Across The Shield: Chris Olave Has A Big Day, Denzel Ward Scores A Game-Ending Touchdown and Joey Bosa Suffers “Significant Groin Injury”

By Dan Hope on September 27, 2022 at 10:10 am
Chris Olave vs. Panthers
Bob Donnan – USA TODAY Sports

The only two Buckeye touchdowns in Week 3 of the 2022 NFL season came in the first and last games of the week.

Denzel Ward was in the right place at the right time to score the third touchdown of his NFL career in the final play of the week’s opening game on Thursday Night Football. Ward capped off the Cleveland Browns’ victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers by recovering a fumble in the end zone – turning the Browns’ six-point win into a 12-point win – after the Steelers’ attempt at a last-second miracle went awry.

The lucky touchdown was the highlight of Ward’s most productive game of the 2022 season so far, as he recorded a season-high five tackles and two pass breakups in the Browns’ 29-17 triumph, though he was also penalized three times in the game. It was Ward’s first fumble recovery touchdown as a pro, as his previous two NFL touchdowns were both interception returns, including a 99-yard pick-six against the Cincinnati Bengals in 2021.

After NFL Buckeyes were shut out of the end zone on Sunday, Ezekiel Elliott became the second Buckeye of the weekend to cross the goal line on Monday Night Football, when he scored his first touchdown of the season on a 1-yard run in the Dallas Cowboys’ win over the New York Giants.

Elliott, who became the first Cowboy ever to run for a touchdown in five straight games against the Giants, ran the ball 15 times for 73 yards and added a two-yard catch in a game that also featured Noah Brown catching five passes for 54 yards and Malik Hooker recording four tackles for the Cowboys.

While those were the only two scores of the weekend for former Ohio State players, there were numerous other Buckeyes who also had notable performances in Week 3. That starts with Chris Olave, who becomes the second rookie wide receiver and the second Saints receiver already this season to earn our Pro Buck of the Week award as Ohio State’s top NFL performer of the week. 

Pro Buck of the Week: Olave has a big day

Olave had the fourth-most receiving yards of any NFL pass-catcher in Week 3 as he caught nine passes for 147 yards in the New Orleans Saints’ loss to the Carolina Panthers. His performance included a pair of deep-ball catches that went 49 and 38 yards.

Much like Ohio State did in his four years as a Buckeye, the Saints are frequently utilizing Olave’s ability to make plays on the deep ball. According to Pro Football Focus, Olave has already been targeted on 10 passes of 20-plus yards this season, the most of any player in the league.

Three weeks into the season, Olave has caught 17 passes for 268 yards, enough to rank seventh in the league in receiving yards.

Michael Thomas also made the highlight reel for the Saints on Sunday with a crafty one-handed catch for a 7-yard gain. Thomas was forced to leave the game early with a toe injury after catching five passes for 49 yards, but NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Monday that the injury – which was on his right foot and therefore unrelated to the left ankle injury that sidelined him in 2020 and 2021 – does not appear to be serious.

Pete Werner also recorded 11 tackles for the Saints in Carolina, bringing him to a season total of 32 tackles, tied for the fourth-most in the NFL. His 24 solo tackles this year are the most of any player in the league.

Baker balls out

Werner wasn’t the only Buckeye to record double-digit tackles in the NFL this week, as Jerome Baker racked up a team-high 13 tackles in the Miami Dolphins’ win over the Buffalo Bills.

The former Buckeye linebacker made plays all over the field as he was in on three tackles for loss (though he was officially credited with one), including a sack of Josh Allen, and made a nice downfield pass breakup in coverage.

Okudah shuts down Jefferson

Another Week 3 defensive standout from Ohio State was former Buckeye cornerback Jeff Okudah, who spent most of the Detroit Lions’ game against the Minnesota Vikings covering Justin Jefferson – a second-team All-Pro each of the last two seasons – and limiting Jefferson to only two catches for nine yards on four targets against Okudah’s coverage, per PFF.

Okudah, who recorded one pass breakup against Jefferson and also made three tackles in the Lions’ 28-24 loss, has shown so far this season that he can hold his own against some of the NFL’s top wide receivers. In the Lions’ win over the Washington Commanders in Week 2, Okudah gave up only two catches for 22 yards on four targets while matched up against Terry McLaurin. In the Lions’ loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 1, Okudah had a pass breakup on DeVonta Smith’s only target against him.

McLaurin tops 100

McLaurin wasn’t going against Okudah this weekend, and he had his most productive game of the season to date as he caught six passes for 102 yards, highlighted by a 45-yard deep-ball grab.

It wasn’t a good day overall for the Commanders, who suffered a 24-8 loss to the Eagles, but McLaurin and former Ohio State teammate Curtis Samuel combined to catch 13 passes for 150 yards while Samuel also had three rushing attempts for 13 combined yards.

