With every snap in the NFL comes the opportunity to change the outcome of a game, for better or for worse.
Some game-changing plays occur when a receiver catches a 50-yard bomb for a touchdown, while others are of a more depressing variety. Injuries are oftentimes just as influential to the outcome of games as touchdown passes unfortunately, and they happen nearly as frequently, too.
With that in mind, here's a look at the high-profile injuries that occurred in Week 5.
San Diego Chargers running back Ryan Mathews suffered an unknown injury in his team's matchup against the Oakland Raiders on Sunday Night Football just before halftime.
UPDATE: by Chris Roling at 1:09 a.m. ET on Monday, Oct. 7
After missing the remainder of the first half, Mathews was taken to the back at halftime where it was confirmed he would miss the rest of the contest with a consuccion, as reported by NFL.com:
Ryan Mathews out for the rest of the game with a concussion.— NFL: AroundTheLeague (@NFL_ATL) October 7, 2013
---End of Update---
As reported by Michael Gehlken of U-T San Diego, Mathews was sitting around on the sideline before the half without his helmet while the offense was on the field:
Ryan Mathews sitting on a cooler on sideline, helmet off. Doesn't look like someone about to re-enter this game anytime soon.— Michael Gehlken (@UTgehlken) October 7, 2013
Before the injury Mathews had carried the ball just three times for eight yards while spell back Danny Woodhead handled the bulk of the action.
The San Francisco 49ers lost starting defensive end Ray McDonald in the second half of the team's Sunday Night Football showdown with the Houston Texans to a biceps injury.
As reported by the crew on set, McDonald was ruled out for the game with a bicep injury:
TAFOYA: 49ers DT Ray McDonald is ruled out for the rest of the game with a biceps injury.— SNF on NBC (@SNFonNBC) October 7, 2013
The severity of the injury is unknown but the 49ers lost McDonald while up big, so it's no surprise he didn't return.
McDonald had 17 tackles and half a sack to his name entering the contest.
Luke Joeckel was selected No. 2 overall in 2013 by the Jacksonville Jaguars to help solidify the team's porous offensive line.
UPDATE: by Jesse Reed at 4:29 p.m. ET on Sunday, Oct. 6
After being carted off the field on Sunday with an ankle injury, Joeckel was determined to have suffered a high ankle fracture, and he is out for the rest of the season, as revealed by the Jaguars:
Luke Joeckel has a high ankle fracture and is out for the season.— Jacksonville Jaguars (@jaguars) October 6, 2013
---End of Update---
He's struggled thus far in his young career, and he suffered a setback on Sunday when he injured his ankle and was carted off the field, as noted by Bleacher Report's Matt Miller:
Luke Joeckel—who was my No. 1 player in 2013 draft—being carted off the field. #Jaguars— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) October 6, 2013
After being evaluated by team doctors, he was ruled out for the rest of the game with an ankle injury, as reported by Mike Garafolo of Fox Sports:
Meanwhile, the Jaguars have downgraded Luke Joeckel (ankle) to out.— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) October 6, 2013
As if Jaguars didn't have enough issues already. They already traded offensive tackle Eugene Monroe to Baltimore, so Joeckel's injury will be felt immediately.
For the second week in a row, Green Bay Packers star linebacker Clay Matthews was forced from the game with an injury.
UPDATE: by Jesse Reed at 6:46 p.m. ET on Sunday, Oct. 6
After leaving Sunday's game with a thumb injury, Matthews received some bad news. As noted by Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, the Packers linebacker suffered a broken thumb, and it's not yet know when he can return to action:
Tough one for #Packers: Source says Clay Matthews broke his thumb today. What's not known is how long he'll be out.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 6, 2013
---End of Update---
Late in the third quarter, Matthews suffered a thumb injury, and the Packers reported his return as questionable:
Clay Matthews has a thumb injury, his return is questionable. #DETvsGB— Green Bay Packers (@packers) October 6, 2013
Matthews never returned to the game, but thankfully for Green Bay the outcome of the game was already well in hand when he left. The Packers beat the Detroit Lions 22-9.
