Black Quarterback: The Bring the Pain Episode
By Brandon Simmons
Wentz Injury Cripples the Eagles
The Philadelphia Eagles suffered a loss in winning their division Sunday when Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz tore his ACL and is now lost for the season. The injury happened when Wentz tried to dive in for a touchdown, which was actually negated on a penalty. They finished the drive with a touchdown pass but finished the game with questionable hopes for their playoff run, Fortunately, they have a veteran backup in Nick Foles to come in and lead the rest of way out but will it be enough?
The Eagles are one of the more competitive teams, not just in the NFC, but in the league. They are near the top of every category including rushing, in which they are 1st on the offensive side of the and 2nd on the on the defensive end. However, their potential opponents they will face all have their own calling cards. The New Orleans Saints and Los Angeles Rams have the firepower to blow any team off the field, regardless of how their defenses play. On the flipside, you have the Minnesota Vikings and Carolina Panthers have defenses that can get after the quarterback and shave off some point totals.
It’s all going to come down on how Foles can compete at this stage in his career. The last time we heard from him, was not in such a favorable light. He started his career with the Eagles but was traded to the St. Louis Rams, where he went 4-7, throwing for 7 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. The next season he was cut and ended up on the Kansas City Chiefs, where he met current Eagles head coach, Doug Pederson, who was the Chiefs offensive coordinator at the time. Therefore, he knows the offense and that proves an advantage for him.
The Eagles might not get very far in the playoffs, considering the conference they are in. This year’s NFC is similar to what the NBA Western conference: a deep list of teams able to compete for a championship or at least a conference title as opposed to the AFC being the Eastern conference where we know which two teams will be there at the end. The NFC playoffs is not a spot where you can afford to have a key member of your team missing; you probably can’t even a role player or 2nd stringer missing time. The fact that you are missing your MVP candidate quarterback with only 3 games left in the season will become troublesome for you in the long run.
Gameplan or Medical plan in the Playoffs?
Carson Wentz is the latest NFL big name to suffer a major injury this season. Players such as Aaron Rodgers, J.J. Watt and Odell Beckham, Jr. have all been hurt and it has affected their teams’ season drastically. Rodgers is the only one whose squad is still in the playoff hunt, but they are even on the verge of losing that much, despite the fact he is scheduled to come back next week.
Injuries are a very common in football but this season they appear to be a major factor in the landscape of the playoffs, given their timing. As mentioned in the first segment, Wentz’s injury could be detrimental to the Eagles playoff path by costing them a couple of spots in the seeding. Right now they’re division champs and number one overall, but if they lose their remaining games, they can fall to the 3rd or 4th seed, which will leave them susceptible to some pretty good wild card opponents. The same could be said for the AFC playoff scene. The Pittsburgh Steelers lost linebacker Ryan Shazier to injury and struggled mightily on defense against the Ravens, a team ranked near the bottom in offense. That’s bad news for a team that is clinging to homefield advantage in the playoffs and still has to face the New England Patriots. This isn’t to wish harm on anyone at all, but rather to point that the strength of these playoff teams is not going to rely on the game plan more than the medical plan.
The Patriots and Steelers’ Slippery Slope
The AFC’s two best teams will be going at each other this coming weekend but this past weekend they were busted by their divisional opponents of lesser quality. The Pittsburgh Steelers were shook up by the Baltimore Ravens until they pulled off a 4th quarter comeback to take a 39-38 win. However, the New England Patriots did not fare so well with the Miami Dolphins in their 27-20 loss. It seems that the Week 15 matchup will be the last battle before each finish the season and head into their postseason bye week (which they are a lock for). This means that as “poor” as they have played, by their standards, those sub standard performances will collide this Sunday and we could see something to the extreme, likely a shootout. However, it might not even get that far. These two teams are aware of what’s at stake, and pretty sure the Steelers remember how the embarrassing loss in the AFC championship last January. Obviously, this game will hold major playoff implications, particularly for who holds homefield advantage but it’s going to award an emotional advantage for the winner going into the playoffs.
Roethlisberger drops a 500 burger – Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw for 506 yards in his team’s win over the Ravens. It was the third time in his career that he hit that mark.
A true GOAT retires – Former Chicago Bear kick returner Devin Hester officially announced his retirement. Hester was one of the more dangerous return men in NFL history. He holds single season records for punt return touchdowns, kickoff return touchdowns and is the all time leader in the latter.
Texans ‘ handling of injury protocol – Sunday, in their lost to the San Francisco 49ers, the Houston Texans seemed to have mishandled concussion protocol involving quarterback Tom Savage. Savage was hit on a play in the 2nd quarter and appeared to be shaken up but still stayed in the game, as head coach Bill O’ Brien did not see the video. Shortly before the half, Savage was replaced by backup T.J. Yates and entered concussion protocol. Yes injuries do happen in this game, but it’s best that teams follow the rules set in place to help players recover or prevent anything becoming more serious.
Patriots got a case of the Mondays – The New England Patriots lost to the Miami Dolphins on Monday and ended their 14 road game winning streak. On top of that, the Dolphins defense held Miami to 0-9 on 3rd down the entire night.
It’s hard to believe that we have only 3 weeks remaining in the season but you can tell when you see the trash teams start playing each other for draft spots (i.e. the Thursday night Football game between the Denver broncos and Indianapolis Colts); but there are more matchups other than the Patriots and Steelers to make up for it. Saturday, the Los Angels Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs are going to fight for their playoff lives. Don’t forget that the Chiefs actually started 5-0 and are now facing elimination, barely clinging to the AFC west lead. In the NFC West, the Seattle Seahawks will be hosting the Los Angeles Rams and challenge them for some division ground. The Rams are coming off their loss to the Philadelphia Eagles and looking to regroup to hold on to their division lead. But until then…I’ll holla.
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