Pro Buckeyes standout performances: 2020 Week 1
Are you ready for some football?
The NFL began its 2020 season in welcome fashion. It began with reigning Super Bowl champion Kansas City having a night of its own against Houston, and finished with a Monday night doubleheader.
There are 54 former Ohio State players interspersed throughout 26 of the 32 professional football teams. The Cincinnati Bengals and Washington Football Team have the most with four each.
Here are the five Buckeyes who had standout performances in Week One.
As the above tweet reads, Baker enjoyed a career game against the New England Patriots on Sunday.
The two-time All-Big Ten Honorable Mention leads the NFL in tackles after setting a new career-high with 16, including 13 of which were solos.
Baker also recorded a sack to raise his career total to 5.5. On the Patriots' first offensive drive of the season, quarterback Cam Newton had converted the second first down of the drive. Baker capitalized on a left-guard pull scheme and sacked Newton for a loss of nine yards, helping force a punt later.
With 0:54 remaining on Patriots First and Goal in the third quarter, Newton passed to N'Keal Harry and Baker forced Harry to fumble, resulting in the Dolphins to gain possession as the ball went out of bounds. It was the third forced fumble of Baker's career and first since Dec. 29 of last season against New England.
Baker has played all 33 games in his career with the Miami Dolphins, who drafted him in the third round in the 2018 NFL Draft. In five games against the Patriots, Baker has recorded no less than seven tackles.
Sure, Ezekiel Elliott had just as many touchdowns and more yards on Sunday. But rookie Dobbins had arguably the better debut.
In an offense with a dual-threat quarterback and reigning MVP in Lamar Jackson and a veteran with nine years of experience ahead of him on the depth chart in Mark Ingram II, Dobbins isn’t in the best position to run the rock yet on the Baltimore Ravens.
But head coach John Harbaugh must be aware of Dobbins’ ability to put his head down and run. Dobbins’ two scores came on 1st and Goal situations and ran to both his sides, even losing his left shoe on his first trip to the end zone.
Dobbins finished with 22 yards on seven attempts and led the team in rushing touchdowns.
Sept. 11, 2016 vs. NYG (L 19-20)
1 rush TD
Sept. 13, 2020 vs. CLE (W 38-6)
2 rush TDs
Washington's head coach Ron Rivera named Haskins the starting quarterback heading into the season, showing confidence and stability in the second-year player and former Heisman finalist.
Three of Washington's first six drives against the Philadelphia Eagles were three-and-outs, eventually leading to a 17-0 deficit with 6:54 left in the first half.
It was all Haskins and the Football Team from there.
Haskins threw for 178 yards and helped score 27 unanswered points to seal a win. It was Washington’s first victory over Philadelphia since Dec. 2016.
The duo of Haskins and wide receiver Terry McLaurin that connected for 701 yards as Buckeyes in 2018 rekindled against the Eagles. With 0:50 remaining in the second quarter, Haskins found McLaurin on a seven-yard pass to set up a six-yard touchdown pass to Logan Thomas on the next play.
Haskins targeted McLaurin seven times for 61 yards, allowing the latter to have the 37th-most receiving yards in the NFL.
Haskins also received help from the Washington defense, which caused three turnovers, and contributions from another former Buckeye to be discussed later.
Don't forget about special teams!
Johnston spent 2013-16 punting for the Buckeyes and holds several Ohio State punting records, including longest career punt for 73 yards set in 2014. He was named 2016 Big Ten Punter of the Year.
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An undrafted free agent in 2017, Johnston has spent the last two seasons punting for the Philadelphia Eagles. It seemed like the Eagles wouldn't need Johnston after getting ahead of the Football Team 17-0, but his right foot was called upon Sunday.
Johnston's five punts totaled 268 yards, fourth-most in the NFL. His 50.2 net average punt yards lead the league.
Four of Johnston's punts did not lead to an ensuing score, and three were inside the 20.
The No. 2 overall pick in last April's draft and third top-three chosen Ohio State defensive-end in the last four years, Young proved he will give the NFC East fits immediately.
Young debuted with 1.5 sacks, tied for fourth-most in the NFL. He also recorded four tackles and two tackles for loss.
On the Philadelphia Eagles' second offensive drive and with 3:00 left in the first quarter, Young fought through the Eagles offensive line and charged quarterback Carson Wentz.
After not bringing Wentz down initially, Young dove after the quarterback and sacked him and knocking the football loose. Young notched his first career sack and forced fumble on the same play.
As Haskins was leading the Football Team back from a 17-point deficit, Young and the defense forced the Eagles to commit three turnovers. The Football Team defense finished with eight sacks for a loss of 62 yards.