Drew Brees is staying overnight in Los Angeles to see a hand specialist after the NFL’s all-time passing champion was knocked out in the first half of Sunday’s loss to the Rams with what’s feared to be a significant injury, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports Sunday night.
Brees’ injury, in addition to the insult of New Orleans’ 27-9 beatdown in the NFC title game rematch, again marred by officiating controversy, came a few hours after fellow future Hall of Famer Ben Roethlisberger didn’t return after suffering a right elbow injury before halftime of the 0-2 Steelers’ crushing home loss to Seattle.
In the Sunday nightcap in Atlanta, Philadelphia Eagles’ newly extended, oft-injured Carson Wentz was removed briefly for a concussion test and showed noticeable discomfort early on in a game with teammates including Alshon Jeffery, Nelson Agholor and Dallas Goedert “dropping like flies,” according to the NFC telecast.
Backups Teddy Bridgewater and Mason Rudolph performed well early on in pinches for the Saints and Steelers, respectively, but the magnitude of the potential long-term losses of Brees and/or Roethlisberger can’t be overstated.
Brees told reporters after the game that he injured his thumb when it hit Aaron Donald on a pass attempt to Jared Cook. He was spotted wearing a brace afterward, and comfirmed he's concerned. The 40-year-old has missed only one start with injury in 14 seasons in New Orleans, one of the more remarkable stretches of health and consistency ever among quarterbacks. But that also likely means the Saints’ title chances are as tethered to their franchise QB as much if not more than any outside of Foxboro and Green Bay.
Meantime, the 37-year-old Roethlisberger has been a lot more banged up, missing time with various injuries over seven of the past 10 seasons. And with the Steelers now at 0-2 and not resembling the offense of the "Killer B" glory days, it's fair to wonder just how sideways things might go there.
Prior to the weekend, Sam Darnold was ruled out indefinitely with mono and Cam Newton looked stunningly mortal as the Carolina Panthers time and again eschewed using the NFL's best short-yardage weapon over the past decade in falling to 0-2.
There aren't 32 quality starters in the league before QB attrition kicks in, and it's been some time since the league felt its wrath the way it has in Week 2.