Across The Shield: C.J. Stroud Throws For League-High 384 Yards, Former Ohio State Wide Receivers and Defensive Ends Make Plays Throughout NFL in Week 2

By Dan Hope on September 19, 2023 at 10:10 am
C.J. Stroud celebrates with Nico Collins
Jenna Watson – USA TODAY Sports

Only one quarterback has ever completed more passes in his first two NFL games than C.J. Stroud.

After completing 28 of 44 passing attempts for 242 yards in his NFL debut against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 1, Stroud followed that up by completing 30 of 47 attempts for 384 yards against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 2.

His 58 combined completions through two games are the second-most in NFL history behind only Joe Burrow, who completed 60 passes in his first two games. Stroud’s total surpassed Justin Herbert, who completed 57 passes in his first two games, for the second-most all-time.

Stroud is also the only quarterback in NFL history to attempt 80 or more passes without throwing an interception in his first two games, according to the Houston Texans’ official website.

The former Ohio State quarterback’s 30 completions on Sunday included a pair of touchdown passes, the first two of his NFL career. Stroud’s first career touchdown pass came on an 8-yard strike to former Michigan wide receiver Nico Collins, while the second came on a 23-yard catch-and-run by fellow rookie Tank Dell.

Stroud’s 384 passing yards were the most of any quarterback in the NFL in Week 2 and the most ever in an NFL game by a quarterback who finished his college career at Ohio State.

In recognition of that performance, Stroud earns our second Pro Buck of the Week award of the season, joining New Orleans Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore as the first two NFL Buckeyes to receive the honor this year.

Pro Bucks of the Week
Week Player Stats
Week 1 Saints CB Marshon Lattimore 1 INT, 3 PBU, 2 tackles
Week 2 Texans QB C.J. Stroud 30-47 passing, 384 yards, 2 TD

Stroud’s 626 total passing yards are the fifth-most ever for an NFL quarterback through two games behind Cam Newton, Kyler Murray, Herbert and Todd Marinovich.

His 384-yard game in Week 2 came in spite of a shoulder injury. He was listed as questionable on the Houston Texans’ Friday injury report, but much like when he suffered a shoulder injury in his first game as Ohio State’s starter in 2021, Stroud played through the pain.

“I had a little pain here and there, but at the end of the day, I just wanted to play because I had the opportunity from God, man, just to be in a great city like Houston,” Stroud said after the game. “I wanted to play in the home opener and try to flip this thing around the right way by playing well.”

Stroud has yet to earn his first win as an NFL quarterback, as the Texans are 0-2 to start the season, but the No. 2 overall pick has given his new team plenty of reason to be excited about his future.

“I thought C.J. did a really good job managing the offense,” Texans head coach DeMeco Ryans said. “He just built on what he did last week, continued to put the ball where we need it, make good decisions with the football. So I'm encouraged by C.J.'s play, and he got better this week.”

Olave makes fantastic catch in Monday night win

A second-year wide receiver from Ohio State made a spectacular catch on Monday Night Football for the second week in a row to help lead his team to a win.

One week after Garrett Wilson made an early candidate for NFL Catch of the Year by tipping the ball to himself for a touchdown, Olave made a spectacular tipping grab of his own in the second Monday night game of the year. Despite a strong effort by Carolina Panthers cornerback C.J. Henderson to break up the pass, Olave got his fingertips on Derek Carr’s deep ball to tip it up to himself before hauling it in for a 42-yard reception as he went to the ground.

That catch was part of a six-catch, 86-yard effort for Olave in the New Orleans Saints’ 20-17 win. Fellow former Ohio State receiver Michael Thomas also had a productive outing for the Saints in their victory, catching seven passes for 55 yards – all in the first half – including an impressive catch of his own when he got his butt down in bounds for a spinning 19-yard reception.

Defensively, Pete Werner added seven tackles, while Marshon Lattimore had five tackles and a pass breakup for the winning side.

On the other side, Vonn Bell had a productive night for the Panthers in which he had six tackles and two passes defended, highlighted by his first interception of the season on a pass intended for Olave.

Garrett Wilson scores a career-long 68-yard touchdown

Speaking of Garrett Wilson, Wilson followed up his highlight-reel grab in Week 1 with the longest catch of his young NFL career in Week 2.

After catching a pass over the middle of the field from New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson, Wilson turned on the burners to run past multiple Dallas Cowboys defensive backs and go all the way to the end zone for a 68-yard score, giving him two touchdowns for the season in just two weeks.

Former Ohio State safety Malik Hooker was among the Cowboys who came up emptyhanded in an attempt to tackle Wilson on that play. Hooker got his revenge later in the game, though, when he picked off a deep ball intended for Wilson for his first interception of the year.

Wilson finished the game with two catches for 83 yards, while Hooker ended the day with two tackles and two passes defended. The Dallas Cowboys won the game, 30-10.

McLaurin scores with leaping grab

Olave wasn’t the only former Ohio State wide receiver who made one of the NFL‘s best catches of the week. Another came from Terry McLaurin, who skied over two defensive backs to haul in a 30-yard touchdown pass from Sam Howell, contributing to a 35-33 comeback win for the Washington Commanders over the Denver Broncos.

It was the first touchdown catch of the year for McLaurin, who finished his second game of the season with five catches for 54 yards.

Three Buckeyes record multiple sacks

Sunday was a big day for former Ohio State defensive ends across the NFL as a trio of Buckeyes recorded multiple sacks in their respective teams’ Week 2 games.

One of those Buckeyes was Chase Young, who recorded his first sacks since 2021 in his first game of 2023 after missing the season opener with a neck injury. Young, who appeared in just three games in 2022 after tearing his ACL in 2021, recorded 1.5 sacks among three total tackles in the Commanders’ win.

Joey Bosa, who was also plagued by injuries for most of last season, had a two-sack day for the Los Angeles Chargers, marking the first time since their 2022 season opener that he recorded multiple sacks in a game. While Bosa was listed as questionable before the game with a hamstring injury, he showed no signs of being slowed on Sunday as he twice took down Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill.

The former Buckeye defensive end who had the most productive performance in Week 2 was Jonathon Cooper, who had the second two-sack game of his NFL career while tying his career-high with eight tackles and forcing his first fumble as a pro.

Dre’Mont Jones also recorded his first sack as a Seattle Seahawk on Sunday, bringing the total number of sacks by defensive linemen from Ohio State in Week 2 to 6.5.

Ward gets his BBQ

On a play that may remind Ohio State fans of his famous Gus Johnson-narrated hit against Maryland in 2017, Denzel Ward forced a fumble in the second game of Monday night’s quasi-doubleheader with a big hit that separated the ball from Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Gunner Olszewski.

Ward’s forced fumble led to a takeaway (though they nearly gave the ball back on the return) that set up a touchdown for the Browns, and that was just one of numerous plays made on Monday night by Ward, who finished the game with five tackles and two pass breakups.

Despite Ward’s efforts, the Browns suffered a 26-22 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers as both teams moved to 1-1 on the season.

Another roller-coaster game for Fields

Justin Fields’ first two games of the 2023 season has been much of the same as his first two years in the NFL. The former Ohio State quarterback has continued to show flashes of his special talent, yet hasn’t been able to make enough plays to lead the Chicago Bears to victory or eliminate concerns about whether he has the passing ability to be a long-term NFL franchise quarterback.

The highlight of Fields’ second game of the season came when he completed six consecutive passes for 92 combined yards on a fourth-quarter drive, capping that drive off with a perfectly thrown strike to Chase Claypool for a 20-yard touchdown.

On the Bears’ very next drive, however, Fields threw a pick-six to Buccaneers linebacker Shaquil Barrett that quashed the Bears’ hopes of a fourth-quarter comeback.

There remains a case to be made that Fields is being failed by his organization and that his inconsistency has as much to do with his situation as any lack of his ability on his part. Case in point: Fields’ pick-six came when the Bears ran the same exact play three straight times, leading to a predictable outcome.

That said, the Bears made moves to upgrade the supporting cast around Fields this offseason, adding DJ Moore to their receiving corps and Nate Davis and Darnell Wright to their offensive line. Even so, Fields has completed only 60.6 percent of his passing attempts (40-of-66) for 427 yards and two touchdowns with three interceptions through two games, which currently ranks him 26th in the NFL in quarterback rating.

Fields also ran for only three yards on four rushing attempts in Sunday’s 27-17 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, though he did score his first rushing touchdown of the season.


  • The Cleveland Browns added former Ohio State defensive tackle Tommy Togiai back to their practice squad last week after waiving him during their preseason cuts. The Green Bay Packers signed former Ohio State guard Michael Jordan to their practice squad last week after the Carolina Panthers released him in August.
  • Noah Brown (Texans) and Cameron Heyward (Pittsburgh Steelers) were both placed on injured reserve by their respective teams after suffering groin injuries in Week 1. Both of them will be out at least four weeks as a result, though Heyward is reportedly expected to miss about eight weeks after undergoing surgery.
  • The Indianapolis Colts signed Trey Sermon to their practice squad Tuesday after he waived off of injured reserve by the Philadelphia Eagles last week.
  • Bradley Roby, who was released by the Saints in August, made a free-agent visit to the San Francisco 49ers on Monday.

Full stats for every Buckeye who played in Week 2 of the NFL season, as compiled by Eleven Warriors researcher Matt Gutridge, can be found below. The table includes only players who finished their collegiate careers at Ohio State.

