If it’s a Super-Bowl-or-bust season for the Atlanta Falcons, the last thing the team needed to see was lineman Kroy Biermann’s Achilles to bust on Sunday.
Or fullback Bradie Ewing’s shoulder. Or running back Steven Jackson’s thigh. Or linebacker Sean Weatherspoon’s foot. Or wide receiver Roddy White’s ankle. Or cornerback Asante Samuel’s quad.
This isn’t usually the way a championship run begins for a team, these injuries and all. Granted, the Falcons haven’t lost any of their superstars through two weeks of the regular season, but the losses of a starting fullback and defensive lineman — Ewing and Biermann, respectively — will hurt a lot.
Five of the six players listed above suffered injuries in Sunday’s 31-24 victory over the St. Louis Rams that were severe enough to sideline them for the rest of the game; Only White was able to play through the pain, but he hasn’t been 100 percent in either game this year. As players dropped like flies during the game, the Falcons looked worse and worse. They’ve struggled to maintain leads in a lot of their games in late-2012 and early-2013, but it’s fair to believe the injured players contributed to another late-game slowdown for the Falcons on Sunday.
If the banged-up Birds can’t get healthy fast and find solid replacements for the guys who won’t return, 2013 won’t be a good-news season for Falcons fans. We were hoping the oft-injured Jackson would stay healthy for the season, which was another stipulation for a championship run. If his injuries meddle throughout the season, the Falcons will be left with Jacquizz Rodgers as the only option in the backfield to balance the offense with a running game while blocking for quarterback Matt Ryan on passing plays.
And if there’s one thing we saw on Sunday, it’s that the Falcons desperately need a running game to keep defenses off Ryan’s back. The offensive line has also been shaky, and it’s getting harder to see how the Falcons’ fearless quarterback makes it through this season in one piece if his protection doesn’t improve.
Each domino needs to fall just right for the Falcons to march to the Super Bowl, and right now, too many of those dominoes are askew.
Or on injured reserve.