Oct 13, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub (8) lies on the ground after an injury sustained during the third quarter against the St. Louis Rams at Reliant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Nothing sours the fortunes of an NFL team faster than a key injury. Several felt that particular sting in week six. Which ones are among the most notable?
D.J. Williams – Chicago Bears
The Chicago Bears defense just can’t see to buy a break. After losing defensive tackle Henry Melton and his backup Nate Collins to torn ACLs, the veteran unit learned middle linebacker D.J. Williams suffered a torn pectoral muscle in the teams’ win over the New York Giants on Monday Night Football. Williams had begun to play very well for the Bears after signing a one-year deal with them in March. He had 27 tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble before suffering the injury. Now the Bears must turn to second round draft pick Jon Bostic to take over for him.
James Jones and Randall Cobb – Green Bay Packers
The Green Bay Packers get the bulk of their strength as a team from their dynamic group of receivers surrounding All-Pro quarterback Aaron Rodgers. That group suffered a serious blow in a narrow win against Baltimore when starters James Jones and Randall Cobb left the game with leg injuries and didn’t return. Cobb appeared the far more serious problem as he was helped off the field and then carted to the locker room. Considering how much the Packers struggle in pass protection, the loss of either player is potentially devastating. The loss of both could prove catastrophic to their playoff hopes.
Matt Schaub – Houston Texans
Talk about a guy who can’t buy a break. After another Pro Bowl season in 2012, Matt Schaub has gone off the rails. Following a record-setting stretch where he threw an interception returned for touchdown in four-straight games, he got injury added to insult when he left a week six game against St. Louis with a foot problem. Without him the Houston Texans fell apart, getting blown out 38-13. Their playoff hopes, let alone their Super Bowl expectations are fading fast. Without Schaub, despite his problems, they are practically erased.
Aqib Talib – New England Patriots
Undoutedly everyone will be celebrating the last second heroics of Tom Brady has he led the New England Patriots in a late comeback against the New Orleans Saints. Lost in the euphoria of that triumph is the potential key blow their defense suffered. Cornerback Aqib Talib, easily their best player through the first five weeks of the season, limped off the field. He did try to return but then seemed to aggravate the injury further. Further reports claimed it was a hip flexor. New England also lost linebacker Jarod Mayo (shoulder) and wide receiver Danny Amendola (head) as well.
Jimmy Graham – New Orleans Saints
Speaking of the previously undefeated New Orleans Saints, their offense seems to get more and more mortal every week. By far the biggest blow to date is when All-World tight end Jimmy Graham, easily their best pass catcher, doubled up a bad day with an apparent ankle ailment. He initially tried to return but was later helped to the locker room. His loss comes at a bad time for the Saints, who struggled most of the night against the aggressive Patriots defense. Not having Graham could threaten to expose them over the next several weeks.
DeMarcus Ware – Dallas Cowboys
Injuries that threaten to unravel a team the quickest is in the trenches. The Dallas Cowboys continue to experience that mess. After losing Anthony Spencer for the year, fans watched longtime superstar DeMarcus Ware leave the Sunday Night game against Washington with an apparent quad problem. He did not return.
Branden Albert – Kansas City Chiefs
The problem occurred on the other side for the Kansas City Chiefs. Veteran left tackle Branden Albert, who has quietly had a solid season so far left the win over Oakland with knee and elbow injuries. The team announced he was scheduled for an MRI on Monday, which is never a good sign. Perhaps first overall pick Eric Fisher is on his way back to his old position.