We usually try to start Across The Shield, our weekly roundup of former Ohio state players in the NFL, with positive highlights from the top Buckeye performances of the weekend, but unfortunately, the biggest Week 2 storyline for NFL Buckeyes – and for much of the league in general – was injuries to star players.
The second Sunday of the NFL season was marred by what seemed to be an especially high number of injuries throughout the league, and former Ohio State players were certainly no exception.
One of Ohio State’s biggest superstars in the league, San Francisco 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa, suffered a torn ACL in his left knee in Sunday’s game against the New York Jets, an MRI confirmed Monday. That means the reigning NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year’s sophomore season is over after just two games, marking the second time in three years that Bosa – who did not return after suffering a core muscle injury in the third game of his final season at Ohio State – has had his season cut short by injury. (He also had a torn ACL in his senior year of high school, though that was in his right knee.)
Former Ohio State safety Malik Hooker, who has been bitten by the injury bug repeatedly so far in his NFL career, will also miss the rest of the 2020 season. An MRI confirmed Monday that Hooker tore his Achilles during the Indianapolis Colts' game against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday, ending his fourth year in the NFL.
Source: #Colts S Malik Hooker did, in fact, tear his Achilles and hes out for the season. A tough loss to a stout Indy D.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 21, 2020
Hooker, who has played just 36 games in four seasons, is in the final year of his rookie contract with the Colts, so the injury is likely to have a significant impact on his market value when he hits free agency next offseason.
Parris Campbell, Hooker’s teammate in Indianapolis and fellow member of Ohio State’s recruiting class of 2014, also appeared to suffer a potentially major injury earlier in the Colts’ game against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday, when he took a shot to his knee while running the ball and had to be carted off the field. Campbell – who had the best game of his young NFL career last week, catching six passes for 71 yards – avoided tearing his ACL but sprained his MCL and PCL and will be out “awhile,” though there is no clear timetable yet, according to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero.
Like I said.. ALWAYS. https://t.co/OrxdkZ0ME2— Parris Campbell (@PCampbell21) September 20, 2020
Dre’Mont Jones was also knocked out of the Denver Broncos’ game against the Pittsburgh Steelers with a knee injury, while Corey Linsley left the Green Bay Packers’ game against the Detroit Lions with a hand injury. NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported Monday that Jones is expected to miss 4-6 weeks with a PCL strain and bone bruise in his knee. Pelissero also reported Linsley “should be OK moving forward” after spraining his thumb.
In other injury news, Michael Thomas will not play in the New Orleans Saints’ Monday night game against the Las Vegas Raiders after he suffered a high-ankle sprain in the Saints’ season opener. There will still be numerous Buckeyes on the field for that game, including a trio of former Ohio State defensive backs in Marshon Lattimore and Malcolm Jenkins for the Saints and Damon Arnette for the Raiders, but Thomas is expected to be out for two to four weeks with his injury, Rapoport reported Sunday.
Ward Excels in Battle of Ohio
One of the best Buckeye performances of Week 2 came on Thursday Night Football, when the Cleveland Browns took down the Cincinnati Bengals in this year’s first edition of the Battle of Ohio. Although Joe Burrow completed 37 passes (the most ever by an NFL rookie in a single game) on a whopping 61 attempts (the second-most ever by an NFL rookie quarterback) for 316 yards and three touchdowns, his former Ohio State teammate Denzel Ward excelled in individual coverage to help lead the Browns to a 35-30 victory.
According to the NFL’s Next Gen Stats, Ward was targeted 11 times and forced eight “tight window passes,” the most forced by a defender in any NFL game since 2017. He was beaten for one touchdown by Mike Thomas (the other one who plays for the Bengals), but held the Bengals’ top receiver, A.J. Green, to just two catches for 14 yards on seven targets against Ward.
Browns cornerback Denzel Ward forced 8 tight window passes on 11 targets as the nearest defender, the most tight windows forced in a game since 2017.— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) September 18, 2020
Denzel Ward as Nearest Defender
11 targets, 5 rec allowed, 46 yards, TD
73% tight window pct#CINvsCLE | #Browns
If you include Burrow, the Bengals currently have the most former Ohio State players on their active roster of any team in the NFL, but it was Ward – who had three pass deflections for the game – and the Browns who earned statewide bragging rights on Thursday night and improved to 1-1 while the Bengals start the season 0-2.
