The end for Donovan in D.C.

What a brutal week for NFL quarterbacks.

Brett Favre looks more and more as if he's thrown his last professional pass, Aaron Rodgers will miss Sunday's game with a concussion, Kyle Orton is out with bruised ribs, and Donovan McNabb now has been rejected by a second head coach in less than a year.

Washington's Mike Shanahan, once considered the most astute handler of quarterbacks out there, has decided trading for McNabb was a colossal mistake and relegated him to backup duty the rest of the season. Worse, he's going to play the nearly immobile Rex Grossman.

"Criticize Shanahan for his handling of McNabb and for thinking Grossman is anything but a backup, and acknowledge that McNabb is hamstrung by poor offensive support," wrote Peter King of SI.com, "but understand that McNabb bears a prominent role in this too. He's 25th in the league in passer rating, 26th in touchdown-to-interception ratio, 27th in accuracy."

But with all of that said, King believes Shanahan will face a locker room rebellion over this move.

"If you have a prospect you think can be a candidate to start, fine - play him," King said. "But Grossman shouldn't be anyone's starter. Shanahan's going to have some fence-mending to do."

Tebow ready to go

Denver will give rookie QB Tim Tebow his first NFL start Sunday at Oakland, ESPN.com reported. Tebow has thrown just one pass since former coach Josh McDaniels selected him in the first round of the draft in April.

McDaniels was fired on Dec. 6.

Meanwhile, Favre's right hand is still too banged up for him to play on Monday night. And Green Bay's Rodgers was ruled out for Sunday night's game at New England with a concussion.

Super performance    

It's a tad premature to put the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl just yet, but they have been playing like a champion the last five weeks. In that stretch the Patriots have beaten the Steelers, the Colts, the Lions, the Jets, and the Bears - the last two by a combined 71 points. But that's not the impressive part - in that five-game stretch the Pats have not made a single turnover. They host the beat-up Packers on Sunday.

Not so super performance

Since losing to the New York Giants, 41-35, on Monday night Oct. 25, the Dallas defense has allowed an NFL-worst 306 passing yards per game. In eight games the Cowboys have surrendered 100-yard games to five different receivers and 200 yards to both DeSean Jackson and Indianapolis' Reggie Wayne.

Bettors, take note

The Vikings will take it outdoors against the Bears on Monday night, playing on the University of Minnesota's frozen field. The Vikes will start rookie QB Joe Webb, a sixth-round draft pick from Alabama-Birmingham who has never played in a game colder than 40 degrees.

Polamalu may sit - for a while

Pittsburgh safety Troy Polamalu is doubtful for Sunday's game against the New York Jets because of a strained right Achilles tendon and could sit out the rest of the regular season, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported.

Contact staff writer Don McKee at dmckee@phillynews.com.
This article contains information from the Associated Press.