NFL morning after: An amazing Sunday, except the refs


On Sunday afternoons during the NFL season, I’m sitting in my house with three TVs showing games in one room, plus another game showing on my iPad, with my laptop at the ready to check scores and stats. I have the Sunday Ticket package and I watch the Red Zone channel and the Game Mix channel, and I’m the fastest draw in the West when I need to change the channel. My wife brings me snacks so I don’t have to get up for even a minute. If anyone should be able to keep up with every single thing that happens on an NFL Sunday, it’s me.

And as this Sunday’s nine early games came to the late fourth quarter, even I couldn’t keep up with it all. What an amazing Sunday afternoon.

Don’t you wish we could see Sunday’s highlights as edited by Steve Sabol? Sabol, the NFL Films president who died of brain cancer on Tuesday, would have told an amazing story with the material the NFL gave him on Sunday. The nine early games featured three overtimes, three other games decided by a touchdown or less, a shocking upset by the Vikings, a tremendous defensive effort by the Bears and a Bills-Browns game that was, well . . . let’s just say there were eight really good games.

My choice for the best game of the day was that insane finish in Tennessee, where the Lions came back from 14 points down with 18 seconds remaining to send the game into overtime, only to end up losing 44-41. But the Chiefs-Saints battle was also lots of fun, and every time I looked at the Bengals’ 38-31 win over the Redskins I saw one of the league’s bright young stars (either Cincinnati’s A.J. Green or Washington’s Robert Griffin III) making a big play. There was no shortage of greatness on display on Sunday.

These are the days when you sit there on your couch and just say, This is why I love football. What a great day.

Here are my other thoughts from Week Three in the NFL:

The replacement officials need to pick up the pace. Games are simply taking far too long. Heading into this week the average length of games was about five minutes longer this season than last season, and maybe that doesn’t sound like much. But those delays while the officials are sorting things out are making some games really drag. The Steelers-Raiders game, in particular, felt like it was taking forever. If Raiders kicker Sebastian Janikowski had missed his game-winning field goal and the game had gone into overtime, it’s entirely possible that it still would have been going on into the start of Sunday Night Football.

The NFL needs to fine Bill Belichick heavily. I don’t care how bad the officials are — and they were bad during Sunday night’s Patriots-Ravens game — you simply cannot put your hands on an official. Belichick put his hands on an official. A fine of $100,000 might be enough to send the message that that simply cannot happen.

Still, the Belichick story shouldn’t overshadow the larger issue. The quality of the officiating in the NFL right now simply isn’t acceptable. The NFL has to fix it.

How did Matt Schaub get cleared so quickly? NFL teams are supposed to have an excess of caution about players suffering concussions, taking the time to have the medical staff check anyone who takes a hard hit to the head, and only clearing players to return to the field if everything is OK. So something seemed suspicious about Texans quarterback Matt Schaub missing only one play after taking a brutal and illegal helmet-to-helmet hit, a hit that had him crumpling to the ground and grabbing his head. I hope I’m wrong to be skeptical, but it sure didn’t seem like Schaub was out long enough to get the kind of thorough examination that a hit like that would warrant.

Jason Hanson should be a Hall of Famer some day. Hanson, the Lions’ 21-year veteran kicker, is the oldest player in the NFL at age 42, and has played 314 games with the Lions, the most games any player has played with one team in NFL history. But Hanson doesn’t just have longevity on his side, he has one of the most impressive kicking legs the game has ever seen. On Sunday against the Titans he went 4-for-4 on field goals, making kicks from 47, 53, 33 and 26 yards. That 53-yard field goal was the 51st field goal of his career from 50 yards or farther, the most any kicker has made in NFL history. Oh, and when Lions punter Ben Graham went down, Hanson stepped in and punted flawlessly, averaging 39.3 hards a punt and landing one of them inside the 20-yard line. Hanson probably won’t make it to the Hall of Fame because kickers are remembered for big field goals in big games, and the Lions haven’t been in many big games in Hanson’s career. But the Hall of Fame is supposed to be about individual greatness, and there’s been no greater kicker in NFL history than Jason Hanson.

