Whilst some teams and players have dazzled the NFL, some have struggled to impress
We're at the halfway stage of the NFL season, and whilst we've seen our fair share of achievements – such as Peyton Manning's incredible start to the year – a number of disappointments have been seen; here are five of the most underwhelming displays in 2013.
The Falcons reached the NFC Championship game last year, only to be beaten by the San Francisco 49ers. Despite the losses off John Abraham, Brent Grimes, Dunta Robinson, Tyson Clabo and Michael Turner, the Falcons were still expected to mount another playoff run with the additions of Steven Jackson and first round pick Desmond Trufant. However, poor offensive line play, a lack of pass rush and the injuries to Julio Jones and Roddy White have curtailed any hopes for the Falcons.
“CJ2K” is closer to being “CJ2YPC” yet again with another disappointing season. Having seen Johnson openly blasted his offensive line play last season, the Titans spent heavily on the interior line with free agent Andy Levitre and first round pick Chance Warmack, but his fortunes haven't improved, posting just 3.2 yards per carry, a longest run of just 23 yards and no rushing touchdowns so far.
So often classed as “elite” having won two Super Bowl rings with the Giants, Eli has been a major disappointment this season. Almost 33 years old, Manning has thrown 15 interceptions this season, which was his tally in the whole of last season. Wide receiver miscommunication has been a large reason for that, but after seeing his first pass of the season intercepted against the Cowboys, it hasn't got much better for the Giants QB.
Despite the emergence of the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC South, division winners Houston were still expected to win it again this season. The problem has been clear, with quarterback Matt Schaub turning the ball over too much and has now been dropped, whilst injuries to Arian Foster and Ben Tate have damaged a usually potent rushing attack. On defense, JJ Watt has been his usual dominant self, but free agent signing Ed Reed is showing his age at safety.
Having overachieved last season, this year feels like a disappointment. Robert Griffin III has struggled to overcome his ACL injury, and the offense hasn't been anywhere near as dangerous as a result. The defense continues to struggle despite spending three picks on the secondary in the draft, and Mike Shanahan is starting to come under a bit of pressure in Washington.
image: © Keith Allison