This weekend in the NFL, failure trumped success. Yes, four teams won and four teams lost, but this was a weekend about finding ways to lose instead of the opposite. Here’s a look at the goats from the wildest wild-card weekend we’ve had in years.
1. Blair Walsh, Minnesota Vikings: It’s simple, Walsh is one of the biggest goats in NFL history. Dating back 22 years, kickers were 19-for-20 on 27-yard field goals in the playoffs, and they were 27-for-28 from that distance this season. In both cases, the misses were blocked. Walsh’s kick was the first missed field goal this century inside 30 yards in a one-score game in the fourth-quarter of a playoff game. It was a shank with the game on the line. He missed a two-foot putt to win a major.
2. Vontaze Burfict, Cincinnati Bengals: If not for his incredibly dirty, late head-shot on Antonio Brown, the Bengals likely win their first playoff game in 25 years.
3. Adam Jones, Bengals: If not for his asinine and childish response to said Burfict penalty, the Bengals have at least a 50/50 shot at winning their first playoff game in 25 years. Instead, the Burfict penalty combined with the Jones unsportsmanlike penalty gave Steelers kicker Chris Boswell a chip shot for the victory.
4. Jeremy Hill, Bengals: Burfict and Jones made it easy to forget about the fact Hill fumbled deep inside Pittsburgh territory in order to give Pittsburgh the possession that led to those screw-ups and the game-winning field goal. If the second-year running back holds onto the ball there, none of that happens.
5. Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings: Walsh made it easy to forget about the fact Peterson fumbled deep inside his own territory in the fourth quarter, giving Seattle a freebie field goal in a game that was decided by a single point.
6. Brian Hoyer, Houston Texans: The fact that Hoyer didn’t blow the game with one particularly bad play shouldn’t get him off the hook. He turned the ball over five times and is clearly the primary reason his team lost.