Let’s jump right into this week’s edition of The Wolf Sports Newsletter, headlined by a high-scoring Week 2 that was overshadowed by very sad injuries.
The Wolf Sports Newsletter is beginning in article form but will eventually also be delivered via email. Create a free Wolf Sports account if you are interested in getting The Wolf Sports Newsletter via email when available.
Week 2 NFL recap
Browns running back Nick Chubb left last night’s loss to the Steelers with a very serious knee injury. It was so bad that the ABC broadcast opted not to replay an angle that showed the injury. Chubb’s season is over, and it looks like he’ll face a lengthy rehab process to get back onto the field. The quiet and humble superstar is one of the best people in the NFL—in addition to being one of the game’s best players—so this is a heartbreaking situation. Support poured in from players around the league:
— Derrick Henry (@KingHenry_2) September 19, 2023
Prayers up for Chubb 🙏🏼
— Christian McCaffrey (@CMC_22) September 19, 2023
Prayers for Nick Chubb🙏🏾
— Lamar Jackson (@Lj_era8) September 19, 2023
Prayin for My brother 🦇 Chubb
— Odell Beckham Jr (@obj) September 19, 2023
The Steelers defense scored two touchdowns—a pick-six by Alex Highsmith off a deflection to begin the game, and a late scoop-and-score by T.J. Watt after Highsmith forced a fumble on a sack—to extend their record home Monday Night Football winning streak to 21 games.
364 yards and four touchdowns from Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins wasn’t enough to beat the Eagles in Philadelphia. The defending NFC champions took the first Thursday Night Football game of the 2023 season, 34-28, behind a huge performance by D’Andre Swift (28 carries, 175 yards, one touchdown), who showcased his explosiveness behind an elite offensive line that opened massive holes. And third-year receiver DeVonta Smith (four receptions, 131 yards, one touchdown) is showing that he’s one of the emerging superstar players in the league.
⬛ While Odell Beckham Jr. left with an ankle injury, the Ravens were in control throughout most of their 27-24 win over the Bengals. Nelson Agholor stepped up with five receptions for 53 yards and a touchdown, as Lamar Jackson threw two touchdown passes. For Cincinnati, they drop to 0-2 for the second consecutive season; they feel like the type of squad that can get into the swing of things and catch fire, but they’d be the first team in NFL history to make the playoffs after an 0-2 start in consecutive seasons. Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow re-aggravated his calf injury and is uncertain for Week 3.
Lamar floats it perfectly to Agholor for the @Ravens TD
— NFL (@NFL) September 17, 2023
⚔️ The Titans defeated the Chargers in overtime, 27-24. Both teams avoided turnovers, and Derrick Henry ran 25 times for 80 yards and a touchdown after curious usage in the Week 1 loss at New Orleans. For the Chargers, who are a very talented team—but were without star running back Austin Ekeler (ankle) on Sunday—they just can’t seem to find a way to win close games and now drop to 0-2.
Of all the 1:00PM ET and late-afternoon games on Sunday, just one did not hit the over/under point total: The AFC Divisional Round rematch of Chiefs vs. Jaguars. It was a sloppy game, but the returns of Chris Jones (1.5 sacks) and Travis Kelce (one touchdown) helped Kansas City get a road win to get to 1-1.
⭐️ The Cowboys dominated the Jets, 30-10, basically allowing just a 68-yard touchdown to Garrett Wilson but otherwise shutting down the Jets and picking off Zach Wilson (who didn’t play that poorly all things considered) three times. After the game, Breece Hall voiced displeasure over his lack of touches (four carries) and Sauce Gardner deactivated his X account.
This quote from #Jets RB Breece Hall to reporters is a little eye-opening. Not time to panic yet, but it reminds me of when Quincy Enunwa said "I don't call the plays" after a loss.
“I mean, I only got four touches. That’s why we struggled. It is what it is. We just got down… pic.twitter.com/vSBeEM9itz
— Connor Hughes (@Connor_J_Hughes) September 18, 2023
Christian McCaffrey didn’t come off the field for San Francisco in the 30-23 rivalry game win over the Rams, touching the ball 23 times for 135 yards and a touchdown. Rams receiver Puka Nacua set the NFL rookie record for receptions in a game (15), building on his ten-catch debut. Also, the Rams destroyed Niners (-7.5) bettors with a field goal as time expired.
Raheem Mostert starred at running back for the Dolphins, running for 121 yards and two touchdowns in Miami’s 24-17 Sunday night win at New England. However, the game was not without controversy, with a very close first down ruling on a heads-up lateral by Mike Gesicki to offensive lineman Cole Strange getting overturned on questionable “conclusive” evidence.
— NFL (@NFL) September 18, 2023
Earlier in the game, Bill Belichick was not happy with having to challenge what looked like a poor spot on a potential Rhamondre Stevenson first down (a challenge the Pats did not win due to inconclusive evidence, making the later call more perplexing).
Bill was disgusted 😭😂
— NFL (@NFL) September 18, 2023
Other Week 2 games:
- Seahawks 37, Lions 31 (OT): Tyler Lockett caught the game-winning touchdown in overtime for the Seahawks against the Lions. Detroit is dealing with injuries to running back David Montgomery (thigh, day-to-day but could miss a couple of weeks), pass rusher James Houston (ankle, out six-to-eight weeks), and safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson (pectoral, out indefinitely and potentially the season).
