Matt Ryan wasn’t really paying attention to the TVs in the Falcons locker room, tuned to Rams-Saints ahead of Atlanta’s Sunday night showdown with the Eagles. Or he wasn’t, at least, until he peeked over and saw Teddy Bridgewater in the game. The 12-year vet had a pretty good idea what that meant, and it wasn’t good.
A closer look showed Ryan’s chief football rival over his time as an NFL quarterback, on the sideline and helpless to stop a key NFC game from slipping away.
“Knowing him, you just hope he’s OK, first and foremost,” Ryan said, after climbing in his car for the drive home from Mercedes-Benz Stadium at about 1 a.m. on Monday morning. “You never want to see anyone have to deal with that.”
Therein lies the story of Week 2—the one no one wanted to hear coming out of Sunday.
On a third-and-8 on the Saints’ second possession, Brees hit the right hand of reigning Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald with his throwing hand. It wasn’t the kind of gruesome injury that’s evident when it happens. But it didn’t take long before it was obvious something was wrong. Brees actually came out of the locker room for the second half having shed the tape job over his thumb, but there’d be no getting back in the game. The cameras at that point showed the 12-time Pro Bowler couldn’t even grip the ball.
“I have so much respect and appreciation for what he’s meant to this game, what he’s done over the course of his career, watching the way that he and coach [Sean] Payton have consistently produced some of the best offenses in the league year in and year out,” Rams coach Sean McVay said, driving home from the Coliseum. “I hope he’s alright. Injuries are the worst part of this game.