The day after that absolutely bonkers win over Penn State was made even more enjoyable by the host of impressive NFL performances from former Ohio State players. From Gareon Conley’s first career pick-6, to Ezekiel Elliott’s 200 yards of total offense, it was a great Sunday to be a Buckeye.
There were a few roster moves heading into Week 4 of the 2018 NFL regular season, and several Buckeyes are still sidelined with injuries. Additionally, a handful of former OSU players had good individual games, despite their respective teams suffering a loss.
Here’s a look at how former Buckeyes fared in Week 4:
Oakland Buckeyes go big
The Oakland Raiders currently have two Buckeyes on their roster after drafting Gareon Conley last year, and signing DT Johnathan Hankins early on in the season. Both of those players made an impact in Sunday’s overtime win against the Browns.
Conley got things started off with a bang, not just snagging an interception and running it 36 yards for a score, but claiming his first career pick. The second-year player missed most of his rookie season with a lingering injury, but seems to be back to his normal self this season.
And then, Mo Hurst got his hands up into Baker Mayfield’s face and pushes the ball out and toward Hankins. The Buckeye was able to fall on the fumble and recover for the Raiders — not bad for a guy who spent the whole offseason as a free agent.
Denzel Ward continues to prove that he earned that No. 4 overall draft pick this spring, and has continued to perform for the Browns during his rookie season— let’s be honest here, the Browns’ rookies are what’s driving this team anyway.
In Sunday’s overtime loss to the Oakland Raiders, Ward made three total tackles in what was a relatively quiet outing for the Ohio State alumnus. So far this season, the rookie has combined for 20 total tackles, three pass breakups, two interceptions and a forced fumble.
Not too shabby for a guy who’s new to the league.
Denzel Ward has been the top rookie cornerback in the NFL through three weeks. pic.twitter.com/ur2j0Zy3qJ— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) September 28, 2018
Linebacker Jerome Baker is another player earning every bit of his draft pick. Despite a pretty big loss to the Patriots in Week 4, the Dolphins can rely on Baker to shut down part of the field and make plenty of open-field tackles. He finished Sunday’s matchup with 10 (!!) tackles to make his rookie total 27 through four games.
(Second-year player and Baker’s teammate Raekwon McMillan is taking fewer snaps with Jerome playing lights-out, but nabbed six tackles on Sunday, totaling 19 so far this season.)
Sam Hubbard wasn’t as productive in the Bengal’s one-point win over the Falcons in Week 4, making just one tackle, but he should continue to get more snaps as he develops more throughout his rookie season.
Adolphus Washington has bounced around quite a bit this past week, but the Cincinnati Bengals are the most recent squad having signed the Buckeye DE off the Cowboys practice squad. He was inactive for the Bengals in Week 4, but should see playing time soon.
Linebacker John Simon finally found himself a new home after being waived by the Colts, and signed with the Patriots ahead of their Week 4 win over the Dolphins. He saw snaps right away and was able to make five total tackles and get a sack in his first game with New England.
Plays of the Week
The running back phenom finally looked like his former self on Sunday for the Cowboys, finishing the day with well over 200 total yards of offense and getting back into the end zone for his team. Elliott finished the day with 25 carries for 152 yards and four receptions for 88 yards and a score.
The new father has become a staple for the Cleveland Browns offense this season, and while he might not have had as many explosive plays as rookie rusher Bradley Chubb, running back Carlos Hyde is having a great season with his new team.
On Sunday against the Raiders, Hyde had 22 carries for 82 yards and a score. El Guapo is on track to have another 1,000-yard season, having totaled 285 rushing yards on 83 carries and five touchdowns in the Browns first four games of the year.
Running back Rod Smith is back in the shadow of Ezekiel Elliott in Dallas, and while ‘Zeke ran his way into a huge game in Week 4, Smith had six carries for 22 yards.
The Steelers may have lost, but Cameron Heyward had a good day with five total tackles against the Ravens. Similarly, the Eagles were another team from Pennsylvania to lose in Week 4, but Malcolm Jenkins made seven total tackles and had one pass breakup in their defeat against the Titans.
Linebacker Darron Lee was another Buckeye who had a good game on Sunday, making six total tackles in the Jets loss to the Jaguars. And, despite suffering a groin injury during the week in practice, Lee’s teammate Terrelle Pryor Sr. was not inactive in Week 4, but he didn’t record any catches either.
Todd Bowles says Terrelle Pryor suffered a groin issue in practice today. “Sore groin.”— Manish Mehta (@MMehtaNYDN) September 27, 2018
Injuries and Inactives
- Heading into Week 4, veteran kicker Mike Nugent was placed on IR for the Oakland Raiders after suffering a hip injury in the game prior.
- Curtis Samuel is still out for the Panthers— who were on a bye this week— as he recovers from a minor heart procedure, and Eli Apple is still out for the Giants with a lingering groin injury from Week 2.
- Both Billy Price (Bengals) and Joey Bosa (Chargers) are still week-to-week with foot injuries and are still both in walking boots.
- Jalyn Holmes was once again an inactive coaches decision for the Vikings in Week 4.