As the Broncos’ offense struggled in their home opener, the crowd began to boo, and two starters went down with injuries before halftime. Just under six minutes remained in the first quarter when wide receiver Jerry Jeudy was injured after landing awkwardly while trying to catch a pass from Russell Wilson. After Denver’s 16-9 victory, coach Nathaniel Hackett claimed Jeudy had been injured in the ribs, despite the team initially saying it was his shoulder.
In the early stages of the second quarter, cornerback Pat Surtain II went down with a left shoulder injury. In accordance with Hackett’s announcement, both players will take part in further evaluations on Monday.
Broncos lose Jerry Jeudy, Pat Surtain to shoulder injuries. https://t.co/pcfgRjd9NV
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) September 18, 2022
Even before Jeudy’s injury, the receiving corps was thin. Tim Patrick was lost for the season in training camp due to a knee injury, while KJ Hamler was absent for Sunday’s game as he continues his comeback from hip and knee operations from last year.
The previous day, Jeudy caught four passes for 102 yards and a touchdown in a loss to the Seattle Seahawks. On Sunday, he caught just one pass for 11 yards.
Wilson was only 6-of-19 passing for the Broncos in the first half, thus the offense sputtered. He improved in the second half, throwing for 219 yards on 14 of 31 passing with a touchdown and an interception.
“Any time you lose a player like that… it’s always going to be hard,” Hackett said, adding that the team doesn’t know if Jerry will be able to return for Sunday’s game.
#Broncos WR Jerry Jeudy suffered a right shoulder injury on this incompletion
He has been deemed questionable to return
— Sports Injury Central (@SICscore) September 18, 2022
Due to his injury, Surtain was the Broncos’ best-covering player and the cornerback they would most want to put on the opposing team’s greatest wide receiver. Early in Sunday’s game against the Texans, he was paired up with Brandin Cooks after spending most of the season opener shadowing DK Metcalf.
On Sunday, the Broncos substituted rookie Damarri Mathis for Surtain. Mathis was drafted by Denver in the fourth round this past April. I was glad to see him take charge. Damaris can handle that; it’s not too big for him,” Hackett remarked.
Jeudy was picked as a favorite to win his second consecutive Biletnikoff Award and was named a preseason All-American by every outlet. He was on multiple Heisman Trophy watchlists and was considered by many to be one of the greatest returning athletes in the country.
In the season opener against Duke, Jeudy led the Crimson Tide in receiving with 137 yards and a touchdown, and in the following week’s game against New Mexico State, he led the team in receiving with 103 yards and three touchdowns.
Due in large part to quarterback Tua Tagovailoa’s season-ending injury, Jeudy topped 100 yards in just two more games throughout the regular season. He had 959 yards receiving and 9 touchdowns for the year, good enough for first-team.
All-SEC honors once again. In the Crimson Tide’s Citrus Bowl victory over Michigan, he finished his junior year with six receptions for 204 yards and a score. Jeudy declared in January 2020 that he would skip his senior year in favor of entering the NFL draft that coming April.
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