Broncos wide receiver Eric Decker was knocked out of the AFC wild-card game after being hit in the left knee by Pittsburgh linebacker James Harrison on Sunday.
Decker, the team’s leading receiver, was helped off the field and went straight to the locker room.
Broncos coach John Fox said after the 29-23 overtime victory that Decker suffered a “fairly significant” injury, but he didn’t know any further details.
It’s not clear whether he will be able to play next week at New England.
The second-year receiver hauled in a pass over the middle, but was immediately tackled by Harrison, who went low to bring Decker down on a play first ruled a catch and then overturned on replay.
STEELERS: Already banged up on the offensive line, Pittsburgh had left tackle Max Starks leave Sunday’s game at Denver with a right knee injury and did not return. The Steelers were already without All-Pro center Maurkice Pouncey, who missed the game with an ankle injury.
PATRIOTS: Josh McDaniels will return to New England as an offensive assistant this week, and will serve under Bill O’Brien, the offensive coordinator who was named coach at Penn State on Saturday.
The team made the announcement Sunday night.
O’Brien, introduced in State College, Pa., over the weekend, was due to fly back to Massachusetts on Sunday night, so he and McDaniels can gameplan for the Denver Broncos in the AFC divisional round. The Patriots, the AFC’s No. 1 seed, had a bye this weekend.
McDaniels, 35, worked for New England from 2001-2008, including three seasons as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. He was the head coach for the Broncos from 2009-10, before becoming the offensive coordinator in St. Louis this season.
LIONS: Detroit took a leap forward by ending an
11-season playoff drought.
However, the Lions have work to do on defense if they want to make it beyond the first round.
All their deficiencies showed up when the Lions gave up an NFL postseason-record 626 yards to New Orleans in a 45-28 NFC wild-card loss Saturday night.
“A loss like this makes us want to return to the playoffs even more,” defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch said. “It will be no surprise to everyone when the Detroit Lions start to make the playoffs each and every year.”
The Lions, though, will have to figure out a way to improve their roster enough to stop good teams from piling up points and yards. They allowed an average of 122 yards rushing and 312 yards passing in six losses to playoff teams – two times to both Green Bay and New Orleans, and once to San Francisco and Atlanta.