It took only one offensive snap for the Green Bay Packers to suffer a gruesome injury on Thursday Night Football.
The Packers kicked away the opening kickoff to the Philadelphia Eagles in week three’s game, and the defense allowed one first down before forcing an Eagles punt. It was on the Packers’ first snap from the nine-yard line that disaster struck.
And it struck in the form of Eagles defensive end Derek Barnett. The Packers lined up in the shotgun in a two-back set, with Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams flanking Aaron Rodgers. After the snap, Rodgers flipped the ball to Williams in the flat, and the running back picked up a few yards before being stood up by multiple Eagles defenders. However, with his forward progress clearly stopped and the whistle having blown, Barnett came in and laid a helmet-to-helmet hit on Williams, sending him to the turf and sending flags flying.
Barnett was flagged for unnecessary roughness, but the problem was Williams, who lay motionless on the field for a few minutes. The Packers’ medical staff eventually brought out the cart and a stretcher, loading Williams onto both to make his way off the field and into the locker room for evaluation. He did give a thumbs-up to the crowd as he was being wheeled off, however.
The team later announced that Williams was being checked for head and neck injuries. They followed up by noting that he has been ruled out for the game, but that he has feeling and movement in all of his extremities.
Williams’ absence will leave the Packers somewhat short-handed in the backfield for the remainder of the game. The team left rookie running back Dexter Williams inactive for the contest, leaving the team with only Jones and fullback Danny Vitale to line up at tailback.
Although the NFL main officiating office has the prerogative to dictate an ejection for egregious hits like these that are flagged, they evidently chose not to toss Barnett from the game.
The Packers scored a touchdown on the drive and hold a 7-0 lead early on,