Another week, another impressive performance by a whole host of former Ohio State players. Not only are these Buckeyes contributing to their respective teams, but they’re also garnering attention as potential Pro Bowl options — 22 Buckeyes were named on the recently released 2019 Pro Bowl ballot.
Here’s how former Buckeyes handled things in Week 11 of the NFL:
Bosa is back
The Chargers have waited a long time — 10 weeks to be exact — before they were able to return their star defender on the field. Joey Bosa had been dealing with a lingering foot injury for the majority of the 2018 regular season, and after starting in a walking boot, he slowly progressed to be ready on game day.
Against the Broncos, Bosa didn’t exactly put up the kind of numbers he was his first two seasons, and managed just one tackle on the day. During the team’s 23-22 loss, defensive tackle Corey Liuget went down and will now miss the remainder of the year. The timing worked out well for the Chargers in welcoming Bosa back, but will need him to quickly get into late-season mode to make a playoff push.
Raiders finally win
The Raiders got their second win of the season and Buckeye Johnathan Hankins had two total tackles, and Gareon Conley had one tackle on the day. Conley hasn’t gotten a ton of snaps with Daryl Worley back in the mix, but has been reliable on third down.
And, while Conley’s ability in coverage wasn’t the issue keeping him from the field, seeing that he’s excelled in that area might buy him some time as he works on his tackling.
“Where Conley has received the most criticism has not been his coverage so much as his tackling. The biggest, most back-breaking play of last week’s loss to the Chargers was a 66-yard catch and run by Melvin Gordon in which Conley had position but was easily juked and watched Gordon fly by him untouched.
There are six Raiders DB’s who have more tackles than his 21 combined tackles. That’s in a group that typically won’t have more than five guys on the field at any given time and Conley is one of the few to consistently start. The one game he was benched was for poor tackling.
Clearly his coverage is on point. If he can improve his tackling, he can be the cornerback the Raiders hoped he would be when they made him their pick at 24 overall in the 2017 draft.”
— Levi Damien, Silver And Black Pride
The NFL has been trying to “crack down” on late or big hits on quarterbacks this season, which has resulted in many unnecessary penalties and fines. Buckeye Johnathan Hankins was one of the latest targets after his sack against Chargers’ QB Phillip Rivers.
“The latest disgusting display of uncivilized tackle football comes from Johnathan Hankins who went and took Chargers quarterback Rivers all the way to the ground. For that assault, he got off lightly, receiving just a $20,054 fine.”
— Levi Damien, Silver And Black Pride
DE Shilique Calhoun (91) @Shilique89 beats RT with inside move, gets to Rivers for the sack. DT Johnathan Hankins (90) @BigTimeHank is there to clean the play up but unfortunately the refs decided this was roughing the passer. #Raiders #All22 #Raidernation pic.twitter.com/zIjYg7NiuV— Ryan Holmes (@Rholm22) November 13, 2018
22 on Pro Bowl Ballot
The 2019 Pro Bowl ballots have been released, and more than a few former Ohio State players made the list. Among them includes three rookies (*) and several first-time candidates — including league-leading punter Cameron Johnston.
Some on this list seem far-fetched given their contributions this season. Is Joey Bosa a Pro Bowl caliber player? Definitely. Should he get the votes this season after missing 10 games due to injury? That’s a tough sell.
One trend you’ll notice is the number of defensive players compared to offense. Most of Kerry Coombs DBU players are named, with secondary players far outnumbering any other position group.
Fans have until Thursday, December 13 to vote online and on mobile phones by going to NFL.com/ProBowlVote.
- RB: Ezekiel Elliott (Cowboys)
- WR: Michael Thomas (Saints)
- TE: Jeff Heuerman (Broncos); Nick Vannett (Seahawks)
- G: Taylor Decker (Lions); Andrew Norwell (Jaguars)
- C: Pat Elflein (Vikings); Corey Linsley (Packers); Billy Price* (Bengals)
- DE: Joey Bosa (Chargers)
- DT: Cameron Heyward (Steelers); Johnathan Hankins (Raiders)
- ILB: Darron Lee (Jets)
- OLB: Jerome Baker* (Dolphins)
- CB: Eli Apple (Saints); Gareon Conley (Raiders); Marshon Lattimore (Saints); Bradley Roby (Broncos); Denzel Ward* (Browns)
- SAF: Kurt Coleman (Saints); Malcolm Jenkins (Eagles)
- P: Cameron Johnston (Eagles)
Saints demolishing opponents
It was not a good week to be a fan of the Philadelphia Eagles. The reigning Super Bowl champs went on the road to New Orleans, where they were embarrassed to the tune of 48-7 by a handful of Buckeyes.