Jamaal Charles is in very good company. Charles, the Chiefs’ starting running back, had 233 rushing yards and 55 receiving yards in Sunday’s win over the Saints, joining Jim Brown as the only players in NFL history with at least 225 rushing yards and 50 receiving yards in the same game. Charles and Brown are also the only NFL players with more than 230 rushing yards in two different games. And if Charles keeps running at his career 6.0 yards-per-carry average and gets 196 more rushing attempts, he’ll break Brown’s record for the highest yards-per-carry average of any running back in NFL history with at least 750 carries. For half a century, Brown has been the gold standard for NFL running backs. It’s amazing that Charles is putting himself in Brown’s company.

Greg Schiano is right in the kneeldown controversy. Schiano, the Buccaneers coach who angered Giants coach Tom Coughlin last week by instructing his players to try to force a fumble while the Giants were kneeling down to run out the clock, did it again on Sunday against the Cowboys. Coughlin might not like it, but I do. Schiano coaches football the right way: Play hard until the game is over.

65 responses to “NFL morning after: An amazing Sunday, except the refs

  1. RGIII is unquestionably a top 3 QB but there is nothing he can do if unfortunate injuries keep piling up around him, his own secondary is playing at a pee-wee level and the officials are biased against the Redskins. Despite all that, the fact that he was 19 yds shy of leading a comeback tells me that you can definitely bet this kid will lead the Redskins to a Superbowl or three in his career.

    Oh and The Eagles and 49ers are who we thought they were. Real? Nope!

  2. I agree about Schiano, his players aren’t cheating why is it dirty to try to win the game? I think the establishment doesn’t like a guy coming in and not being awed by the way things have always been done. I say more teams should do it, if we have to put up with the stupid icing the kicker let’s see a force fumble on a kneeldown.

  3. The Refs were terrible in most of the games on Sunday, but I believe they got the Patriots-Ravens game down pat. The FG was good.

  4. Quick question to any who’ll listen. If Bill gets fined, did Mike Wallace get fined for pushing a ref?

  5. Schaub only missed one play because he wasn’t hit in the head. He was hit in in the upper chest and then the bottom of the facemask. The force of the hit knocked the helmet off and about ripped his ears off which is why he was grabbing them on the field.

    To your point, if that WAS a helmet to helmet hit at that pace/ force, Schaub would have been in the hospital, not back in the game the next play.

  6. Good stuff in this article…Funny to me how last sunday Greg Schiano was being portrayed as a bad guy and dirty coach. A week later most people have changed their minds and now believe Schiano is playing football the right way.

  7. I say again – the refs were horribly against the Ravens last week in Philly – but that was glossed over – until the beloved Patriots saw the effects.

  8. @illogicalthinker…..such a dope. Saying the 49ers “are who we thought they were” means you didn’t or watch the game. The Vikes played a very good game however the patented energy of the 49ers was clearly missing. The whole team was listless and clearly showed signs of either fatigue or an absence of focus. Saying they were “frauds” only comes from a fan who is so staunchly entrenched in a pre-conceived and self-concocted world to see otherwise. Just wait for the J-E-T-S game.

    BTW… 3? Your team is 1-2 and your quarterback won’t make the rest of the season if he keeps taking the hits he’s taking…..why?….because this ain’t the Big 12!

    Get a new line illogicalthinker/ untruthfactory/ voiceof treason………..

  9. Thats the last Sunday I devote to the NFL until the refs issue is resolved.

    Love the game, still a fan, but can’t take the lack of respect for product quality that the owners are comfortable with.

  10. Well…I thought the Cards/Eagles game was sure to be mentioned but I guess I shouldn’t be surprised! What about that Kerry Rhodes stop of the Eagles on the 1 yard line and the subsequent fumble-recovery-93 yard run for a TD by the Cards, James Sanders…Damn! those Cards have one amazing defense! And, the Eagles, yep they are who WE knew them to be…just like last year!