Denzel Ward.. thats the tweet!— Mack Wilson (@5mackwilson1) September 18, 2020
Big Game for Terry
It wasn’t a great day overall for the Washington Football Team on Sunday, as they suffered their first loss of the year by a 30-15 score against the Arizona Cardinals, but Terry McLaurin continued to establish himself as one of the NFL’s best young receivers by catching seven passes for 125 yards – tying his career-high in catches and his second-highest yardage total – and scoring his first touchdown of the season, beating Patrick Peterson on a crossing route and outrunning him to the end zone for a 24-yard score.
McLaurin was on the receiving end of more than half of Dwayne Haskins’ passing yards on Sunday, as the former Ohio State quarterback completed 19 of 33 passes for 223 yards and one touchdown and added an 8-yard run in his second start of the season, though he did have a turnover on a lost fumble.
Chase Young continued to make plays for Washington’s defensive line in his second game as an NFL player, recording four total tackles with two tackles for loss and one sack.
Appreciate you mom for planning and appreciate all my fam for showing up. At the end of the day all that matters is family. https://t.co/RNdQtA0w4Y— CY2 (@youngchase907) September 21, 2020
Joey Bosa Sacks Mahomes
While Sunday was an undeniably bad day for one Bosa brother, the day at least came with one highlight for the family.
In the Los Angeles Chargers’ four previous games against the Kansas City Chiefs since Patrick Mahomes became their starting quarterback, Joey Bosa did not record any sacks. In the third quarter of Sunday’s game, however, Bosa (who became the NFL’s highest-paid defensive player this offseason) ripped past Chiefs right tackle Mitchell Schwartz to chase down Mahomes (who became the NFL’s highest-paid player at any position this offseason), who could not escape his grasp, for a 13-yard loss.
Bosa, who has now recorded sacks in each of the Chargers’ first two games this year, recorded four total tackles on Sunday. Mahomes and the Chiefs ultimately had the last laugh, however, winning 23-20 in overtime.
Zeke Trucks for a Touchdown
Sunday’s game against the Atlanta Falcons got off to a nightmarish start for Ezekiel Elliott and the Dallas Cowboys, as they fumbled four times in the first quarter, including two fumbles by the former Ohio State running back. But Elliott and his team would both bounce back.
Elliott had 22 carries for 89 yards and caught six passes for 33 yards on Sunday to top 120 yards from scrimmage for a second consecutive game to start the year. His performance was highlighted by his third touchdown of the season, on which he demonstrated his power by lowering his shoulder right through Falcons safety Damontae Kazee on his 1-yard trip to the end zone.
The Cowboys trailed by as many as 20 points in Sunday’s game and never held a lead in the first 59 minutes and 59 seconds, but after they recovered an onside kick in the final two minutes, Greg Zuerlein hit a game-winning 46-yard field goal as time expired for an improbable 40-39 win in Dallas.
Dobbins Flashes Despite Small Workload
Despite scoring two touchdowns in his NFL debut, J.K. Dobbins received only three touches in his second game as a Baltimore Raven on Sunday. But he made those three touches count.
On his very first touch of the game in the middle of the third quarter, Dobbins caught a swing pass from Lamar Jackson, spun through a tackle attempt by Texans linebacker Zach Cunningham and then impressively used his handle to balance himself, keep himself upright and go for 13 yards to convert a 3rd-and-6.
Needed that one 41. pic.twitter.com/6bvhzuM1Ec— Rivers McCown (@riversmccown) September 20, 2020
After that, Dobbins would have just one 4-yard run before getting the ball again on the Ravens’ final possession of the game. But he made his second and final carry of the day count, too, taking off for a 44-yard gain to put away the Texans as the Ravens improved to 2-0 with a 33-16 win.
JK's not done yet— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) September 20, 2020
: CBS pic.twitter.com/4cKIIlUBuX
Okudah Makes Debut
After missing what would have been his first NFL game last week with a hamstring injury, No. 3 overall pick and former Ohio State cornerback Jeff Okudah made his debut as a professional football player on Sunday.
In the Lions’ 42-21 loss to the Packers, that proved to be a baptism by fire.
Going up against one of the NFL’s top wide receivers in Davante Adams for much of the game, Okudah actually held him in check for the most part, as Adams caught just three passes for 36 yards. He also led the Lions with seven tackles.
But Okudah also had his share of rough moments that would be expected from a rookie cornerback playing his first NFL game, like the play below that got plenty of social media attention after he was unable to keep up with a savvy route by Adams:
Later in the game, Okudah got beat deep for a 41-yard catch by Packers wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling.
