Chris Johnson and the NFL's 10 Most Underachieving Players of 2011
15 Games are now officially in the books as we prepare to watch the final set of games in the 2011 regular season.
We watched Aaron Rodgers put on an offensive clinic, dominating defenses and scoring at will. We watched as Cam Newton rewrote the rookie record books and brought excitement not only to Carolina Panther fans, but fans of the sport in general. We watched as Jerome Simpson frontflipped into the end zone for six, and Tim Tebow gave birth to a nationwide following of "Tebow Time."
But not everyone in the NFL stood out for great achievements. In fact, many entered the season with high expectations, and instead destroyed fantasy team hopes and their reputations in the process.
With one game still to play, here are 10 players I feel underachieved the most this season, so much that not even a career performance in Week 17 could save them.
Comment to agree, disagree or just add in a name you felt should have been included.
The Entire Indianapolis Colts Roster
Colts 2010: 10-6 Record. 3rd seed in AFC
Colts 2011: 2-13 Record. 15.3 PPG (28th) 286.1 yards per game (30th) 183.5 passing yards per game (27th)
Without a doubt, had Peyton Manning been behind center instead of guys like Kerry Collins and Curtis Painter, the Colts season would have been a lot different. Instead, the product put out by one of the NFL's elite teams this year was anything but elite.
While they are on a two-game winning streak and may not even receive the number one pick in 2012, there is no question this was the worst roster in the league this season.
Peyton Hillis: Cleveland Browns RB
2010: 16 games, 270 rushing attempts, 1177 yards, 4.4 yards per carry, 11 TD
2011: 9 games, 151 rushing attempts, 557 yards, 3.7 yards per carry, 3 TD
Call it the Madden Curse, call it bad luck, call it whatever you want. Whatever label you decide to place on Hillis' 2011 campaign, the end result is that it was pretty disappointing.
Hillis rushed for over 100 yards for just the first time this season in Week 16. Injuries and a contract dispute for the Madden 12 cover boy led to just one game with multiple touchdowns, and three for the entire season.
That is a pretty big difference from a guy who just a year earlier was a 1,000-yard back.
Nnamdi Asomugha: Philadelphia Eagles CB
2010: 19 tackles, 0 INT
2011: 37 tackles, 3 INT
ESPN's shows may tell you that Numbers Never Lie, but the 2011 stats of Nnamdi are pretty deceiving.
Although his numbers did improve, it is because he had more opportunities to take down the ball handler. In 2010, QB's wouldn't dare throw in the general direction of Asomugha. In 2011, they have been more willing to challenge the gem of this year's offseason, and they have been successful.
The Eagles seem to have built up chemistry as of late, and although they have been eliminated from playoff contention, hopefully Asomugha and the rest of the Eagles roster can work out the kinks and produce what is expected from such a talent-filled team in 2012.
Philip Rivers: San Diego Chargers QB
2010: 66 percent completion, 4710 Yards, 30 TD, 13 INT, 4 fumbles, 101.8 QB Rating
2011: 62.4 percent completion, 4314 Yards, 24 TD, 19 INT, 7 fumbles, 86.6 QB Rating
I can't say this with certainty about the picture above, but if that pass was like many of the others that Rivers has thrown this year, it probably was picked off.
Rivers has turned the ball over more than any other player in the NFL this year, and unless he has a monster Week 17, he will see drops in both his touchdown passes as well as passing yards this year.
Ndamukong Suh: Detroit Lions DT
2010: 66 tackles (49 solo), 1 forced fumble, 0 games suspended
2011: 35 tackles (25 solo), 0 forced fumbles, 2 games suspended
Suh saw his wallet get lighter, and more time watching the game than playing in 2011.
The rookie phenom of a year ago saw his reputation turn into that of a villain this year, stepping on opponents' arms and causing the yellow flags to fly.
He is going to be on a very short leash from here on out with Roger Goodell, and will need to clean up his act if he wants to stay on the field.
DeSean Jackson: Philadelphia Eagles WR/KR
2010: 47 receptions, 1056 yards, 6 TD, 231 return yards, 1 TD
2011: 54 receptions, 875 yards, 3 TD, 114 return yards, 0 TD
An offseason dispute over a larger contract may factor into why Jackson has had such poor play this year.
As a wide receiver, Jackson has seen his touchdowns cut in half, but not having Vick for part of the season may have played a factor in that.
As a return man, numbers have also been cut in half for the man who just last year beat the Giants on a thrilling last-second punt return.
With numbers like this, it may be difficult to justify a multi-million dollar long-term deal to stay in Philly.
Andre Johnson: Houston Texans WR
2010: 86 receptions, 1216 yards, 8 TD
2011: 31 receptions, 471 yards, 2 TD
When Andre has been on the field this season, you could say he was somewhat productive. But then again, he's rarely been on the field due to injuries to both hamstrings this year.
The Texans emerged early as a strong team that could possibly contend for a Super Bowl. But after losing Johnson, two QBs and Mario Williams (for the season), they are looking more and more like a team that will be one and done come January.
Had Johnson stayed healthy, he could have had the opportunity to prove why he is considered one of the best in the game. Instead, it will be looked upon along with the rest of Houston's roster as people ask what could have been.
Marcedes Lewis: Jacksonville Jaguars TE
2010: 58 receptions, 700 yards, 10 TD
2011: 36 receptions, 427 yards, 0 TD
Last year, this guy helped lead me to a Fantasy League Championship. This year, he's gotten pretty cozy among the other free agents in my fantasy league.
Of course rookie Blaine Gabbert calling the shots in Jacksonville instead of David Garrard is part of the reason why Lewis has been on the unproductive side, but I find it shocking that a guy who was in the end zone 10 times last year has yet to pay it a visit in 2011.
Chad Ochocinco: New England Patriots WR
2010: 67 receptions, 831 yards, 4 TD
2011: 15 receptions, 276 yards, 1 TD
Here's a guy that at the beginning of the season had critics unsure if he would even be on the roster at this point of the year.
Ochocinco has not caught more than two passes in any game this year, and his only touchdown came in Week 15 against Tim Tebow and the Broncos.
Maybe instead of Dancing with the Stars and updating his twitter, Chad should be attempting to get a few extra reps in practice and hope to improve his numbers come playoff time.
Chris Johnson: Tennessee Titans RB
2010: 316 carries, 1364 yards, Long 76, 11 TD
2011: 247 carries, 986 yards, Long 48, 4 TD
A publicized contract dispute led to Chris Johnson getting his wish to be "paid like a playmaker." Unfortunately, he hasn't made too many plays as of yet.
He hasn't been the same RB that he was in 2009 by a long shot, and failed to have a dominant performance this year until a Week 12 game against the Bucs.
After 11 touchdowns last year, his only multiple TD game of the year was against Buffalo.
While I had no specific order to this list, despite his late season turnaround, I view Chris Johnson as the most underachieving player in the NFL this season.
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