A pair of throws in Week 11 showed why it’s never been a more exciting time to watch former Ohio State quarterbacks play in the NFL.
In the second quarter of the Houston Texans’ game against the Arizona Cardinals, C.J. Stroud made what might have been his best pass yet as an NFL quarterback, slinging a perfectly placed deep ball with a rusher in his face to connect with Tank Dell in the end zone for a 40-yard touchdown.
WHAT A THROW WHAT A CATCH!!!! pic.twitter.com/kypBLtytSx— Houston Texans (@HoustonTexans) November 19, 2023
watching this throw on repeat for the next 23785 hours pic.twitter.com/0panK0KldL— NFL (@NFL) November 19, 2023
In the third quarter of the Chicago Bears’ game against the Detroit Lions, Justin Fields delivered a deep dime of his own as he connected with DJ Moore for a laser-sharp 39-yard touchdown.
Both quarterbacks also had plays on Sunday that they’d certainly like to have back. In Stroud’s case, he threw more interceptions against the Cardinals (three) than he had in his first nine NFL games combined (two). But Stroud still did enough for the Texans to win their third straight game as he completed 27 of 37 passes for 336 yards and two touchdowns, and his confidence was unshaken by his uncharacteristically turnover-prone game.
Stroud became just the second rookie quarterback in NFL history, joining Joe Burrow, to pass for more than 300 yards in three straight games. His 2,962 passing yards this season are the fourth-most ever for an NFL quarterback in his first 10 career games.
.@CJ7STROUD has 2,962 passing yards, the 4th-most ever by a QB in their 1st 10 career games.— NFL345 (@NFL345) November 19, 2023
Only Patrick Mahomes (3,185), Justin Herbert (3,015) & Andrew Luck (2,965) had more.
Stroud also joins Joe Burrow as the only rookies ever with 300+ pass yards in 3 straight games. pic.twitter.com/GdEX9t5W4M
Fields had one of his best games of the season in his return to action after missing four games with a thumb injury. While he didn’t put up huge numbers through the air, completing 16 of 23 passes for 169 yards, he had his best game of the season as a runner, gaining 104 yards on 18 carries. With his first 100-yard rushing game of the season, he became just the third quarterback in NFL history with five or more 100-yard rushing games, joining Lamar Jackson and Michael Vick.
Justin Fields (@justnfields) recorded his 5th career game with 100+ rushing yards today.— NFL345 (@NFL345) November 19, 2023
He joins Lamar Jackson (13 games) and Michael Vick (10) as the only QBs in @NFL history with 5+ 100-yard rushing games. pic.twitter.com/FmRm8TLc7S
As has happened too often in his three years with the Bears, however, the game ended on a sour note. In a particularly sour note this week of all weeks, the Bears’ 31-26 loss to the Lions – in a game they led by 12 points with three minutes to play – was sealed when former Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson sacked Fields and the resulting fumble went through the Bears’ own end zone for a safety.
Buckeye sack tandems shine
Two NFL teams currently have pairs of former Ohio State pass rushers playing together on their defenses. Each member of those pairs had a sack on Sunday.
In their second game together in San Francisco, Nick Bosa and Chase Young each had sacks in the 49ers’ 27-14 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Bosa helped force two Baker Mayfield turnovers as he combined with Fred Warner on a strip sack and set up a Ji’Ayir Brown interception with a quarterback hit, and the former Ohio State defensive end seemed to take extra joy in making those plays against the quarterback who planted an Oklahoma flag at the 50-yard line of Ohio Stadium in 2017.
What do we think Nick Bosa told Baker Mayfield here? pic.twitter.com/iHX35QslYg— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) November 19, 2023
Did Nick Bosa console Baker Mayfield after his interception?— 49ers on NBCS (@NBCS49ers) November 20, 2023
"No, he was b----ing to the ref." pic.twitter.com/omv0jWBlpu
Young now has 6.5 sacks on the year after beating Buccaneers left tackle Tristan Wirfs to take down Mayfield for a sack of his own late in the game.
Tristan Wirfs has only allowed 1 sack all season & it was by Chase Young right here— Coach Yac (@Coach_Yac) November 20, 2023
Earlier in the game Chase came off the edge, & pressured Mayfield up into the pocket, & that resulted in an Arik Armstead sack
Chase Young = difference maker pic.twitter.com/C9VJBoWdiY
Baron Browning and Jonathon Cooper had a productive game of their own on Sunday Night Football as they helped lead the Denver Broncos to their fourth straight victory. Browning made his presence felt on the game early as he forced a Josh Dobbs fumble on the Minnesota Vikings’ opening drive, while he also came up with a big sack to stop Dobbs as he attempted to scramble on 3rd-and-1 in the game’s final minute.