  11. Shocked to hear someone call Jason Hanson the greatest kicker in history. I’ve always loved the guy, but always felt I was just a biased Lions fan. I have no idea how he still has one of the stronger legs in the league at his age.

  12. I’d love to hear how Griffin is a top-3 QB. Look, I like the kid, but people like you put him way too high on a pedestal. Top 3? Maybe one day. Right now? Give me a break. He’s 18th in passing yards, behind 13 other QBs in touchdown passes, 6th in rating, 6th most sacks.

    Some of those aren’t bad, and he’ll get better. But please tell me how, without the name, I could show you those stats and you’d point to him as one of the THREE best quarterbacks in the league. Unless you’re actually a brilliant ‘Skins hater whose goal is to annoy people so much that they hate them too, you embarrass Redskins fans.

  13. Have one wide out slip off on a wheel route and the QB take three quick steps and hit him. All this nonsense will stop. All you saying its the right way to play football, its silly, stupid and would you really want to see your team win or lose because one players attacks another who was not expecting it? Yeah, most of you who whine on here, probably would. It may be within the rules, but it is a time honored tradition built in by players who made this game great. This is a cheap hack, and is not football.

  14. “Thats the last Sunday I devote to the NFL until the refs issue is resolved.

    Love the game, still a fan, but can’t take the lack of respect for product quality that the owners are comfortable with.”

    I’m sure the NFL is terrified

  15. Because when you try to disrupt the kneel down with only 6 seconds left on the clock it’s pointless. Realistically there is not enough time for them to even try and make anything happen. What made it look so bad in the giants game was the fact the two plays prior to that happening when the giants took a knee, they didn’t try it then and if they were really trying to play out that game and want to preserve as much time as possible then why didn’t they use their one timeout they had remaining? It made them look like false tough guys against the giants. They had no choice but to do it again this week because they would of been questioned about all week just like they were last week.

  16. Maybe I’m a Raiders homer, but…

    a) I don’t think the big delay was the officials fault. There was a certain incident (which, actually, lacked a flag from said zebras) that consumed a lot of time.

    b) Sebastian Janikowski makes a push in the “Greatest Kicker” contest.

  17. Only Rodgers and Roethlisberger are better for now. RGIII is a historic talent that the NFL has not seen in the near 100 year history of professional football and every Sunday he’s showing why. Like I said yesterday, he’s tough as nails so quit hoping he gets injured. It’s not happening.

  18. If it wasn’t for these replacement refs, WE WOULD HAVE NO FOOTBALL RIGHT NOW!

    The regular refs blew calls left and right also and fans were always bitching about some bad call that cost their team a game or a critical play.

    The fact is that the media is scrunitizing every single play and the commentators keep harping on it every chance they get. They are all pro-union, always on the side of the players union and now on the side of the referees union as well.

    The ‘regulars’ can all stay home and not get paid $200,000 for part time work. Let these refs play out the year.

    I watched the Miami-Jets game and those refs did a good job officiating the game.

  19. FWIW, Jamaal Charles and Jim Brown are also the only two RBs to ever finish a season with at least 200 rushes and a yards-per-carry average over 6.2.

    And Charles’ per-carry average in 2010 (6.38) was just two-tenths of a yard less than Brown’s all-time record of 6.40.

  20. “Schiano coaches football the right way: Play hard until the game is over.”

    1) Again, Schiano’s own team took a knee three times against Carolina. If playing “hard” until the game is over is his rule, why didn’t they run the ball? The kneel down isn’t playing “hard”. You can’t say the kneel down should not be a part of the game and give him a pass for using it.
    2) Maybe, just maybe, Schiano should focus more on the other 59 minutes of the game. He is now 0-2 against two teams that did everything they could to lose the game. You guys can rally around him all you want, but his team is already two games out from Atlanta. He’s not out of the playoff race yet, but that hill is getting higher every week. Maybe, if he was as “inventive” the other 59 minutes, Tampa would be 3-0.

