Major injuries to NFL stars Saquon Barkley, Nick Bosa, and others were the big talk after Week 2 of the 2020 NFL season. However, when it comes to the games themselves, many teams flashed their potential, such as the Cardinals, Steelers, and Buccaneers. Others showed gaping problems, such as the Falcons, Eagles, Vikings, and others. There were also a couple of nail biters in a wild, unsuspecting week for the National Football League.
It’s best to address the elephant in the room before going over this week, and that was the unbelievable amount of injuries. Many of the injured players were among the biggest young stars in the NFL. Two of the biggest names suffering injuries this week were San Francisco 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa and New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley and.
Bosa, the 2019 Defensive Rookie of the Year, and his 49er teammate Solomon Thomas, a former top-3 pick, both went down with ACL tears. This depletes the Niners’ pass rush further, as Dee Ford was also inactive for San Francisco’s game with a neck injury. This leaves San Francisco’s vaunted defensive line down to Arik Armstead, Javon Kinlaw, Kentavious Street, and D.J. Jones. Unfortunately, the Niners’ injuries weren’t done there, as quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and running back Raheem Mostert will both miss time with a high ankle sprain and a sprained MCL, respectively. Another key injury involved Saquon Barkley. The Giants confirmed their star running back suffered a torn ACL against the Chicago Bears last Sunday. This not only puts the Giants back a year in their rebuilding process (with Barkley being the main centerpiece). It also pushes back Barkley’s timeline for an extension.
The list of injuries goes on and on. The top fantasy draft pick for many, Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey, suffered a high ankle sprain and is expected to miss four to six weeks. Denver also had a bad week for injuries, as both quarterback Drew Lock and wide receiver Courtland Sutton suffered injuries against Pittsburgh. Lock suffered a sprained AC joint while Sutton came down with a torn ACL. Packers wide receiver Davante Adams suffered a hamstring injury. Washington guard Brandon Scherff suffered a knee injury. And Miami cornerback Byron Jones suffered a groin injury.
There are many theories why there were so many injuries this week. Padded practices were reduced this summer, and the 2020 preseason was cancelled, both due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although most of these players would’ve seen only a certain amount of snaps in the preseason, would the amount of injuries have been limited this week if the NFL went through with a preseason? The answer could go either way. Saquon Barkley and Nick Bosa didn’t play at all during the 2019 preseason and both played in most of their teams’ games in the regular season.
On a better note, the slate of games this week was quite fun to watch. The Browns kicked off the week with a 35-30 home win against divisional rival Cincinnati on Thursday Night Football. Baker Mayfield threw for 2 touchdowns while Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt dominated the run game with 3 rushing touchdowns combined. Bengals rookie quarterback Joe Burrow had a good game as well, throwing for 316 yards and 3 touchdowns on a whopping 61 pass attempts. This performance caught the attention of LeBron James, who said on Twitter, “Burrow is SPECIAL! He has the “IT” for sure!”
As for Sunday’s afternoon action, the biggest storyline, other than injuries, was the Dallas Cowboys’ miraculous comeback against the Atlanta Falcons. After trailing 20-0 entering the second quarter, Dak Prescott lit the game up, throwing for over 450 yards and scoring 4 total touchdowns. After the Cowboys recovered an onside kick down 39-37, Prescott drove the offense downfield, setting up kicker Greg Zuerlein for a 46-yard game-winning field goal, which he nailed to give Dallas a 40-39 win over the Falcons.
Continuing with the early afternoon games, the Bears improved to 2-0 off of Mitchell Trubisky’s 2 touchdown passes. They staved off the Giants 17-13. On top of losing a Saquon Barkley, the Giants fall to 0-2. The Green Bay Packers beat divisional rival Detroit 42-21 behind running back Aaron Jones’ career-high 168 yards and 3 total touchdowns.
Ryan Tannehill threw for 4 touchdowns as Stephen Gostkowski nailed another clutch field goal to beat the Jaguars 33-30.
The Colts’ defense stifled Kirk Cousins and the Minnesota Vikings, forcing 3 interceptions. Jonathan Taylor ran for 101 yards and a touchdown in a 28-11 Indianapolis win.
Bills quarterback Josh Allen flashed his franchise QB potential throwing for over 400 yards and 4 touchdowns with no interceptions as Buffalo defeated AFC East rival Miami Dolphins 31-28.
Rounding out the first slate of games, the Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Denver Broncos 26-21. Even without Drew Lock, backup Jeff Driskel and Denver made a valiant comeback that fell just short. Ben Roethlisberger threw for 311 yards with two touchdowns, including an 84-yard bomb to rookie Chase Claypool. T.J. Watt dominated on defense, racking up 2.5 sacks to his 4 tackles on the day. This performance earned Watt AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors.
San Francisco, even with their huge amount of injuries, was able to take down the Jets 31-13.
Their NFC West rival, the Rams, flashed the potential of a team with something to prove. However, the Eagles, the Rams’ opponent, looked like a team that still has a lot of gaping holes. Los Angeles picked up a big road win in Philly 37-19, as Jared Goff threw all 3 of his touchdowns to tight end Tyler Higbee. Carson Wentz struggled, throwing 2 interceptions and no touchdowns.
Finally, Tom Brady picked up his first win as a Buccaneer, leading Tampa Bay to a 31-17 win over the Panthers. The defense was big for Brady and the Bucs, forcing 4 Carolina turnovers. New addition Leonard Fournette had a solid day as well, rushing for over 100 yards with 2 touchdowns.
The late afternoon slate of games were big as well. Patrick Mahomes, once again, led the Chiefs to a win after being down by double digits. They defeated the Los Angeles Chargers 23-20 in overtime as Harrison Butker hit a 58-yard game winning field goal. Mahomes and Tyreek Hill each had big offensive days, with Chargers rookie quarterback Justin Herbert showing flashes of potential in his first NFL start.
The Arizona Cardinals and Kyler Murray continue to silence critics, picking up a 30-15 win over Washington. Murray himself tallied over 350 all-purpose yards and notched 3 total touchdowns, one through the air and two on the ground. DeAndre Hopkins also caught his first Cardinal touchdown, amassing 68 yards on 8 catches. Finally, the Ravens showed that they are not to be messed with as they dominated the Texans 33-16. The Baltimore defense was a key factor in the game, forcing two turnovers and stuffing Houston and Deshaun Watson.
The final two games of the week were quite entertaining. On Sunday night, Cam Newton and the Patriots battled Russell Wilson and the Seahawks in Seattle. Wilson showed the MVP-caliber player he is, throwing for 5 touchdowns and leading Seattle to a 35-30 win. It wasn’t easy, however, as Cam and the Patriots wouldn’t go down without a fight. On the final play, the Seahawks’ defense stuffed Newton at the goal line to secure the W.
Finally, the Raiders made their Las Vegas debut, defeating Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints 34-24. Derek Carr threw for 3 touchdowns while the rest of the Raiders did their job in holding off a dangerous Saints squad. Although Drew Brees and Alvin Kamara did all they could, the New Orleans defense had no answer for a tricky Raiders offense.
Week 3 opens up tonight in a battle of Florida squads, as the Miami Dolphins look to avoid a 0-3 start. They travel to Jacksonville to take on Gardner Minshew and the Jaguars. Sunday will finish with Aaron Rodgers and the Packers looking to stay unbeaten against Drew Brees and the Saints. Week 3 concludes with a battle of former league MVPs, as Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs travel to Baltimore to take on Lamar Jackson and the Ravens on Monday Night Football.