Okudah will be looking for a more consistent performance, and the Lions will still be looking for their first win of the year, when they travel to Arizona to play the 2-0 Cardinals next Sunday.
Big Week On and Off the Field for Heyward
We wrote about this separately last week, but since it happened on Monday night after last week's Across the Shield, it felt like it deserved another shoutout here: Former Ohio State defensive lineman Cam Heyward recording the first interception of his 10-year NFL career by recording an interception in the Steelers' season opener against the New York Giants.
Heyward's community work off the field is also worthy of recognition, and he received that from the NFL Players' Association on Friday, when he was named as the NFLPA's Community MVP for Week 1 after he installed his first Little Free Library in Pittsburgh as part of the Rufus & Judy Jordan Literacy Project, an effort named after his grandparents to provide access to books to underserved communities.
Congrats to @camheyward on being named Week 1 #CommunityMVP for installing his first Little Free Library. The book-sharing boxes provide 24-7 access to literacy for underserved Pittsburgh communities while honoring the legacy in education of his late grandfather. pic.twitter.com/uKwbnz28A1— NFLPA (@NFLPA) September 18, 2020
The former Buckeye wrapped up his big week with another strong performance in the Steelers' 26-21 win over the Broncos on Sunday, when he recorded four tackles and had four quarterback hits, including a half-sack.
|Player||Pos||Team||Week 2 Stats||Season Stats|
|NICK BOSA||DE||49ERS||0 TACKLES||6 TACKLES, 1 FORCED FUMBLE, 1 QB HIT|
|TED GINN JR.||WR||BEARS||DNP (HEALTHY SCRATCH)||0 CATCHES|
|VONN BELL||S||BENGALS||8 TACKLES||16 TACKLES|
|SAM HUBBARD||DE||BENGALS||3 TACKLES||12 TACKLES, 1 TFL|
|MICHAEL JORDAN||OG||BENGALS||STARTED AT LEFT GUARD||2 STARTS|
|BILLY PRICE||C||BENGALS||PLAYED ON SPECIAL TEAMS||2 GAME APPEARANCES|
|DRE'MONT JONES||DT||BRONCOS||1 TACKLE, 1 QB HIT||4 TACKLES, 2 QB HITS|
|NICK VANNETT||TE||BRONCOS||0 CATCHES, 2 TARGETS||1 CATCH, -6 YARDS|
|DENZEL WARD||CB||BROWNS||3 TACKLES, 3 PASS DEFLECTIONS||6 TACKLES, 3 PASS DEFLECTIONS|
|JOEY BOSA||DE||CHARGERS||4 TACKLES, 1 SACK, 2 QB HITS||9 TACKLES, 3 TFL, 2 SACKS, 5 QB HITS|
|K.J. HILL||WR||CHARGERS||NO STATS||0 CATCHES|
|PARRIS CAMPBELL||WR||COLTS||1 CARRY, 7 YARDS||6 CATCHES, 71 YARDS, 1 TD; 2 CARRIES, 16 YARDS|
|MALIK HOOKER||S||COLTS||2 TACKLES||7 TACKLES|
|TYQUAN LEWIS||DT||COLTS||2 TACKLES, 1 SACK||2 TACKLES, 1 SACK|
|NOAH BROWN||WR||COWBOYS||2 CATCHES, 28 YARDS||2 CATCHES, 28 YARDS|
|EZEKIEL ELLIOTT||RB||COWBOYS||22 CARRIES, 89 YARDS, 1 TD; 6 CATCHES, 33 YARDS||44 CARRIES, 185 YARDS, 2 TD; 9 CATCHES, 64 YARDS, 1 TD|
