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Wild Finishes and Devastating Injuries

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Written by Carter Weissenfluh

The first two weeks of NFL football have flown by with many games filled with wild finishes coming down to the last play or possession. While the games have been very entertaining and competitive, many injuries have transpired across the league. It seems like every time you tune in, someone is injured. Already this season, there have been seven players to tear their ACL. The injury bug has already had a huge impact on Super Bowl contenders and fantasy owners are scrambling to find a replacement for their top draft picks. 

NFL stars have been going down left and right; teams are now missing starters and franchise players who were supposed to lead their team to victory. Giants star running back Saquon Barkley is out for the remainder of the season due to an ACL tear. After Sunday’s game versus the Chicago Bears, Barkley took to Instagram after the doctors confirmed his injury by saying, “Gonna be a hell of a story….” Another star running back, Carolina Panthers’ Christian McCaffrey, went down on Sunday and is now expected to miss a minimum of three games due to a high ankle sprain. After being diagnosed with the injury, McCaffrey said in a post-game interview, “I look at this injury as a challenge and if I am expected to miss 4-6 weeks, then I look at that as a challenge to come back earlier than that timeframe.” Christian McCaffrey, who has played an integral role in the Panthers’ offensive success, has been on the field for over 97% of the offensive snaps. To say the least, coach Matt Rhule and his staff want him back soon. 

Another team to get hit by the injury bug is the reigning NFC Champion the San Francisco 49ers. Right off the bat, the team had a league-high eight starters on the injury report. While most of these key players are expected to return, there are two players that are out for the remainder of the season due to torn ACLs: reigning Defensive Rookie of the Year Nick Bosa and former first-round pick Soloman Thomas. The New Orleans Saints, another Super Bowl contender, took a big loss on Monday night vs. the Las Vegas Raiders. Quarterback Drew Brees struggled throughout the game, which was likely due to star wide receiver Michael Thomas being out with an ankle injury. Some other notable injuries across the league include Denver Broncos quarterback Drew Lock (sprained shoulder), and starting wide receiver Courtland Sutton (torn ACL), Indianapolis Colts safety Malik Hooker (torn Achilles tendon), and wide receiver Paris Campbell (strained PCL), and Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams (possible hamstring injury). 

While the beginning of the NFL season has been filled with a lot of injuries, there have been a lot of exciting games that went down to the wire. The defending Super Bowl champions, Kansas City Chiefs, went into overtime with division rival Los Angeles Chargers. The Chiefs won off of a 58-yard field goal from Harrison Butker. In the NFC, the Dallas Cowboys managed to come back from a 15-point deficit in the 4th quarter after quarterback Dak Prescott sneaked in from the 1-yard line to make the game 39-37. With only 1:47 left, the Cowboys attempted an onside kick. They were successful after kicker Greg Zuerlein made one of the wildest onside kicks you’ll ever see. After that electric play, Prescott marches his team down the field and Greg Zuerlein steps up again with the game-winning field goal as time expires. Another wild finish went down at CenturyLink field between the Patriots and Seahawks. With a long history of exciting, down-to-the-wire games, Sunday night’s matchup between Russell Wilson and Cam Newton was no different as they went back and forth all night. It came down to the last play and the entire football world knew exactly what was about to happen. Newton already had 2 rushing touchdowns from the 1-yard line, and it seemed as if the Seahawks had no answer for him. It was 1st and goal the Patriots lined up in goal-line formation and went to run left with Newton. This time the Seahawks blew the play up, taking out the lead blocker and flipping Newton, preventing the Patriots from winning as time expired. 

As exciting as this week was in the NFL, next week has some big games on Sunday Night Football with a potential NFC championship game with the Packers vs Saints. Monday Night Football will have a potential AFC championship game with the Ravens vs Chiefs.