  21. Can’t wait til Karma catches up with Schiano. Another team is going “to play all 60 minutes” and when a Buc gets hurt because of it, Schiano won’t have anyone to blame but himself.

  22. Whats startling to me is the insane amount of weekly cheap head-shots with the regular officials. These morons wont stop until another player suffers paralysis. Seriously, I dont watch football to see someone end up eating out of a straw the rest of their life. NFL is supposed to be a fraternity..but all defenders seem to be concerned with is taking guys heads off in record amounts.

  23. If theyre going to fine Belichick for grabbing an official, they should also fine Mike Tomboy for sending Heyward-Bey to the hospital. Belichick doesnt make a habit of being physical with officials but maybe if the league would start fining these coaches for the actions of the players, we’d start seeing some results on the field.

  24. Sore loser Schiano has to use dirty plays in a desperate attempt to win. He was a jerk sore loser in the Big East where he never won a championship in 11 years and is one in the NFL. Schiano….the Gregg Williams imitation.

  25. I agree wholeheartedly with you, MDS, on a couple things.

    (1) the Jamaal Charles/Jim Brown comparison you noted is nothing short of a mind-blower. Wow!

    (2) I also agree about the Schiano issue. Why should a team just lay down because its opponent unilaterally determined the game is over before the final gun? Play hard until you see 0:00 on the clock after the 4th quarter.

  26. For a team that “plays hard until they tell us the game is over,” they sure looked like they were giving up by running twice while down 2 scores and under 2 minutes to play.

  27. Someone is going to run the score up on the Bucs, win by 40 while throwing the entire 4th quarter, and say, “We were just playing hard the entire 60 minutes.”

  28. About the Schiano thing: I’ve read a lot of fans questioning the league for lightening its toughness. I guess Schiano just plays in a competitive manner and now teams that play against him HAVE to be prepared for this kind of play, so it’s even a good strategic move to psyche rivals out.

    So, he uses the kneel-down? Attack the formation.

    So, teams are now gonna run down the score to humilliate? Well, teams should play to their best ’til the last second, and I think putting third-stringers and playing un-whole-heartily is more humiliating for a team – “We got you so screwed we’re not even trying anymore”.

  29. Hate to side with a bunch of union guys but its time to bring the refs back. The replacement guys are not getting it done. I gave then the benefit of the doubt until yesterday. They are getting worse not better.

  30. I didn’t think the Belicheck thing was as bad as that. He was trying to get the official, who was running off the field, to stop so he could yell at him. He should be fined, but $100,000 would be excessive.

    Personally, I don’t mind them not calling a lot of the minor holding and jostling that goes on, both in the trenches and in the secondary, so long as they’re consistent about it and don’t let it get out of hand.

    But, watching the replacement refs give the 49ers not one, but two challenges when they did not have a timeout, despite everyone on the Vikings sideline telling them its against the rules, then not consulting the rulebook, and nobody upstairs correcting the error- that’s total incompetence. It’s inexcusable. And it has no place in the NFL.

  31. Folks, the RepRefs have little if any reason to be against a particular team. What they are prone to fall prey to is intimidation. With coaches, players, fans, all crashing in on them they are hesitant and anything but decisive. So they make non-calls, miss calls, phantom calls, and good calls. Get the regular officials back.

  32. I rewound the “illegal” hit to Schaab and it wasn’t illegal at all. I used the point that they had it in slow mode, and I played it frame by frame, and his helmet was NEVER touched. The force of Joe Mays hitting him with his hands to his chest area, and Malik Jackson hitting him at the same time in the chest jarred his helmet loose. The reason he was grabbing his head was because the padding on the inside of the helmet got stuck on his email. You could even read his lips on the sideline and said that the helmet hurt him.

  33. A tangent on the replacement refs: With the added scrutiny, it’s become even more obvious that most announcers are flat-out ignorant of the rules. I find that astounding since most of the color commentators are former players or coaches. At times it is surreal because the replacement refs aren’t 100% sure of what they’re calling, but then you’ve got a commentator throwing out his totally inaccurate opinion on what he thinks the rules are.

