Why NFL Week 2 was full of injuries; Analyzing Anthony Davis’ ‘Mamba moment’

Well, hello, my friend! Welcome back to the grind this morning, one that comes on the heels of a pretty incredible sports weekend that had plenty for us to watch, analyze, mock, lament, and anything else you could ever want as a fan. We’ll get into a bunch of that in just a second. 

I hope you had a relaxing, enjoyable past couple of days since we last talked. As a New England guy, I gotta say… there’s absolutely nothing better than the weather up here right now. It’s wavering between warm and comfortably crisp and it’s the absolute sweet spot as far as seasons go, in my opinion. Unfortunately, it only lasts for, like, two to three weeks until we start getting smacked by the cold, but I’m doing my best to enjoy it while I can. (You know, by staying inside and watching football for 10 straight hours.)

But enough about the weather. We’ve got a lot of news to get to from the weekend that was, and also a big week ahead of us. Let’s break bread. 

📰 What you need to know

1. Week 2 brings the pain with major injuries 🏈

The second weekend of the NFL season was a particularly brutal one and there appeared to be some major injuries in games across the league. A number of those injuries hit star players as well, so there’s a good chance your favorite team (or your fantasy team) is a bit shaken to its core this Monday morning. If so, condolences to you. 

Our weekly injury tracker was quite busy yesterday, so let’s run down some of the bigger ones:

  • Saquon Barkley suffered a knee injury vs. the Bears. The Giants fear Barkley tore his ACL
  • Nick Bosa was carted off the field during the 49ers’ game against the Jets and it’s believed he likely tore his ACL
  • Christian McCaffrey suffered an ankle injury at the end of Carolina’s loss to Tampa Bay and will undergo an MRI to determine the severity of the situation
  • Niners QB Jimmy Garoppolo suffered a high ankle sprain and may miss more time. Solomon Thomas and Raheem Mostert also suffered injuries and left the game
  • Tyrod Taylor reported suffered a chest injury before yesterday’s Chargers-Chiefs game and rookie QB Justin Herbert made his first career start in Taylor’s place
  • Broncos QB Drew Lock also exited the first half of Sunday’s game

Of course, injuries always happen over the course of an NFL season and some weekends are worse than others, but it’s hard not to draw a possible connection between a brutal Week 2 and a lack of NFL preseason this year. Could some of these injuries have been avoided, or at least limited, if there was a preseason this year? It’s an impossible question to answer now but our Jonathan Jones thinks this weekend’s misfortunes guarantee that NFL preseason isn’t going anywhere

This has gotta suck especially hard for Barkley, considering he was poised to see a massive payday in the form of a long-term contract extension after the season, and now his financial future becomes a lot more unclear with a major knee injury. Your Monday doesn’t seem so bad now, does it?

2. Grading Sunday’s NFL performances 🏈

Okay, so Week 2 wasn’t entirely wrecked by depressing injury news… we had some entertaining football, too. Hopefully you found a nice spot on the couch to sink deep into all day long but if you happened to miss any of the action, don’t worry. Let’s take some time to touch on some notable results while John Breech and Cody Benjamin hand out grades:

  • The Seahawks (A-) won a primetime thriller over the Patriots (B+): Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but a Seattle-New England game came down to one final play at the goal line. This time it was the Patriots being denied as the Seahawks prevailed with the win, 35-30, but Cam Newton played great. Unfortunately for Cam and the Pats, Russell Wilson had five touchdowns and looked like MVP material
  • The Cowboys (B+) rallied to stun the Falcons (D) in a WILD finish: Sorry to keep doing this, but stop me if you’ve heard this one before: The Falcons found an incredibly embarrassing way to blow a big lead and lose in excruciating fashion. Atlanta’s offense looked great and took an early 14-point lead, but the Falcons always find a way to shoot themselves in the foot. They gave up a late TD to the Cowboys, allowed Dallas to recover an onside kick thanks to sheer incompetence, and then had to watch the game-winning FG sail through the uprights as time expired
  • Kansas City (B-) needed overtime to beat the Chargers (A-): In one of the more surprising games of the day, the Chargers delivered a massive scare to the defending champs. Justin Herbert looked really good in his NFL debut after finding out he was starting just moments before the game. Kansas City struggled out of the gate but eventually put it together and got the win thanks to a 58-yard field goal from Harrison Butker in OT

The ending to that Cowboys game was absolutely unbelievable and I’m still trying to figure out what the hell the Falcons were doing on the onside kick. All I know is that the NFL needs to find a way to get onside kick conversion rates higher because, when it works, it’s the most electric play in football. And, yes, I know that part of the reason it’s so electric is because it’s rare to see it work, but rule changes over the past few years have made it almost impossible to successfully convert without the receiving team spitting up all over themselves. More onside kick conversions = more excitement and more thrilling finishes. Make it happen, NFL. 