- Bills 38, Raiders 10: Following a rough Week 1, the Bills got back on track with major efforts all-around, including quarterback Josh Allen going 31/37 for 274 yards and three touchdowns. Buffalo’s defense limited 2022 rushing champion Josh Jacobs to -2 yards on nine carries, becoming the first team since at least 1950 to hold the reigning rushing leader to negative yardage.
- Falcons 25, Packers 24: Bijan Robinson helped lead the comeback win for the Falcons, totaling 172 yards and getting Atlanta into position for the game-winning kick by Younghoe Koo.
- Buccaneers 27, Bears 17: Tampa Bay dominated more than the score indicates, outgaining Chicago 437-236 and sacking Justin Fields six times. Outside linebacker Shaq Barrett put the game away with a pick-six that he dedicated to his baby daughter Arrayah, who died this summer.
“I’m able to shine some spotlight on her.” ♥️ pic.twitter.com/isBVYv6q29
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) September 18, 2023
- Colts 31, Texans 20: Indy’s rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson ran for two early touchdowns to help spark his first career win, but unfortunately he entered the concussion protocol after his second touchdown.
- Giants 31, Cardinals 28: Early in Week 2, the Giants looked about as bad as they did in their season opener. But they came back from a 20-0 halftime deficit to avoid early-season disaster. However, star running back Saquon Barkley is out for Thursday night against the 49ers and is considered week-to-week due to his low-ankle sprain. For Arizona, safety Budda Baker (hamstring) landed on injured reserve and will miss at least the next four games.
- Commanders 35, Broncos 33: Washington overcame seven sacks allowed, winning a wild shootout at Mile High—and getting away with what looked like an obvious pass interference on a potential game-winning two-point conversion attempt by the Broncos. Brian Robinson Jr. was the difference for the Commanders, rushing 18 times for 87 yards and two touchdowns while also adding two receptions for 42 yards.
- Saints 20, Panthers 17: Bryce Young showed great signs on a late fourth-quarter drive to cut the game to three points, but the Panthers offense overall has not looked promising through two games. New Orleans’ defense made more plays on the road, and they join the Bucs and the Falcons as 2-0 NFC South teams.
Aaron Rodgers hoping to return this season?
The torn Achilles for Aaron Rodgers was confirmed last Tuesday morning, which was expected to certainly end his first season with the Jets—and perhaps his career.
- But Rodgers indicated to Pat McAfee that he’s going to play again.
- And an NFL Network report says there’s even a chance Rodgers is back this postseason thanks to an “innovative” procedure done by surgeon Dr. Neal ElAttrache.
- There’s obviously a long way to go for a postseason return, but it’s something to keep in mind.
- Overall, it looks like we have not seen the last of the future Hall of Fame on the football field.
We should also note that players have voiced frustration about Rodgers’ injury occurring on MetLife Stadium turf, with most players preferring natural grass for playing surfaces. Rodgers’ friend and former teammate David Bakhtiari was among the most vocal critics in the aftermath:
Congrats @nfl. How many more players have to get hurt on ARTIFICIAL TURF??! You care more about soccer players than us. You plan to remove all artificial turf for the World Cup coming up. So clearly it’s feasible.
I’m sick of this..Do better!
— David Bakhtiari (@DavidBakhtiari) September 12, 2023
Mahomes gets paid (more)
The Chiefs and two-time MVP quarterback Patrick Mahomes agreed to a major revision from his long-term contract, instead turning it into a four-year, $210.6 million deal.
The Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes have restructured his agreement, giving him $210.6 million between 2023 and 2026, the most money in NFL history over a four season span. His compensation for those years is now guaranteed. Also, the Chiefs and Mahomes plan to re-visit the agreement… pic.twitter.com/7a2vlt9Si2
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 18, 2023
More NFL news
Tom Brady’s minority ownership stake in the Raiders has not been finalized, but it could be by the end of the year.
The odd relationship between the Rams and running back Cam Akers continues, with Akers being made inactive and not expected to play for the team again—a similar situation to the one last year, but this time feeling more final, particularly with the emergence of second-year back Kyren Williams (two touchdowns in each of the first two games this season).
According to the Washington Post, the NFL filed a grievance against the NFLPA, accusing the union of improperly advising running backs to fake or exaggerate injuries while looking for new contracts.
Former NFL wide receiver Mike Williams died at 36 years old after a construction accident while performing electrical work. Williams, a fourth round pick out of Syracuse, played for the Buccaneers and Bills and finished second in Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2010. May he rest in peace.
Other Sports Updates
Colorado quarterback Shedeur Sanders led a 98-yard fourth-quarter drive to force overtime against Colorado State, with Coach Prime’s squad eventually winning in double OT.
— Tom Brady (@TomBrady) September 17, 2023
Also in college football, Florida handled then-No. 11 Tennessee, and No. 4 Florida State survived versus Boston College. Alabama held on versus South Florida with Jalen Milroe benched following the Texas loss—and Milroe will now be back under center as the starting quarterback moving forward:
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) September 18, 2023
⚾️ Playoff baseball is coming: The Braves clinched their sixth straight NL East title. The Dodgers clinched their 10th NL West title in 11 seasons. And the Orioles clinched their first playoff berth since 2016 with a walk-off win against the Rays.
TKO Group Holdings, Inc. (stock symbol $TKO)—a WWE/UFC combined company—officially launched and listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
— NYSE 🏛 (@NYSE) September 12, 2023
Major League Pickleball and PPA have merged while getting a $50 million investment.