  34. Vikings came to play yesterday, and showed what they can do to one of the best teams in football. First signs of respect all year now starting to come in for the Vikings as Peter King puts them #10 in his fine 15, and Don Banks wondering what the Vikings ceiling is. Not much, but it’s a start.

    Anyone who follows the Vikings closer than simply keeping tabs on the star players (which is all the national media do) would know the Vikings are rebuilt. Not rebuilding, rebuilt. They need experience, but they have the talent to be a playoff team this year. Ponder is for real, the defense is improved, and, starting next week, they’ll have Jerome Simpson lining up to be the deep threat they’ve been missing to go along with Percy Harvin, Kyle Rudolph, AP, Ponder, and an improved offensive line.

    At the same time, the rest of the NFC North looks a lot less fearsome after 3 weeks than at the beginning of the year.

  35. $100,000 are you kidding me? That is an ridiculous amount. What did he even do? He tried to get an explanation. It really wasn’t as bad as it looked, when NBC slowed it down.

  36. Bengals-Skins game. 1:04 left in game Skins down 7 with ball no timeouts left. Wash player gets injured causing clock to stop. Originally refs said it was 10 sec runoff. No runoff ever occured and I believe the refs came back and said Skins get extra timeout for injured player.
    Is this now a rule??????
    strange that nobody has mentioned this play..anywhere!

  37. “Schiano coaches football the right way: Play hard until the game is over.”

    But that’s the thing, they DIDN’T play hard until the game was over. Halfway through the 4th they basically waved the white flag, and were running the ball repeatedly for no gain even though they were down.

    Even if he was actually trying to cause a fumble and score, he should have called the timeout with 35 seconds left rather than letting it run down to 7 (which meant that even if they forced a turnover they wouldn’t have time to capitalize on it)

    No, that wasn’t “playing hard until the game was over.” That was a sore loser going for a cheap shot at the end out of pure spite, and risking injuries on both teams to do so.

  38. Using Schiano’s logic, would he leave in his stars if the Bucs were up by 30 with two minutes to go? Or would he send in the second-stringers? The chances of one of his players getting injured needlessly are much, much greater than the chance of them forcing a turnover and moving the length of the field in 10 seconds. It’s one thing to “play all 60 minutes”, it’s quite another to jeopardize the next game in a lost cause.

  39. The people who are mentioning that some team is going to “run up the score” on the Bucs, or “run a slip screen on the kneel down and score”…The only time Schiano is calling it is when it is the absolute last chance to win the game! He said last week that he didn’t do it before half time for that very reason…because if the Giants exploited it and scored, then it would hurt the Bucs chances of winning. Also, someone mentioned “one players attacks another who was not expecting it?”…the Giants were the only ones not expecting it. The Cowboys just manned up and blocked it yesterday…idk why blocking for your quarterback for 1-3 more plays is such a preposterous notion. Someone also said that Schiano didn’t rush the kneeldown on the two plays before he did it against the Giants…that’s false. That play was 1st down after the interception. Schiano rushed it all three times against Dallas on Sunday. Lastly, nobody ever said the kneel down was a dirty play, so the fact that the Bucs offense kneeled to end the Carolina game is irrelevant. The kneel is the smartest way to end the game for the offense, but that doesn’t mean that the defense shouldn’t try to defend it.

  40. Since you mention Schaub’s quick return after that big hit…Tony Romo took a short nap after a Gerald McCoy sack and he was right back in on the next play.

  41. If the NFL can force FCS and D-II refs 0n the public, wny not have current players from the same conferences on the field? Perhaps that’s a bad analogy, but if we have to put up with inferior officials, why not inferior players?

    I probably shouldn’t put inferior ideas in their inferior minds.

  42. This ref fiasco is becoming a Joke…. Rodger, the mouthpiece for the owners is the worst commissioner in sports. How he can tell coaches, players and the media to lay off the scabs. Even though it is obvious that these guys are screwing up big time.. He preaces Integrity of the game, Player saftey and the fan experience. Just collect your blood money from the owners Rodger… Oh, yea, lets put a team in London. That spells integrity! The NFL is becoming a joke.

