The Biggest Storylines From Week 13
Kansas City Chiefs
From a 5-0 start to 6-6? In my best Ricky Ricardo impersonation, “Lucy, Wha’ Happened?”
Rookie running back Kareem Hunt got his NFL career off on the wrong foot as he fumbled on his very first play. He would go on to redeem himself by exploding onto the NFL scene with a record-setting start, post-fumble. However, it seems that teams have caught up to him as he’s been nowhere near as effective/productive over the past six weeks.
Speedy do-it-all receiver/return-man Tyreek Hill hasn’t slowed down a bit, but the explosive plays that were routine during his rookie season, have been far and few between in his sophomore campaign.
Tight end Travis Kelce has produced, but without having other viable pass-catching options at the wide receiver position, opposing defenses have been able to focus on him more.
Former All-Pro linebacker/Inside the NFL analyst Ray Lewis offered quite the observation when providing analysis about the Chiefs struggles. Lewis said the Chiefs are too dependent on gadget plays, as opposed to having a scheme they can turn to as their bread and butter.
With a coach like Andy Reid, one would think that vanilla play-calling wouldn’t be an issue, however, injuries have robbed them of key players throughout the season on both sides of the ball. They now sit in a three-way tie atop of the AFC West with the Los Angeles Chargers and Oakland Raiders, with the Denver Broncos being rendered moot and forgotten as they sit at 3-9.
Cheap Shots, Get Your Cheap Shots Here!
Starting with Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, ending with Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster and Bengals safety George Iloka (in the same game no less), there was no shortage of cheap shots doled out this past weekend.
All of the aforementioned hits resulted in suspension and or injury to the recipient. This part of football needs to be removed in order to protect both the players and the game.
Ryan Shazier/Vontaze Burfict Injuries
There have been an inordinate amount of injuries (especially those of the season-ending variety) in the NFL this year. Kansas City safety Eric Berry, Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt, linebacker Whitney Mercilus (in the same game no less), and rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson were lost to season-ending injuries. Quarterbacks Jameis Winston and Aaron Rodgers have both missed time, though Rodgers is eligible to return in week 15.
This past Monday, the carnage continued. In a hard-hitting game that was a throwback to the games of old, linebacker Ryan Shazier of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict left the contest on stretchers. Shazier’s injury is the more serious of the two, as reports indicate he underwent surgery to stabilize his spine. Burfict has a concussion and is hopefully on the road to the recovery, but likely to miss this week’s game.
While knowing the consequences when stepping on the football field, no one wants to see such an outcome.
Bedlam in the Big Apple
What led to Manning’s benching? Was it performance based, punishment, was it due to injury? The answer to all of these questions is “No”.
Former head coach, Ben McAdoo decided, with the season all but lost, to take a look at younger players. What’s the problem with that you might ask? McAdoo deactivated rookie quarterback Davis Webb, for whom Eli was seemingly benched!
When offered the opportunity to start and keep his ironman streak of 210 consecutive starts intact, Manning appropriately declined. Unsurprisingly, the Giants lost the game to the Oakland Raiders.
Smith wasn’t the sole reason for the loss, however, he didn’t do much to prove himself either. This past Monday, the Giants fired McAdoo and general manager Jerry Reese, with defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo becoming the interim head coach for the remainder of the season.
Think Tom Coughlin is glad to be in Jacksonville? Sheesh!
The Denver Broncos went into their week five bye feeling pretty good about themselves. They were 3-1 with plenty of hope for the remainder of the season. My how things have changed.
The Broncos quarterback play is both unsettled and uninspiring. After starting the season with Trevor Siemian, the Northwestern product was benched for Brock Osweiler, who was then benched for Paxton Lynch, only for the team to turn back to Siemian after a Lynch injury.
At this rate, John Elway may have to leave take his number 7 jersey out of mothballs and go back on the field. Not that it would matter, after their eighth consecutive loss, the season is officially, a lost.