Sour Rankings: Spygate, Rob Ford and Vernon Davis’ painful experience
You’ve seen (and likely disagreed with) the Week 13 Power Rankings. Now the Sour Rankings take a spin through the worst of the past week in the NFL …
10. Trent Richardson, backup running back: Richardson’s post-trade struggles in Indianapolis came to a head Sunday, as he was yanked from the starting lineup in favor of Donald Brown.
Brown finished Sunday’s win over Tennessee with 54 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries. Richardson, who cost the Colts a 2014 first-round pick, gained 19 yards on five attempts.
9. The Texans’ playoff chances: As in, the 2-10 Texans still have a chance to make the playoffs.
It’s a remote chance, as you might expect, one that requires a boatload of occurrences to break in their favor. Still, that any team could endure a 10-game losing streak and still head into the second week of December alive in the postseason chase does not speak too highly of the AFC’s wild-card battle.
8. Mike Tomlin’s defense: The Steelers coach described his near run-in with Baltimore kick returner Jacoby Jones as “embarrassing, inexcusable, illegal.” It certainly was all of those things, as well as downright mystifying to watch occur live.
You’ve no doubt seen the play in question by now: As Jones broke free up the sideline on a return, he had to swerve to avoid Tomlin, who was standing on the edge of the field, apparently watching the play unfold on the stadium’s video board. Tomlin was not flagged for the incident, though he was fined $100K Wednesday, and the NFL didn’t rule out docking the Steelers a draft pick because of it.
Regardless of Tomlin’s reasoning, the play should have at least drawn a 15-yard penalty for sideline interference — the official trailing the return also had to dodge Pittsburgh’s coach.
7. Cary Williams vs. the Cardinals: Arizona head coach Bruce Arians said he sent more than a dozen plays to the league office for review after his team’s loss to Philadelphia. The Eagles’ Cary Williams responded with some choice words of his own:
“Let’s not be crybabies, man,” Williams said, according to Phillymag.com. “I thought the refs kept them in the game to some degree at times. But it’s football, man. It’s about going out there and executing. If they came in here with a different attitude, maybe not so nonchalant, thinking it was going to be a cakewalk …
“I’m not big on teams sending stuff in, and ‘This is what needs to be called.’ Play the game, dude. It’s football, man. Either you come in and win or you blame it on the refs.”
6. No pictures, please: From the “Probably Not Worth It” category … Two Reliant Stadium security guards were fired this week for snapping photos with Tom Brady following Sunday’s Texans-Patriots game.
One of the two ex-employees, Joel Williams, explained what happened to KHOU.com:
“I said, ‘Hey Tom Brady, good job, good game man.’ He looked at me and smiled. He was very polite, very nice guy, humble. Sometimes I see players and say hello, and they just keep walking.
“Immediately after I took the picture, I got ran down by a supervisor. They didn’t really give a reason, they said you know you’re wrong and you’re fired.”
5. Knowshon Moreno’s giant tears: Football players are larger-than-life personalities in a lot of ways, so perhaps it makes sense that Denver running back Knowshon Moreno cries bigger tears than anyone in the history of the world.
Moreno got choked up during Sunday’s national anthem in Kansas City, unleashing an absolute river as the final notes played. If the Broncos advance to the Super Bowl, someone might want to get Moreno a handkerchief before the showstopping “Star-Spangled Banner” begins.
4. The Vernon Davis rule?: San Francisco’s tight end was the victim of a NSFW tackle by St. Louis’ T.J. McDonald on Sunday. He then put in a tongue-in-cheek request for a rule change via Twitter (Davis later deleted the tweet): “It should be a league rule saying that a defender can not tackle a player by his penis. #NFL the most painful thing ever!”
3. The end to that Giants-Redskins game: Washington probably did not deserve to win Sunday night, amid a cavalcade of dropped passes and miscues. It still would have been nice to see New York’s victory occur without a sizable officiating error playing a role.
Washington thought it had picked up a first down near midfield in the final two minutes, only to learn after a third-down incompletion that was not the case. Pierre Garcon then fumbled on fourth down, ending the game.
Referee Jeff Triplette, who said he did not stop play to correct the error because the Redskins were out of timeouts, passed the buck: “The stakes were moved incorrectly. After that play, we said it was still third down. We had signaled third down prior to the play starting. The chains just got moved incorrectly.”
The NFL issued a statement, which returned the blame: “Play should have been stopped prior to third down and the correct down communicated to both clubs.”
2. Rob Ford: The Toronto mayor has plans to attend the upcoming Winter Classic between the Maple Leafs and Red Wings in Ann Arbor, Mich. But first, he invaded the Rogers Centre for Sunday’s Falcons-Bills game. The results were predictable:
— Jeff D Lowe (@JeffDLowe) December 1, 2013
Musician Matt Mays claimed that Ford also stole his seat at the game. “I’m by myself,” Mays tweeted. “I gotta kick him out right? I mean I would kick anyone else out… Am I wrong?”
1. Spygate II: More fallout from the Texans-Patriots game …
Houston’s Antonio Smith, a member of a team mired in a 10-game losing streak, hinted that he believed New England was again up to its nefarious ways.
“It’s miraculous they changed some things on offense that keyed on what we put on this week to stop what they were doing,” Smith said. “They did things they never did all year before. It was a specific thing that was important to what we were going to do today, as to how we were going to call the defense. We [had never done] it before, and they never changed like that before. It just let me know that something wasn’t right.”
Smith later said he was joking — the real-life equivalent of explaining a rogue tweet by arguing your account had been hacked.