RENTON, Wash. — It was one thing for the Seahawks to know they would be without safety Earl Thomas for one game, maybe two.
Now that the All-Pro safety is done for the season — no matter how far Seattle may advance in the playoffs — the Seahawks are facing a reality that doesn't include arguably their most important defensive player.
"I don't think you're going to replace Earl Thomas. He's a very unique player. But he's very quiet. He's not a guy who adds a whole lot on the vocal side. He does it with his play," coach Pete Carroll said Monday. "Earl is Earl."
The Seahawks now know the earliest they will see Thomas back on the field is the 2017 season after he suffered a broken lower left leg in Sunday's 40-7 win over Carolina. While there was an initial thought that Thomas could return if the Seahawks made a deep run in the playoffs, Carroll said further examination Monday determined the recovery for the fractured tibia is too extensive for the star safety to make it back this season.
Luck, Colts humble Jets
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Andrew Luck was nearly perfect in his return from a concussion, throwing for four touchdowns, three to Dwayne Allen, in the Colts' 41-10 romp past the inept Jets.
The hosts were booed by a much-less-than-filled MetLife Stadium almost from the outset.
Luck missed last week's loss to Pittsburgh, cleared the NFL's concussion protocol over the weekend and came back in style with a prime-time performance. He lifted Indianapolis into a tie for the lead in the AFC South with Tennessee and Houston.
RIVERA DEFENDS BENCHING: Panthers coach Ron Rivera is not worried about losing the faith of his players after his decision to bench Cam Newton for the start of Sunday night's game. Rivera said in hindsight he's "very comfortable" with his decision to keep the reigning MVP on the sideline after he failed to wear a tie on the team flight Saturday, as required by team rules.
TWO WASHINGTON STARTERS HURT: Washington safety Will Blackmon and center Spencer Long are going through the NFL's concussion protocol after being injured in Sunday's loss to the Cardinals.
BEARS: Quarterback Jay Cutler was placed on injured reserve because of a season-ending right shoulder injury.
BILLS: Receiver and former Gator Percy Harvin's comeback lasted just two games after he was placed on the season-ending reserve-non-football-illness list because of migraines.
DOLPHINS: Linebacker Kiko Alonso had surgery to repair a broken right thumb, but coach Adam Gase said he might be available to play Sunday.
TITANS: Rookie linebacker Kevin Dodd was placed on injured reserve and will have his right foot re-evaluated.
VIKINGS: Coach Mike Zimmer returned to work a little more than a week after he had an emergency operation to repair a detached retina.