Cooper recorded five total tackles with two tackles for loss – all in the first half – including a third-down sack that forced the Vikings to settle for a field goal.
Joey Bosa suffers foot sprain
The younger Bosa had a much better day than his older brother on Sunday, as Joey Bosa was carted back to the locker room after suffering a foot injury in the first quarter of the Los Angeles Chargers’ loss to the Green Bay Packers.
Moments ago, Joey Bosa was taken to the locker room after suffering a foot injury pic.twitter.com/226Q7Sof24— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) November 19, 2023
Bosa’s emotional reaction to the injury led to speculation that his injury could be season-ending, but the former Ohio State defensive end appears to have avoided that fate. That said, Chargers coach Brandon Staley said Monday that Bosa will likely be placed on injured reserve – meaning he will miss at least four games – with a sprained foot.
It’s been an injury-plagued season for Bosa from the beginning, as he also played through a broken toe and a hamstring injury earlier in the season. Even so, Bosa has recorded 20 total tackles with 6.5 sacks, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and a pass deflection in nine games.
Roby makes key play in Super Bowl rematch
The Philadelphia Eagles avenged their Super Bowl loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday night, and one of their newest acquisitions played a key role in making it happen.
With the Chiefs up 17-14 and driving to potentially take a two-score lead in the fourth quarter, former Ohio State cornerback Bradley Roby – in just his third game as an Eagle – forced a crucial Travis Kelce fumble with a textbook “Peanut Punch” to keep Philadelphia down by only three points.
That turnover would prove to be a major moment in the game as the Eagles would score the night’s only remaining touchdown to win the game 21-17. Roby nearly gave up a game-winning touchdown in the final two minutes when he was beat deep by Chiefs wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling, but Roby got bailed out when Valdes-Scantling dropped the would-be 51-yard touchdown catch in the end zone.
MVS DROPPED IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! pic.twitter.com/JYeV8PNd5w— Mr Matthew CFB (@MrMatthew_CFB) November 21, 2023
Denzel Ward makes history
No NFL defensive back in the last 25 years has made plays on the ball as consistently as Denzel Ward has in his first six seasons in the league.
With a pass breakup in the Cleveland Browns’ 13-10 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, Ward became the first NFL player since at least 1999 (when passes defensed became an official stat) to record at least 10 passes defensed with two interceptions in all of his first six seasons.
Denzel Ward has become the first player since at least 1999 to have at least 10 passes defensed & two interceptions in each of his first six seasons. Passes defensed did not become an official statistic until 1999.— Dan Murphy (@DMurph_BrownsPR) November 19, 2023
Ward also made three tackles in the Browns’ victory over their division rivals, including one that brought back memories of his famous “BBQ” hit in Ohio State’s 2017 win over Maryland.
Austin Mack shines in Grey Cup
We typically focus on what former Ohio State players are doing in the NFL in Across The Shield, but we’re expanding our horizons this week to recognize a spectacular performance to cap off an exemplary season by former Ohio State wide receiver Austin Mack in the CFL.
Mack helped lead the Montreal Alouettes to a league championship in Sunday night’s Grey Cup as he caught six passes for a team-high 103 yards. Those six receptions included a pair of tremendous downfield grabs – one of the one-handed variety – and a 13-yard touchdown on a bubble screen that gave his team a fourth-quarter lead in a game it would ultimately win 28-24.
While our Pro Buck of the Week award typically honors Ohio State’s top NFL performer of the week, we’re making a special exception this week to recognize the performance by a former Buckeye that led directly to a professional football championship.
|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|
|Week 3||Saints WR Chris Olave||8 catches, 104 yards|
|Week 4||Broncos OLB Jonathon Cooper||5 tackles, 1 sack, 2 QB hits, 35-yard fumble return TD|
|Week 5||Bears QB Justin Fields||15-29 passing, 282 yards, 4 TD; 11 carries, 57 yards|
|Week 6||Bengals DE Sam Hubbard||7 tackles, 1 sack, 5 QB hits|
|Week 7||Dolphins LB Jerome Baker||11 tackles, 1 TFL, 22-yard interception return TD|
|Week 8||Broncos OLB Baron Browning||4 tackles, 3 TFL, 2 sacks, 3 QB hits, 1 FF|
|Week 9||Texans QB C.J. Stroud||30-42 passing, 470 yards, 5 TD; 10 rushing yards|
|Week 10||Texans WR Noah Brown||7 catches, 172 yards|
|Week 11||Alouettes WR Austin Mack||6 catches, 103 yards, 1 TD in Grey Cup win|
Mack’s championship-winning performance capped off an excellent debut season in the CFL in which he earned CFL All-Star honors after catching 78 passes for 1,154 yards and four touchdowns during the regular season.