Dobbins returns

After missing the first two games of the season while continuing to work his way back from the torn ACL that cost him the entire 2021 season, J.K. Dobbins made his season debut in the Baltimore Ravens’ win over the New England Patriots on Sunday.

Dobbins ran the ball seven times for 23 yards and caught two passes for 17 yards in the Ravens’ 37-26 win. Even though the game was in New England, Dobbins also shared a nice moment with a Ravens fan before the game.

Fields shows wheels, but passing struggles continue

It didn’t take long for Justin Fields to put his athleticism on display in the Chicago Bears’ win over the Houston Texans on Sunday, as he evaded two pass-rushers in the backfield to turn what would have been a 3rd-and-9 sack into a 29-yard run on the Bears’ opening drive, setting up an early field goal for the home team.

It ended up being a day to mostly forget for Fields, however, even though the Bears won the game. He had 47 rushing yards but completed only eight of his 17 passing attempts for 106 yards with zero touchdowns and two interceptions, and he didn’t hold back on criticizing his own performance after the game.

While Fields has led the Bears to a 2-1 start, he currently has the worst passer rating among quarterbacks who have started multiple NFL games this season, having completed only 23 of 45 passing attempts for 297 yards and two touchdowns with four interceptions through three games.

Joey Bosa suffers “significant groin injury”

The elder Bosa brother’s third game of the season came to an early end on Sunday when he went down with a groin injury in the first quarter of the Los Angeles Chargers’ loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Chargers coach Brandon Staley told reporters Monday that Bosa’s injury is “significant” and that the former Ohio State defensive end will be evaluated on a week-to-week basis to determine when he can return.

Bosa joins a long list of Chargers stars dealing with early-season injuries that also includes former Ohio State center Corey Linsley, who was inactive for Sunday’s game due to a knee injury, though Staley said Monday that Linsley is “improving” and will hopefully be able to return to practice this week.

Former Ohio State linebacker Baron Browning also went down with a knee injury in the Denver Broncos’ win over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday night, but told reporters after the game he felt fine.

Along with Linsley, other Buckeyes who were inactive in Week 3 due to injuries included Jonathon Cooper (hamstring), Jordan Fuller (hamstring), Jonah Jackson (finger) and Raekwon McMillan (thumb). The Tennessee Titans placed Jamarco Jones (elbow) on injured reserve last week, which means he will be out for at least three more games before he can return to action.

Mangold enters Jets Ring of Honor

Former Ohio State and New York Jets great Nick Mangold returned to MetLife Stadium on Sunday to be inducted into the Jets’ Ring of Honor, becoming the 19th franchise great to receive that honor.

True to himself, Mangold celebrated the moment by cracking open a beer and toasting the home crowd as he concluded his acceptance speech. 

Mangold’s coronation was the highlight of the day for the Jets, who suffered a 27-12 loss to the Bengals, though it was still a productive day for Garrett Wilson, who caught six passes for 60 yards despite missing part of the second quarter while being evaluated for a rib injury.

He shared a moment after the game with Joe Burrow, who transferred from Ohio State to LSU one year before Wilson started his Ohio State career in 2019.

On the winning side, Vonn Bell had a big game for the Bengals, recording eight total tackles with two tackles for loss. Eli Apple, who faces a highly anticipated AFC Championship Game rematch with Tyreek Hill in this week’s Thursday Night Football game between the Bengals and Dolphins, recorded his first pass breakup of the season.

Quick hits

  • The Tennessee Titans’ win over the Las Vegas Raiders featured a pair of starting right tackles from Ohio State, as Nicholas Petit-Frere made his third consecutive start to begin his career for the Titans and Thayer Munford made his first career start for the Raiders. They were two of four rookie starters from Ohio State in Week 3, along with Olave and Wilson.
  • Nick Bosa recorded his fourth sack of the season and four quarterback hits in the 49ers’ loss to the Broncos, though he probably should have been penalized for a trip on the sack:
  • The Texans called upon Cameron Johnston to punt five times in their loss to the Bears, and he downed all five of those punts inside the 20-yard line, averaging 48.4 yards per punt. He leads the NFL so far this season with 10 punts inside the 20 on a league-high 17 punts.
  • Former Northwestern cornerback Greg Newsome, who now plays for the Browns, paid tribute to late former Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins with his pregame attire in Pittsburgh.

Statistics for Week 3 and the 2022 season as a whole for every Buckeye who has been on a 53-man roster so far this season can be found below, as compiled by Eleven Warriors’ Matt Gutridge.

