Worst handshake: Jim Harbaugh forgot that he’s not at Stanford anymore, and that acting like you just successfully executed your first keg stand after a win isn’t acceptable.
Harbaugh apologized while speaking to the media after his college kid fit of joy, saying he was “really revved up,” and shook Schwartz’s hand too hard.
Schwartz was rightfully pissed, but he’s no post-game saint either when the adrenaline is flowing…
Most misplaced middle finger: Please forgive A.J. Hawk. In his hometown of Kettering, Ohio a salute with the middle finger is akin to a hand shake or knuckle tap.
It’s unclear why Hawk decided to remind everyone that the Packers are indeed No. 1, or why his colorful sign language was apparently directed towards the Packers sideline during a 24-3 destruction of St. Louis. Maybe he just needs to stay angry and make sure that Green Bay’s weekly dominant doesn’t start to feel mundane, and to do this he picks one teammate to fight each game.
This week’s impossible catch: Last week Dwayne Bowe and Victor Cruz made incredible juggling catches, the kind that are usually reserved for gamers in parental basements logging their 849th hour playing the latest Madden game. Eagles tight end Brent Celek saw their juggling, and raised them a backwards fall.
This week’s second impossible catch: Celek’s juggling act still wins, but Dallas Clark gave us a reason to feature a Colts highlight that doesn’t involve soul-destroying embarrassment.
This week’s third impossible catch: Cam Newton has been surprising and exciting, and he’s pumped life back into a position that was irrelevant in Carolina last year. But he’s still a 22-year-old kid who had appeared in only five regular-season NFL games prior to today, so mistakes and blatant errors in judgment are expected.
They’re just not expected to land in the arms Corey Peters, a 305-pound defensive tackle.
Best rules change suggestion: Now that the 49ers won and put the first dent in the Lions’ loss column a play that was ruled an incomplete pass to Michael Crabtree is irrelevant. But the play could have been massively important, and it would have ended much differently if we made an easily justifiable tweak in the rule book.
San Francisco was down 13-12 and looking for a key third-quarter score when Crabtree made the catch a few yards shy of Detroit’s goal-line. Crabtree leaped for the ball and was unable to come down with both feet in bounds. His body positioning and the amount of real estate left on the field only allowed enough time for Crabtree to bounce on one foot twice in bounds before falling out of play. Shouldn’t that be good enough?
The primary purpose of the two-foot rule is an obvious one: to ensure that the receiver establishes himself and demonstrates proper possession in the field of play after a catch. Crabtree had enough time to hop on one foot twice, and one foot twice should equal two feet. That should be enough to meet the rule’s simple criteria, just like the existing rules in which an elbow counts as two feet, and likewise for a knee.
Best interpretation of an existing rule: Lions fans were nearly haunted by the Calvin Johnson rule, the somewhat asinine but unavoidable ruling last year in a game against Chicago that saw Johnson’s game-winning score overturned because in his hurry to celebrate Megatron didn’t get up with the football after falling to the ground. Instead Johnson left the ball–and consequently a touchdown–on the ground, forcing officials to rule that he didn’t maintain possession throughout the entire act of making the catch.
Enter Nate Burleson, the Lions receiver who lines up opposite Johnson and made a fourth quarter touchdown catch today that put Detroit ahead briefly.
After doing several pirouettes and tap-dancing with both feet in the end zone Burleson falls to the ground and losses the ball. Similar to Johnson, that was his potentially fatal mistake, and officials ruled the catch incomplete because he didn’t demonstrate proper possession.
The Johnson ruling last year may have felt cheap and dirty, but it was also necessary because there’s little room for shades of gray during the process of determining possession after a catch, and especially a catch that results in a touchdown. But there’s still enough gray involved to allow common sense to wiggle through, and we saw that when the ruling on Burleson’s catch was challenged, and after several minutes under the hood it was determined that he physically held on to the ball for enough time.
We will remember this as the day when on-field judgment and observation (so in short, what referees get paid for) scored a victory over the black-and-white pages of the rule book.
Worst attempt to befriend cheerleaders: Mike Vick did what Mike Vick often does during a third-quarter play in Philly’s win over Washington: he ran very far. But when he finished a 31-yard run after getting pushed out of bounds he did something no man should ever do, and he almost pulled a Michael Boley. Only this time it was much worse, and Vick’s near target was a group of Redskins cheerleaders.
Vick apologized during his post-game press conference: (via The 700 Level)
“It was very inappropriate to kick the ball. I’m sorry about that. I apologize to the cheerleaders. That was a very bad gesture. I can’t let my emotions get the best of me. Sorry to the Redskins cheerleaders, I didn’t mean to offend anybody.”
Shortest hook: Rex Grossman was horrifically horrid today, the kind of horrible that leads to a quarterback throwing four interceptions and being benched in the fourth quarter. He’s thrown nine total picks, all coming over his last four games.
But now after the first regular-season sighting of John Beck Washington returns to exactly where it was in August. The choice is between one quarterback who’s made five career starts–with the most recent coming in 2007–and another quarterback who has experience, but severely lacks poise and confidence.
Warmest doghouse seat: Two weeks ago, prior to Washingon’s bye, Tim Hightower received only eight carries during a win over St. Louis, and he sat comfortably on the sidelines while a rejuvenated Ryan Torain finished with 132 rushing yards, averaging 7.1 yards per carry on 19 attempts. Head coach Mike Shanahan said after the game that Hightower was banged up with a shoulder injury, which at the time seemed like a poorly-disguised excuse.
We’re not doubting Hightower’s injury. We’re doubting Shanahan’s interpretation of the severity of the injury, and wondering if he’s exaggerating it and reaching for an excuse to play his usual RB shuffle game and sit Washington’s primary offensive offseason acquisition. Hightower was listed as questionable this week but was still active, or at least active enough to be a third-string RB. He sat behind Torain and Roy Helu–figuratively, at least–and didn’t receive a single touch all game. Torain led a feeble rushing attack with 22 yards on 10 carries.
After the game Shanahan said Hightower was only an emergency back, and he didn’t play because of his injury. If he was too injured to play, why was he even active? Only Shanahan would waste a roster spot to keep the tunes going on his running back musical chairs.
(Lead pic via Mocksession.com)