Behind Enemy Lines – Injury Decimation in Week 2
Week 2 was a mixed bag of emotions for non-Eagle NFC East fans as injuries are starting to shape the landscape of the NFL but there was also one very impressive comeback victory that could cost the Eagles dearly down the road.
(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
The Cowboys managed to achieve a miraculous home win (39 – 40) against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday as they trailed by as much as 20 points at the end of the 1st quarter, after having fumbled 4 times in that time. Dallas was able to start turning things around in the second quarter and slowly chip away at the score. Coach Mike McCarthy stayed aggressive throughout the game and despite 2 failed fake punts and a failed 2 point conversion, managed to get his team to within 9 points (39-30) with just less than 3 minutes left in the game. After his team scored yet again, McCarthy remained aggressive and called for an onside kick which appeared to confuse Falcons Special Teams Players and so the Cowboys were able to recover the ball. This in turn led to a 46 yard field goal by Greg Zuerlein as time expired and sealed the victory for the NFC East team. Dak Prescott had a record setting day, becoming the first QB in NFL history to pass for 400 yards and rush for 3 TDs in a single game.
What makes the Cowboys victory even more impressive was that they achieved it without star Left Tackle Tyron Smith (Neck) who appeared on the inactive report and did not suit up on Sunday. Midway through this week, Smith is being listed as “questionable” for Dallas’ next game. Cornerbacks CB Chidobe Awuzie (Hamstring) and Anthony Brown (Ribs) are not going to play this weekend. Injuries worth monitoring are DE DeMarcus Lawrence who picked up a knee injury and is currently listed as “questionable” as well as CB Trevon Diggs who missed Wednesday practice with a shoulder injury.
The Cowboys face off against the 2-0 Seahawks in Seattle this coming Sunday. The west coast team held on to beat the Cam Newton led Patriots 30-35 on Sunday Night. Russell Wilson had a fantastic performance with 288 yards passing (21/28) and 5 TDs. In his first 2 games this season, he only has 11 incompletions on 63 attempts and 9 TDs. WR Phillip Dorsett was placed on IR on Tuesday. OT Cedric Ogbuehi and DE Rasheem Green did not suit up against New England and are currently listed as “questionable”. The following players are also listed as “questionable”: TE Will Dissly (Achilles), T Duane Brown (Knee), DE Benson Mayowa (Groin), DT Jarran Reed (Back), LB Cody Barton (Quadriceps), CB Neiko Thorpe (Hip) and CB Quinton Dunbar (Knee). CB Tre Flowers and S Jamal Adams both dislocated fingers on Sunday but Coach Pete Carol expects them to play. Finally, S Marquise Blair and LB Bruce Irvin suffered torn ACLs in the same game so are not going to be playing.
Injuries are starting to affect teams across the league and could be a determining factor as to who wins this matchup however, the Prescott vs Wilson faceoff remains the key battle to watch in Seattle.
New York Giants
The Giants lost 13-17 in Chicago on Sunday. QB Daniel Jones did not play well. He threw for 241 yards, 0 TDs and 1 interception as well as losing a fumble. Despite the loss, the defense looked good at times. They got 4 sacks on Mitch Trubisky and picked him off twice. New York found themselves down 17 points going into the second half but managed to make it a one score game with a Dion Lewis touchdown in the 3rd quarter and two Graham Gano field goals in the 3rd and 4th. However, injuries sustained by Saquon Barkley and Sterling Shepard during the game were huge reasons why the Giants were unable win.
Barkley (RB) was diagnosed with a torn ACL and has been lost for the season. The Giants have signed Devonte Freeman on a 1 year $3 million deal to replace him. Shepard (WR) has turf toe and has been put on IR so is not eligible to return until at least Week 6. The only other names to note pertain to FS Adrian Colbert who is currently listed as “questionable” with a quad injury and LB David Mayo who is not eligible to return from IR until Week 4.
