The start of the New Year marks the completion of the NFL regular season. Those teams who continue to play throughout January will be competing for a championship. Both conferences will only be represented by one Best Coast team, as the second seed in the NFC, the San Francisco 49ers. Although there is only one team, there is no shortage of top level talent that ranked amongst the top in their positions.
Philip Rivers had a rough start to his season. Many were under the impression that injuries still plague him as they did last season. Philip is one of those players that will play hurt and not broadcast his pain. He once played with a torn ACL, which is considered to be one of the gutsiest performances in history. Injuries to others proved to be the main downfall to Rivers play in the middle of the season. Lack of play makers forced him to take more chances, thus leading to more mistakes or poor execution. When the team was healthy, Philip and the Chargers bust back onto the scene to make a late push for the playoffs, but falling short. The 2012 Pro Bowl quarterbacks’ rating was the 11th best, finishing the season at 88.7 with 4,624 yards in the air. The 27 touchdown passes and 20 interceptions led San Diego to an 8-8 record and would prove make Rivers the most valuable quarterback on the Best Coast.
Beast Mode is the new movement running through the NFL. The angry, aggressive style of Marshawn Lynch was well documented by teams coming into this season, just ask the Saints. Lynch ended the defending Super Bowl champs dream for a repeat with the 76 yard touchdown run which caused him to break eight tackles and cause seismic activity. An inexperienced offensive line halted some of his play early in the season. When it appeared the Seahawks were down and out, Lynch put the team on his back, reeling off a streak of 11 straight games with a touchdown and running for over 100 yards in five out of six games. By season end, Lynch was top 10th in overall rushing yards with 1,204 on 285 carries. His 12 touchdowns were the fourth most in the league.
The man nicknamed Fitz has consistently been in conversation as one of the best receivers in the NFL. His catch radius is enormous and his ability to use his 6’3 frame to elevate above defenders to make catches is hard to fathom. There has been concern about the direction of his team, due to not having a reliable option as quarterback. John Skelton to Fitzgerald has been a connection that led the resilient Cardinals back into the wild card playoff picture. Larry made some clutch catches, like the diving catch in overtime against the Seahawks, leading Arizona to an 8-8 record after starting 2-6. He had 80 receptions for 1,411 yards and eight touchdowns.
By leaps and bounds the best Tight End in the west is Antonio Gates from San Diego. Like his teammate in Rivers, his lackluster start was due to a toe injury that he tried to play through but often came up hobbled. Finally taking time to heal his injury, it proved to be the best for him and the team. As he went, so did the team. In 13 games, Gates was a featured target in the red zone, causing headaches for defenses. The 2012 Pro Bowl Tight End had 778 yards on 64 receptions and seven touchdowns.
Tags: Antonio Gates, Arizona Cardinals, Larry Fitzgerald, Marshawn Lynch, Philip Rivers, Pro Bowl, San Diego Chargers, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks