Buckeyes in the NFL, Week 17: Ginn among Buckeyes Leading Teams to Playoffs

By Mike Young on December 30, 2013 at 11:15 am
Ted "GOAT" Ginn.

Prior to Ted Ginn's arrival in Carolina, the Panthers didn't make the playoffs for four consecutive seasons and consistently got off to slow starts, before salvaging a decent finish.

Correlation may not imply causation, but after Ginn's first season with Carolina, he helped put his team into the playoffs. He had a three-yard touchdown grab in their division-clinching win over Atlanta, giving the Panthers a first-round bye. Ben Hartsock is another significant piece to their postseason run, as one of the best run blockers on the team. 

In total, there are seven NFL playoff teams with Buckeyes. Three of those squads needed a win in the final week of the regular season to get in.  

There was news on non-playoff teams, as well. Brian Hartline hit a major milestone, but also hurt his knee. Terrelle Pryor and Chimdi Chekwa returned to starting roles on the Raiders and Jake Ballard made his first touchdown grab of the year.

Plus, Eleven Warriors has stats from all former Ohio State players in the NFL. 

Twelve Buckeyes make the postseason

The following playoff teams have former Ohio State players on their rosters:

Carolina Panthers (first round bye): wide receiver, kick returner and punt returner Ted Ginn Jr., and tight end Ben Hartsock

Cincinnati Bengals (vs Chargers, Jan. 5, 1:05 p.m., CBS): kicker Mike Nugent and wide receiver Dane Sanzenbacher

Green Bay Packers (vs San Francisco, Jan. 5, 4:40 p.m., FOX): linebacker A.J. Hawk, defensive lineman Ryan Pickett, and tight end and special teams player Jake Stoneburner

New England Patriots (first round bye): special teams player Nate Ebner

New Orleans Saints (at Philadelphia, Jan. 4, 8:10 p.m., NBC): safety Malcolm Jenkins 

Philadelphia Eagles (vs New Orleans, Jan. 4, 8:10 p.m., NBC): safety and special teams player Kurt Coleman 

San Francisco 49ers (at Green Bay, Jan. 5, 4:40 p.m., FOX): offensive lineman Alex Boone and safety Donte Whitner

Hartline's bittersweet mark

Entering Sunday, the Dolphins had the best odds of any remaining team at grabbing the AFC's final wildcard spot. 

First, they needed to win their game against the underdog Jets. New York is wildly inconsistent, overall, but they're predictably bad on the road – usually. Despite entering the game with a 1-6 road record, they traveled down to Miami and won, 20-7.

For a majority of the game, the Dolphins' "wet sparkler" offense went without Hartline after he suffered a left-knee injury in the first quarter. Miami Herald columnist Armando Salguero reports Hartline's MRI results revealed he has a torn PCL, which will not require surgery. He will reportedly be ready for next season's training camp. 

Putting a positive spin on the matter, that 25-yard catch put him over the 1,000 yard mark for the season. It's his second straight year with over 1,000 yards, and he finishes the 2013 season with 76 receptions for 1,016 yards. 

memories :') Teammates for life. 

Chekwa and Pryor get another shot

He entered the season as the tentative starter and ended on the same note.

Pryor started nine games for Oakland, and, surprisingly, proved to be the more dynamic of the McGloin-Pryor duo. Head coach Dennis Allen decided to give Pryor the starting nod in the final game against Denver. He finished 21 of 38 for 207 yards and threw two touchdown passes. 

Earlier in the week, Pryor's agent, Jerome Stanley, told CSN Bay Area he believes Allen certainly isn't acting in the best interest of his client.

"I think they're putting him in hopes that he has a bad game, so [Allen] can then justify the McGloin situation," Stanley said. "He doesn't want him to look good because, if he looks good this week, it makes the past five weeks look like a bad decision."

The Raiders coach did not respond in kind, calling out Stanley in a press conference, Tuesday.

"I'd say that's the stupidest thing I've ever frickin' heard," Allen said. "This isn't the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. This isn't made-for-TV drama. This is football."

