It would seem that a 2-13 season would have been enough to spell doom for the chances of Chiefs players to be elected to the 2012 AFC Pro Bowl team. Other than RB Jamaal Charles, it seemed unlikely there would be more red and gold in Hawaii on Sunday, January 27.
Yes Jamaal Charles made the squad, but so did OLB Tamba Hali, ILB Derrick Johnson, SS Eric Berry and the biggest surprise, punter Dustin Colquitt.
Despite holding the worst record in the NFL, the Chiefs placed 5 players among the 42 names on the AFC list. Here’s the most remarkable stat: of those 42 players, 30 are going to play after this Sunday in the AFC playoffs. There are the five Chiefs and then seven others.
Five AFC teams did not post a man on the AFC team: Jacksonville, San Diego, Oakland, Tennessee and Buffalo.
For all but Colquitt, this is their second Pro Bowl selection: Charles and Berry went in 2010, while Hali and Johnson were selected in 2011.
Colquitt always had to deal with playing not only in the same conference, but the same division as Oakland’s Shane Lechler. There was no way the eight-year veteran was going to be able to put up all the numbers that Lechler normally did because a lot of his kicking was directional and for field position. But that work obviously won the respect of the coaches and players in the AFC to give him the nod with his 46.85-yard gross average and his 40.27-yard net average.
Berry’s election constitutes a surprise. It’s only been in the last six weeks that he’s played up to the level he showed in his rookie season. But obviously the AFC felt so confident in electing him that he’s the starter at the position. This season he has 80 tackles, one interception and 10 passes defensed.
Hali is also a starter on the AFC defense opposite Denver’s Von Miller. He has 9 sacks this season along with 49 total tackles. Johnson leads the Chiefs in tackles with 119 so far. He also has two sacks and three forced fumbles.
Charles joins Baltimore’s Ray Rice and Houston’s Arian Foster in the backfield (Foster is the starter. It’s the most deserved of the five honored players given his remarkable comeback from a torn ACL last season. Charles hasn’t missed a game, and he’s ad 1,456 rushing yards on 271 carries, along with 34 catches for 222 yards. He has a total of six touchdowns.
Here is the rest of the AFC Pro Bowl team by their affiliation. Names in red have been designated starters:
Houston (8) β WR Andre Johnson, OT Duane Brown, G Wade Smith, C Chris Myers, QB Matt Schaub, RB Arian Foster, DE J.J. Watt, CB Johnathan Joseph.
New England (7) β WR Wes Welker, G Logan Mankins, TE Rob Gronkowski, QB Tom Brady, DT Vince Wilfork, LB Jerod Mayo, ST Matt Slater.
Baltimore (6) β G Marshal Yanda, RB Ray Rice, FB Vonta Leach, DT Haloti Ngata, FS Ed Reed, Returner Jacoby Jones.
Denver (5) β OT Ryan Clady, QB Peyton Manning, DE Elvis Dumervil, OLB Von Miller, CB Champ Bailey.
Chiefs (5) β RB Jamaal Charles, OLB Tamba Hali, ILB Derrick Johnson, SS Eric Berry, P Dustin Colquitt.
Cleveland (2) β OT Joe Thomas, K Phil Dawson.
Cincinnati (2) β WR A.J. Green, DT Geno Atkins.
Pittsburgh (2) β C Maurkice Pouncey, TE Heath Miller.
Indianapolis (2) β WR Reggie Wayne, OLB Robert Mathis.
N.Y. Jets (2) β CB Antonio Cromartie, S LaRon Landry.
Miami (1) β DE Cameron Wake.
There were five AFC teams without a player selected in this first round of selections: Buffalo, Jacksonville, Oakland, San Diego and Tennessee.