The NFL puts a lot of emphasis on protecting the quarterbacks, but they still keep going down.
Two quarterbacks who’ve won Super Bowls, Ben Roethlisberger and Drew Brees, went down Sunday and will undergo surgery.
Big Ben is out for the year, while the New Orleans Saints hope Brees will be back in six weeks from his thumb injury — but that may be optimistic.
They join Andrew Luck, who retired, Nick Foles, who broke his clavicle, and Sam Darnold, who has mono, on the sidelines.
Monday night, Darnold’s backup, Trevor Siemian, went down on a late hit by Myles Garrett and was lost for the season. So the New York Jets are down to third-team QB Nick Falk. And then on Tuesday, the Panthers announced that Cam Newton’s status is up in the air for Sunday because he aggravated a foot injury.
All these quarterback injuries have a negative impact on the NFL because teams often aren’t competitive once they lose their starting quarterbacks.
Now a look at the rest of the league:
—Patrick Mahomes continues to treat the NFL like a pinball machine. He threw for 278 yards and four touchdowns in just the second period against the Oakland Raiders to boost the Kansas City Chiefs to 2-0. It was the seventh consecutive road game in which he has thrown three or more touchdowns.
—Lamar Jackson of the Baltimore Ravens is trying to keep pace with Mahomes as he threw for two touchdowns and 272 yards and ran for 120 in the victory over Arizona. Like Mahomes, he now has seven touchdowns in two games and they meet next Sunday in Baltimore.
—Jimmy Garoppolo got off to a shaky start in the preseason but now looks as if he has recovered from his torn ACL. He threw for three touchdowns as the San Francisco 49ers got off to a 2-0 start for the first time since 2012 with a 41-17 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals. Instead of returning home after beating Tampa Bay in their opener, they spent the week in Youngstown, the home of owner Denise DeBartolo, to avoid some travel time and seemed energized against the Bengals.
–The Dallas Cowboys have yet to sign Dak Prescott to a new contract, and his price may be going up after getting the Cowboys off to a 2-0 start with a 31-21 victory over Washington. He passed for 268 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 69 more. The Philadelphia Eagles’ loss to the Atlanta Falcons gives the Cowboys a one-game lead on them in the division.
–The Chicago Bears were knocked out of the playoffs last year by a missed field goal by Cody Parker. That was his last game with the Bears and opened the door for Eddy Pineiro get the job, and he kicked a 53-yarder at the buzzer to lift the Bears over the Denver Broncos in a wild finish. A controversial roughing-the-passer penalty helped the Bears get in position for the game-winner. The Broncos had taken a 14-13 lead with a half minute left by going for two. They got an delay penalty on their first try that pushed them back five yards, so they tried to kick an extra point and missed only to have the Bears called for offsides. So they went for two and made it for the lead, only to have the Bears pull it out. May turn out to be the wildest finish of the year.
–Officiating continues to be a problem for the league. Nobody knows how the new pass interference rule is going to be called and the Seattle Seahawks got help in beating the Pittsburgh Steelers when they challenged a non-call. They won the challenge, although it looked too close to be overturned. And all the focus was on the officiating in the Rams-Saints game because of the infamous non-call in the playoffs. So what happens? They even put veteran official Walt Anderson on the game but that didn’t help. His quick whistle nullified an 87-yard touchdown run with a fumble recovery. The Rams probably were destined to win anyway once Brees was injured, but the NFL seems to have no answers for how to get better officiating.
–The Minnesota Vikings have to continue to wonder about the wisdom of giving Kirk Cousins that huge contract last year. The team is off to an 0-2 start after the Green Bay loss when he threw an end-zone interception on first down of a 21-16 loss. It looks like Cousins isn’t destined to be a franchise quarterback.
–The Bengals under new coach Zac Taylor dropped to 0-2 for the second time in three years when they were routed by the 49ers in their home opener. The Bengals were competitive in their 21-20 opening game loss at Seattle but sloppy against the 49ers and rushed for only 25 yards. They may be back to being the Bungles.
–The good news for Myles Garrett is that he has five sacks in two games. The bad news is he has three roughing penalties and ended Trevor Siemian’s season. He had a total of four penalties against the Jets with two offsides penalties plus the two roughing calls. The Cleveland Browns like the sacks but not the penalties, and even Garrett said he is disappointed in himself. It remains to be seen if he can play more under control.
–The Miami Dolphins are overdoing this tanking idea. They stripped the roster to get draft picks and aim for the No. 1 pick, and they now seem to be like an expansion team. And then they traded Minkah Fitzpatrick to the Steelers because he was unhappy with his role. They lost to the Patriots 43-0 and seemed to be destined to go 0-16. And there is no guarantee the draft picks will enable them to turn it around any time soon. This is a franchise in freefall without a parachute. How do they sell tickets next year?