Whatever the reason, Week 2 of the NFL season was beset by injuries, some of which may end the season for some significant stars.
Start with running back, where Giants star Saquon Barkley is believed to have torn the ACL in his right knee early in their loss at Chicago. All-Pro standout Christian McCaffrey departed Carolina’s loss to the Buccaneers with a right ankle injury, 49ers running back Raheem Mostert left with a knee injury, and the Rams' Cam Akers hurt his ribs.
Plenty of wide receivers went down, too: The Packers' Davante Adams hurt his hamstring in a win over the Lions; the Colts' Parris Campbell was carted off with a leg injury against Minnesota; the Giants' Sterling Shepard sustained a toe injury; and the Broncos' Courtland Sutton left their loss in Pittsburgh with a knee injury.
Then there were the quarterbacks: Tyrod Taylor didn’t start the Chargers' game against Kansas City after sustaining a chest injury before kickoff, giving way to rookie Justin Herbert. The Broncos' Drew Lock hurt his shoulder, and is believed to be lost for 2-6 weeks. The 49ers' Jimmy Garoppolo tried to play through a right ankle injury before Nick Mullens took over for the second half.
The injury landslide came after an opening week in which most NFL teams escaped relatively unscathed, despite a virtual offseason and the elimination of the entire preseason schedule because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The most noteworthy single injury may have been to Barkley — “Going to see some doctors tomorrow. We will wait and see what that is,” Giants coach Joe Judge said — while the hardest-hit team may have been the 49ers.
Garoppolo’s high-ankle sprain could keep him out next week, too, while Mostert’s will be re-examined Monday for what is thought to be a mild ligament sprain. Tevin Coleman also left San Francisco’s win over the Jets with a late knee injury.
The news was more dire on defense. Nick Bosa, the reigning Defensive Rookie of the Year, and fellow lineman Solomon Thomas, the third overall pick in the 2017 draft, were both carted off the field with what the 49ers feared could be torn knee ligaments. Bosa and Solomon will be examined again early this week.
Baltimore coach John Harbaugh said cornerback Tavon Young, who missed the entire 2019 season with a neck injury, suffered a season-ending left knee injury after leaping high to break up a pass early in the win against Houston. Atlanta, according to an ESPN report, fear right tackle Kaleb McGary suffered a sprained MCL in the team’s loss to Dallas.
The Jets also had a considerable injury list by the time San Francisco polished off its 31-13 rout. Wide receivers Breshad Perriman (ankle) and Chris Hogan (ribs) departed early, cornerbacks Quincy Wilson (concussion) and Arthur Maulet (groin) failed to make it the finish, and center Connor McGovern hurt his hamstring and did not return.
The Colts, who lost running back Marlon Mack to an Achilles tendon injury last week, may have lost two more starters for the season against Minnesota. Campbell was carted off after taking a blow to his left knee; Colts coach Frank Reich said it “didn’t look good,” while NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported the injury wasn’t initially thought to be an ACL tear. Safety Malik Hooker left in the second half with his own Achilles tendon injury.
Tarik Cohen gets new three-year deal from Chicago
The Chicago Bears announced a three-year contract extension with running back and return specialist Tarik Cohen, guaranteeing him about $9.5 million and which could be worth $18.25 million, agent Drew Rosenhaus said.
Drafted by the Bears out of North Carolina A&T in the fourth round in 2017, the speedy and versatile Cohen has been an important contributor on offense and special teams. He was an All-Pro as a punt returner in 2018. Cohen also ran for 444 yards that year and led the team in yards receiving with 725, though his production dipped last year.
Packers still show some jump at empty Lambeau
⋅ Aaron Jones did the Packers' first Lambeau leap of the season, even though he didn’t get to share the experience with any fans. With no fans in attendance due to the pandemic, green tarps — some with team logos, others with advertising — were placed over the first several rows in the stands. After scoring on a 7-yard reception early in the second quarter, Jones leaped onto one of the curtains to celebrate.
⋅ The New York Jets and Giants renamed the photo work room at MetLife Stadium the Anthony J. Causi Photo Work Room, in honor of the New York Post photographer who died at 48 in April from the novel coronavirus. The exceedingly popular Causi covered the city’s teams for 25 years, and was honored at Fenway Park during the Red Sox weekend series with the Yankees by a photo cutout in the Fenway Park seats.
⋅ AT&T Stadium outside Dallas held a socially distanced crowd of 21,708 fans for Sunday’s comeback against Atlanta, the largest crowd to view an NFL game live this season. It was 27 percent of capacity.
⋅ Buffalo’s victory over Miami at Hard Rock Stadium was delayed for 36 minutes in the third quarter by lightning in the area.