Mack hasn’t played in an NFL regular-season game since 2020 with the New York Giants – he had stints with the Tennessee Titans and San Francisco 49ers in 2021 and 2022, but saw no game action – but his performance north of the border this year could give the NFL reason to take another look at the former Buckeye pass-catcher.
- Jaxon Smith-Njigba “Mossed” fellow Ohio State product Jordan Fuller as he made a grab over Fuller’s head in double coverage for a 32-yard reception in the Seattle Seahawks’ loss to the Los Angeles Rams.
- Jeremy Ruckert caught three passes for 25 yards, both career-highs, in the New York Jets’ loss to the Buffalo Bills.
- The Detroit Lions officially signed Jake McQuaide to their active roster to be their long snapper after initially elevating him from their practice squad in Week 10.
- Joe Burrow, who started his college career at Ohio State before transferring to LSU, saw his fourth NFL season come to an early end as he tore a ligament in his right wrist in the Cincinnati Bengals’ Thursday night loss to the Baltimore Ravens.
Statistics for every former Ohio State player from Week 11 and for the entire 2023 NFL season can be found in the table below compiled by Eleven Warriors researcher Matt Gutridge. (Note: The table only includes players who finished their college careers at Ohio State.)
|PLAYER||POSITION||TEAM||WEEK 11 STATS||SEASON STATS|
|ELI APPLE||CB||DOLPHINS||Did not play||31 tackles, 1 QB hit, 6 PD|
|JEROME BAKER||LB||DOLPHINS||7 tackles||58 tackles, 1.5 sacks (0 yards), 1 TFL, 4 QB hits, 1 INT, 1 PD, 1 TD|
|VONN BELL||S||PANTHERS||7 tackles||44 tackles, 1 QB hit 1 INT, 2 PD|
|JOEY BOSA||OLB||CHARGERS||Started at OLB||20 tackles, 6.5 sacks (59 yards), 6 TFL, 8 QB hits, 1 PD, 1 FF, 1 FR|
|NICK BOSA||DE||49ERS||3 tackles, 1 sack (3.5 yards), 3 QB hits||27 tackles, 5.5 sacks (37.5 yards), 6 TFL, 24 QB hits, 2 PD, 1 FF, 1 FR|
|NOAH BROWN||WR||TEXANS||Inactive||21 catches, 439 yards, 1 TD|
|BARON BROWNING||OLB||BRONCOS||3 tackles, 1 sack (0 yards), 1 FF||11 tackles, 3 sacks (21 yards), 3 TFL, 4 QB hits, 1 PD, 2 FF|
|PARRIS CAMPBELL||WR||GIANTS||Played at WR||19 catches, 106 yards; 8 KR, 191 yards|
|JONATHON COOPER||OLB||BRONCOS||5 tackles, 1 sack (11 yards), 2 TFL||46 tackles, 5.5 sacks (42.5 yards), 1 FF, 5 TFL, 9 QB hits, 1 PD, 2 FR, 1 TD|
|TAYLOR DECKER||OT||LIONS||Started at LT||8 starts at LT|
|J.K. DOBBINS||RB||RAVENS||Injured reserve (Achilles)||8 carries, 22 yards, 1 TD|
|EZEKIEL ELLIOTT||RB||PATRIOTS||Bye||86 carries, 331 yards, 2 TD; 18 catches, 108 yards|
|LUKE FARRELL||TE||JAGUARS||2 catches, 21 yards||7 catches, 56 yards|
|JUSTIN FIELDS||QB||BEARS||16/23 passing, 169 yards, 1 TD; 18 carries, 104 yards||116/175 passing, 1,370 yards, 12 TD, 6 INT; 65 carries, 341 yards, 1 TD|
|JORDAN FULLER||S||RAMS||6 tackles||64 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 INT, 2 PD, 3 FF|
|DaVON HAMILTON||DT||JAGUARS||Inactive||1 tackle|
|JOHNATHAN HANKINS||DT||COWBOYS||1 tackle||18 tackles, 2 PD|
