It was a big week for former Ohio State players in the NFL. From a big reunion in New Orleans, to a pair of Buckeyes helping the Bengals defense overcome a late-game comeback by the Buccaneers to get the win.
Several Buckeyes are still sidelined with injuries, and a handful were able to sit back and enjoy the bye week.
We’re almost halfway through the 2018 NFL regular season, and here’s how the Buckeyes did in Week 8:
Saints add another Buckeye
It was already an Ohio State party down in New Orleans, but now another member of that 2014 National Championship winning team is joining the fun. With the New York Giants essentially having a fire sale, they traded cornerback Eli Apple to the Saints for a fourth-round draft pick in 2019 and a TBD pick in 2020.
That means, the Saints now have: Apple, Vonn Bell, Kurt Coleman, and Marshon Lattimore in the secondary, and on offense, have Michael Thomas, Ted Ginn Jr. (IR) and J.T. Barrett (on and off the practice squad).
BUCKEYES pic.twitter.com/clYUdAfY6M— Mark Pantoni (@markpantoni) October 29, 2018
That’s a lot of Buckeyes!
This has got to be a much better situation for Apple, who was re-focused this offseason and through five games with the Giants this season, had 23 total tackles, five pass breakups, a forced fumble, and fumble recovery.
Buckeye Saints thru 6 games
|Player||Total Tackles||Passes Defended||Forced Fumbles|
|Player||Total Tackles||Passes Defended||Forced Fumbles|
There was no time to waste thanks to injuries throughout the Saints secondary, and Apple saw plenty of playing time again the Vikings on “Sunday Night Football.” In his debut performance, the Buckeye had a team-high nine tackles.
He did have a somewhat questionable pass interference penalty, and there were some plays on which he got beat, but Apple should definitely improve as he gets more familiar with his new team’s playbook and teammates.
The rest of the Buckeyes were okay against the Vikings, with Vonn Bell making six total tackles, Marshon Lattimore had three and two passes defended — including one clutch on fourth down — and Kurt Coleman had two tackles as well.
On offense, Michael Thomas finished the day with five receptions for 81 yards.
#Saints WR Michael Thomas has 58 receptions on 64 targets this season. The 90.6 receptions percentage is the best in the NFL w/ a minimum of 15 targets. @gmfb @nflnetwork— Will Selva (@WillSelvaTV) October 29, 2018
Buckeyes in London
The NFL continued their international series in Week 8, with the Philadelphia Eagles (Malcolm Jenkins, Cameron Johnston) making their first trip to London to play the Jacksonville Jaguars (Carlos Hyde, Andrew Norwell) — who have played abroad each year.
The Eagles came away with the win, 24-18.
Jenkins had a good day with four total tackles and two pass breakups. He was put on an island in the end zone at one point, resulting in a Jaguars’ touchdown, but made up for it shortly thereafter with a big tackle to stop a drive.
Punter Cam Johnston has been among the tops in the league, and averaged 51.7 yards per punt on Sunday on three attempts. Two of the three were returned for 31 combined yards, including one return which saw Johnston attempt to make a tackle — he didn’t.
It was running back Carlos Hyde’s first set of snaps with the Jaguars after being traded by the Browns ahead of Week 7. He had six carries for 11 yards, and only averaged 1.8 yards per carry. To be fair, the Eagles’ defensive line is among the best in the league, but if Jacksonville was hoping Hyde would be able to replicate the type of production that they’d been getting from Leonard Fournette, they must not have been paying attention; at most, Hyde is akin to LeGarrette Blount in short, red zone situations, but El Guapo is unlikely to have a breakaway, 60-plus yard run, like Fournette is capable of.
Hyde should get better, and at least has a familiar face blocking for him, with one of the highest paid guards in the league, Andrew Norwell.
Pair of Buckeye sacks in Cincy
The Bengals defense now has two former starting DEs from Ohio State on their roster, Sam Hubbard and Adolphus Washington. The team drafted Hubbard earlier this year, but Washington was a recent addition — after the Buckeye bounced around a bit. Each had a sack on Sunday in the Bengals come-from-behind (what-the-heck-just-happened) win over the Buccaneers.
Sam Hubbard also had this pressure earlier in the game and ended up forcing a turnover. He has proven to be every bit of the NFL Draft steal that people thought he’d be back in the spring — plus having that hometown connection to the team adds another layer of dedication.
.@Sam_Hubbard_ with the pressure.@PB_Number2 with the INT.— Cincinnati Bengals (@Bengals) October 28, 2018
That’s TWO picks for the defense in the first quarter. #TBvsCIN #SeizeTheDEY pic.twitter.com/eut6S7TOEn
- Two Buckeyes should see the field during “Monday Night Football” when the New England Patriots (Nate Ebner, John Simon) face the Buffalo Bills.
- Johnathan Hankins spent more of the offseason and beginning part of the regular season unsigned, but he seems to be getting back into the swing of things with the Raiders. On Sunday, Hankins had a career-high nine total tackles against his former Colts team.
- Some of the younger NFL Buckeyes got just a taste of the action in Week 8, with Nick Vannett coming up with one catch for 16 yards for the Seahawks, and Curtis Samuel having three receptions for 28 yards for the Panthers.
- PS — Terrelle Pryor Sr. is still unsigned.
Plays of the Week
It’s not often that we see offensive lineman make noteworthy plays — if anything, it’s been said that no one notices the line unless they screw up. But sometimes, doing their job is critical in scoring opportunities, like the big block by former Buckeye center Corey Linsley on Sunday. Ultimately, the Packers fell to the Rams, but Linsley helped keep them in contention by creating a scoring opportunity in the third quarter.
3️⃣3️⃣ takes it 3️⃣3️⃣ yards to the house!— Green Bay Packers (@packers) October 28, 2018
Touchdown @Showtyme_33! #GBvsLAR #GoPackGo pic.twitter.com/ylgJLePgsZ
On a big 4th-and-4 play, tight end Jeff Heuerman came up big for the Broncos, with a catch and score at the beginning of the fourth quarter. They failed on the follow-up 2-point conversion, but Heuerman’s only catch of the afternoon put the team back in the race. They ended up losing 23-30, but it was much closer than some thought it’d be.
TOUCHDOWN de Jeff Heuerman y los broncos están a 10 puntos de empatar a los Chiefs ¡Se va a poner bueno el último cuarto! #NFLMX #DENvsKC #BroncosCountry pic.twitter.com/QzJWHRPwHU— NFL México (@nflmx) October 28, 2018
Injuries, Inactives and Bye Weeks
- Broncos CB Bradley Roby had six total tackles on Sunday against the Chiefs, but suffered an ankle injury in the process.
- Bengals center Billy Price spent the week listed as doubtful as he still works on coming back from a foot injury, but he was ultimately inactive again in Week 8.
- Colts safety Malik Hooker was inactive on Sunday as he continues dealing with a hip injury.
- Four teams are on bye this week, including the Atlanta Falcons (Michael Bennett), Dallas Cowboys (Ezekiel Elliott, Rod Smith), Los Angeles Chargers (Joey Bosa — who is already OUT for Week 9), and Tennessee Titans (Kerry Coombs COME BACK!).