Allen also inserted Chekwa into the starting lineup, stepping in for the injured Mike Jenkins. His only other start came during his rookie season, in 2011. Chekwa has been mostly limited to special teams play, and caught a fake punt in week 15. 

Highlight of the week

Although they needed some help from the lowly Buccaneers, the Cardinals entered the weekend with a shot at the playoffs. If they were scoreboard watching, with hopes of a Saints loss, those disappeared. New Orleans went to beat Tampa Bay, 42-17.  

Still, Arizona put together a 10-win season, with an "awesome" Phil Dawson game-winning field goal keeping them from win number 11. One of their best, internal storylines began when they picked up Ballard after week eight. The former Giants and Patriots tight end battled back from a knee injury he suffered in Super Bowl XLVI. For the millions watching, especially the Buckeyes fans, it was a depressing sight.

Nearly two years later, he caught his first touchdown pass outside of New York. He finished the season with seven receptions for 75 yards. 

How ex-Buckeyes Fared During Week 17

Player team position stats/Notes
Mike Adams Pittsburgh Steelers OT Steelers beat a hapless franchise, miss playoffs 
Will Allen Pittsburgh Steelers S 3 tackles in win over a hapless franchise 
Jake Ballard Arizona Cardinals TE 1 rec, 1 yard but made it count for seven 
Alex Boone San Francisco 49ers OL Selected as alternate for Pro Bowl, long journey for him
Michael Brewster Jacksonville Jaguars OL Ended season on injured reserve
Chimdi Chekwa Oakland Raiders CB Started, made 8 tackles in loss to Broncos
Kurt Coleman Philadelphia Eagles DB PHI fans have at least 1 more chance to see their fave
Jim Cordle New York Giants C On injured reserve
Nate Ebner New England Patriots DB Recovered another onside kick in win over Bills
Reid Fragel Cleveland Browns OT Active, able to see his hapless employer lose on the road
Ted Ginn Jr. Carolina Panthers WR 2 rec, 6 yds, 1 TD, Panthers clinch NFC's No. 2 seed
Johnathan Hankins New York Giants DT 1 tackle as Giants miserable season ends with a win
Brian Hartline Miami Dolphins WR 2 rec, 38 yds, left with potentially severe knee injury
Ben Hartsock Carolina Panthers TE Left game with knee injury, Panthers get first round bye
A.J. Hawk Green Bay Packers LB 2 tackles, forced fumble in division-clinching win
Boom Herron  Indianapolis Colts RB On injured reserve
Cameron Heyward Pittsburgh Steelers DE 3 tackles, 1 sack in win over a hapless franchise 
Santonio Holmes New York Jets WR 3 rec, 41 yards, dealt with another medical issue
Malcolm Jenkins New Orleans Saints S 1 tackle, hurdled by Brian Leonard but Saints win 
James Laurinaitis St. Louis Rams LB Led team with 10 tackles in loss to Seahawks 
Nick Mangold New York Jets C Named a Pro Bowl alternate, made four in career
Jake McQuaide St. Louis Rams LS Snapped 1 FG, shameless Glenn Beck fan
Mike Nugent Cincinnati Bengals K Kicked 2 FGs, 4 XPs
Ryan Pickett Green Bay Packers DT 3 tackles, as Packers beat Bears for NFC North crown 
DeVier Posey Houston Texans WR Inactive due to ankle injury
Terrelle Pryor Oakland Raiders QB Started, 21-38, 207 yds, 2 TDs, 9 rush, 49 yds in loss
Dane Sanzenbacher Cincinnati Bengals WR 1 rec, 7 yds in win over Ravens
John Simon Baltimore Ravens LB Inactive in loss to Bengals
Rob Sims Detroit Lions OG Lions collapse, Sims looking for improvement on o-line
Austin Spitler Miami Dolphins LB 1 tackle in Dolphins loss and elimination from playoffs
Jake Stoneburner Green Bay Packers TE Played sparingly on special teams in win over Bears
Donte Whitner San Francisco 49ers S 4 tackles in win, selected as Pro Bowl alternate

[Photo via Getty Images]

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