former Buckeye Performances on Wildcard Weekend

By Kevin Harrish on January 9, 2017 at 10:45 am
Ryan Shazier intercepted a pass on wild card weekend.

James Lang-USA TODAY Sports

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Once a Buckeye, always a Buckeye. Across the Shield follows those who once wore Scarlet and Gray on their journeys through the NFL.

Ryan Shazier

Good things seem to happen when Ryan Shazier warms up shirtless in below-freezing temperatures.

He did it yet again Sunday afternoon, despite temperatures in the mid teens.

Once again, it worked out for him. The former Buckeye linebacker finished with six total tackles, a tackle for a loss and this athletic interception:

A second look shows Shazier was actually at the line of scrimmage, presumably to play the run, and managed to get back in the passing lane in time to make the play.

Eli Apple

Former Buckeye Eli Apple made his NFL Playoff debut Sunday night as the Giants took on the Packers. 

Naturally, future Hall of Famer Aaron Rogers tried to go right after the rookie starter playing his first playoff minutes, but Apple held his own.

Apple played near-perfect football until one catastrophic play right before the half:

It's not clear what he was doing or thinking, but Apple was in perfect position to make a play on the ball but remained flat-footed and barely put a hand in the air. The ball landed in Randall Cobb's lap for a huge Packers touchdown.

That touchdown turned just a one point Packers lead into eight, and the Giants never really recovered. The New York and Eli Apple's season came to a close as the Giants fell to Green Bay 38-13.

Regardless of how the season ended, Apple's rookie season was as successful as you could ask. Apple started 11 games, appeared in 14 and finished with 51 total tackles, seven deflected passes, a forced fumble and an interception.

Taylor Decker

The slobs don't really get a lot of publicity in this piece because let's face it, the offensive line is the furthest thing from flashy. So we're going to take a moment to give Taylor Decker the credit he deserves.

While Ezekiel Elliott, Joey Bosa and Michael Thomas packed stat sheets, broke records and made highlight-reel plays, Decker was quietly a day-one starter at tackle for the Detroit Lions and was arguably the top rookie offensive lineman in the league.

Decker's rookie season came to a close Saturday as the Seahawks topped the Lions 26-6.

He really has come a long way since getting abused by Kahlil Mack every down during his Buckeye debut.

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