The Chicago Bears will look to score a pivotal win in the NFC playoff race Monday night without Jay Cutler yet again. The starting quarterback has been ruled out for the Bears' Week 14 bout against the Dallas Cowboys, head coach Marc Trestman announced Thursday. Cutler has missed three straight game after suffering a high ankle sprain in Week 10.
Josh McCown will start a fourth straight game with Cutler out. He has played well in relief, but the Bears have gone just 1-2 in their last three games. At 6-6 overall, they are fighting for their playoff lives at the moment. They won't receive any reprieve from the Cowboys, who are barely clinging to a lead in the NFC East at 7-5 overall. With Cutler out, the Bears have a very difficult task ahead of them.
The NFL threatened the Pittsburgh Steelers with a lost draft pick on top of the $100,000 fine they handed head coach Mike Tomlin for impeding Jacoby Jones' sideline path to the end zone on Thanksgiving. However, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the league is unlikely to punish the Steelers beyond Tomlin's fine. The league would reportedly take away a draft pick only if the Tomlin's stunt forces the Baltimore Ravens to lose a playoff spot due to a tiebreaker on point differential. That scenario is highly unlikely.
The Ravens kicked a field goal after Jones was tackled. The 4-point swing caused by Tomlin's seemingly intentional stunt could theoretically play a role in determining whether or not the 6-6 Ravens make the playoffs. However, point differential is well down the list of division and wild card tiebreakers, behind head-to-head matchups, records against common opponents, strength of victory and strength of schedule.
The Trent Richardson trade has not panned out how the Indianapolis Colts had hoped, and Richardson may be the first person to admit as much. In an interview with ESPN's Mike Wells he said that Donald Brown has earned the right to be the Colts' starting running back.
"I think it's only fair that Donald is the starter, especially the production he's been putting up and the numbers," Richardson said. "He's been playing good ball. I tell people all the time that when I first got here, they thought it was a two-headed monster with me and Ahmad [Bradshaw]. I always said it was a three-headed monster."
Richardson admitted that he has struggled to pick up offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton's system, saying that he is thinking too much on the field and not running with instinct. He may need a full offseason with the Colts before he can get himself up to speed.
Maurice Jones-Drew is set to become a free agent after the 2013 season. After Thursday's win over the Houston Texans, however, he told Rich Eisen on NFL Network that he would like to remain with the Jacksonville Jaguars next season and beyond.
Jones-Drew is muddling his way through what will likely be the worst season of his career on a per carry basis. Through 12 games, he averaged 3.2 YPC, a full yard below his previous low of 4.2 YPC in 2008. He improved his average on Thursday, however, rushing 14 times for a season-high 103 yards before leaving the game in the fourth quarter with an apparent hamstring injury.