A lot of bad officiating this week, so we'll spend a lot of time ripping the officials and the rules they're obligated to attempt to enforce. Here goes it.
The stupidest fourth-down decision
This was only slightly stupid, because it wouldn't have looked too bad had the kick been good, but I still don't agree with Mike Smith's decision to attempt a 52-yard field goal rather than gamble on fourth-and-15 down four points with fewer than three minutes to play against New Orleans. The odds of converting are longer than the odds of making the kick, but you also have to factor in that there's a very decent chance you won't get the ball back after making it a one-point game. There's also a chance they would have gotten it back even after gambling, so that wouldn't have been a complete back-breaker, per se.
By the way, the Saints killed pretty much the entire clock after that anyway.
Gotta be more aggressive.
The stupidest defensive call
Another example of a coach being too conservative took place when Miami's defense decided to basically drop back into Hail Mary mode with eight seconds remaining in the first half against Carolina. The Panthers were only on their own 43-yard line and were out of timeouts, but the Dolphins gave Brandon LaFell so much space on an underneath throw that he was able to go 29 yards untouched to get the Panthers into field-goal position with one second remaining.
Nobody's even close to LaFell when he makes the catch at the 45…
And five seconds later he is met by a pack of waiting Miami defenders 25 yards down the field…
They'd make the kick.
The stupidest complete/incomplete call
It certainly looked as though Dez Bryant caught this pass on the Cowboys' final drive, but the fact that it wasn't at least reviewed is baffling…
The stupidest final score
Vikings 26, Packers 26. C'mon, NFL. How do ties still exist in 2013? They happen so rarely that it couldn't possibly hurt to simply allow those games to keep rolling.
The stupidest suspension
Don't want to absolve Walter Thurmond, because he has to know better, but how can the NFL rationalize suspending players a quarter of a season for smoking weed? Marijuana use shouldn't be on the same level of performance-enhancing drug use.
The stupidest roughing the passer call(s)
A weekly staple returns, this time with a three-way tie.
First, in St. Louis, where referee Jerome Boger claimed Michael Brockers was being penalized for putting his "helmet into the chest of the quarterback." What? In other words, Brockers was flagged for hitting Josh McCown too hard.
"Although it's a vicious hit," said Mike Pereira on the broadcast, "I really don't think it's a foul."
Second, in Detroit, Mark Barron was flagged for a "blow to the head" when he barely even made contact with Matthew Stafford. No good replays, but it was clear he was tripped up and made incidental contact with Stafford.
And finally, in Baltimore, Jeff Triplette decided that this "low hit" on Joe Flacco from Muhammad Wilkerson was worth a roughing call. The call was stupid because Wilkerson was clearly tripped into Flacco, and the rule is stupid to begin with. If a defensive player is on the ground around a quarterback's feet, what exactly is he supposed to do?
The stupidest non-call
It goes both ways. I mean, how does Akiem Hicks get away with this on Matt Ryan?
The NFL has a major problem on its hands regarding the lack of clarity on these types of calls. Maybe they have to become reviewable?
The stupidest interception
Up four in the second half of a big divisional game, the usually smart Alex Smith decided to throw into this…
The stupidest defensive moment
When we do "This year in stupid" after the season, there's no doubt that Jeff Heath and Bruce Carter deciding not to bother touching Brandon Myers will make the cut.
And if that was going to happen to anyone, it was going to happen to the Cowboys.