CHARLOTTE, NC – JANUARY 17: Greg Olsen #88 of the Carolina Panthers looks on prior to the NFC Divisional Playoff Game against the Seattle Seahawks at Bank of America Stadium on January 17, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

The good news for the Carolina Panthers: They beat the Buffalo Bills 9-3 on Sunday to improve to 2-0 on the young season.

The bad news for the Panthers: One of their best players, tight end Greg Olsen, could be out quite a while.

Olsen left Sunday’s game in the first half with a foot injury, then appeared on crutches along the sideline in the second half. Afterward, he told reporters his foot was broken and that he would miss “a lot of games.”

Though we won’t know quite how serious Olsen’s injury is until he visits a doctor Monday, it’s sounds like he’s going to lose a solid chunk of the season.

Olsen’s absence will be no small thing for the Panthers, whose two victories have had much more to do with their defense (and the quality of their opponents) than with their offense. Olsen hasn’t helped much in 2017, but he led the Panthers in receiving yards each of the past in each of the past three seasons (going over 1,000 yards in the past three), as Cam Newton’s most reliable target.

Part of the reason Olsen, now in his 11th season, has more than 7,000 career receiving yards in his impressive durability. He has not missed a start since 2011 or a game since his rookie year of 2007. But of course, this is the NFL, where injuries unavoidable and no one is immune. It was a borderline miracle Olsen made it this long without missing any time, and now the inevitability has caught up to him.

Carolina will next take on the division-rival Saints, followed by the Patriots and Lions. The Panthers are only a year and a half removed from a 15-1 regular season and a Super Bowl berth, so it’s fair to imagine this 2-0 start has them dreaming on another run to the playoffs. But in a division without a pushover team, that won’t be very easy, and losing Olsen from an offense that gained only 255 yards of offense Sunday really hurts.

About Alex Putterman

Alex is a writer and editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. He has written for The Atlantic, VICE Sports,, and more. He is a proud alum of Northwestern University and The Daily Northwestern. You can find him on Twitter @AlexPutterman.