Three seasons ago, Peyton Manning sat on the sidelines with an injury that many thought may end his career. The Indianapolis Colts drafted Andrew Luck out of Stanford and the rebuilding was about to begin. Little did anyone realize that the rebuilding would start immediately.
The Carolina Panthers had to win the last game of the season to get the NFC South title and a first-round bye so it’s not like it was a time they could rest their players. Steve Smith had to sit out with an injury, and there were not a lot of other options for Cam Newton to rely on, but there need to be.