Injuries plague week two of NFL season
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports
In one of the worst Sundays in NFL history as far as injuries are concerned, an alarming number of Pro Bowlers and difference makers went down with severe injuries.
The immediate cause to point to is the brokenness of the off-season due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the much lower number of full-contact practices. Normally, these types of injuries (ACL tears especially) happen a few weeks into the pre-season games, which were not played this year.
One team was particularly hit hard by injuries: the San Francisco 49ers. Last year's Defensive Rookie of the Year DE Nick Bosa went down with what head coach Kyle Shanahan called "most likely" an ACL tear. QB-RB tandem Jimmy Garropolo and Raheem Mostert were also pulled from the game with ankle and knee injuries, respectively, while DL Solomon Thomas also went down with a knee injury.
Already without multiple starters due to injuries, the 49ers are in a flimsy position if they hope to repeat last year's NFC championship-winning team.
Just as impactful a loss is the New York Giants losing Saquon Barkley to an ACL tear as well. For a team with an inexperienced quarterback in Daniel Jones, having one of the best running backs in the NFL would have helped the Giants compete for as much as a wild card position. Now without Barkley for the rest of the season, anything more than 4 wins would be impressive for the Giants.
A couple of "horse teams" also suffered heavy losses on Sunday, as the Denver Broncos' QB Drew Lock suffered a shoulder injury that could keep him out for 2-6 weeks, and Cortland Sutton fell victim to the common theme of Sunday's action: an ACL tear. The Indianapolis Colts also lost two impact players: safety Malik Hooker to an Achilles tear (out for the season) and fellow former Ohio State player, WR Parris Campbell, went down to a PCL and MCL tear.
The final major injury was an ankle injury to Carolina Panthers RB and MVP-candidate Christian McCaffrey. Although the injury likely won't keep him out for the rest of the season, it is expected to keep him out for six weeks. As a team projected to be one of the worst teams in the NFL, being without their best player will only be fuel to the fire of the Panthers' woes.
As a fan of the NFL, we can only hope the players who were injured come back as strong as the Dallas Cowboys did on Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons. Down 20-0 in the first quarter, 29-10 at halftime and 39-24 halfway through the fourth quarter, some questionable play from a team that is inept at holding a big lead, the Cowboys came back from facing an 0-2 record and a mountain to climb to make the playoffs.
For 9 of the 10 teams that improved to 2-0 (Bills, Ravens, Steelers, Titans, Chiefs, Packers, Bears, Cardinals, and Rams; 49ers being the other), week two provided an opportunity to get a very early leg up on the competition. The New Orleans Saints also have a chance to improve to 2-0, but without stand-out WR Michael Thomas (out 2-4 weeks ) and facing a Las Vegas Raiders team also looking to stay unbeaten, the road will be tough on MNF.
The NFL is finally back in full swing, but with the rash of injuries (of which the ones mentioned are just a small part of it as the biggest names or impact), an already difficult season has been ramped up in difficulty as the season moves into week three.