This Weekend in NFL Stupid highlights the dumbest decisions in football throughout the season. And believe it or not, after a really stupid Week 1, there wasn’t as much stupidity in Week 2. That’s good news for the NFL, bad news for us.
Still, there were some foolishness this week. Here’s a summary, starting with two really ridiculous calls from the men in black and white.
**In Carolina, this was apparently a catch…
Think about some of the catches we’ve seen overturned over the years as a result of the NFL’s strict policy regarding receptions, and look at that. Ted Ginn is bobbling the hell out of that, and then he flat-out loses it while coming down!
**While in Cleveland, this was apparently worthy of a 15-yard penalty…
That “taunting” penalty cost the Browns a 20-yard gain that would have set them up on the Baltimore 10-yard line with 21 seconds to play. Instead, they were back on the 30 and forced to attempt what was basically a Hail Mary. It might have been the difference between a win and a loss, despite the fact it’s crystal clear that Terrelle Pryor was innocently trying to flip the ball to the official.
What an incredible overreaction in a crucial moment. The official failed to use reasonable judgment or decipher intent, and that might have cost Cleveland a win.
**In Buffalo, Rex Ryan did Rex Ryan things.
Like, for example, wasting an extremely important second-half timeout on a fourth-quarter “play” intended to draw the Jets offside using a hard count. (It didn’t work.) A few minutes later, Ryan’s comically underprepared team failed to get a snap off before the two-minute warning despite having 16 seconds to do so. Had the Bills executed properly in both situations, they would have gotten the ball back down by six with well over a minute to play. Instead, they had just 10 seconds.
**And why in the world would Todd Bowles not go for two with a 12-point lead and 4:02 to play?
What good does a 13-point lead do you in that moment? And yet after Matt Forte scored to put the Jets up 36-24 late in the fourth quarter, Bowles had Nick Folk kick the extra point. So when the Bills scored with 1:22 to play, they found themselves a recovered onside kick and a touchdown away from winning the game, rather than tying it.
**In Oakland, Jack Del Rio picked a weird time to become conservative again.
The Raiders head coach, who won thanks to a risky two-point gamble last week and gained extra street cred with a fourth-down gamble that resulted in a touchdown Sunday against the Falcons, climbed back into his shell at an inconvenient time.
With the Raiders trailing the Falcons by a touchdown with 2:12 to play, Del Rio opted against an onside kick despite the fact the Atlanta offense had been rolling over his defense all day. Sure enough, the Falcons were able to pick up a first down on the ensuing possession, taking 2:10 off the clock and leaving the Raiders with just two seconds for a Hail Mary-type final play.
The reality is that in those situations, the field position edge gained by kicking it away almost never outweighs the potential for an onside kick recovery. You’re better off at least trying the onside kick and leaning on your defense at midfield than kicking it away and leaning on them 30 yards deeper.
**And finally, in Washington, Kirk Cousins decided this was a good idea…
Better luck to all involved parties next week. Especially Ryan, because we wouldn’t want to see him to try find yet another scapegoat.