The 0-2 Giants take on the 1-1 49ers in New York this Sunday. San Francisco is reeling from injuries sustained so far in the season. QB Jimmy Garoppolo has an ankle injury, did not practice Wednesday and is “questionable” to play on Sunday. Also “questionable” are TE George Kittle (MCL), and LB Dre Greenlaw (Quadriceps). Listed as “doubtful” are DE Dee Ford (Back) and RBs Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman with knee injuries. Des Nick Bosa and Solomon Thomas have sustained season ending ACL injuries and have been placed on IR. Also on IR but not eligible to return for Week 3 are WR Richie James (Hamstring), CB Richard Sherman (Calf), WR Deebo Samuel (Foot) WR Tavon Austin (Knee) and C Weston Richburg (Knee).
The sheer amount of injuries of their opponent gives the Giants a fighting chance of winning but in this case it will probably be a schematic duel between Head Coaches Kyle Shanahan and Joe Judge that ultimately decides this battle.
Washington Football Team
It was never really a serious contest. The Washington Football Team found themselves down 20 points at half time to the Arizona Cardinals and did not even put any points on the board until about three minutes before the end of the 3rd quarter. The difference between Week 1 and Week 2 was that the Cardinals, unlike the Eagles did not allow Washington to get back into the game once they had established a comfortable lead. There is no doubt that Washington has an above average defense; they managed to sack elusive QB Kyler Murray 3 times on Sunday. After a slow start and allowing Arizona to finish the first quarter with 24 points, the defense made adjustments and slowed down their opponent’s high powered offense. But offensively the WFT are a work in progress. Terry McLaurin appears to be the real deal at WR finishing on 125 yards receiving and a TD. He now has a total of 186 yards so far in the season. Rookie RB Antonio Gibson’s role in the offense is steadily increasing. He went from 9 carries in Week 1, to 13 in Week 2 and scored his first NFL touchdown. Both are players that Ron Rivera will build his offense around as time goes on.
Going into Week 3, the Football Team has had to place Guard Brandon Scherff on IR with an MCL Injury. He is not eligible to return until Week 6 at least. They also have 7 players listed as “questionable” heading into the weekend. These players are: WR Steven Sims Jr (Toe), T Morgan Moses (Hip), T Saahdiq Charles, (Thigh), LB Cole Holcomb (Knee), LB Thomas Davis (Undisclosed), DE Ryan Anderson (Shin), DE Ryan Kerrigan (Toe), CB Kendal Fuller (Knee).
The Cleveland Browns are The Football Team’s Week 3 opponent. The Browns beat the Cincinnati Bengals 30-35 at home last week in the “Battle of Ohio”. Beating the Bengals at this point is not an indication of how good a team is so the Browns are a bit of an unknown right now. They appear to be leaning heavily on the running game as indicated not only by the high volume RB numbers (Nick Chubb – 22 carries, 124 yards, 2 TDs, Kareem Hunt 10 carries, 86 yards 1 TD) but also by QB Baker Mayfield’s modest (16/23, 219 yards, 2 TDs) and WR Odell Beckham’s low volume (4 receptions, 74 yards, 1 TD). Going into Week 3, like most other NFL Teams, they have their fair share of injuries. 8 Players are listed as “questionable” for Sunday: JC Tretter C (Knee), Jack Conklin T (Ankle), Adrian Clayborn DE (Hip), Olivier Vernon DE (Abdomen), Jacob Philips LB (Knee), Mack Wilson LB (Knee), Kevin Johnson CB (Abdomen) and Greedy Williams (Shoulder). In addition, TE David Njoku is still on IR with a knee injury and will not be back at least until Week 5.
This season, more than any before, will be shaped by injuries. Teams that were not expected to produce prior to Week 1 may find themselves in the playoffs purely because the injuries they sustained over the regular season where not as severe as some of the other teams favored at the start of the race. This applies to Washington as much as any team.