Arizona quarterback Carson Palmer suffered a significant injury just a week after Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers was lost for the season.
Palmer broke his left arm in the Cardinals’ 33-0 loss to the Los Angeles Rams at London on Sunday. He will need surgery on the arm and coach Bruce Arians said he expects the quarterback to miss eight weeks.
Palmer was attempting a deep throw to wide receiver J.J. Nelson with 5:48 remaining in the first half when he took a hard hit from Rams inside linebacker Alec Ogletree. The hit led to an interception that Lamarcus Joyner returned 29 yards, and Palmer, who finished 10 for 18 for 122 yards and the interception, slowly walked off the field holding his left arm close to his chest following the play.
‘A real gut punch’
“That’s a real gut punch to lose your best offensive player, your quarterback,” receiver Larry Fitzgerald said. “There’s no really positive way to sum it up, honestly. You say you have to go forward and you have to do things, but we all know that’s a tough pill to swallow for us.”
Miami lost quarterback Jay Cutler due to a chest injury early in the third quarter of a 31-28 win over the New York Jets, and Baltimore lost leading receiver Mike Wallace following a hit from Vikings safety Andrew Sendejo in a 24-16 loss at Minnesota. The Dallas Cowboys lost kicker Dan Bailey to a groin injury in the first half of a 40-10 win at San Francisco, and Cleveland iron man left tackle Joe Thomas could miss the rest of the season after injuring his left triceps in a 12-9 overtime loss to Tennessee.
Stanton steps in
Palmer’s injury leaves Drew Stanton, who has been the backup since the two joined the team prior to the 2013 season, to step in and lead the offence after the Cardinals return from their bye week.
Stanton, a 10-year veteran, completed just 5 of 14 passes for 62 yards and an interception in the Cardinals’ first shutout loss since Dec. 9, 2012. The Cardinals also have Blaine Gabbert, who started 13 games for the 49ers the last two seasons, but he has been the inactive third quarterback for each of their first seven games.
When asked if he would consider turning to Gabbert instead of Stanton, Arians said no.
“We played with Drew before, you know,” Arians said. “Drew’s played and won a lot of games for us. All the confidence in he and Blaine to step up and take over the quarterback job.”
Cutler, who is believed to have suffered a cracked rib that will force him to miss at least one start, threw for two touchdowns and went to the locker room after being hit by linebacker Jordan Jenkins with the Dolphins trailing 21-14. After the Jets went up by two touchdowns, Matt Moore threw scoring passes to Kenny Stills covering 28 and two yards to tie the game and Cody Parkey’s 39-yard field goal in the final minute won it.
Wallace, tops on the Ravens with 248 yards receiving through seven games, was injured after catching a nine-yard pass on a crossing route near midfield and getting levelled by a lowered shoulder from Sendejo. The hit was delivered hard enough to knock Wallace’s helmet off and draw an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Sendejo. Wallace was on his back for a few minutes before slowly leaving the field on his own power.
“You guys know how much he can affect the game. He’s one of the best players on our team, and when you lose a guy like that it’s definitely going to have an effect on you,” quarterback Joe Flacco said. “I’d like to overcome that and move forward and win the ball game anyway, but we weren’t able to do it.”
With Jeremy Maclin (shoulder), Breshad Perriman (concussion) and Chris Matthews (thigh) already inactive for the game, the Ravens were left with only three healthy wide receivers: Michael Campanaro, Chris Moore and Griff Whalen, who signed with the team on Saturday. Baltimore had to use running back Javorius Allen at wide receiver at times against the Vikings.
Dallas went for the two-point conversion following the next TD after Bailey’s injury and couldn’t convert. Safety Jeff Heath handled the kickoff duties after that and reached the goal line on his first kick. He made two out of three extra points in the second half, becoming the first non-kicker or punter to make multiple extra points in a game since former Houston linebacker and current Packers GM Ted Thompson made four in 1980.
Thomas had played 10,363 consecutive snaps while starting 167 straight games when he was forced to leave the field in the third quarter. The sight of the Browns’ 10-time Pro Bowler curled in a ball and yelling in agony was unnerving for everyone.
“It’s kind of unbelievable,” Cleveland left guard Joel Bitonio. “I thought he was a superhuman, where nothing could happen to him. There were about 30 seconds out there where I teared up. It’s tough because he’s the best player on our team.”
Thomas will undergo an MRI on Monday, but it’s safe to assume that the 32-year-old will miss weeks if not months.