Jay Cutler, Peyton Manning and the Most Devastating NFL Injuries of 2011
After a lockout-shortened offseason, you would expect a few more injuries than normal, but the rate at which players have been going down is alarming.
Not only are a lot of players going down, but a lot of star players have missed a lot of time this season. Teams that once had bright futures have had sour seasons. Playoff and Super Bowl dreams have been crushed by injuries.
Here are the six most devastating injuries of the season.
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When Cuter went down a few weeks ago, we all assumed that Caleb Hanie was not going to embarrass himself and at least be competent enough to give the Bears enough wins to put them into the playoffs.
It hasn't exactly played out as we thought.
Hanie has been awful, and all the progress the offensive line made in the middle of the season has been lost.
Unless they can somehow get Cutler back soon, the Bears season is looking more dismal with each week.
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The Colts' struggles without Manning have been well documented. This team is worse in all phases without an active Peyton Manning, not just on offense. This team is built to win with a very specific formula, and when that formula was forced to change, the Colts were unable to adapt.
Manning is not going to win an MVP title this season, but he makes a pretty good argument for being the most valuable player to his respective team than anyone else.
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It's no secret that the Chiefs need a good running game to succeed. While Jackie Battle has done a decent job in Charles' absence, Charles adds a dimension that defenses must pay a lot of attention to.
Even when they had their quarterback, this Chiefs offense was not nearly as efficient as it was a year ago.
While plenty of factors contributed to Todd Haley's firing, he was not exactly set up for success after losing his most dynamic offensive player.
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Mangold only missed a few games for the Jets, but it may have cost the Jets two games. Mangold is their best offensive player; without him, the Jets offense was anemic and doomed for failure.
Luckily, the Jets got him back after just a few weeks, but the games they lost in that time are looking much more valuable as they try to make a push for the postseason.
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The Raiders thought they would have McFadden back and running by now, but because his injury has not been healing properly, it is unlikely that he will play again this season.
Without McFadden, the Raiders lack the dynamic presence they rely on in the backfield. Michael Bush is a solid player, but he is not a threat it take it to the house every time he touches the ball.
McFadden's absence may be the biggest reason the Raiders miss the playoffs once again.
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The Texans still clinched a division title for the first time ever in his absence, but hopes at a postseason run are all but ruined after losing Schaub.
There are worse options than T.J. Yates, but Houston had a real chance to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl with a healthy roster.
They may still get a bye if they can get a few more wins in the regular season, but I have a tough time picturing this team beating a playoff opponent without their starting quarterback.