The Patriots were already without the suspended Tom Brady and injured tight end Rob Gronkowski, now they may be without Jimmy Garoppolo as well.
Facing the Miami Dolphins, the Patriots were cruising to a 2-0 start to the season behind three touchdown passes from Garoppolo before his right shoulder was driven into the turf on a hit by Kiko Alonso. Garoppolo was taken to the locker room and ruled out for the remainder of the game, giving way to Jacoby Brissett.
Brissett, who played college football at both Florida and N.C. State and was selected in the third round of the 2016 draft by the Patriots, finished the game completing 6-of-9 passes for 92 yards. He orchestrated a touchdown drive on the Patriots' first drive of the second half, capped by a run by LeGarrette Blount.
The Dolphins crawled back into the game late in the second half, scoring 21 straight points to apply some pressure in the fourth quarter, but a last-second heave into the end zone was intercepted by the Patriots to secure the victory.
New England will no doubt savor the win, but faces a challenge in Week 3 should Garoppolo's injury prove serious. The Patriots play Thursday night against the Houston Texans and star defensive end J.J. Watt. The Texans had four sacks Sunday in their game against the Kansas City Chiefs, including one-and-a-half by Watt.
Elsewhere, the Browns appear to have survived a QB injury scare of their own against the Baltimore Ravens, though they could not survive a ferocious second-half comeback by the Ravens. Replacing injured starter Robert Griffin III, Josh McCown came out firing for the Cleveland Browns, throwing two touchdowns to rookie receiver Corey Coleman and giving the Browns an early 20-2 lead over the visiting Ravens after the Ravens blocked an extra point try and returned it for two points. McCown went to the locker room for X-rays on his shoulder after the second touchdown pass, though he later returned to the field.
The blocked point-after return helped spark the Ravens, who scored the final 23 points of the game to win on the road.
The Steelers and the visiting Cincinnati Bengals squared off in Pittsburgh with both teams promising a punishing, physical game following last season's playoff meeting. Pittsburgh narrowly won that meeting after two personal fouls by Cincinnati defenders - including a brutal hit by Vontaze Burfict to the head of receiver Antonio Brown. With a persistent rain soaking both teams, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger overcame two interceptions to give his team an eight-point victory.
In a game featuring two of the NFL's most potent offenses, the New York Giants and New Orleans Saints instead combined for a nip-and-tuck affair that featured only one offensive touchdown. The last of Josh Brown's three field goals, a 23-yarder with two seconds remaining, gave the Giants the win to move New York to 2-0.
There was no shortage of points in Carolina, as the Panthers put up 43 points on the visiting San Francisco 49ers to rebound from their season-opening loss to the Denver Broncos. Cam Newton threw for over 350 yards and four touchdowns in the win.
The Houston Texans also improved to 2-0 with a win over the Kansas City Chiefs, who could not overcome three lost fumbles, falling 19-12.
A season after winning the NFC East, the Washington Redskins begin their schedule by looking up at the rest of the division after losing at home, 27-23, to the Dallas Cowboys and rookie quarterback Dak Prescott. Former Redskins running back Alfred Morris supplied the decisive touchdown run. Washington falls to 0-2, while the Cowboys move to 1-1.
The Detroit Lions couldn't muster any late-game magic at home this week, falling to the Tennessee Titans on a touchdown pass from Marcus Mariota to Andre Johnson with 1:13 remaining.
In the late afternoon games out West, the NFL returned to Los Angeles, with the Rams claiming their first win of the season at L.A. Coliseum against the Seattle Seahawks. The league appears to already be a big winner, though, as Forbes estimates the Rams' value has already doubled, ranking the franchise as the sixth-most valuable in the NFL at $2.9 billion. The Arizona Cardinals also won at home, a 40-7 drubbing of the Tamba Bay Buccaneers.