A host of star players went down with injuries this week. Here are the most significant names who got banged up:
Andy Dalton, QB, Cincinnati Bengals: Dalton went to the locker room with a right thumb injury (throwing hand) in the first quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers. It happened after he tried to make a tackle following an interception. It didn't take long for the Bengals to rule him out, and coach Marvin Lewis announced after the game that Dalton would miss at least next week's contest vs. San Francisco. ESPN reporter Bob Holtzman added this from Cincy:
Here's what I'm told about Andy Dalton's fractured thumb: likely season ending, best case scenario is playoffs, per multiple team sources.
— bob holtzman (@BobHoltzmanESPN) December 13, 2015
Thomas Rawls, RB, Seattle Seahawks: Rawls had gained 41 yards on his first five carries of the game before getting bent back and injuring his ankle on a 3-yard loss in the first quarter. He limped into the locker room, and ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter reported Rawls is out for the remainder of the season with a broken ankle. Rawls had been a revelation for the Seahawks as Marshawn Lynch's fill-in, entering Week 14 ranking first in the NFL with 5.7 yards per carry.
LeGarrette Blount, RB, New England Patriots: Blount rushed for 53 yards on 10 carries before suffering a hip injury midway through the second quarter. He was taken to the locker room and downgraded from questionable to out after at the start of the second half. The Patriots turned to backups Brandon Bolden and James White in Blount's absence.
Brian Hoyer, QB, Houston Texans: Hoyer went into the locker room in the fourth quarter on Sunday night to get evaluated for a concussion after getting rocked by Patriots D-lineman Akiem Hicks. T.J. Yates filled in for Hoyer on Houston's final three offensive snaps of the game. Hoyer sat out Week 11 against the Jets after suffering a concussion the previous game vs. Cincinnati.
Matt Hasselbeck, QB, Indianapolis Colts: Hasselbeck played this week despite suffering a mild rib separation and a neck injury against Pittsburgh. Midway through the third quarter against Jacksonville, Hasselbeck's helmet flew off as his head hit the turf. He returned to the game but went down again with 12 minutes left in the fourth after a scramble. He fell awkwardly near the benches and came up grabbing his left arm. Officially, the Colts said he had a rib injury. He did not return, as Charlie Whitehurst took over the No. 1 duties.
Tyler Eifert, TE, Cincinnati Bengals: Eifert returned to the field after a one-game absence (stinger), only to suffer a concussion in the first quarter. The team officially ruled him out midway through the second quarter. It was not immediately clear when the injury occurred, but Pittsburgh safety Mike Mitchell hit Eifert high in the first quarter and was flagged for a personal foul.
Jonathan Stewart/Greg Olsen, RB/TE, Carolina Panthers: Stewart had racked up 75 yards on 10 carries before suffering a foot injury late in the second quarter. Olsen, meanwhile, had his left knee buckle late in the second quarter as he was hit in the end zone. The tight end appeared to be in a lot of pain, but he walked off the field under his own power and initial tests revealed no ACL damage. The team declared both players questionable, but neither returned with Carolina up big. After the game, Olsen insisted he could've played in the second half if needed, while coach Ron Rivera said Stewart was OK, as well.
Devin McCourty, S, New England Patriots: McCourty limped off the field midway through the third quarter and was taken to the locker room to have X-rays done on his ankle, according to NBC's Michele Tafoya. The Patriots initially listed McCourty as questionable to return, but he was downgraded to out in the fourth quarter.
Kam Chancellor, S, Seattle Seahawks: Chancellor injured his tailbone on Seattle's second defensive possession of the game and did not return to the field. The Seahawks entered this week ranking second overall in points per game allowed since Chancellor returned from his holdout in Week 3 (16.8). According to the Seattle Times, coach Pete Carroll said this about Chancellor after the game: "He was really uncomfortable today, and we think he has a chance to get back this week."
T.J. Yeldon, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars: Yeldon tweaked his knee in the second quarter, and the team listed him as questionable to return. He was back later in the quarter, only to again be listed as questionable in the third. He was not on the field at all during a long touchdown drive that extended the Jaguars' lead to 37-16 and did not return to the game.
Sam Shields, CB, Green Bay Packers: Shields suffered a concussion midway through the second quarter, when he tackled Cowboys WR Lucky Whitehead out of bounds. The Packers announced their No. 1 CB was out for the remainder of the game at the start of the second half.
Vincent Jackson, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jackson missed Weeks 8 through 10 this season because of a knee injury. The Bucs declared him doubtful to return Sunday due to another knee ailment, but it wasn't immediately clear whether Jackson reaggravated his previous injury or suffered a new injury altogether. The Bucs plays the Rams on Thursday night this week, giving Jackson less time to heal.
Brian Hartline, WR, Cleveland Browns: Hartline had been showing promise for the Browns, with receiving totals of 77, 74 and 83 yards in his past three games entering Week 14. But he broke his collarbone Sunday against the 49ers and will miss the remainder of the season.