Each week in the NFL features its own array of faux pas and blunders. Week 11 had its fair share, including a few especially strange moments.
There were some awful mistakes by the usually solid Houston Texans and a mountain of bad plays by the recently undefeated Atlanta Falcons. The Cleveland Browns made an interesting decision to run a difficult pass play on 4th-and-goal from the one-inch line. Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo had another group of blunders to add to his resume.
Yet none of those moments were quite able to make this list. Here are the six very best boneheaded moments from Week 11.
On a should-have-been-easy 26 yard field-goal attempt, Ferguson (a Pro Bowl left tackle) was lined up on the left edge. His job—no surprise—block the edge rusher on the offensive left side.
For inexplicable reasons, Ferguson cut to the inside to lay a nice block on the wrong guy. The obvious result: a blocked field goal. Ferguson was so out of it that he did not realize anything was wrong until the crowd noise told him the kick had been blocked.
A year ago, the Jets had the best special teams in the NFL. This year they have arguably the worst. Nearly every week they suffer a major special teams gaffe: blocked punts, blocked field goals, botched fakes, loads of penalties. They have truly killed themselves on special teams this year.
Kudos to Ferguson for remarkable lack of awareness of his surroundings on the field.
There has been a lot of sketchy reporting surrounding the New York Jets throughout 2012. The buzz-phrase of the year is "anonymous source." Nearly every week there have been stories about anonymous statements from mystery men who are supposedly associated with the organization, with players inside the locker room denying that the reports carry any truth.
There was an increased buzz this week with anonymous reports about Tim Tebow. Former Jets running back and current television personality LaDainian Tomlinson took fake reporting to a whole new level this week, baselessly attributing names to the potentially made-up quotes.
Tomlinson declared based on his gut reaction that linebacker Bart Scott and cornerback Antonio Cromartie are the anonymous sources. Scott and Cromartie have denied that there is any truth to this fabricated news story.
Scott is one of the most outspoken and brutally honest players in the NFL. When he says he did not say something, I am inclined to believe it.
Tomlinson—for his part—was soft-spoken and respectful in his time as a player in the NFL. It is a shame that his television career has become more like TMZ than his football career. Congratulations to him for taking news creation (as opposed to new reporting) to a new level.
But going off on an inarticulate tirade in the middle of a press conference is rarely the way to go. Turner's rant earlier in the week was prompted by a reporter asking about his expectations for the game against the Denver Broncos.
The rant had some clear shades of Jim Mora in it. Turner said:
What do you think? What do you think the answer to that question is? Answer it for me. No, it's not acceptable! You know the answer to that. Is it acceptable having a blocked punt and, and an interception for a touchdown? No, it's not acceptable to play hard and not win, but that's what happened. ... I'm not hot under the collar. You ask a stupid question you should get a stupid [expletive-deleted] answer!
In 2007, Turner took over a team coming off of a 14-2 season and one favored by many to win the Super Bowl. With the team doing progressively worse in each of its five seasons since and now having started the year 4-5, the heat may be increasing for Turner.
With 6:50 left in the second quarter and only losing by four points (7-3), New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan decided to try a fake punt on 4th-and-5 at midfield.
The problem here was not as much the choice to go for it as the choice of play. Punt protector Tim Tebow gave a shovel-pass hand-off to full back Lex Hilliard on a 4th-and-5 (not 4th-and-1). Hilliard caught the ball in a mob of players for a one-yard gain and a complete failure.
The worst part of the whole situation was that the St. Louis Rams had their run defense on the field, not their punt return team. So the Jets ran a fake-punt shovel pass with their special teams unit against the Rams first-team run defense...
SMH at the Tim Tebow failed fake punt. The #Rams had their defense on the field and NY still ran the play.
— James Walker (@JamesWalkerESPN) November 18, 2012
For a 9-1 team, the Atlanta Falcons are really struggling. They have not looked at all like contenders in any of their games in recent weeks.
The above play—late in the Arizona Cardinals vs. Falcons game—had the Falcons fumble at the Cardinals 30-yard line. As the above image clearly shows, the defender's toe is on the line. No one disputes that.
Even better, there was no concern needed on the part of Falcons head coach Mike Smith. The NFL instituted a new rule in the offseason for just such an occasion. All turnovers are automatically reviewed.
But who says NFL head coaches should know the rules?
Smith stormed onto the field and threw a purposeless red challenge flag. He earned himself an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and 15 yards for the Cardinals.
wow. Atl threw flag before refs had automatic review. can't review and it's a penalty. Big mistake by Mike Smith
— Kent Somers (@kentsomers) November 18, 2012
The Falcons eked out a 23-19 win to keep the Cardinals' six-game losing streak going. However, it is hard to imagine anyone in the Falcons organization is feeling good about the way the team is playing.
In the worst and simplest decision of the week, the St. Louis Rams (3-6-1) decided to go for a two-point conversion when down by 14 points.
That is not a typo. 14 points
Two times seven. 14.
Down 27-13 after the touchdown, a simple extra point would have made it a 27-14 game. Thus, two more touchdowns would have been needed for a win.
Due to the totally pointless and failed two-point attempt, the Rams were down 27-13, meaning those same two touchdowns would only force overtime.
Fortunately for head coach Jeff Fisher, this mind-boggling call did not matter in the end. The Rams ultimately lost 27-13 to the New York Jets.
Congratulations to Fisher for not knowing the multiples of seven.