Buckeyes Around the NFL
ELI APPLE CB BENGALS 2 tackles, 1 PBU 8 tackles, 1 PBU
JEROME BAKER LB DOLPHINS 13 tackles, 0.5 sack (0.5 yards), 1 TFL, 1 QB hit, 1 PBU 21 tackles, 0.5 sack (0.5 yards), 1 TFL, 1 QB hit, 1 PBU
VONN BELL S BENGALS 8 tackles, 2 TFL 18 tackles, 3 TFL, 1 QB hit, 1 PBU, 1 FF
JOEY BOSA DE CHARGERS 1 tackle 7 tackles, 1.5 sacks (12.5 yards), 2 TFL, 4 QB hits, 1 FF
NICK BOSA DE 49ERS 2 tackles, 1 sack (8 yards), 1 TFL, 4 QB hits 11 tackles, 4 sacks (31 yards), 3 TFL, 11 QB hits
NOAH BROWN WR COWBOYS 5 catches, 54 yards 15 catches, 213 yards, 1 TD
PARRIS CAMPBELL WR COLTS 2 catches, 10 yards 5 catches, 47 yards
WYATT DAVIS OG SAINTS Inactive Has not played
TAYLOR DECKER OT LIONS Started at LT 3 starts at LT
J.K. DOBBINS RB RAVENS 7 carries, 23 yards; 2 catches, 17 yards 7 carries, 23 yards; 2 catches, 17 yards
PAT ELFLEIN C PANTHERS Started at C 3 starts at C
EZEKIEL ELLIOTT RB COWBOYS 15 carries, 73 yards; 1 catch, 2 yards 40 carries, 178 yards; 3 catches, -5 yards
LUKE FARRELL TE JAGUARS Played at TE 3 games played
JUSTIN FIELDS QB BEARS 8/17 passing, 106 yards, 2 INT; 8 carries, 47 yards 23/45 passing, 297 yards, 2 TD, 4 INT; 27 carries, 95 yards, 1 TD
JORDAN FULLER S RAMS Inactive 9 tackles
DaVON HAMILTON DT JAGUARS Played at DT 3 tackles, 1 TFL
JOHNATHAN HANKINS DT RAIDERS 2 tackles, 1 QB hit 6 tackles, 1 QB hit, 1 PBU
MALIK HARRISON LB RAVENS 1 tackle 7 tackles
CAMERON HEYWARD DT STEELERS 7 tackles, 1 TFL 14 tackles, 1 sack (5 yards), 2 TFL, 3 QB hits, 1 PBU, 1 FR
MALIK HOOKER S COWBOYS 4 tackles 12 tackles
SAM HUBBARD DE BENGALS 2 tackles, 2 QB hits 10 tackles, 1 sack (5 yards), 2 TFL, 5 QB hits, 1 PBU
JONAH JACKSON OG LIONS Inactive 1 start at RG
CAMERON JOHNSTON P TEXANS 5 punts, 48.4 average, 5 inside 20 17 punts, 48.7 average, 10 inside 20
DRE’MONT JONES DE BRONCOS 2 tackles, 1 QB hit 9 tackles, 2 sacks (14 yards), 1 TFL, 1 QB hit, 1 FF
JAMARCO JONES OG TITANS Injured reserve Has not played
MICHAEL JORDAN OG PANTHERS Played on special teams 3 games played
TYQUAN LEWIS DE COLTS Played at DE 3 tackles, 1 QB hit, 1 PBU
COREY LINSLEY C CHARGERS Inactive 2 starts at C
LIAM McCULLOUGH LS FALCONS Played at LS 3 games played
TERRY McLAURIN WR COMMANDERS 6 catches, 102 yards 12 catches, 235 yards, 1 TD; 1 rush, 7 yards
JAKE McQUAIDE LS COWBOYS Played at LS 3 games played
THAYER MUNFORD OT RAIDERS Started at RT 1 start, 3 games played
JOSH MYERS C PACKERS Started at C 3 starts at C
JEFF OKUDAH CB LIONS 3 tackles, 1 PBU 18 tackles, 2 PBU
CHRIS OLAVE WR SAINTS 9 catches, 147 yards 17 catches, 268 yards; 2-point conversion
BRADLEY ROBY CB SAINTS 4 tackles, 1 PBU 14 tackles, 2 PBU, 1 FR
JEREMY RUCKERT TE JETS Played on special teams 2 games played
CURTIS SAMUEL WR COMMANDERS 7 catches, 48 yards; 3 carries, 13 yards 22 catches, 181 yards, 2 TD; 5 carries, 38 yards
TREY SERMON RB EAGLES Inactive Has not played
MICHAEL THOMAS WR SAINTS 5 catches, 49 yards 16 catches, 171 yards, 3 TD
TOMMY TOGIAI DT BROWNS Played at DT 2 tackles, 0.5 sack (4.5 yards), 1 QB hit
NICK VANNETT TE SAINTS 1 catch, 5 yards 1 catch, 5 yards
SHAUN WADE CB PATRIOTS Inactive Has not played
DENZEL WARD CB BROWNS 5 tackles, 2 PBU, 1 FR, 1 TD 8 tackles, 3 PBU, 1 FR, 1 TD
PETE WERNER LB SAINTS 11 tackles 32 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 PBU
GARRETT WILSON WR JETS 6 catches, 60 yards 18 catches, 214 yards, 2 TD; 1 rush, -2 yards
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