Sunday’s heartbreaking 27-24 loss stung a lot worse than merely the result on the field. As horrible as the Falcons played when they came up short on their comeback attempt, the disappointment can’t even be compared to what looks like another catastrophic injury on this defense. Safety Keanu Neal looks like he will miss the rest of 2019 after missing almost all of 2018 with an ACL injury.
Neal was visibly in tears in the endzone after suffering what is being reported as an Achilles injury. Neal is such a vital member of this defense, and his loss cannot be overstated. Along with being a vocal leader, he’s the best player in this secondary and an enforcer over the middle. Since being drafted in 2016, he’s been an X-Factor when healthy, forcing 8 fumbles and picking off a pass. Damontae Kazee has played well in his absence, but it’s going to be a sharp blow to Atlanta’s depth in the secondary after parting ways with Brian Poole and Robert Alford.
The most infuriating part of this ordeal was the penalty assessed on Neal. He threw his helmet out of frustration knowing his season was over and was given a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Indianapolis fans also cheered as he laid on the turf. Keanu had every right to be upset, and naturally, his emotions got the best of him. Naturally, the NFL refs managed to screw things up and make things worse as they always do.
We’ll keep you posted on any updates involving Neal.