|JEROME BAKER||LB||DOLPHINS||6 TACKLES||22 TACKLES, 1 SACK, 1 FORCED FUMBLE|
|CAMERON JOHNSTON||P||EAGLES||2 PUNTS, 60.5 YARDS PER PUNT, 1 PUNT INSIDE 20||7 PUNTS, 55.6 YARDS PER PUNT, 4 PUNTS INSIDE 20|
|KENDALL SHEFFIELD||CB||FALCONS||DNP (FOOT INJURY)||HAS NOT PLAYED|
|NATE EBNER||S||GIANTS||1 TACKLE||1 TACKLE|
|DAVON HAMILTON||DT||JAGUARS||3 TACKLES||5 TACKLES|
|ANDREW NORWELL||OG||JAGUARS||STARTED AT LEFT GUARD||2 STARTS|
|TAYLOR DECKER||OT||LIONS||STARTED AT LEFT TACKLE||2 STARTS|
|JONAH JACKSON||OG||LIONS||STARTED AT RIGHT GUARD||2 STARTS|
|JEFF OKUDAH||CB||LIONS||7 TACKLES||7 TACKLES|
|COREY LINSLEY||C||PACKERS||STARTED AT CENTER||2 STARTS|
|ELI APPLE||CB||PANTHERS||INJURED RESERVE (ANKLE/FOOT)||HAS NOT PLAYED|
|CURTIS SAMUEL||WR||PANTHERS||2 CATCHES, 13 YARDS; 4 CARRIES, 26 YARDS||7 CATCHES, 51 YARDS; 5 CARRIES, 35 YARDS|
|JOHN SIMON||DE||PATRIOTS||8 TACKLES||12 TACKLES, 1 TFL, 2 QB HITS|
|DAMON ARNETTE||CB||RAIDERS||vs. SAINTS, 8:15 p.m. Monday||5 TACKLES, 1 PASS DEFLECTION|
|JOHNATHAN HANKINS||DT||RAIDERS||vs. SAINTS, 8:15 p.m. Monday||1 TACKLE|
|RAEKWON MCMILLAN||LB||RAIDERS||vs. SAINTS, 8:15 p.m. Monday||1 TACKLE|
|JORDAN FULLER||S||RAMS||9 TACKLES||17 TACKLES|
|JAKE MCQUAIDE||LS||RAMS||LONG SNAPPER||LONG SNAPPER|
|J.K. DOBBINS||RB||RAVENS||2 CARRIES, 48 YARDS; 1 CATCH, 13 YARDS||9 CARRIES, 70 YARDS, 2 TD; 1 CATCH, 13 YARDS|
|MALIK HARRISON||LB||RAVENS||1 TACKLE||5 TACKLES, 1 PASS DEFLECTION|
|MALCOLM JENKINS||S||SAINTS||vs. RAIDERS, 8:15 p.m. Monday||6 TACKLES, 1 PASS DEFLECTION|
|MARSHON LATTIMORE||CB||SAINTS||vs. RAIDERS, 8:15 p.m. Monday||2 TACKLES, 1 PASS DEFLECTION|
|MICHAEL THOMAS||WR||SAINTS||OUT (HIGH ANKLE SPRAIN)||3 CATCHES, 17 YARDS|
|CARLOS HYDE||RB||SEAHAWKS||5 CARRIES, 22 YARDS; 2 CATCHES, 15 YARDS||12 CARRIES, 45 YARDS, 1 TD; 2 CATCHES, 15 YARDS|
|JAMARCO JONES||OL||SEAHAWKS||SUBSTITUTED IN AT LEFT TACKLE||1 GAME APPEARANCE|
|CAM HEYWARD||DE||STEELERS||4 TACKLES, 0.5 SACK, 4 QB HITS||5 TACKLES, 0.5 SACK, 1 INT, 4 QB HITS|
|GAREON CONLEY||CB||TEXANS||INJURED RESERVE (ANKLE)||HAS NOT PLAYED|
|BRADLEY ROBY||CB||TEXANS||2 TACKLES||8 TACKLES, 1 TFL|
|PAT ELFLEIN||OG||VIKINGS||INJURED RESERVE (THUMB)||1 START|
|JALYN HOLMES||DE||VIKINGS||5 TACKLES, 1 TFL, 1 PASS DEFLECTION||7 TACKLES, 2 TFL, 1 PASS DEFLECTION|
|MARCUS BAUGH||TE||WASHINGTON||1 CATCH, 2 YARDS||1 CATCH, 2 YARDS|
|DWAYNE HASKINS||QB||WASHINGTON||19-33 PASSING, 223 YARDS, 1 TD; 1 CARRY, 8 YARDS||36-64 PASSING, 401 YARDS, 2 TD; 8 CARRIES, 25 YARDS|
|TERRY MCLAURIN||WR||WASHINGTON||7 CATCHES, 125 YARDS, 1 TD||12 CATCHES, 186 YARDS, 1 TD|
|CHASE YOUNG||DE||WASHINGTON||4 TACKLES, 2 TFL, 1 SACK||8 TACKLES, 3.5 TFL, 2.5 SACKS, 1 FORCED FUMBLE|