As I sat down to watch wild-card weekend Saturday afternoon, I wondered if I'd be able to uncover enough stupidity from only four games to create an entire TWIS column on Monday. Turns out I was really underestimating just how stupid some of these players, coaches and officials are.
The stupidest use of a timeout, Saturday edition
The New Orleans Saints have a 3rd-and-1 at the Philadelphia 27-yard line with 2:32 to play in the fourth quarter of a tie game. Chip Kelly's Philadelphia Eagles have two timeouts. They need to buy as much time as possible now that the Saints are in field-goal range, so Kelly kills the clock by using a timeout after the second-down play.
That made no sense considering the down and distance. Kelly would have been smarter letting the clock tick to the two-minute warning, wasting 32 seconds instead of the usual 40. Why? Because you know they're probably going to convert on third down. They'd been doing it all day and the odds of converting with Drew Brees on a sneak were very good. If they don't convert at the two-minute warning, you've lost 32 seconds but saved a timeout. If they do, you're still alive and can call back-to-back timeouts on first- and second down. Assuming the Saints don't get another first down, you'll get the ball back with about one minute to play. By calling timeout at 2:32 and allowing Brees to convert, the Saints had a fresh set of downs with 2:30 to play and Philly was down to one timeout.
At that point, it was impossible for the Eagles to get the ball back with more than about 30 seconds to play, barring a turnover.
The Saints picked up another first down anyway, but had Philly been able to stop the Saints on the next set of downs, that decision would have cost the Eagles half a minute with less than two minutes to play. Killer. And stupid.
The stupidest use of a timeout, Sunday edition
First play of the second half, right after the kickoff, and San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick realizes he doesn't have his play card on his wrist and burns a timeout.
That cannot happen in a three-point game. You either a) improvise and run a basic run play for a short gain, or b) take a five-yard delay-of-game penalty. Those five yards can't do close to as much damage as the lost timeout. Coaches and players continue to underestimate how crucial second-half timeouts are. Using one early can easily be the difference between a win and a loss. The Niners are very lucky that didn't come back to haunt them.
The stupidest sack
Nick Foles has no excuse not to throw this ball away, six full seconds after the snap…
There was nothing to be had…
And the yardage lost might have cost Philly three points.
The stupidest third-down play
The Kansas City Chiefs face a 3rd-and-17 late against the Indianapolis Colts, and three seconds after the snap, four of Alex Smith's five eligible receivers are still within five yards of the line of scrimmage.
Dexter McCluster gains six yards on a checkdown and Kansas City is left with a nearly-impossible 4th-and-11. Unbelievably stupid call. Too conservative, as per usual.
The stupidest missed call
In the fourth quarter against San Francisco, Aaron Rodgers made an incredible play escaping pressure on fourth down to complete a big pass to Randall Cobb, leading to a touchdown two plays later. But the play should have never counted, because the officials missed the most obvious hold in football history…
The stupidest way to treat your teammate who just suffered a concussion
Yeah, don't do that, Kelvin Sheppard. Five out of five doctors agree it's not helpful…
The stupidest non-call
Yeah, that's pass interference, guy…
The stupidest fourth-down decision(s)
Twice in the first half against the San Diego Chargers, Marvin Lewis and the Cincinnati Bengals punted on 4th-and-short inside San Diego territory. The second play was a 4th-and-1. The odds of converting a 4th-and-1 in this league are about 64 percent, which is always going to be higher than the odds of the opposing team scoring from that spot compared to the odds of them scoring from wherever you punt it. The Bengals will never know how many points they could have had on those drives, but it could have changed the outlook of the game.