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2023 NFL Week 6 Injury Takeaways: Injuries Key in 49ers, Eagles’ Losses

Oct 15, 2023; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; San Francisco 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey (23) runs with the ball as Cleveland Browns cornerback Greg Newsome II (0) and defensive end Myles Garrett (95) pursue during the first half at Cleveland Browns Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Week 6 saw many big names suffer injuries of varying degrees of severity.

Week 6 Injury Recap

49ers, Eagles Suffer Key Injuries

Going into Week 6, only the San Francisco 49ers and Philadelphia Eagles remained undefeated. Both teams had favorable matchups, albeit on the road. San Francisco was favored to beat the Cleveland Browns by 9.5 points, with P.J. Walker drawing the start at quarterback for Cleveland. Philadelphia was a 6.5-point favorite playing the New York Jets.

The 49ers and Eagles suffered their first loss of the season, and injuries played a role in the outcome because many valuable players were dealing with ailments. 

For the Eagles, key members of their defense — DT Jalen Carter (ankle) and CB Darius Slay (knee) — were ruled out prior to kickoff. Neither have long-term injuries, but missing the rookie phenom and All-Pro cornerback for the first time was a significant loss. 

On offense, Lane Johnson suffered a lateral ankle sprain and didn’t return. Losing the star right tackle might’ve been the most significant injury the Eagles dealt with.

When he was off the field in 2021 the quality of the Eagles’ offense plummeted, especially in the passing game. In the small sample size of plays off the field last season and this season, the numbers show a similar impact.

Lane Johnson On/Off Field 2021 On Field Off Field
EPA/60 Offensive Plays 4 -1
EPA/60 Passing Plays 6 -5

The 49ers lost their star offensive lineman Trent Williams briefly to an ankle sprain, but he returned to the game. The same can’t be said for Deebo Samuel (shoulder) and Christian McCaffrey (oblique/ribs), both of whom exited Sunday’s game and didn’t return. 

McCaffrey is well-known as one of the most skilled players in the entire NFL. Last season, the 49ers’ offense improved in all phases once he was acquired from the Carolina Panthers. He’s had a special start to this season, and the San Francisco offense will take a big hit if he’s forced to miss any games. 

Christian McCaffrey On/Off Field 2022 On Field Off Field
EPA/60 Offensive Plays 10 -4
EPA/60 Passing Plays 13 -4
EPA/60 Rushing Plays 5 -4

In addition to that, Brock Purdy’s numbers have taken a significant dip when Samuel has been off the field this year. Purdy has thrown 128 pass attempts with Samuel. On those throws, he has completed 71 percent of them with an 8-0 touchdown to interception ratio and an EPA of 0.49 per attempt. 

Purdy has 34 attempts without Samuel this season. Purdy's completion percentage drops to 56 percent, and he has a 2-1 touchdown to interception ratio and a -0.08 EPA per attempt. The sample size is too small to tie everything to Samuel being on the sideline, especially because Samuel’s absence in 2022 didn’t seem to hurt Purdy at all. That said, it's an early trend and is worth monitoring, especially if Samuel has to miss games going forward. 

Both the 49ers and Eagles have these injuries — and even more — to deal with going into Week 7. Opposing teams will continue to give the NFC heavyweights their best game.  With some kinks in the armor, San Francisco and Philadelphia look more vulnerable than they have all season.

Dual-Threat Quarterbacks

Before Week 1, we wrote an article talking about the boom-or-bust nature of the dual-threat quarterback playstyle. 

Anthony Richardson and Daniel Jones have both already missed at least one game this season. Justin Fields is headed for that same reality as he dislocated his thumb on his throwing hand this past weekend. It will take weeks before he can heal and regain enough grip strength to be effective on the field. 

QB Rush Attempts per Game Leaders 

Jalen Hurts 10.5
Lamar Jackson 10.0
Justin Fields 7.8
Daniel Jones 7.6
Anthony Richardson 6.3
Joshua Dobbs 5.7
Trevor Lawrence 5.5
Justin Herbert 5.2
Deshaun Watson 5.0
Baker Mayfield 5.0

The one surprise whose name isn’t on the above list is Josh Allen. In the offseason, coach Sean McDermott commented on Allen's play style being unhealthy long term.

Through six games, Allen has only 22 rushing attempts, good for 3.7 per game. That's a big decrease from his 7.8 rushing attempts per game last season. Allen has made a clear effort to use his legs to throw instead of running the ball himself. His 38 pass attempts outside of the pocket are second only to Russell Wilson. On those throws, Allen has the third-highest touchdown percentage, trailing only Joe Burrow and Purdy. 

It’s apparent through six games that Allen has tweaked his playing style a little. Finding the balance of using your strengths without putting yourself in too many harmful situations is difficult and tough to coach. Time will tell if Allen will continue this trend or feel the need to shoulder more of the rushing attack for the Buffalo Bills’ offense as we get into the middle of the season.

This article was authored by Brett Barnes.