The Denver Broncos have been dominant on both sides of the ball this year, and linebacker Wesley Woodyard has been a force in the middle of the team's defense.
UPDATE: by Jesse Reed at 8:08 p.m. ET on Sunday, Oct. 6
After leaving the game with a shoulder injury, Woodyard was ruled out for the rest of the game, as noted by the Broncos:
After further evaluation, LB Wesley Woodyard will not return to today's game with a shoulder injury. #DENvsDAL— Denver Broncos (@DenverBroncos) October 6, 2013
---End of Update---
Unfortunately, Woodyard was forced to leave Sunday's game against the Dallas Cowboys with a shoulder injury and was listed as questionable to return, as relayed by the Broncos:
LB Wesley Woodyard has a shoulder injury. His return is probable. #DENvsDAL— Denver Broncos (@DenverBroncos) October 6, 2013
Veteran Paris Lenon is Woodyard's backup, and he's not nearly as reliable or athletic as Woodyard. If he's out for any significant amount of time, then Denver will have a hard time replacing his production.
Michael Vick hasn't been able to stay healthy throughout his career, and this season is no different.
The Philadelphia Eagles quarterback didn't make it out of the second quarter on Sunday against the New York Giants, leaving the game with a hamstring injury, as noted by ESPN's John Clayton:
Michael Vick hurt his hamstring on that one run. Nick Foles is in.— John Clayton (@ClaytonESPN) October 6, 2013
Vick never returned to the game.
Philly's offense has been dynamic at times with Vick behind center this year, and it looks a whole lot different with the less-mobile Nick Foles in as his replacement.
The New York Giants just can't catch a break this season.
Already beset by injuries, the Giants lost running back David Wilson in the second quarter after he suffered an injury to his neck, as noted by the Associated Press:
After being evaluated by the team's medical staff, Wilson was ruled out for the rest of the game, as relayed by Paul Schwartz of the New York Post:
David Wilson with neck injury, not returning. Got to figure he won't magically be healed in four days to face Bears. #nyg— Paul Schwartz (@NYPost_Schwartz) October 6, 2013
Thankfully, the team reported his neck injury wasn't believed to be serious, as noted by Mike Garafolo of Fox Sports:
Word on David Wilson is it's not believed to be a serious injury. Being held out for precautionary reasons. More tests today/Mon, I'm sure.— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) October 6, 2013
If Wilson can't get healthy in time for the team's Thursday night clash against the Chicago Bears, as Schwartz alluded to, then the Giants will be hard-pressed to get anything going on the ground. They'd have to turn to Brandon Jacobs and Michael Cox.
Blaine Gabbert isn't the long-term answer at quarterback for the Jacksonville Jaguars, but he's the best they've got right now.
Unfortunately, Gabbert suffered a hamstring injury in the team's game against the St. Louis Rams and was ruled out for the rest of the contest, as noted by NFL: AroundTheLeague:
Gabbert out for Jaguars after injuring hamstring http://t.co/XrUTb9tYSM— NFL: AroundTheLeague (@NFL_ATL) October 6, 2013
Chad Henne will play as long as Gabbert is out, which prompts the question: Is it Tebow time yet?
The Miami Dolphins signed Dannell Ellerbe away from the world champion Baltimore Ravens in free agency, and he's done an outstanding job for his new team this season.
But Ellerbe's chance to get back at his former team was interrupted when he was forced from Sunday's game against the Ravens with a shoulder injury, as noted by Omar Kelly of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel:
Dannell Ellerbe is sidelined with a shoulder injury. His return to the game is questionable.— Omar Kelly (@OmarKelly) October 6, 2013
He did not return to action, and his absence on the field was keenly felt as the Ravens started moving the ball on offense.
Green Bay Packers linebacker Brad Jones came into Week 5 as the team's leading tackler, but he was unable to finish the game against the Detroit Lions.
As reported by the Packers, Jones suffered a hamstring injury and was ruled out of the game:
The Packers have been stout against the run this year, and Jones has had a lot to do with the team's success. If he's out for an extended period of time, then Green Bay will struggle to replace his production in the middle of the field.