3. Anthony Davis delivers at the buzzer 🏀

Getty Images

The Denver Nuggets’ magical run may be running out of steam, or at least the Lakers seemed like the team with all the magic this weekend. That was especially true yesterday, when Los Angeles won 105-10 on the strength of a stunning game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer from Anthony Davis

That shot, which Lakers’ coach Frank Vogel said reminded him of a game-winner Kobe Bryant would hit, gave the Lakers a 2-0 series lead and put the Nuggets in one heck of a hole. I suppose we shouldn’t write off Denver just yet considering how close this game was and, oh yeah, this is the same Denver team that climbed out of 3-1 series deficits in each of the past two playoff rounds.

But Game 2 felt like a swing game, so let’s bring in Colin Ward-Henninger to provide some takeaways:

  • AD’s Mamba moment: Davis has never been this far in the playoffs and, as such, he’s never had the opportunity to hit a shot of that magnitude before. People can continue to question whether he’s capable of leading a championship team as a true No. 1 star but he’s at least proving he’s got the fortitude to step up in big moments and deliver when the pressure is ramped up
  • Davis, after the game: “People talk about, never been in this moment, pressure, am I ready for it? I want to take those shots. It’s part of the legacy. I want those shots. I want the big-time plays. This is what they brought me here for — to make big-time plays.”
  • Don’t forget about the Joker: If it weren’t for Davis’ heroics, all the talk would be about how Nikola Jokic dominated down the stretch of that game. With the Nuggets trailing by eight with just over three minutes left, Jokic went on a personal 9-0 run to give his team the lead with 31 seconds remaining. He had 30 points, nine assists, six rebounds and four steals in the loss

I think the recipe for success is quite clear for Denver from here, right? You gotta win this next one, then throw Game 4. Boom. Another 3-1 series deficit? Got the Lakers right where you want them. Most dangerous series lead in basketball.

4. Bryson DeChambeau wins the U.S. Open 🏌

We can all agree that 2020 hasn’t been the best year for most of us, but it’s gone pretty well for Bryson DeChambeau so far. Not only did DeChambeau put on major size to become the beefiest golfer on the PGA Tour, but now he’s also added a first major win to his resume. DeChambeau won the U.S. Open on Sunday with his best round of the week

  • DeChambeau shot a 3-under 67 on Sunday, just two strokes off the best 18-hole score of the week (65)
  • He was the only golfer in the field to finish with a final-round score under par  
  • DeChambeau finished fourth in strokes gained off the tee this week and fourth in driving distance on Sunday 

There’s no question that Bryson has become a breakout star on Tour this year and he seems to be reshaping golf, both literally and figuratively. He’s become somewhat of a villain around the game both for his persona and his approach to the game. He’s put on a ton of size and abandoned the traditional, accepted routes to success. Our Kyle Porter went a little deeper on that in his post-Open column:

  • Porter:Winged Foot — one of the classics — was supposed to stand up against what DeChambeau is trying to do. Some might call his style a mockery — it’s easy to reach that conclusion by watching him hit home runs or listening to him talk — but the abridged version is that he’s simply done the math on what it takes to win golf tournaments (even major championships) at a more brisk pace. DeChambeau has worked his ass off to increase his swing speed and get the ball as close to the hole as is physically possible at the expense of pretty much everything else. He has, in many ways, leveraged the tools at his disposal to become a major champion.”

Congrats to Bryson. Can’t wait to watch the golf world implode when he drinks a 4,000 calorie protein shake out of the U.S. Open trophy.

📝 Odds & Ends

© Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

📺 What to watch tonight


White Sox vs. Indians, 6:10 p.m. | CLE +101| TV: MLB.TV

🏒 Stars vs. Lightning, 8 p.m. | TBL -150 | TV: NBCSN

🏈 Saints vs. Raiders, 8:15 p.m. | LV +5.5 | TV: ESPN  

📝 Top scores from last night

🏈 Bills 31, Dolphins 28

Josh Allen threw for 417 yards and four touchdowns as the Bills improved to 2-0 and took sole possession of first place in the AFC East.
💵 Winning wagers: MIA +5.5, Over (42.5)

🏀 Lakers 105, Nuggets 103

Anthony Davis had 31 points — including the game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer — as the Lakers improved to 2-0 in the series💵 Winning wagers: DEN +7.5, Under (216)  

Astros 3, Diamondbacks 2

George Springer homered twice, including an inside-the-parker, to lead Houston over Arizona on Sunday.

💵 Winning wagers: HOU -207, Under (9.5)

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