Sour Rankings: Safeties, Mike Wallace, NFL officials among worst of Week 1
You’ve seen (and likely disagreed with) the Week 1 Power Rankings. Now the Sour Rankings take a spin through the worst of the past week in the NFL …
10. Safeties: It was a record-setting Week 1 in the most unusual way possible. The safety Washington took against Philadelphia on Monday night was the fourth such scoring play over the NFL’s opening weekend — Tennessee, Tampa Bay and Kansas City all coughed up two-pointers early in their games, too.
The honor for the worst, most embarrassing safety goes to the Titans’ Darius Reynaud, who fielded the opening kickoff on his 1, stepped back into the end zone and took a knee. I’m not sure we ever heard this officially, but the points Pittsburgh received as a result might have been the fastest ever scored in NFL history, at three seconds into the first quarter.
9. Joseph Fauria’s touchdown dance: Props to Fauria, an undrafted rookie, for finding the end zone in his first NFL game. But that dance … It was like something straight out of the Jimmy Fallon-Justin Timberlake “History of Touchdown Celebrations” performance.
8. An anti-climactic start: As it usually does, the NFL went all out for this year’s Kickoff Game between Baltimore and Denver. A Keith Urban concert! Fireworks! Ryan Seacrest, for whatever reason!
And to top it all off, the league unveiled a 32-second countdown to kickoff, with a different player from each franchise featured at every interval. Even though the face at the 1-second mark was Baltimore’s Ray Lewis, the Denver crowd went nuts when the clock struck zero. And then … nothing happened. The payoff for the dramatic moment was a cut to Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth in the NBC booth, where they announced that the game would be delayed for an extended period of time by the threat of lightning.
It certainly did not feel like a positive omen in a season that will tempt Mother Nature with a New York/New Jersey Super Bowl in February.
7. Pittsburgh injuries: Up until Jerricho Cotchery scored a touchdown with 1:23 left, the Steelers had more season-ending injuries (3) than points (2) in their game with Tennessee. Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey, veteran linebacker Larry Foote and running back LaRod Stephens-Howling all played their first and last games of 2013 on Sunday, adding injury to insult for Pittsburgh.
6. Von Miller: This news broke Tuesday, but since it happened last week Miller still makes the Sour Rankings cut. Congrats, Von!
Already serving a six-game suspension for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy, Miller was cited last week for speeding and driving without a license. That run-in with the law came less than a month after Miller was arrested on an outstanding warrant for skipping a court date.
Miller’s about one incident away from Roger Goodell locking him in a basement and attempting to reprogram him A Clockwork Orange-style.
5. Alfred Morris and David Wilson: Through one week of the regular season, the Redskins’ Morris and Giants’ Wilson have combined to fumble on 16 percent of their rush attempts. (That number would — probably should — be higher, except Morris’ dropped pitch that resulted in a safety was charged to Robert Griffin III.) Morris turned the ball over on his first carry against Philadelphia; Wilson put it on the deck twice before being banished to Tom Coughlin’s doghouse, where he spent most of the 2012 season.
4. Mike Wallace: As the old saying goes, money cannot buy you the exact role you want in an NFL gameplan from week to week.
The Dolphins started their 2013 season with a 23-10 road win over Cleveland — a quality victory for a team hoping to push into playoff position this season. Wallace, the team’s $60-million man at receiver, still wasn’t pleased. Instead, he reportedly blew off reporters who questioned him on his one-catch showing.
“I’m mad at myself just because I didn’t have a good game,” Wallace said Monday. “That’s all.”
3. Lavonte David and Rey Maualuga: My argument Sunday was that David’s penalty — a late hit on Jets QB Geno Smith — was the worst of Week 1 since it helped turn victory into defeat for the Bucs.
Upon further review, Maualuga might deserve the honor instead. After stopping the Bears on third down, with his team down three late, Maualuga grabbed Chicago’s Jordan Mills and bodyslammed him to the ground. About 15 yards away from the play. Right in front of an official.
Even Ndamukong Suh would have told Maualuga to ease off the throttle a bit on that one. OK, maybe not Suh, but everyone else.
2. Jaguars QBs: Making someone pick between Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne right now is akin to asking, “Would you rather get stung by this jellyfish or this scorpion?”
Here’s what Henne has to do in his Week 2 start to best Gabbert’s Week 1 effort: Score any offensive points at all.
1. NFL officiating: The league admitted to a pair of blown calls in the 49ers-Packers game, with each team benefiting from one. The NFL then had to issue another “Whoops, our bad” statement on Tuesday, after a dubious unnecessary roughness call cost the Chargers four points — in a game they lost by three.
It’s one thing to botch penalty calls, as the officials apparently did in the San Diego-Houston game. It is another problem entirely when they do not enforce their own calls correctly, which was the problem in that offsetting penalty debacle during the 49ers’ win.
Bring back the replacement refs?