Posted September 11, 2013

Sour Rankings: Safeties, Mike Wallace, NFL officials among worst of Week 1

Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Miami Dolphins, Pittsburgh Steelers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans, Washington Redskins
(Vincent Pugliese/Getty Images)

Titans kick returner Darius Reynaud mistakenly takes a safety early Sunday. (Vincent Pugliese/Getty Images)

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?

24 comments
DSM
DSM

The "backward pass" call vs. Philly seemed suspect. Glad to see that, after all the hoopla over replacement refs' errors, some attention is paid to the miscues by the regulars whose absence was claimed to be fatal to legitimate games.

northtowntv
northtowntv

Fauria was having fun and being overly sarcastic on his dance...so critical...lol

j_ruttle
j_ruttle

Why is Sour so much more fun than Power? Schadenfreude, my friends. But Fauria deserves to be in the Sweet Rankings. Those moves! Those awful, beautiful moves.

btcvsolo
btcvsolo

Is it just me or does that one pic of the official remind anyone else of "Walk like an Egyptian"?

Stodds13
Stodds13

Mike Wallace opened up the offense for other players...we all know he wanted to have big time stats, but now other players will have huge games until they respect the others. Then Wallace will get his as well. Doubling him let Hartline have a huge game and Gibson make plays as well.

Holden
Holden

Hmmmm...this jellyfish or that scorpion...?  Either sting, administered by Henne or Gabbert would be far from dangerous, methinks.

The Jaguars play the sacrificial lambs perfectly and appear perfectly content staying that way.  The NFL needs bottom feeders that can be counted on to lose to the teams looking to do something other than suck on the NFL's TV contract teat. 

A rudderless ship seldom points in the right direction.  Meanwhile...Tim Tebow can't find a quarterback position...unbelievable...

TL1961
TL1961

The error on the SF-GB game was long before enforcement.

Matthews got the initial 15 yard penalty. He then hit Staley twice. No penalty.

Staley pushed Matthews - 15 yard penalty equal to, and offsetting, Matthews penalty for the hit on Kaepernick.

Another Packer hits/shoves a Niner who was running towards the scrum - no penalty.

So when all said and done, ALL the pushing and shoving - and hitting by Packers - resulted only in ONE penalty, and it was on San Fran.

There is NO way a reasonable person watching what transpired AFTER the initial illegal hit could come to the conclusion that only San Fran should be penalized for that.

And when all said and done, somehow the Packers feel wronged!!!

By the way - Has anyone noticed Suh was fined $100,000 and Matthews wasn't fined a dime??!

The NFL has such a double standard. Not to defend Suh, whose play was dirty and consistent with his dirty past, but if Matthews played for the Lions and Suh for the Packers, who would be facing a $100K fine today?

Joe R2
Joe R2

Nobody is more mad at Alfred Morris than me and the other hundreds of thousands that own him on their fantasy teams.  Well, probably Shanahan too.  And maybe Snyder and Redskins fans.  But then it's us!  Screw you and your 8 points Alfred!

Mike26
Mike26

So the Clay Matthews head slaps to Staley weren't Sour Enough?  LOL!

RyanLeafFan
RyanLeafFan

I, myself, liked the Fauria dance. His smile at the end really sold it as "I know this is ridiculous."

NoQNoSuperBowl
NoQNoSuperBowl

Mark Sanchez still leads the all time sour rankings by far. 

Aerdna
Aerdna

@DSM agreed, that was a very suspect call.  Good thing the game didn't come down to that one score, Philly pretty much dominated until they took their foot off of the gas.

Joebuckster
Joebuckster

@Holden Tebow stinks; not sure what problem swapping a bad QB for a worse one solves for the Jaguars.

Joebuckster
Joebuckster

@TL1961 I bet that felt great to get that off your chest, Niners fan. Thanks for overstating the obvious. Unfortunatey for you, you'll never get that 20 minutes back...

JonEdwardBrenneman
JonEdwardBrenneman

@TL1961 - late hits out of bounds happen every week in NFL and never get fined so stop crying.  Ask anyone who plays sports and a low, cheap shot to your knees is the lowest of lows.  I'd rather get hit late any day then go through another ACL surgery. 

Fritz1218
Fritz1218

@TL1961  Let's see Suh has been penalized for stomping arms, nuts, etc. and Matthews gets his 1st major penalty and SF fans don't see the difference. To paint with a broad brush I'd have to say the fans have the same problem Coach Harbawl and that's ya can't stop whining !!!!

Lmoneyfresh1
Lmoneyfresh1

@RyanLeafFan Dude was just loving the opportunity. I can't be mad at that. I liken it to the carlton dance, not meant to be taken seriously. Dude scored on my vikings and I still enjoyed seeing it.

Holden
Holden

@Joebuckster @Holden Tebow may ''stink,'' as you say, but, unlike the two quarterbacks they have now, he wins.  You may or may not have seen photos of the stadium from Sunday's game...there were as many empty seats as there were with fannies in them.

In one fell swoop, the Jags could get a guy who wins and fills the seats.  Does that help?

TL1961
TL1961

@JonEdwardBrenneman @TL1961 If Matthews' hit on Kaepernick had occurred in the middle of the field, it would still have been a personal foul. He launched himself, and clotheslined him to the ground. 

Add to that the fact that it was premeditated.....very dirty. Had it been the other way around, Suh would still be the one being fined. Packers are league's little darlings.

DanielSmith2
DanielSmith2

@Fritz1218 @TL1961 It's really simple, Fritz, try to follow along...the 49ers fans are definitely "whining," and they're doing it in response to the Packer "whining" after the game, because at that point the FOX broadcast, ESPN coverage etc. painted the situation as the 49ers gaining advantage due to the miscue of the refs. This was a front page article on ESPN, right next to the game recap. Within that article, there were Packers fans in full flight on how the 49ers "got lucky" and this was basically a repeat of the horrible Seattle call, despite the fact that the 49ers won by 6 and the play would've likely only cost the 49ers 4 points, if enforced. 

Only problem was, plenty of footage showed both that: 1) Staley really didn't do much other than the push, then grabbing Matthews' shoulderpads to lock him up, and 2) Matthews is shown, twice, to throw open-handed punches to Staley's facemask, both of which forced Staley's head backwards. Matthews did not get anything additional called, Staley received a penalty to offset the late hit. 

The league has since stated that Staley acted correctly, so now not only did Matthews get away with throwing punches, the entire situation should never have occurred, and the 49ers should have had the ball 1st and goal on the 3 yard line. 

So...you let me know, where in that series of facts, you don't see something that might have you upset enough to throw out a comment or two on a sports website and get back to me. Otherwise, I'd suggest you realize that a TON of fans in ALL fanbases, including yours, "whine" and "complain" even when there's little to no cause, and in this situation, I think it's warranted especially given the extreme reaction of many Packers fan at the initial series of events. 

Fritz1218
Fritz1218

@DanielSmith2@Fritz1218@TL1961Well Daniel I had a lengthy explanation almost as long as yours but then when I read yours again and noticed again a couple of your comments like::: the extreme reaction of many Packers fan;Fritz, try to follow along: they're doing it in response to the Packer "whining" after the game; Otherwise, I'd suggest you realize; So...you let me know... and after reading that I IMHO decided you are more than likely a condescending jerk.  Ya only the niner fans can whine and are perfectly justified to do so.

 I take exception to your coach saying he was clotheslined and that it happened 5 to 7 yards out of bounds. Look at these pictures  (http://ftw.usatoday.com/2013/09/clay-matthews-dirty-hit-colin-kaepernick/)and see for yourself.    Even though he can coach football he's as classless as Bill Carrol.