Michael Thomas became the first player for the Saints to record 1,000 receiving yards in his first three NFL seasons. He had four catches for 92 yards and a score on Sunday against the Eagles, and should continue to break and bust through a host of records with six weeks left of the regular season and an all but certain playoff run.
Brees drops in another dime and Thomas extends our lead with a 23-yard touchdown! #PHIvsNO pic.twitter.com/2F1MLMpgTf— New Orleans Saints (@Saints) November 18, 2018
Michael Thomas has 1,042 receiving yards and has caught 90.1% of the passes thrown to him in 2018.— Michael David Smith (@MichaelDavSmith) November 18, 2018
Prior to 2018 no 1,000-yard wide receiver had ever caught even 80% of his targets. Wes Welker, at 77.2% in 2007, was the highest, at least as far back as @pfref has target stats.
The secondary held the Eagles to just seven points: Eli Apple claimed two tackles, Vonn Bell made three total tackles, Kurt Coleman had one tackle, and Marshon Lattimore led the way with four total tackles, two passes defended and an interception.
Wentz is picked off by Marshon Lattimore! #PHIvsNO pic.twitter.com/SdyMVyQ8bc— New Orleans Saints (@Saints) November 18, 2018
For the Eagles, Buckeye safety — and former Saint — Malcolm Jenkins had a decent game despite the outcome, with nine total tackles on the day.
Punter Cameron Johnston at one point absolutely body-slammed a punt returner late in the game, but — due in large part to the starting field position — had four punts on the day, averaging a career-low 39.8 yards. His season average is still 48.6 so he’s still among the best in the NFL.
- This week’s Monday Night Football matchup with feature the Kansas City Chiefs and the Los Angeles Rams (Jake McQuiade).
- Tyvis Powell was released by the San Francisco 49ers earlier this week, but has been on and off their practice squad throughout the season, so I wouldn’t be entirely surprised to see him back with the organization in some capacity.
- Terrelle Pryor Sr. was released by the Buffalo Bills just two weeks after signing with the team.
- Some offensive notes: Carlos Hyde had his biggest game as a Jaguar, with eight carries for 44 yards and Seahawks TE Nick Vannett had just one catch for 17 yards against the Packers on Thursday Night Football. Another tight end to put in work was Jeff Heuerman, who had four catches for 20 yards in the Broncos win over the Chargers.
- Some defensive notes: Buckeyes recorded a pair of sacks on Sunday, including Steelers’ Cameron Heyward (who also had a fumble recovery) and Bengals’ Sam Hubbard, with both former Ohio State players also racking up five total tackles for their respective squads.
Play of the Week
Someone is making their name known in Carolina, and that man is Curtis Samuel. After checking in with Cat Scratch Reader, the SB Nation site for all things Panthers, Samuel was one of the few bright spots from Week 11:
“Good things happen when Samuel touches the football. He caught 5 passes for 55 yards and a touchdown, most of which came during Carolina’s furious rally to get back in the football game. If Ron Rivera and Norv Turner can learn anything from this game, it should be to GET SAMUEL THE BALL MORE OFTEN!”
Despite the team’s loss on Sunday, the Buckeye had himself a big game and made it into the endzone, yet again. He finished the day with five catches for 55 yards and a score.
*takes a deep breath* pic.twitter.com/ZaaOaZwWgc— Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) November 18, 2018
Injuries, Inactives and Bye Weeks
- Malik Hooker was inactive for the Colts on Sunday as he continues to deal with a hip injury he suffered in Week 7.
- Adolphus Washington was out for the Bengals in Week 11, as he continues to rehab a knee injury that kept him out of practice all week.
- Jalyn Holmes was a healthy scratch for the Vikings, who have something akin to an on and off again relationship with the Buckeye.
- Several teams are on bye this week, including the Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns (Denzel Ward), Miami Dolphins (Jerome Baker, Raekwon McMillan), New England Patriots (Nate Ebner, John Simon), New York Jets (Darron Lee), and San Francisco 49ers.