Buckeyes Around the NFL
ELI APPLE CB DOLPHINS 6 tackles, 2 PD 9 tackles, 2 PD
JEROME BAKER LB DOLPHINS 6 tackles 12 tackles
VONN BELL S PANTHERS 6 tackles, 1 INT, 2 PD 9 tackles, 1 INT, 2 PD
JOEY BOSA DE CHARGERS 4 tackles, 2 sacks (21 yards), 2 TFL, 2 QB hits 5 tackles, 2 sacks (21 yards), 2 TFL, 2 QB hits
NICK BOSA DE 49ERS 2 tackles, 1 TFL, 3 QB hits 4 tackles, 1 TFL, 4 QB hits
NOAH BROWN WR TEXANS Injured reserve (groin) 3 catches, 20 yards
BARON BROWNING OLB BRONCOS Physically unable to perform Has not played
PARRIS CAMPBELL WR GIANTS 4 catches, 21 yards 5 catches, 23 yards
JONATHON COOPER OLB BRONCOS 8 tackles, 2 sacks (20 yards), 1 FF 11 tackles, 2 sacks (20 yards), 1 FF, 1 TFL, 1 QB hit
TAYLOR DECKER OT LIONS Inactive 1 start at LT
J.K. DOBBINS RB RAVENS Injured reserve (Achilles) 8 carries, 22 yards, 1 TD
EZEKIEL ELLIOTT RB PATRIOTS 5 carries, 13 yards 12 carries, 42 yards; 5 catches, 14 yards
LUKE FARRELL TE JAGUARS Played at TE 2 games played at TE
JUSTIN FIELDS QB BEARS 16/19, 211 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT; 4 carries, 3 yards, 1 TD 40/56 passing, 427 yards, 2 TD, 3 INT; 13 carries, 62 yards, 1 TD
JORDAN FULLER S RAMS 7 tackles, 1 FF 15 tackles, 1 FF
DaVON HAMILTON DT JAGUARS Injured reserve (back) Has not played
MALIK HARRISON LB RAVENS 1 tackle 3 tackles
ZACH HARRISON DL FALCONS 3 tackles 6 tackles
CAMERON HEYWARD DT STEELERS Injured reserve (groin) 1 QB hit
RONNIE HICKMAN S BROWNS Inactive 1 game played at S
MALIK HOOKER S COWBOYS 2 tackles, 1 INT, 2 PD 7 tackles, 1 INT, 2 PD
SAM HUBBARD DE BENGALS 4 tackles, 1 QB hit 12 tackles, 1 QB hit
JONAH JACKSON OG LIONS Started at LG 2 starts at LG
CAMERON JOHNSTON P TEXANS Injured reserve (calf) Has not played
DAWAND JONES OT BROWNS Started at RT 1 start at RT, 2 games played
DRE’MONT JONES DE SEAHAWKS 2 tackles, 1 sack (2 yards), 1 TFL, 1 QB hit 4 tackles, 1 sack (2 yards), 1 TFL, 1 QB hit
MARSHON LATTIMORE CB SAINTS 5 tackles, 1 PD 7 tackles, 1 INT, 5 PD
TYQUAN LEWIS DE COLTS 2 tackles 2 tackles
COREY LINSLEY C CHARGERS Started at C 2 starts at C
LIAM McCULLOUGH LS FALCONS Played at LS 2 games played at LS
TERRY McLAURIN WR COMMANDERS 5 receptions, 54 yards, 1 TD 7 receptions, 85 yards, 1 TD
THAYER MUNFORD OT RAIDERS Played at OT 1 start, 2 games played at OT
JOSH MYERS C PACKERS Started at C 2 games started at C
JEFF OKUDAH CB FALCONS Inactive Has not played
CHRIS OLAVE WR SAINTS 6 catches, 86 yards 14 catches, 198 yards
JEREMY RUCKERT TE JETS Played at TE 2 games played
CURTIS SAMUEL WR COMMANDERS 3 catches, 19 yards; 1 carry, 13 yards 8 catches, 73 yards; 2 carries, 19 yards
TYREKE SMITH LB SEAHAWKS 1 tackle 1 tackle
JAXON SMITH-NJIGBA WR SEAHAWKS 5 catches, 34 yards 8 catches, 47 yards
C.J. STROUD QB TEXANS 30/47 passing, 384 yards, 2 TD; 3 carries, 1 yard 58/91 passing, 626 yards, 2 TD; 7 carries, 21 yards
MICHAEL THOMAS WR SAINTS 7 catches, 55 yards 12 catches, 116 yards
SHAUN WADE CB PATRIOTS 2 tackles 2 tackles
DENZEL WARD CB BROWNS 5 tackles, 2 PD, 1 FF 9 tackles, 3 PD, 1 FF
PETE WERNER LB SAINTS 7 tackles 15 tackles, 0.5 sack (4 yards), 1 QB hit
GARRETT WILSON WR JETS 2 catches, 83 yards, 1 TD 7 catches, 117 yards, 2 TD
LUKE WYPLER C BROWNS Inactive Has not played
CHASE YOUNG DE COMMANDERS 3 tackles, 1.5 sacks (8 yards), 1 TFL, 2 QB hits 3 tackles, 1.5 sacks (8 yards), 1 TFL, 2 QB hits
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