Opening Sunday is always full of mishaps and gaffes, and this season’s edition was no different. Let’s get right to it.
Titans safety themselves
We saw more than one safety today, but this one stands above the rest for one simple reason. It happened three seconds into the Titans’ road game against the Steelers. Let me lay the situation down.
On the opening kickoff, the ball, kicked by the Steelers, landed short, and the Titans’ return man reached out, grabbed the ball and took a knee. The problem was he went into the field of play to get the ball, and by leaving the endzone, he took away his own option of taking the touchback.
Fortunately for the Titans, the play didn’t cost them much in the long run. The Titans’ defense was great against the Steelers, and Pittsburgh wasn’t able to score again until very late in the game. It may not have been equivalent to Dan Orlovsky’s famous run out the back of the endzone, but it was pretty close.
Late hit costs Bucs a win against Jets
Most, myself included, expected this to be a good game for all the wrong reasons, and by and large, we were wrong – until the Buccaneers handed the Jets the win on a golden platter that is.
With just seconds to go, Geno Smith scrambled to the sideline. The Jets trailed by two points, but as Smith stepped out of bounds, New York needed about ten yards to get into field goal range, but they only had seven seconds to work with.
Then, just as Smith crossed the threshold of the field of play, he was shoved to the ground by a rogue Buccaneers defender. The move cost Tampa Bay 15 yards, and more importantly, it put the Jets into field goal range. They made good on a mid-ranged field goal, leaving only two seconds for the Bucs to work with. That was all she wrote.
Officials apply rule incorrectly in Packers, 49ers matchup
In a first half play, 49ers Colin Kaepernick scrambled out of bounds, just shy of the first down marker, but as he exited the field of play, Packers defender Clay Matthews took him hard to the ground, drawing a late hit penalty.
Had that been the only happening of the play, it wouldn’t have been uncommon, but that wasn’t it. A 49ers player, coming to the aid of his quarterback, retaliated, also drawing a penalty. The officials correctly identified the penalties as offsetting, but because they were after the play, it should have remained fourth and two. Instead, they replayed third down, and the 49ers scored a touchdown on the following play.
The officials’ miscue changed the entire game. The 49ers would win by six points, and had the Packers saved those additional 4 points, they may have been able to get into field goal range for a winning kick late in the game.