Saturday didn’t go exactly as Ohio State would have liked, but there were plenty of former players still representing the hard-hitting, championship-winning Buckeyes on the next level. Week 1 of the 2017 NFL season saw a mix of good and bad performances by former members of the Scarlet and Gray, including some first-year players getting their first taste of go time.
It didn’t take long for the Minnesota Vikings to hand the starting center job to Buckeye rookie Pat Elflein. Not only did he get the start -- the first rookie center to start opening night since 1962 — but he had a great performance, putting the fan base solely in his corner for years to come.
Pat Elflein directing traffic here is a beautiful site to see. pic.twitter.com/IMudI0b5EJ— J.R. (@JReidDraftScout) September 12, 2017
That was center Pat Elflein lead blocking 20 yards down the field in front of McKinnon.— Chris Long (@ChrisLongKSTP) September 12, 2017
The Colts were excited to debut their 2017 draft pick and interception magnet, Malik Hooker. The Buckeye saw some action with four total tackles (one solo) in Sunday’s game against the Los Angeles Rams.
Nice sudden change for the #Colts defense there.— Kevin Bowen (@KBowenColts) September 10, 2017
Penalties aiding the D.
Seeing a lot of Malik Hooker so far, after Farley started.
The Saints didn’t look that great against the Vikings, but there was one positive note: rookie CB Marshon Lattimore. He didn’t see much playing time early in the Monday night contest, but did manage to make four solo tackles in his NFL debut.
On a positive #Saints note, rookie CB Marshon Lattimore has had solid coverage almost all night.— Deuce Windham (@RevDeuceWindham) September 12, 2017
Curtis Samuel was on the field in Week 1 for the Panthers, but he didn’t record any stats on offense. He was open a few times, but fellow rookie Christian McCaffrey saw most of the focus in an evolving offense in Carolina.
Curtis Samuel was back deep to field the kick... but it's a touchback.— Max Henson (@PanthersMax) September 10, 2017
Wideout Noah Brown was listed as inactive in Week 1 for the Dallas Cowboys, but with injuries, and various legal situations surrounding the Cowboys, the Buckeye should be getting his chance to shine any week now.
Pryor wasn’t exactly electric
There was a lot of chatter since the end of last season about Terrelle Pryor Sr. and his potential at the wide receiver position. After a rocky free agency with the Browns, he wound up signing with Washington and was expected to be the deep threat Kirk Cousins needed for both of them to get extended contracts following the season.
If Sunday’s debut of the duo was any indication, some of those expectations might have been a little bit premature. Pryor wound up with 66 yards on six receptions, keeping his yards per carry and first down stats consistent with last season, but failed to live up to the big-play hype people were expecting.
Heyward is back, baby
After missing most of the 2016 season, Cameron Heyward is back to bullying quarterbacks for the Steelers. The Buckeye snagged three tackles and this sack against the Browns on Sunday, on the way to a win for Pittsburgh.
Cam Heyward con la captura #Steelers #SteelersNation #HereWeGo #PITvsCLE— Steelers en Español (@EspanolSteelers) September 10, 2017
Plays of the week
The Los Angeles Chargers made their way to Mile High Stadium to take on the Denver Broncos, and a pair of former Buckeyes made some big plays. It was the last game of the NFL’s opening weekend, kicking off late-night on Monday.
Chargers DE Joey Bosa picked up exactly where he left off in 2016 — obliterating quarterbacks. The second-year phenom recorded 1.5 sacks and six total tackles against the Broncos.
Takes a lot of bodies to block Joey Bosa. pic.twitter.com/j4TJRAHanw— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) September 12, 2017
Despite those heralding stats, everyone is talked about when Denver QB Trevor Siemian juked his way into the endzone Monday, leaving Bosa eating dirt.
On the other side of the ball, Broncos CB Bradley Roby snagged himself an interception in Week 1, along with two pass breakups and five total tackles.
Rivers intercepté par Bradley Roby ! #BroncosCountry pic.twitter.com/0GdMXfCusQ— Parlons NFL (@Parlons_NFL) September 12, 2017
Injury report and suspensions
- Nate Ebner was sidelined with a shoulder injury during the “Thursday Night Football” kick-off to the 2017 season, featuring a New England loss to Kansas City.
- Rookie CB Gareon Conley has been battling a shin injury since early in training camp, missing most of the preseason, and was once again relegated to the sideline for what would have been his first official NFL game.
- Jaguars DT Michael Bennett has been battling injuries since he was drafted in 2015, and the streak continues, being sidelined in Week 1 with a groin injury.
- Jalin Marshall may have seen the field for the Jets during the preseason, but Week 1 started his four-game suspension for violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing drugs.