Brent Yarina, Senior Editor, October 23, 2012

Every Tuesday morning during the NFL season, Brent Yarina singles out the best offensive, defensive and special teams performances by Big Ten products and links to their highlights. View all the former Big Ten players on NFL active rosters. See Brent's Week 7 winners in this post.

OFFENSE: Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans – In Brees' first action since breaking Johnny Unitas' record for most consecutive games with a touchdown pass, the former Boiler threw four touchdowns (Watch TD passes) for the second straight game. All four scoring strikes came in the first half, and Brees finished the game 27-of-37 (73 percent) for 377 yards.

Drew Brees
US Presswire

Honorable mention: Tom Brady, New England: 26-42, 259 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT; Dallas Clark, Tampa Bay: 5 rec., 51 yards, 1 TD (Watch TD); Owen Daniels, Houston: 7 rec., 59 yards, 1 TD (Watch TD); Tandon Doss, Baltimore: 1 rec., 15 yards, 1 TD (Watch TD); Shonn Greene, New York Jets: 16 car., 54 yards, 1 TD (Watch TD); 6 rec., 34 yards; Pierre Thomas, New Orleans: 13 car., 32 yards, 1 TD (Watch TD)

CO-DEFENSE: Antoine Winfield, CB, Minnesota – Maybe it's time to start believing in the 5-2 Vikings. At the very least, it's time to buy the team's stout defense. Winfield, the veteran out of Ohio State, registered a team-high 11 tackles and added a sack (Watch sack) in Minnesota's 21-14 win over Arizona.

Rob Ninkovich, DE, New England – The Purdue product recorded a strip-sack and recovered the loose ball (Watch play) to seal New England's 29-26 overtime victory over the New York Jets. Ninkovich finished the afternoon with six tackles, two tackles for a loss, 1.5 sacks a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.

Honorable mention: Lavonte David, Tampa Bay: 8 tackles, 2 TFL, 1 PD; James Laurinaitis, St. Louis: 14 tackles; Malcolm Jenkins, New Orleans: 9 tackles, 1 TFL; Whitney Mercilus, Houston: 3 tackles, 1 sack, 1 FF, 1 PD (Watch sack); Paul Posluszny, Jacksonville: 8 tackles, 1 TFL, 2 PD; Anthony Spencer, Dallas: 6 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 sack (Watch sack); Amari Spievey, Detroit: 8 tackles; Devon Still, Cincinnati: 2 tackles, 0.5 sack, 1 TFL, 1 FF (Watch sack-fumble); Kyle Vanden Bosch, Detroit: 3 tackles, 1 TFL, 2 sacks; J.J. Watt, Houston: 2 tackles, 2 PD (Watch tip TD); LaMarr Woodley, Pittsburgh: 3 tackles, 1 INT (Watch INT).

SPECIAL TEAMS: Zoltan Mesko, P, New England – The former Wolverine did his part in New England's 29-26 victory over the New York Jets, placing four of his six punts inside the opponent's 20-yard line. He averaged 44.8 yards per boot, including a long of 54.

If you like keeping up with Big Ten products in the pros, BTN's "The Next Level" is for you. Watch the show at 8 p.m. ET every Tuesday during the football season. web editor Brent Yarina covers football and men's basketball for He writes the popular uniform feature "Clothes Call," which also focuses on the latest cosmetic changes across Big Ten arenas and stadiums. Read all of his work here. You can subscribe to Yarina's RSS feed and follow him on Twitter @BTNBrentYarina.