Wright or Wrong – The Seahawks were favored by 10 points over the hapless Lions on Monday night but as is the case with the NFL, as soon something looks like a sure bet, go in the other direction. In a less than thrilling game the Lions didn’t put themselves in too big of a hole before finding themselves with a chance to win thanks to some key Seahawks’ turnovers. As Calvin Johnson turned up field to extend for a touchdown, the man that wanted a new contract and sat out the first two games earned his money with an impressive play on the football as Kam Chancellor forced Megatron to make a mega-mistake. As the ball bounced helplessly through the end zone, KJ Wright swatted it out of bounds and the Seahawks celebrated wildly. The Lions found yet another way to lose a heartbreaking game and we all got ready to go to bed.
In the never ending soap opera of the NFL however, the story was just beginning. The late night talking heads were adamant the Lions were robbed, the referees were inept and the Seahawks were gifted another high-profile win. There was extreme anger and very real fervor over this non-call that in reality only a fraction of the viewing public and commentators initially realized was possibly made in error. This wasn’t a Fail Mary. This was something much worse – a failed controversy.
Sure, by the letter of the minutia of the rule, the ball should have reverted back to the spot of the fumble because it was batted out of bounds by the defender. The NFL explained away the debacle with the loosely interpreted ‘judgment call’ defense. The way I see it, the offensive player made the mistake and the defensive player made the better play so why should that play result in the offense getting a do-over? Doesn’t the offense get enough breaks these days? Let the defense have this one.
Phin-ished – The curse of London continues as the Dolphins followed the Raiders precedent last year and fired their coach after the road trip across the pond. The Philbin years in Miami will be remembered most for Bully-gate as well as the criminally under-usage of Lamar Miller. Once Dolphins owner Stephen Ross brought in new boss Mike Tannenbaum, the stakes were going to immediately get higher.
True to form, Tannenbaum splurged at the opening bell of free agency and secured the top offseason prize in defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. From there, Tannenbaum doubled-down and handed Ryan Tannehill a big extension then drafted a shiny new receiver with a top-10 pick in DeVante Parker. As the 2015 season began, it was head coach Joe Philbin’s time to shine as according to the work Tannenbaum had done, all of the pieces were seemingly in place. Fan expectations were at an all-time high. Then the season started. A ho-hum effort got the team past the Redskins in Week 1 before the walls caved in with a loss to the Jaguars at home. From there, in-fighting and stories breaking of Suh not getting along with the coaches raised the alarms. After defeats to Tannenbaum’s ex-coach Rex Ryan and ex-team the Jets, the time had come.
As with any firing of a coach or trading away of a star player, the dirty laundry is being aired. From Suh wearing sneakers to a full padded practice to the story of Philbin telling the scouting team to go easy on Tannehill while Tannehill talked trash to them. These stories are just a small sample of what was wrong in Miami. Now interim coach Dan Campbell gets a bye week to figure it out and turn the team around. Good luck.
Bennett Brothers – The NFL is filled with a bunch of crazy characters. From the lovable goofballs like Rob Gronkowski, to the flamboyant superstars like Odell Beckham and the fierce defenders like J.J. Watt. In the world of football, these are the heroes and villains that we root for and cheer against. In this vast universe of NFL players, we’re bound to run into a few odd dudes here and there.
The Bennett brothers not only fit the bill, they appear to revel in it. After Sunday’s win, Bears tight end Martellus Bennett was asked if he believes Jay Cutler is criticized too often. Bennett told the Chicago Sun-Times “They threw rocks at Jesus, and Jesus was an excellent guy who did a lot of awesome stuff.” Ok. Martellus’ brother, Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett upped the ante on his brother’s off the cuff comment and after the Monday Night win, he elected to reveal the reason why he is not a fan of Matthew Stafford. “He’s from Dallas. They killed President John F. Kennedy. I hold that against him.” Ok. We have our goofballs, our superstars and are fierce defenders, so I’m not exactly sure how to classify the Bennett Brothers.
Isn’t That A Kick in the Head – No, this isn’t an intro to another Ndamukong Suh topic, although he did have yet another “accidentally on purpose” kick to a quarterback’s head this week. This intro belongs to the kickers. When the Patriots gave kicker Stephen Gostkowski $17 million to kick a football, it was met with a raised eyebrow. Sure, the league moved the distance back on the extra point but kickers are barely athletes, let alone NFL players, right? After the first month of the 2015 season, one thing has become painstakingly clear – if you have a good kicker, pay the man his money and keep him.
Although the data suggests kickers are simply missing kicks at the same rate they have in the past, the importance of those missed kicks seem to be at an all-time high and teams have been quick to pull the rip cord and find another kicker they can trust for a week. The Steelers lost their starting kicker Shaun Suisham to a torn ACL, then lost his replacement, Garrett Hartley to a hamstring injury, then actually traded a draft choice for Josh Scobee before releasing him the day after he shanked two field goal attempts. Onto their fourth kicker in five weeks, the Steelers would love to have a $17 million kicker to depend on. So would nearly half of the teams in the league.
DeMarco DeMands DeBall – Last week, Jimmy Graham wasn’t shy in voicing his displeasure with his role on his new team. This week, we have another disgruntled former star wanting more of the action. DeMarco Murray is beyond tired of running behind the Eagles’ makeshift offensive line and is definitely realizing the grass isn’t always greener (unless that green is money then it is greener). Even though he sat out last week’s game with a sore hamstring, Murray felt that he should have been used more in this week’s game.
After Sunday’s loss, Murray bemoaned “Do I think I’m touching the ball enough? No, I’m not. I don’t think I am. It’s how the plays are being called.” Clearly this is not what Murray had in mind when he left the Cowboys for their division rival. To make matters worse, the Eagles are 0-3 with Murray playing and won the only game he was inactive. Murray only has 29 total carries in the first month of this season. He had 29 or more carries in 4 games last season. It’s easy to see why he’s frustrated but unfortunately it’s not easy to see what the Eagles can do to make it better.