We’re at the point in the NFL season where the biggest headline grabbers are the playoff battles. Thus far, four teams have qualified for the postseason; the New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers, Atlanta Falcons and Chicago Bears. Everything else is still up for grabs, including the top seeds in each division. While the top teams are all competing for a shot at the Lombardi Trophy, the seasons of the lower tier teams still make for interesting stories. Benchings, injuries and starting rookies steal the headlines for Week 15.
Here we go again. with the end of a disappointing season near and a potential lengthy contract extension looming, Washington Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan has decided to bench Donovan McNabb for the rest of the season in favor of Rex Grossman. While Shanahan is quick to say that the decision is entirely performance based, it seems more likely that he’s trying to make McNabb the scapegoat and cover up the fact that he is the offseason acquisition that hasn’t quite lived up to expectations. About the benching, McNabb said he felt disrespected by the way it was handled, but insists he wants to remain in D.C. That $80 million dollar contract extension probably has a lot to do with it.
T.O. to the IR
For the first time in his 15-year professional career, Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Terrell Owens has been placed on the injured reserve list. The move came after it was revealed that Owens had suffered a torn meniscus in his left knee. After Monday’s surgery, T.O. finishes the season with 72 receptions for 983 yards, just 17 yards short of becoming the third receiver in NFL history with 10 or more 1,000 yard receiving seasons.
Owens declared that he expects to be back for a 16th season. However, with a major overhaul likely in Cincy this offseason, it most likely won’t be as a member of the Bengals. This past summer, there was only mutual interest between Owens and one team – the Bengals. With the numbers he put up during the first half of the season, it’ll be interesting to see if a contending team is willing to gamble on the veteran next season.
The Tebow Era Begins
In most cases, a rookie quarterback starting a Week 15 game in the NFL is no big deal. However, Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow may be the exception. Only having taken minimal snaps this season, Tebow is still one of the most popular players in the NFL because of the connection he made with fans as a collegiate athlete. He even has the best selling jersey in the league. So with quarterback Kyle Orton sitting out this past Sunday’s game against the Oakland Raiders with injury, we finally got to see the fan favorite take the field as a starting quarterback.
Tebow’s first start in the NFL wasn’t incredible, but it also wasn’t terrible either. He was particularly impressive in the first quarter where he led the Broncos to two scoring drives. The first touchdown came on 3rd and 24, when Tebow ran 40 yards for the score. Denver took early lead when Tebow connected with wide receiver Brandon Lloyd for a highlight reel touchdown pass. Most of the highlights ended there though, as the Broncos netted nothing but field goals from that point on. On the day, Tebow completed a modest 8-of-16 passes for 138 yards. He also gained 78 yards on the ground with 8 carries. The verdict is still out on Tebow, but he did well enough to earn a second start. This Sunday, the Broncos will take on the Houston Texans, who field one of the worst pass defenses in football.
Week 15 Scores:
San Francisco 49ers – 7, San Diego Chargers – 34
Kansas City Chiefs – 27, St. Louis Rams – 13
Buffalo Bills – 17, Miami Dolphins – 14
Cleveland Browns – 17, Cincinnati Bengals – 19
Houston Texans – 17, Tennessee Titans – 31
Philadelphia Eagles – 38, New York Giants – 31
Detroit Lions – 23, Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 20
New Orleans Saints – 24, Baltimore Ravens – 30
Arizona Cardinals – 12, Carolina Panthers – 19
Washington Redskins – 30, Dallas Cowboys – 33
Jacksonville Jaguars – 24, Indianapolis Colts – 34
Atlanta Falcons – 34, Seattle Seahawks – 18
New York Jets – 22, Pittsburgh Steelers – 17
Denver Broncos – 23, Oakland Raiders – 39
Green Bay Packers – 27, New England Patriots – 31
Chicago Bears – 40, Minnesota Vikings – 14
NFL Power Rankings Top 10
1. New England Patriots – Nice effort by the shorthanded Pack, but you can’t let a 300 pound lineman return it for 71 yards.
2. Atlanta Falcons – These guys haven’t walked off the field disappointed in two months.
3. Pittsburgh Steelers – Statistically, Pittsburgh was better in almost every phase of that game. However, their inability to protect Ben in becoming a problem.
4. Baltimore Ravens – Winning with offense. Just what we expect from the Ravens. I still want to know where Boldin is.
5. New Orleans Saints – No running game and the defense is the same. I don’t see a repeat in their future.
6. Chicago Bears – They both won, but it was hard for me to rank them below the Eagles after winning the Week 12 game.
7. Philadelphia Eagles – Did you see that post-game locker room celebration? Hahahahaha.
8. New York Jets – With the team’s recent struggles, that’s a quality win.
9. Kansas City Chiefs – Can’t help but to be nervous for the Chiefs. Feels like something bad is about to happen.
10. Indianapolis Colts – They’re somehow back in this thing.
images via Yahoo