Posted January 13, 2014

Broncos DB Chris Harris out for remainder of postseason with torn ACL

AFC East, AFC West, Denver Broncos, Injury Roundup, NFL Playoffs
Losing Chris Harris will handicap Denver's defense.

Losing Chris Harris will handicap Denver’s defense. (Hyoung Chang/Getty Images)

The Denver Broncos are preparing to host their first AFC Championship Game since the 2005 season, but they’ll do so without one of their most important defenders. In the second half of Denver’s 24-17 win over the San Diego Chargers on Sunday, cornerback Chris Harris left the game with a knee injury that has now been confirmed as a torn ACL by USA Today‘s Lindsay Jones and several other sources. Harris will miss the remainder of the postseason as a result.

When Harris left the game, Denver had a 17-0 lead, and the fact that things started to turn soon after is a testament to his value. Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers threw two touchdown passes in the fourth quarter to rookie receiver Keenan Allen, who also caught a 49-yard non-scoring pass halfway through the fourth quarter. Quentin Jammer, who replaced Harris, was beaten on the first touchdown and on the 49-yarder, while two Denver defensive backs were out of place on the second score.

“I think we made some mental errors,” Jammer said after the game. “I know me, myself, I made mental errors that led to three big plays. I sat on a route on 4th-and-3. I overthought everything. Me being a veteran player there’s 4th-and-3, going against the wind I’m thinking a curl something just to get the first down and keep the chains moving [and I] let the guy run right by me. [Chargers receiver] Eddie Royal on 3rd-and-6, I’m thinking one thing and he runs a completely different route. There’s a lot that we can clean up and there’s a lot that I need to clean up.”

Harris did not have any such issues this season. In 2013, per Pro Football Focus’ game charting, he allowed a 65.6 passer rating on 393 slot snaps, and didn’t give up a single touchdown while registering three interceptions. He also upped his game on the outside, allowing a 64.9 rating overall.

The Broncos will face the New England Patriots in the conference championship game, and Harris’ absence will be a particular issue because New England’s offense has so many slot targets — and that’s Harris’ area of expertise.

39 comments
TruthTeller
TruthTeller

This hurts Denver a whole lot.  This game is gonna be a shootout.  First team to punt loses.

David22
David22

Even getting past the Patriots, this does not bode well for the Broncos against either team they'd meet in Super Bowl. Manning & crew will have a hard time putting up 30-40 points against the 49ers or Seahawks D's. And with those teams' better-than-average offenses, a further weakened Broncos D will not be able to prevent SF/Seattle scoring more than enough to win.

magic mushroom
magic mushroom

There are significant injuries on both teams. At least the QBs are still standing up. Manning has a lot to lose if he doesn't win this one, esp with all his offensive weapons playing against a banged up defense. Brady on the other hand has  to be a clock manager than a QB, with not a lot to choose from other than those few tiny white guys running across the field to throw at. 

Manning will probably be more aggressive than the first game with his passing attack and more than likely shred the patriots defense. The question is will Patriots offense be able to  create long drives and chew time off the clock to not let Manning back on the field?


Voiceover310
Voiceover310

With the Patriots passing game being a minor threat at best, long a top Cb will hurt but it's not a season ending problem for the Broncos. Denver has enough on D to stack up against the run and that is what they will need to beat NE on Sunday. If anyone thinks that Blount is going to run the ball in for 4 Td's this weekend, you're delusional. Broncos are favored for a reason and this should be an exciting game between two teams that have the talent + the desire to win it all. 2:00 minute drill in the 4th quarter could be the deciding factor in this one. 

FredFlintsone
FredFlintsone

5 defensive starters out for the Broncos, not good

evan4chiefs
evan4chiefs

'Broncos top db' you wrote the exact same thing when Champ Bailey got hurt...why does the media love  and kiss up to the Broncos so much?

M as in Mancy
M as in Mancy

Chris Harris is a draft gem. The fact that he has become a pass defense cornerstone tells me the Broncos front office and coaches are doing a horrible job at evaluating and developing defensive talent, especially at CB. If a washed up Quentin Jammer is getting a lot of playing time, what does that say about Omar Bolden and Kayvon Webster, two mid round CB draftees who are basically special teamers and occasionally in dime packages? 

Count on Brady to embarrass the RCB if Bailey stays in the slot...

Matthew W
Matthew W

Ahhhh, just their top DB?


When their IR list looks like New England's then we can talk. 


Top 2 D linemen, top 2 LBs, top TE, their top CB has had his own injury concerns, and another TE is stuck in jail. But oh boy....Denver has a CB on IR. The world must be ending....

RS1022
RS1022

It's crazy when you think how beat up these teams are...

They each lose their best offensive (non QB) player (Clady, Gronk) player who are both respectively one of the best at their positions.

They each lose the their best defensive player (Wilfork, Miller) who is also the person both teams' build their defenses around.

