It was announced this past week that Pittsburgh WR Emmanuel Sanders was being fined $15,000 for faking an injury, and that the Steelers were also being fined $35,000 in connection with the same incident.
Now, I’m all for the NFL instituting its own version of the Razzie Awards for bad acting, but there are a couple of problems with this particular incident.
First, the NFL should have found a way to fine a Giant, who are known to be the worst offenders of this sort of maneuver. Second, I don’t think Sanders was faking.
Look at the game situation: Pittsburgh was up 24-17, with about 7:00 to go in the game, when Sanders “fake” injury occurred on a second and 10. What benefit did Sanders or the Steelers get? They were looking to run clock, not stop it. I get that Sanders missed the mandatory one play and then came back in fresh as a daisy on the ensuing punt, which he raced down the field and downed. So he wasn’t really hurt. He didn’t, in fact, receive any treatment on the sidelines. So what? Maybe he felt something funny and didn’t want to risk a worse injury.
Don’t we WANT players to be careful and responsible for their personal safety in the new health-conscious NFL? I’m 100% in favor of penalizing players who fake injuries to save their teams a time out, or, in the case of defensive players, perhaps to allow substitutions to be made and slow down the opposing offense.
I’m in favor of penalizing flopping by kickers, punters or wide receivers. I’m NOT in favor for imposing fines for its own sake, when no advantage, strategic or otherwise, could possibly have been the motivation. The NFL just fined Emmanuel Sanders for being wrong. Next time a guy feels something funny, maybe he’ll guess wrong and stay in the game. Bad precedent, NFL.
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What was the key to New Orleans’ beating the Falcons? The Saints, with all of their defensive weaknesses, stuffed Atlanta’s run game. Michael Turner gained just 15 yards on 13 carries, including getting stuffed during New Orleans’ heroic goal line stand to hold off the Falcons in the 4th. Despite a 400 yard day from Matt Ryan and both Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez racking up 100+ receiving yards, the Falcons one-dimensional offense couldn’t keep pace with New Orleans balanced attack.
This Week’s Sucked And Won: Morris Claiborne, CB (DAL). Claiborne looked more like a scrub off the practice squad than a highly touted first round pick in the Cowboys’ win over the Eagles. He was clutching and grabbing all day, and did more than his share to contribute to Dallas’ huge penalty totals in this game. Of course, he had his opposite number on the Eagles in OL King Dunlap, who also drew numerous penalties and ran off the field on a field goal formation, costing his team a time out so he could run right back on.
Are you wondering how downtrodden teams like Cincinnati and Tennessee could come out and not only win their games against the Giants and Dolphins, respectively, but absolutely blow them out of the water? I’m wondering the same thing. On the surface, at least, you have to give a nod to the defenses. The Bengals absolutely tormented Eli Manning, sacking him 4 times and picking off two passes. The Titans defense has been beyond dreadful all year, but they shut down the Miami running game and picked off Ryan Tannehill three times.
Shocking Realization of the Week: The Oakland Raiders have given up 97 points in their last two games.
With San Diego and Miami losing and Indianapolis and Pittsburgh both winning, the AFC playoff picture has opened up a bit. Not the case in the NFC, where Tampa Bay, Seattle, Minnesota and Green Bay are in a logjam for two wildcard spots. The team to watch in this group may well be the Seahawks, who own tiebreakers vs. both the Vikings and Packers and have just two games left against teams with winning records.
This Week’s Great But Lost: Calvin Johnson, WR (DET). Despite a 34-24 loss, Megatron was awesome, catching 12 passes for 207 yards and a touchdown, accounting for 62% of the Lions’ passing offense in the process.
Who knew my memory was better than Al Michaels’? During the Bears-Texans game, while watching replays to see if Jay Cutler had thrown an illegal forward pass, Michaels said that they’d had a similar play involving Eli Manning and the Philadelphia Eagles a few years back. I remember that play and that game. It wasn’t Manning. It was Tony Romo of the Cowboys.
How did the Rams stalemate the vaunted 49ers, and score 24 points against that stifling defense? Remember, every stat in the NFL is connected to others, and the 49ers prowess on defense has, as part of its component, the 49ers 1st ranked rushing offense which has helped them to be ranked 6th in time of possession. Not this game. The Rams won time of possession by several minutes, including a remarkable 8+ minute scoring drive in the third quarter. That helped them wear down San Francisco’s stop unit, while keeping the Niners’ offense on the bench.
Thursday Pick: Miami (+1.5) @Buffalo (Las Vegas Hilton)
I have to admit, I have no feel for this game at all, and apparently I have very little feel for any game played on Thursday, as I haven’t been getting them right recently. Miami, up until recently, looked like a semi-good team. The Bills haven’t looked like one all year. Both defenses have issues. The Dolphins can’t stop the pass and the Bills only stop the pass by giving up 300 yards on the ground. Recently history favors the Dolphins, who’ve won six of the last eight meetings with Buffalo, and that’s as good a reason as any to take them.
Miami Dolphins 24 Buffalo Bills 21
SPEAK WHEN SPOKEN TO
“It actually feels like a loss, to tell you the truth.” – 49ers LB Ahmad Brooks, on the 6-2 49ers managing only a tie with the 3-5 Rams.
“No one looks back at the end of the season and says, ‘They were 6-3.’ It’s what you do the rest of the way that matters.” – Colts QB Andrew Luck, on his team’s current success. Trust me, Andrew, if you finish 6-10, plenty of people will look back and say, ‘They were 6-3.’ But they won’t mean it as a compliment.
“Eagles Outstink Cowboys” – headline in the Philadelphia Daily News, the day after the Cowboys beat the Eagles 38-23, in a game marred by mistakes, turnovers and penalties.
“I’m not totally sure if he did or not. I’d like to think we do our job up front to spring him, but there are so many times he makes us look good. The guy’s amazing.” – Vikings OG Charlie Johnson, joking that perhaps Adrian Peterson didn’t actually have offseason surgery.
“If you don’t slow down New Orleans and Drew Brees, this is going to get ugly.” – Raiders DT Tommy Kelly, on the Raiders upcoming game with the Saints. Hey, Tommy, you just gave up 55 points, so what would “ugly” be? Giving up 100?
“Don’t throw it to the other team.” – Miami coach Joe Philbin, responding to a question asking what rookie QB Ryan Tannehill had learned in the Dolphins blowout loss to Tennessee. Tannehill threw three interceptions in the game.
“That’s why we got Jason. We’re better off now than we were last year at this time.” – Bears LB Brian Urlacher, stating that backup QB Jason Campbell will fare better than last year’s back up, Caleb Hanie, who presided over the the Bears’ collapse after Jay Cutler was injured.
“[A]nybody on the team that wants to score a touchdown, I’m for it.” – Broncos QB Peyton Manning, on the Broncos’ having scored passing, rushing, interception return and punt return touchdowns in their game against the Panthers.