After months of concern before the 2020 NFL season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some fans were rightfully shocked when Week 1 came and went with seemingly no issues.
Test results following the NFL’s first slate of games all passed with flying colors, and the quality of play didn’t seem to take a massive hit despite the lack of a preseason and the empty stadiums many teams had to play in.
Unfortunately, something had to give eventually. Enter Week 2 of the 2020 NFL season, which wreaked havoc across the league and took out a multitude of stars in the process.
Let’s take a look at some of the biggest names that were forced out of action due to the injury bug that ran through the NFL, varying from season-ending injuries to unknown timetables that could last weeks or months.
- Saquon Barkley
Arguably the biggest injury to happen on September 20, Giants running back Saquon Barkley tore his ACL during the team’s loss against the Bears.
While the defeat moved the Giants’ record to 0-2 to start the 2020 season, the loss of Barkley in the backfield for the rest of the year looms larger than any single game result ever could.
- Christian McCaffrey
The running back troubles didn’t stop with Barkley, as Panthers running back and last year’s NFL Fantasy Player of the Year Christian McCaffrey was also forced out of his team’s game against the Buccaneers on Sunday.
Luckily for the Panthers, the injury didn’t turn out to be as serious as Barkley’s, but the perennial MVP candidate will reportedly be out of action for 4-6 weeks with a high ankle sprain.
- Nick Bosa
The 49ers were hit by the injury bug in a big way during their Week 2 game against the Jets, but the largest loss came on their defensive line when second-year defensive end Nick Bosa reportedly tore his ACL.
49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said Sunday that Bosa “most likely tore his ACL,” per ESPN’s Adam Schefter, which would likely end the sophomore’s season on the spot.
The injury is a major blow to the 49ers’ defense, especially as they look to repeat as champions in the NFC en route to a second straight Super Bowl appearance in February.
- Courtland Sutton
While the 49ers may seem like the team that was hit hardest by injuries during Week 2, things went from bad to worse for the Broncos during their battle against the Steelers.
Topping the team’s list of injuries was wide receiver Courtland Sutton, who tore his ACL and is out for the season.
Combine the loss of the team’s top wide receiver with the fact that rookie wide receiver Jerry Jeudy also suffered an injury during the game, and things went downhill quickly for the Broncos’ receiving corps.
- Drew Lock
While the length of the recovery time may not be the same as Sutton’s, the Broncos’ biggest loss was likely under center as second-year quarterback Drew Lock left the team’s game against the Steelers with a shoulder injury.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Lock suffered “a severe rotator cuff strain and will be sidelined at least two weeks before his injury is re-evaluated again.”
Lock had loads of hype surrounding him entering his second year in the league, what was supposed to be his first full season as the Broncos’ starter. Instead, quarterback Jeff Driskell will take the reins and start for the team when they battle Tom Brady’s Buccaneers in Week 3.
- Parris Campbell
Heading back East, the Colts couldn’t keep the injuries away, either. During their 28-11 win against the Vikings, wide receiver Parris Campbell was carted off the field and left the game with a knee injury, which reportedly turned out to be a PCL injury, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
The injury is “expected to sideline him indefinitely,” which creates a large hole in the Colts’ receivers room for new quarterback Philip Rivers to work with.
- Malik Hooker
On the other side of the ball for the Colts, safety Malik Hooker reportedly suffered a torn Achilles, which will end his season. He had two tackles on the day before the injury, and had recorded five tackles a week earlier against the Jaguars.
- Anthony Barr
In the same game that saw Campbell and Hooker leave due to injuries, the Vikings were forced to deal with a massive loss of their own to star linebacker Anthony Barr.
Less than 24 hours after the game, Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer revealed that Barr had suffered a torn pectoral muscle and would be placed on the injured reserve, ending his 2020 season after just two games.
- Bruce Irvin
Lost in the midst of the madness that was the Sunday Night Football battle between the Patriots and Seahawks, Seattle lost a major defensive star, as well.
Per ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the team fears that linebacker Bruce Irvin tore his ACL during the game, and is scheduled to undergo more tests for confirmation. The defense was still able to make a major stop at the goal line as time expired to pull out a win against Cam Newton and company, but the loss of Irvin will loom for months to come.
- Jimmy Garoppolo
Adding to the laundry list of injuries that the 49ers were forced to deal with on Sunday, their quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo couldn’t get out of the game unscathed, either.
Garoppolo left the game due to a high ankle sprain, and was replaced by backup QB Nick Mullens for the second half in their win against the Jets. His injury isn’t anything season-ending, but it will be an interesting story for the team, reporters and fans alike to follow throughout the next few weeks.
- Solomon Thomas
On the defensive side of the ball for the 49ers, one more name was forced out of action due to an injury, as well.
After Bosa left the game with what the team fears is a torn ACL, defensive lineman Solomon Thomas was also carted off the field with an apparent knee injury. While the extent of the injury has not been confirmed, things don’t look good for the 49ers’ defense heading into Week 3 (and beyond).
Unfortunately for the league, this list isn’t even exhaustive. The list keeps going, with plenty more players dealing with a variety of injuries after their respective Week 2 games.
The star power on this list could be enough for a whole season’s worth of major injuries, and the NFL will have to hope that the injury bug dissipates as the league turns its attention to Week 3 of the 2020 season.