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NFL Commentary: Week 7 Key Offensive Injuries, and Effects On Teams Going Forward.
NFL, Week 7 Key Injuries.
The National Football League is nearing it's midway point, and week 7 brought some significant story lines. Some of the key headlines included Denver Broncos quarterback, Peyton Manning, returning to play against the team that drafted him, the Indianapolis Colts. The Kansas City Chiefs victory over the struggling Houston Texans, which propelled the Chiefs into another victory, making them the sole undefeated team left in the league was another key story line.
The various plots and action featured in week 7 made for another great week of football. Fans know that players getting injured are also a big part of the NFL. In fact, nearly every NFL player plays weekly with various nicks and bruises. When it comes to tolerance of pain, the majority of NFL players know how to manage pain well. However, week 7 also brought about some key injuries to several players, with whom's presence to their respective teams are critical.
The injury bug bit hard in week 7. Several NFL teams lost players that are essential to their teams success. Adjustments will have to be made going forward, but it's hard to replace what several of these players bring to their teams. This is an opinion commentary on several key injuries to various offensive players, and the impact their injuries could have going forward.
The Indianapolis Colts narrowly defeated Denver Broncos 39-33 on NBC's 'Sunday Night Football' in week 7. However, the team as a whole suffered a huge loss via injury. Veteran wide receiver Reggie Wayne suffered a stunning knee injury in the fourth quarter of the game. Wayne was attempting to catch a low Andrew Luck pass, and fell to the turf holding his right knee. Following the game, it was revealed that Wayne suffered a torn ACL, which effectively ended his season.
- Impact: Reggie Wayne is second year quarterback Andrew Luck's most dependable option in the passing game. Wayne's 189 consecutive game streak, which is the highest among active players will now to come an end. Prior to the injury, Wayne had caught 38 passes for 503 yards and two touchdowns this season. Also, it must be noted that Wayne is 34 years old now. Whether or not he can come back and be the same player with such an injury is now something to consider.
- Going Forward: Now that quarterback Andrew Luck has lost his safety net in Wayne, he will now have to rely primarily on receivers T.Y. Hilton, and Darrius Heyward-Bey. Hilton has been more of a deep threat thus far in his young career, so he's going to have to step up as a possession receiver. Heyward-Bey is a speedster, but has become known for frequently dropping passes. Tight end Coby Fleener may now become Luck's favorite target. However, with a struggling running attack, there is no way to twist the impact of the Colts losing Reggie Wayne.
St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford suffered a season ending torn ACL in the Rams loss to the Carolina Panthers. The injury came in the fourth quarter when Bradford was pushed out of bounds by Panthers safety Mike Mitchell. Backup quarterback Kellen Clemens came in to replace Bradford, and will apparently be the Rams starter for the foreseeable future.
- Impact: Being in one of the NFL's toughest divisions, it was unlikely that the 3-4 Rams were going to challenge the San Francisco 49ers, or the Seattle Seahawks for the division title. However, any hope that there was left when Bradford went down. Although the Rams rushing attack has been limited, Bradford was quietly having a decent season. Through 7 games, Bradford completed 60.7% of his passes. He also threw for 14 touchdowns, while throwing only 4 interceptions.
- Going Forward: The Rams will rely on Kellen Clemens in the near future. However, it was reported days later that the Rams contacted former NFL quarterback, Brett Favre, and tried to talk him into coming out of retirement. Favre declined.
Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler was injured in the Bears game against the Washington Redskins in week 7. Cutler was sacked by Washington's Chris Baker, and was slow to get up. He was finally able to get up, and limped off the field and down the tunnel. The diagnosis was a torn groin muscle, and Cutler is expected to miss at least four weeks. Backup quarterback Josh McCown relieved Cutler, and completed 14 of 20 passes for 204 yards. McCown also threw a touchdown to tight end Martellus Bennett.
