It was painful watching the shell of Peyton Manning play Sunday night, but his inability to stretch the field doesn't appear to be due to any single injury. (Update: Adam Schefter is reporting that Peyton Manning has been playing through a torn right quad for the last month.) Age and a full NFL season looks to have caught up with him. But coming off a Super Bowl appearance and record breaking season to then go on to take his team to a 12-4 record and the Divisional Playoff Round while throwing for 4,727 yards and 39 touchdowns sure makes his "noodle-arm" seem worth giving another shot next year in fantasy if he decides to come back for a 17th season.
As far as injuries to players moving on to the next round, there weren't many, but here are a few that we'll be keeping an eye on as the week goes on. Of course the most famous calf in the United States right now is Aaron Rodgers’ calf (which I've named calfy). Calfy was in no way 100% against the Cowboys on Sunday, but Mr. Rodgers was able to play through the pain and still play effectively, but his limited mobility was apparent early on as he took sacks that he would have escaped from at full health. In the second half his effectiveness increased and he looked close to the Rodgers we are used to. It appears he’ll still be nursing the injury as the Packers travel to Seattle for the NFC Championship, a place you don't want your mobility limited, so we will most likely need to see second half Rodgers for the whole game if they want to pull off the upset.
Eddie Lacy missed snaps due to an asthma attack on Sunday against the Cowboys. Lacy confirmed an asthma attack cost him much of the second quarter. The extreme cold exacerbates the problem. Thankfully for Lacy and the Packers the temperature in Seattle on Sunday should be in the high 40's.
Seahawks' rookie receiver Paul Richardson tore his ACL against the Panthers on Saturday. He had seen a nice increase in work with Jermaine Kearse's late season hamstring injury, but with Kearse back there wasn't much room for him as it was. Ricardo Lockette should see the biggest bump in snaps with Richardson out, but we’ll most likely just see a small bump for Doug Baldwin, Kearse, and Luke Willson. The lateness of this injury in the season will make it difficult for Richardson to be ready to start the regular season fully healthy.
Patriots' right cornerback Brandon Browner suffered a knee injury against the Ravens in the second half and didn’t return. After the game he was optimistic about his outlook and according to the Boston Herald, “Browner was in good spirits in the locker room and was waltzing back and forth without much hesitation.” I'm sure the Patriots won't let us know anything, but if he can get a limited practice designation in and be listed as questionable, he'll would most likely play against the Colts.
Seahawks' defensive back Byron Maxwell had shortness of breath during the Panthers game due to a cold and was unable to play defense. He was able to play some on special teams and it would seem he’ll be healthier in a week, but it will all depend on how long his illness lingers.
Patriots' center Bryan Stork was forced from New England's Divisional Round game against the Ravens with a right-knee injury. Any loss to the offensive line is a tough one for the Patriots, so his status going forward is worth keeping an eye on.
Seattle's center Max Unger, who had missed the previous six games due to a high ankle sprain, had the same ankle rolled up on against the Panthers and was forced to miss the rest of the game. The possible good news is that coach Pete Carroll says Unger feels pretty good and it may have just been a scare. We'll need to see how quickly he can return to practice before buying the positivity.
Cowboys' middle linebacker Rolando McClain suffered a head injury and was forced from the Divisional Round game against the Packers. This would be his second concussion in as many weeks. Thankfully for his brain the Cowboys are done for the year, but this is not a good development for his long-term health.