50. Baltimore chokes at Gillette: It seemed like every NFL playoff game came down to the wire, but the biggest heartbreaker might have come in Foxborough, where Lee Evans dropped a potential game-winning touchdown moments before Billy Cundiff did his best Ray Finkle impression by hooking the hell out of a game-tying field goal:
49. Sam Hurd gets in extremely hot water: Late in the season, the Bears receiver was arrested and slapped with federal drug charges for allegedly distributing large quantities of marijuana and cocaine. How large? He allegedly told an informant that that he needed 5-10 pounds of cocaine and 1,000 pounds of marijuana every week.
48. Marshawn Lynch revives his career: We thought Lynch deserved the league’s comeback player of the year award. The former first-round pick had toiled in quite anonymous fashion for much of his career before busting out in 2011. He went over 100 yards six times in an eight-game span, and at one point scored at least one touchdown in 10 straight affairs.
47. Patrick Peterson becomes the NFL’s new clutch returner: As a blue-chip prospect out of LSU, Peterson’s return skills were only considered to be an added bonus on his résumé. But as a rookie, Peterson was a game-changing return man. He tied an NFL single-season record with four punt return touchdowns, with three of those essentially being the difference between a win and a loss. The most impressive of those returns came in walk-off fashion against St. Louis:
46. James Harrison is finally suspended for an illegal hit: It finally happened. Harrison became the first player in NFL history to be suspended for a helmet-to-helmet hit after nearly decapitating Colt McCoy in Week 14. The NFL, which is trying to clamp down on illegal hits by threatening stiffer punishments, went from fine territory to banning Harrison for one game without pay. And was it ever fitting that Harrison was the first major victim of the league’s crusade…