|MALIK HARRISON||LB||RAVENS||2 tackles||18 tackles, 1 QB hit|
|ZACH HARRISON||DE||FALCONS||Bye||19 tackles|
|CAMERON HEYWARD||DT||STEELERS||5 tackles, 1 TFL||14 tackles, 3 TFL, 1 QB hit|
|RONNIE HICKMAN||S||BROWNS||4 tackles||4 tackles|
|MALIK HOOKER||S||COWBOYS||5 tackles||36 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 INT, 2 PD, 1 FF|
|SAM HUBBARD||DE||BENGALS||Inactive||38 tackles, 4 sacks (24 yards), 4 TFL, 13 QB hits, 1 FR|
|JONAH JACKSON||OG||LIONS||Inactive||6 starts at LG|
|PARIS JOHNSON JR.||OL||CARDINALS||Started at RT||11 starts at RT|
|CAMERON JOHNSTON||P||TEXANS||2 punts, 47.0 average, 1 inside 20||26 punts, 46.0 average, 12 inside 20|
|DAWAND JONES||OT||BROWNS||Played at OT||7 starts at RT, 9 games played|
|DRE'MONT JONES||DE||SEAHAWKS||1 tackle||23 tackles, 2.5 sacks (13 yards), 4 TFL, 9 QB hits|
|MARSHON LATTIMORE||CB||SAINTS||Bye||48 tackles, 2 TFL, 1 INT, 8 PD|
|TYQUAN LEWIS||DE||COLTS||Bye||14 tackles, 2 sacks (13 yards) 4 TFL, 7 QB hits, 2 PD|
|COREY LINSLEY||C||CHARGERS||Non-football illness (heart)||3 starts at C|
|LIAM McCULLOUGH||LS||FALCONS||Bye||1 tackle, 9 games played at LS|
|TERRY McLAURIN||WR||COMMANDERS||5 catches, 43 yards||56 receptions, 644 yards, 2 TD, 1 FR TD|
|JAKE McQUAIDE||LS||LIONS||Played at LS||2 games played at LS|
|THAYER MUNFORD||OT||RAIDERS||Started at RT||6 starts, 10 games played at OT|
|JOSH MYERS||C||PACKERS||Started at C||10 games started at C|
|JEFF OKUDAH||CB||FALCONS||Bye||28 tackles, 1 TFL, 4 PD|
|CHRIS OLAVE||WR||SAINTS||Bye||59 catches, 657 yards, 3 TD|
|NICHOLAS PETIT-FRERE||OT||TITANS||Injured reserve (shoulder)||2 starts at OT, 3 games played|
|ISAIAH PRINCE||OT||FALCONS||Released||2 games played|
|BRADLEY ROBY||CB||EAGLES||5 tackles, 1 FF||7 tackles, 1 FF|
|JEREMY RUCKERT||TE||JETS||3 catches, 25 yards||8 catches, 68 yards|
|CURTIS SAMUEL||WR||COMMANDERS||1 catch, 5 yards||38 catches, 343 yards, 2 TD; 4 carries, 20 yards, 1 TD|
|TREY SERMON||RB||COLTS||Bye||8 carries, 24 yards|
|KENDALL SHEFFIELD||CB||49ERS||Released||4 tackles, 1 TFL|
|TYREKE SMITH||LB||SEAHAWKS||Practice squad||1 tackle|
|JAXON SMITH-NJIGBA||WR||SEAHAWKS||3 catches, 40 yards||36 catches, 365 yards, 2 TD|
|C.J. STROUD||QB||TEXANS||27/37 passing, 336 yards, 2 TD, 3 INT; 1 carry, -1 yard||223/355 passing, 2,962 yards, 17 TD, 5 INT; 23 carries, 85 yards, 2 TD|
|MICHAEL THOMAS||WR||SAINTS||Bye||39 catches, 448 yards, 1 TD|
|NICK VANNETT||TE||CHARGERS||Played at TE||1 start at TE, 3 games played|
|SHAUN WADE||CB||PATRIOTS||Bye||16 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 PD|
|DENZEL WARD||CB||BROWNS||3 tackles, 1 PD||29 tackles, 1 TFL, 2 INT, 10 PD, 1 FF|
|PETE WERNER||LB||SAINTS||Bye||60 tackles, 0.5 sacks (4 yards), 1 TFL, 1 QB hit, 1 INT, 1 PD, 1 FR|
|GARRETT WILSON||WR||JETS||2 catches, 9 yards||57 catches, 651 yards, 2 TD; 1 carry, 6 yards; 0/1 passing|
|LUKE WYPLER||C||BROWNS||Inactive||3 games played|
|CHASE YOUNG||DE||49ERS||2 tackles, 1 sack (9 yards)||19 tackles, 6.5 sacks (45.5 yards), 7 TFL, 12 QB hits, 1 PD|