The Most Boneheaded Plays, Calls and Quotes of NFL Week 3
Bad decisions were made all over the NFL in Week 3.
Coaches and players each demonstrated costly lapses in judgment this weekend, sometimes costing their team a chance at victory. But the biggest bonehead mistakes were courtesy of the NFL's current group of replacement officials.
It was bad.
The officials have been inconsistent all season. Sometimes even laying a finger on a wide receiver is enough to draw a flag for pass interference. On the other hand, a scuffle in which fists are thrown doesn't draw a single flag, much less an ejection.
But the replacement refs took their act to a whole new level in Week 3. Let's take a look at the four most boneheaded plays and calls from this weekend.
4. Refs Call Illegal Block on Kicking Team
Jim Harbaugh hasn't been happy with the replacement refs, and that continued on Sunday.
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On the opening kickoff in Sunday's game between the 49ers and Vikings, replacement ref Ken Roan called an illegal block on the 49ers. This wouldn't be so bad—if the 49ers weren't the kicking team.
Roan marched off the penalty yardage, before huddling together with his crew. The call was ultimately reversed, and Roan explained, "By rule, there is no flag on the play."
Just as ESPN.com NFC North blogger Kevin Seifert suggests, there's really no analysis needed here. After the officials called an illegal block on a team that would have no reason to block, the story writes itself. It's just another example of the horrible excuse for officiating that's been on display for three weeks.
Oh, and just for good measure, Roan's replacement group granted the 49ers a fourth timeout to challenge a Toby Gerhart fumble. Overall, it just wasn't a good day at the office for these officials.
3. "The Previous Play Is Under Review"
Another week, another bunch of head-scratching gaffes in officiating.
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Twice on Sunday, an officiating crew took its sweet time to determine a potential game-changing turnover. The play occurred, officials huddled, before ultimately telling fans, "the previous play is under review."
In the Bears-Rams game at Soldier Field, one of the goofiest plays of the NFL season occurred after Cortland Finnegan intercepted Jay Cutler at the end of the first quarter. Finnegan returned the pick 32 yards before the ball came loose. Devin Hester recovered the (so-called) fumble before catching a case of fumble-itis himself.
Finnegan was clearly down, but to the refs, it apparently wasn't so obvious. And to make matters worse—a similar event unfolded during the Chiefs-Saints game.
With 10:40 remaining in overtime, Chiefs running back Shaun Draughn took a short pass from Matt Cassel and lunged toward the first-down marker. As Draughn stretched the ball forward, the ball popped loose as it came in contact with the ground.
Despite the fact that Draughn's elbow was clearly down before the ball came loose, the officials never blew the whistle, and the Saints returned the fumble 57 yards for a touchdown. The officials offered no explanation as to what the call on the field was, other than to say "the previous play is under review."
2. Kevin Ogletree Slips on Ref's Hat
The replacement refs have made some awful calls, but costing the Cowboys a touchdown was criminal.
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The NFL's replacement refs have made more than their fair share of poor calls through three weeks. But this Sunday, they decided to take things a step further.
Just before halftime, Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo scrambled and threw a ball in the direction of Ogletree in the corner of the end zone.
After a Cowboys receiver stepped out of bounds, the official in the end zone tossed his hat to the turf. This is standard procedure when a receiver steps out of grounds—but the official's hat ended up right in the middle of the play.
And as a result, the hat may have cost the Cowboys points.
It wasn't as if Ogletree was wide open, but he got enough separation to where it was a possibility that Romo's pass would have found him in the endzone. Just as Ogletree cut towards the ball, his plant leg slipped on the hat, and the Cowboys receiver fell to the turf.
The only way this play could have been any uglier is if Ogletree would have been injured on the play. Fans can barely handle these atrocious calls from replacement refs. But now they're costing teams points and putting players in danger?
1. Lions Go for It on Fourth Down in OT
Jim Schwartz wasn't looking so cool after Sunday's loss to the Titans.
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The game was on the line—the Detroit Lions trailed the Tennessee Titans 44-41 in overtime.
Shaun Hill drove the Lions down the field, and the team faced a fourth-and-one inside the Titans' ten yard-line. Surely, the Lions would opt to kick the field goal and tie the game, right?
Instead of tying the game, the Lions wanted more... and it bit them in the backside. After the game, Lions head coach Jim Schwartz tried to explain the move, by calling it a "miscommunication."
Schwartz said his intention was to try to draw the Titans offside, but center Dominic Raiola didn't hear the call and snapped the ball. Whether that's the truth or Schwartz was simply trying to cover up for a personal coaching gaffe, the decision turned out to be downright ugly.
Schwartz cited the "crowd (being) loud" for why he decided against kicking the field goal. His reasoning just seems... odd.
Marques Eversoll is a Packers writer at Jersey Al's AllGBP.com, and an NFL Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report. Follow Marques on Twitter @MJEversoll.