They each have multiple injuries bunched in the same positions. New England in the front seven and Denver in the defensive backfield.

jbc123
jbc123

I love the sport, but wish that  there were less injuries. I for one would love to see both teams at full strength, let the best team win. At the start of the season these two seemed to be the strongest squads, glad to see the matchup. I'm taking the points.

nygiants56
nygiants56

Will news of this injury, and previous loss of Von Miller, stop excuse-making Patriot sycophants from telling everyone, if they lose to Denver, that without Mayo, Wilfork and Gronkowski that they were at a serious disadvantage vs Denver?  I doubt it.  Pats fans still blame that first SB loss to the Giants on Manning/Tyree hooking up, and blame Welker for not catching that pass as well as Gronkowski hobbling around the field for the SECOND loss to the Giants.  What will be the excuse this Sunday?  Pats fans HAVE to be the most insufferable insecure lot our there.  

Starstruck
Starstruck

If Denver's defense collapses in the AFCCG, will the pundits blame Manning for choking again in the postseason? 

pvs
pvs

Denver loses one of its best corners and were ranked 27th against the pass with him on the field....this does not bode well for the Broncos pass defense with Brady coming to town.

phil222
phil222

@TruthTellerAgreed!

This is big loss for Broncos.

They now officially placed starting CB  on season ending IR


MMoney0021
MMoney0021

@M as in Mancy I think New England has to be a little more balanced this week vs Denver than they were against Indy.  The running game alone is not going to be able to carry us.  Brady needs to find the weak link in that secondary and pick them apart on third downs.  

MMoney0021
MMoney0021

@RS1022 Except losing Clady is about equivilant to losing Vollmer for New England (grades out as the second best RT this season).  Losing Gronk and the serial killer is equivalent to Denver losing D Thomas and J Thomas for the playoffs.  I agree on defense though.  Both teams have 2 all pro's now sidelined.  Mayo and Vince for New England and Miller and Harris for Denver.  

JayReardon
JayReardon

@nygiants56 Insecure?   HAHA?  Where's Goober and Uncle Tom this year?  Sitting at home watching, just like last year.

mkmck69
mkmck69

@nygiants56 While Giants fans are just insufferable. Shouldn't you be out golfing, or better yet, playing in traffic?

mkmck69
mkmck69

@Starstruck That probably depends on what Manning does. If he puts up 40 points, but the D gives up 41, my guess is no. But if he puts up 14, with a couple of INTs, I'd say yes...and deservedly so.

anon76
anon76

@pvs 

The Patriots aren't exactly tearing it up with receiving talent this year.  And the Broncos still have two cornerbacks as good as Harris (DRC, who's also been excellent all year, and Bailey, who finally appears to be healthy), with Webster having shown some flashes this season.  I also assume Jammer can't possibly play that bad two games in a row, but I might be disappointed on that one.  Safety play might be a bigger problem in the passing game, but luckily the Broncos are rocking the #5 ranked pass rush in the game.

M as in Mancy
M as in Mancy

@MMoney0021 @M as in Mancy I agree. NE has skull-dragged teams with their run attack. Typically odd D line fronts are harder to run against. Denver' situationally goes into a 3-4 (most effective with Von Miller). This is vulnerable to Brady's passing. If Denver is smart, rather than a 3-4, they will switch one of the ILBs to a DB to try to minimize both weaknesses...

The problem is that Denver has 1 healthy, competent safety (Adams) and 1 healthy, competent CB (Rogers-Cromartie). Everyone else is either dinged up or unreliable. A 3-3-5 will seriously tax our already short-handed personnel, and Del Rio isn't the defensive tactician that Belichick is.

If this becomes a track meet, the Broncos should hold on. 


hiptoss
hiptoss

@MMoney0021 Calling Harris an all pro is a giant stretch.  Perhaps you're confusing pro bowl player with all pro?  They're certainly not the same thing.  :)


nygiants56
nygiants56

@mkmck69@nygiants56  Insufferable?!  Giant fans KNOW when their team stinks, like this year.  We also know our team has TWO two SB wins over God's Gift To Quarterbacks. 

pirate
pirate

@anon76@pvs  Unfortunately, Champ Bailey is like, 130 years old. He's still really good, but my god, he played with Nagusrski!

pvs
pvs

@anon76 @pvs Well....Rivers is no Brady and as overpowering as the Pats running game is.....Brady did pass for 4343 yards and 25 TDs. Brady is a master at reading and reacting to defensive formations and schemes and will attack the weakest area either on the ground or through the air. This should be a good chess match between Manning and Brady.

MMoney0021
MMoney0021

@hiptoss @MMoney0021 Either way its their best corner on a team who ranks 27th in the league vs the pass.  That would be classified as a huge loss.

mkmck69
mkmck69

@raja.govindarajan @nygiants56 @mkmck69  Not to mention that if Asante Samuel makes that gimme INT, Brady takes 3 knees and it's over...and no one remembers who Tyree is. But hey, the Giants did what it took to win, and I give them credit...something you'll never see most Giants fans do.

raja.govindarajan
raja.govindarajan

@nygiants56 @mkmck69 And where is Tyree these days? That freak play is how you guys won the Super Bowl. Granted that the Giants pass rush played heck of a game and it was remarkable that TB and Pats were kept to 17 points. But if Eli throws that pass a 100 times, Tyree may be catches it one time and definitely not with the ball stuck between the helmet and the hands.