To say it was a big week for Buckeyes in the NFL is a bit of an understatement: Michael Thomas set a new franchise record, Curtis Samuel had a two TD game, and rookie Jerome Baker claimed his first career pick-6. And those are just the highlights.
From roster moves to injury updates, here’s everything you need to know about Ohio State alumni in Week 9 of the NFL regular season:
Thomas sets another record
Heading into Sunday’s marquee matchup, expectations were high that the New Orleans Saints and Los Angeles Rams would go tit-for-tat on offense all day. And, they did just that. The Saints ended up pulling away with just minutes left in the fourth quarter, and came away with a 45-35 win over LA, meaning that there are no more undefeated teams in the NFL this season (go ahead and celebrate, Dolphins’ fans).
All that’s great, but the real highlight was wideout Michael Thomas. He didn’t even get into the end zone until late in the fourth quarter, but his consistency moving the chains and creating big plays was on display all afternoon.
Thomas finished the day snagging 12-of-15 targets for 211 receiving yards and a touchdown. With his 211 yards, he now sits at No. 1 for most receiving yards in a single game in franchise history. With his feat, he bested Wes Chandler’s former record of 205 receiving yards, set in 1979.
And, as if setting a franchise record wasn’t enough, he also paid tribute to one of the most infamous touchdown celebrations in Saints history. In the clip above, you can see him channel his inner Joe Horn, and dig out a cell phone that he stashed at the base of the goal posts.
The other Buckeyes celebrating the Saints’ win include Eli Apple (5 tackles, 1 PD), Vonn Bell (6 tackles, 1 PD), Kurt Coleman (1 tackle), and Marshon Lattimore (4 tackles).
Baker’s first pick-6
Linebacker Jerome Baker was an instant contributor for the Miami Dolphins, and it took only nine games before the Buckeye got his first interception and his first NFL touchdown.
Against the Jets on Sunday, Baker made five total tackles and had one pass breakup in addition to his takeaway that he returned for 25 yards.
Also, that celebration dance deserves some love — I would (read: definitely) have fallen trying to pull off the heel-click move before. And by the way, he just kept on dancing:
That walk into work got even better on Monday, as the team celebrated Baker’s big play with some elevator art.
Other Buckeyes in the Dolphins-Jets matchup includes Miami LB Raekwon McMillan (2 tackles, 1 stuff) and New York LB Darron Lee (6 tackles, 1 stuff).
After two weeks unsigned, Terrelle Pryor Sr. made a deal with the Buffalo Bills, and in all seriousness, could be asked to dive into his quarterback background with the situation that they’ve got going on there — Nathan Peterman was the starter this Sunday... Nathan. Peterman. The Peter Man.
Pryor came out of Week 9 with two catches for 17 yards, so not exactly eye-popping, but his quarterback threw three interceptions on the day and only had 189 passing yards.
The Atlanta Falcons also made a Buckeye move last week, and cut DT Michael Bennett after he joined the team just a few weeks ago. The team’s secondary was decimated by injuries, so they had some needs elsewhere on the roster.
Catching up with Bosa
We are now firmly over halfway through the 2018 season, and despite a projected Week 9 return for Chargers DE Joey Bosa, he was still on the sideline.
There hasn’t been a whole lot of updates thus far surrounding Bosa’s progress with his foot injury, but he spoke to reporters for 12 minutes last week to explain a bit more about where he is, and why it’s taking so long for him to get back.
Bosa talked about finally being able to run again, and how he’s had to change his approach to rehab. He talked about learning the difference between pain in his foot and soreness associated with the healing process. Now that he’s made that shift, he has a much more positive outlook on his situation and eventual return.
“Every time I watch another d-end I’m like, ‘Shoot, I wish I could be playing.’ I had such a great offseason. I was so set to have a great year and all that. You could look back at it. But right now, I’m just pumped to actually be progressing. If you asked me a little while back I would not be optimistic like this.”
He says that right now he’s week-to-week and will be back the second his foot is ready to play — but not a moment sooner.
Helping Bosa along the way, he is now rehabbing and working with his younger brother Nick, who withdrew from Ohio State and is focused on recovering from his core muscle injury ahead of the 2019 NFL Draft.
“I love (having him around),” he said. “We’re best friends. We texted and talked almost every single day, but it’s not the same. To both be going through similar situations at the same time, obviously having him around has been great.”
And, while most people would understand the need — especially at their positions — to be 100% healthy before stepping foot back on the field, not everyone supports their recovery process.
Rex Ryan just asked sarcastically on ESPN, "Does Joey Bosa need his dad's permission to play? Because we know the Bosas. If the injury says 1-to-12 weeks, they're going to take it the full 12 weeks." Wow. #Chargers— Dave Biddle (@davebiddle) November 5, 2018
(But, maybe that’s why Rex Ryan doesn’t have a job as an NFL head coach anymore, I’m just saying.)
- At least one Buckeye will see the field on Monday night in Week 9 when the Tennessee Titans take on the Dallas Cowboys (Ezekiel Elliott, Rod Smith).
- The Oakland Raiders are having a heck* of a first year under Jon Gruden (*= bad) and that continued on Thursday Night Football this week when the team was decimated (34-3) by the San Francisco 49ers and their starting quarterback Nick Mullens. (The Raiders lost to a team using their No. 3 QB who they pulled up from the practice squad and had never played a snap in the NFL. And he put up 34 points. Seriously.)
Buckeye CB Gareon Conley had two tackles in the contest, and DT Johnathan Hankins had four total tackles, including two stuffs.
Russell Wilson throws a bullet to Nick Vannett for a 6-yard TD on fourth down. Nice catch on a hard throw. Seahawks cut the Chargers' lead to 25-17 with 1:50 left. Really could have used that TD before the 2-minute warning but they have all three timeouts left.— Brady Henderson (@BradyHenderson) November 4, 2018
Play of the Week
The second-year player out of Ohio State nabbed not one, but two touchdowns on Sunday against the Buccaneers — pretty impressive for a guy who was only targeted four times in addition to one rushing carry.
Samuel’s first score of the day was on a 33-yard run into the end zone.
And, his second was a 19-yard pass, with Samuel getting some big air to make the play. He was targeted just four times, but made two catches for 25 yards and a touchdown on the day.
Curtis got UP for that one pic.twitter.com/rSkR8nR8I4— Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) November 4, 2018
The tight end had a career-high 83 yards in Week 9 against the Texans on 10-of-11 targets, and a touchdown. It was the most he’s been targeted thus far in his NFL career, and as a guy playing on the final year of his rookie contract, needs to make a case for an extension of his professional playing career.
Injuries, Inactives and Bye Week
- Browns CB Denzel Ward was sidelined early on Sunday against the Chiefs with a hip injury, and didn’t return to help what quickly became a decimated Cleveland secondary.
- Bradley Roby was ruled out for the Broncos in Week 9 as he deals with an ankle injury that kept him from practicing during the week.
- Six teams and lots of Buckeyes were on a bye this week, including the Arizona Cardinals, Cincinnati Bengals (Sam Hubbard, Billy Price, Adolphus Washington), Indianapolis Colts (Malik Hooker), Jacksonville Jaguars (Carlos Hyde, Andrew Norwell), New York Giants, and Philadelphia Eagles (Malcolm Jenkins, Cameron Johnston).