21 Oct 2013
compiled by Andrew Potter
Lance Briggs will miss four to six weeks with a shoulder injury, the latest in a long line of injuries to an ailing Bears defense -- the team is currently on course to set a franchise single-season record for points allowed. Chicago is also on course to set a franchise record for points scored, but Jay Cutler -- top ten by both DVOA and DYAR before Sunday -- will also miss at least four weeks with a groin tear. Josh McCown replaced Cutler on Sunday and is expected to start in his place, with Jordan Palmer brought in to back up McCown.
The Bengals expect a MRI scan to confirm Leon Hall's reportedly torn Achilles, which would end his season. Cincinnati's secondary has been outstanding this season -- their defense ranks fourth against the pass by DVOA (-9.9%), as well as fourth against number one receivers (-28.6%) -- and Hall is a huge part of the reason for their excellence. Adam Jones is next in line according to the team website's depth chart.
Winless Tampa Bay was dealt another huge blow on Sunday with the loss of feature back Doug Martin to a torn labrum. Current news is that he'll try to rehabilitate the injury without surgery, which would rule him out for the year. Martin's season wasn't great by the numbers (-16.9% DVOA, 30th by DYAR), but as the Buccaneers equivalent of Maurice Jones-Drew he was being expected to carry almost the entire offense on his shoulders. Jeff Demps is also injured, so Mike James is expected to start in the meantime.
A MRI scan has confirmed that Reggie Wayne tore the ACL and meniscus in his right knee trying to twist for a low catch in the fourth quarter of last night's game. That injury certainly ends his season, though Chuck Pagano was defiant in asserting that Wayne will be back next season. Though no longer a truly elite wide receiver, Wayne is still a very good starter and has been Andrew Luck's most consistently reliable target: his 17.1% DVOA entering Sunday's game ranked 24th among wide receivers, and his 105 DYAR ranked 12th. More subjectively, it seems like he's spent roughly the past seven years leading the league in failed challenges from opposition coaches who couldn't believe he'd made the catches he did. The Colts also lost Samson Satele, Josh Gordy, and Greg Toler during Sunday's game; no word yet on the severity of those.
Very little is confirmed regarding Jermichael Finley's frightening neck injury, but he spent last night in ICU -- apparently standard precaution for the type of injury -- and it is expected to be weeks before the Packers know whether he can return to the field. He was, however, reportedly walking around today and will not require surgery. Finley ranked 11th in DYAR and 13th in DVOA on 29 targets ahead of Sunday's game, and his role in the offense was expected to expand because of the injuries to the Packers receiving corps. Instead, Green Bay's fourth-ranked passing offense (38.6%) is almost down to the bare bones.
The Rams have confirmed that Sam Bradford suffered a torn ACL in his left knee on Sunday and will miss the rest of the season. The St. Louis offense has struggled overall, but Bradford was playing his best season as a professional: 13th in DVOA and tenth in DYAR before Sunday's contest. Backup Kellen Clemens only threw three passes last year, but took over for three games when Bradford was injured in 2011, posting a -12.0% DVOA and -19 DYAR (both 28th).
A torn LCL and broken leg ends Cushing's season -- the second year in a row in which his season has been ended by a low block from an offensive player. Houston's defense was already struggling even with Cushing in the lineup -- average by DVOA against both the run (-10.7%)and the pass (7.9%) -- and will have to cope with his absence much better than it did last season if the team is to have any hope of reaching the postseason. Darryl Sharpton is expected to take over the vacated starting spot. Arian Foster also left the game with a hamstring injury, and his status for next week is uncertain.
57 comments, Last at 24 Oct 2013, 5:32pm by Mr Shush
"Last team with the ball wins" is a cliche, but sometimes cliches are the best way to get across the central narrative of an important game. If you like great quarterback play, you have to watch the NFC Championship Game.