- Impact: This has been an injury riddled season for the Chicago Bears, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Losing Cutler is a big blow, considering that the Bears are 4-3, and are only one game back from the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions for first place in the NFC Northern division.
- Going Forward: Team doctors stated that Cutler will miss at least four weeks. However, Bears receiver Brandon Marshall believes that Cutler will be back in two weeks. It's unlikely, but it shows that Marshall understands the impact that gunslinger Cutler has. Josh McCown performed well in his relief of Cutler. However, the Bears next two games following their bye in week 8 will be against the Packers and Lions; two tough division rivals.
Tight end, Jermichael Finley of the Green Bay Packers, suffered a bruised spinal cord in his neck in week 7. The injury came in the Packers 31-13 victory over the Cleveland Browns. The injury happened in the fourth quarter when Finley caught a pass from Aaron Rodgers, and took a scary looking hit from Tashaun Gipson. Finley layed motionless on the turf, and was carted off from the field. He was later taken to a local hospital.
- Impact: The good news is that Finely's injury isn't expected to be career ending. It has also been reported that Finley has since been released from the hospital, and is said to be in good spirits. The bad news for the Packers is that Finley is expected to be placed on injury reserve for the remainder of the season. This is a large blow to an already injury depleted receiving corp.
- Going Forward: With both Finley and receiver Randall Cobb out, receiver Jordy Nelson will continue to see the bulk of the targets from Aaron Rodgers. Backup tight end Andrew Quarless will step to the forefront in wake of Finley's injury. Quarless has played four seasons in the league, and has caught only four passes for 28 yards this season.
Tampa Bay running back Doug Martin suffered a shoulder injury in the Buccaneers 23-31 loss to the Atlanta Falcons. The injury has been described as a torn labrum to Martin's left shoulder. Initially, it was believed that the second year Martin would miss the remainder of the season, however, several outlets are reporting that the injury could sideline Martin anywhere from two weeks to two months. Tampa Bay played the Carolina Panthers this past Thursday. Backup Mike James got the start.
- Impact: As good as Doug Martin was last season, losing him won't be that huge of a hit to the slumping Buccaneers. The Bucs are 0-7, and any hope of making the playoffs is all but lost. Martin was great in his rookie campaign, but he hasn't been able to produce the numbers he did last season. Martin is only averaging 3.6 yards per carry this season, and the Bucs offense in general hasn't been good. Although Martin wants to come back, it may not be a bad idea for the team to shut him down for the remainder of the season. That way he won't risk any further damage to the shoulder.
- Going Forward: Mike James will receive the bulk of the carries headed forward. James, a rookie, rushed for 39 yards on 10 carries against the Carolina Panthers. Tampa Bay had to abandon the run in that game after falling behind early. With the way the problems on and off the field Buccaneers have been playing this season, it probably won't matter much who is in the backfield at this point. The outcome will be the same regardless.
Which Player's Injury Will Have the Biggest Impact on Their Respective Team?
Other Notable Injuries.
There is only so much that can be fitted into one piece, so here are some other injuries that happened in week 7.
- Brandon Marshall (Hand) - Chicago Bears receiver Brandon Marshall suffered a hand injury in the Bears week 7 loss to the Washington Redskins. The injury isn't considered to be serious. The Bears are on a bye in week 8, so Marshall should be ready to roll with no problems in week 9.
- Nick Foles (Head) - Philadelphia Eagles QB Nick Foles left week 7's game against the Dallas Cowboys with a head injury. Following the game, it was determined that Foles suffered a concussion. Starter Michael Vick is returning in week 8, so Foles time as a starter is up for the foreseeable future.
- Arian Foster (Hamstring) - Houston Texans running back Arian Foster left during the first quarter of the Texans week 7 game against the Kansas City Chiefs. Foster aggravated a hamstring injury, and spent the remainder of the game on the sideline in sweatpants. The Texans are on a bye in week 8, but Foster expects to play in week 9 against the Indianapolis Colts.