During every weekend of hot NFL action, there’s always a fair share of boneheaded actions from players, coaches and fans. Of course, Week 5 in the NFL was no exception.
On the most recent NFL Sunday, fans in one city cheered for an injury to their team’s starting quarterback; a quarterback in another city didn't slide on a particular play—and paid the price for it; and in yet another city, a rookie lost his cool with the referees and had to finish the game watching from the locker room as a result.
This is just a small sampling of the most boneheaded plays, calls and quotes from Week 5 in the NFL.
Minnesota Vikings rookie safety Harrison Smith tried to pull off his best impersonation of Bill Belichick when he laid his hands on an official during the Vikings’ big win over the Tennessee Titans.
Smith shoved the official out of the way as the referee was trying to separate him from the action during an Antoine Winfield interception. Even if it was in the heat of the moment, it’s simply unacceptable for Smith to make that kind of physical contact with the zebras.
Smith was rightfully ejected for his actions and at the very least should be expecting a fine (and perhaps a suspension) from the league office for his actions. Belichick was fined $50,000 by the NFL when he grabbed a referee after the Patriots’ 31-30 loss to Baltimore in Week 3.
Smith’s behavior was one of the very few blemishes on Minnesota’s convincing triumph on Sunday.
Giants' running back Ahmad Bradshaw certainly had a day to remember against the Cleveland Browns in Week 5, but he didn’t get off to the best of starts, thanks to teammate Chris Snee.
Bradshaw took the opening handoff and was cut off by Snee, causing him to fumble the ball away to the Cleveland defense. Two Trent Richardson runs ensued, and the Giants were down 7-0 just a mere minute into the contest.
Luckily for Snee, he was let off the hook as Bradshaw, Victor Cruz and the G Men rebounded for an impressive 41-27 Week 5 win at MetLife Stadium.
If Redskins rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III didn't learn to slide last week when he took a big hit on the game-winning drive against Tampa Bay, he certainly learned the hard way in Washington’s Week 5 loss to Atlanta.
On a third-and-goal in the second half, RGIII scrambled down the right sideline and, instead of running out of bounds or giving himself up, took a clean and vicious hit from Falcons linebacker Sean Weatherspoon that knocked him out of the game.
Fellow rookie quarterback Kirk Cousins replaced Griffin III and finished the game. He threw interceptions on each of Washington’s final two drives, sealing the win for the Falcons.
Those are the consequences the Redskins suffered for RGIII’s failure to live to play another down.
Redskins coach Mike Shanahan is venturing into dangerous territory. After Washington’s discouraging loss to the Falcons, he declared that quarterback Robert Griffin III has a “mild” concussion.
Declaring the concussion “mild” puts the pressure on Griffin III to return to action quickly, as fans and media could make the presumption that a “mild” injury translates to a speedy recovery, even if that’s not necessarily the case here. Also, Shanahan put himself in an awkward situation when he said the concussion was “mild.”
In the day and age of football where problems with head injuries have become nothing short of an epidemic, is there really such a thing as a “mild” concussion? Can you get a little bit pregnant?
Mild or not, a concussion is a concussion. Shanahan would have been better off going the Bill Belichick route in this situation.
Being vague and mum with the media and simply declaring that RGIII had a head injury would have saved Shanahan from his “mild” verbal snafu.
Peyton Manning played great in his return to Foxboro in a Broncos uniform, but he didn't get a whole lot of help from his running back, Willis McGahee. It’s safe to say that McGahee’s hands let him down in the fourth quarter of Denver’s 31-21 loss to the Patriots.
McGahee dropped a pass on fourth-and-one early in the fourth that would've kept a critical Denver drive alive. And with four minutes to play and the Broncos on the verge of getting within a score of the Patriots, McGahee fumbled on a rushing attempt, which essentially iced the game in New England’s favor.
There was this one time when Bill Belichick elected to have his Patriots offense go for it on a questionable fourth down attempt, only to see it backfire at the hands of Peyton Manning.
Pats fans almost experienced déjà vu against the Broncos on Sunday.
With New England up 31-14 and facing a fourth down at midfield with just over 8:00 minutes to play in the game, they elected to go for it as opposed to trying to pin the Broncos deep in their own territory with a punt.
The Pats failed to convert, as Brady was sacked and fumbled on the play. Manning struck two minutes later, as he hit Brandon Stokley with a five-yard touchdown pass to pull Denver within 10 points.
Yes, Denver ultimately failed in its comeback attempt, as the Pats won 31-21. But had Manning pulled off the improbable comeback, it’s safe to say fans and media would've crucified Belichick for another failed fourth down against Manning.
Kansas City quarterback Matt Cassel was knocked out of the Chiefs’ 9-6 loss to the Baltimore Ravens with a concussion that left offensive lineman Eric Winston enraged with fans at Arrowhead Stadium who were cheering the injury.
But before those fans were cheering, they were heavily booing Cassel for a critical mistake. That mistake came early in the third quarter.
With the Chiefs on the verge of a major touchdown, Cassel fumbled the snap from his center at the Baltimore 1-yard line. The Ravens cashed in the turnover with a field goal that turned out to be the difference in the final score.
While Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel laid injured on the Arrowhead Stadium turf, some of the Kansas City faithful actually cheered the underachieving quarterback’s injury (which turned out to be a concussion).
When fans spend their hard-earned money on a ticket to attend a sporting event, they have the right to boo and cheer whoever and whatever they want.
Still, it was in bad taste for the Chiefs fans that vocally approved of bodily harm to one of their own players. Even if it was a small minority of fans, those fans make a great fanbase of one of the NFL’s more venerable franchises look small and petty.
Chiefs tackle Eric Winston certainly noticed. He ripped those cheering fans after the game.
As aforementioned, those Chiefs fans have the right to cheer and boo whoever and whatever they want. But likewise, Winston has every right to express himself and blast those anti-Cassel fans.
The turnovers continue for Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick. Add two more lost fumbles to the laundry list of turnovers for Vick this season.
The back-breaker came in the first quarter, when Vick fumbled while diving towards the goal line. If Vick doesn't lose the pigskin in that situation, Philly at the very least gets the opportunity for an Alex Henery chip-shot field goal that would've given the Eagles another one-point win.
Instead, Vick coughed it up and the Pittsburgh Steelers emerged with a 16-14 victory.
This boneheaded move didn't exactly take place during Week 5, but with Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick having another underwhelming day at the office against the 49ers on Sunday, it’s looking more and more like Buffalo made a terrible move when they locked up the Harvard quarterback to a pricey, long-term deal around this time last year.
Dating back to last season, Fitzpatrick has thrown 30 interceptions—the most in the NFL during that span. While Fitzpatrick threw only one pick out in San Francisco, he was unable to do much of anything offensively, as the Bills were trounced 45-3.
Since starting last season 5-2, Buffalo has lost 11 of its last 14 games. And with each passing game that the Bills lose badly, it only further bolsters the claim that the Buffalo front office made quite the boneheaded move when they gave Fitzpatrick that big pay day last fall.