  43. All this whining about the refs. Both teams are professional organizations, they play on the same turf, in the same weather, with the same refs. The players are pros, as in “paid” to play under any circumstance and a mark of that is the ability to adapt and improvise under any adverse circumstance, whether weather, turf or…refs. As paid performaers, they should be able to, without complaint, play in tutu’s and ice skates if that were the circumstances presented.

  44. If the refs had ruled that fumble correctly when the play ended, the Bucs would have won the game. The whistle would not have blown too early.

    Last week, the refs cost the Bucs the game as well.

    Bucs could easily be 3-0 right now if not for the refs. I was in favor of the NFL on the ref issue…but with each week the refs have a stronger stance.

    A deal needs to be done.

  45. delius1967 wrote “It’s one thing to “play all 60 minutes”, it’s quite another to jeopardize the next game in a lost cause.”

    Well, I paid for THIS game and the teams got paid for THIS game and a game is SIXTY MINUTES.

  46. Why did Schaub get cleared so quickly? Easy.

    He stated in a radio interview this morning that they checked him while he was on the field and he was coherent, not dizzy or woozy. His injury was to his ear, which part of it got lopped off.

  47. The Good:

    There was a full slat if what turned out to be great games yesterday (- the refs).

    1. Jamaal Charles was amazing!
    2. Bengals were a different team that played a very good (not great) game, and made this Bengal fan very happy. They stepped up and beat a good team and great QB!
    3. Kickers are and UNDERRATED group of players that score a tremendous amount of points, and many of them under extreme pressure! They were great too!
    4. Great win Vikes!

    The Bad:

    1. These refs need to go. It is not just the fact they are screwing up the calls, they are losing control of the games. The culmination of this was the player free for all’s in last nights game between the Ravens and Pats. Some of the refs just looked at them and walked in the other direction and didn’t even throw flags.
    2. Clock run off in last 2 minutes. Bengals game where Redskins were out of timeouts and had injuries that should have been run off but weren’t. Not the only game this happened in.
    3. The fact that “real” refs are in the booth to “oversee” the game so these mistakes don’t happen, and they aren’t correct frequently.
    4. Fan boycotts are not going to have an immediate enough effect to get this moving. Pulling ad space during games and the players actually striking, like they have threatened to do, seems to be the only thing that will “hurry” this along.
    5. Schiano…..again? Best said by ‘east96st’ in an earlier post.

    The Ugly:

    Harbaugh was flagged for yelling at a ref and got a 15yd. penalty. When you read his lips, he went from saying….’I can’t talk to you over there’ to ‘I was just trying to get a time out!’ Then Belichik has the gumption to grab a ref……that is a big NO-NO. 100k isn’t going to mean anything to him and will probably be covered by the franchise. The only way to make a statement is to do like MLB does….ejection. Out a game.

  48. In the Pats/Ravens game, 14 penalties resulted in 1st downs. That effected the outcome and NO it is not OK because both teams were victimized. It doesnt work that way.

  49. footballchic777 says ” 3. The fact that “real” refs are in the booth to “oversee” the game so these mistakes don’t happen, and they aren’t correct frequently.”

    The “real refs” aren’t in the booth – they’re “locked out” – the people in the booth are other NFL employees.

  50. The “real refs” are barely any better than the replacements. The complaining about referees won’t go away once they return.

  51. gmk17 says: Sep 24, 2012 1:44 PM

    The “real refs” are barely any better than the replacements. The complaining about referees won’t go away once they return.

    Complaining about the refs is part of what makes watching football fun. But we complain with the 3-4 bad calls knowing that the regulars KNOW THE RULES. It’s not the same thing here, sonny boy.

  52. What evidence to you have that Matt Schaub suffered a concussion? He grabbed his head because he suffered an ear injury when his helmet came off. He didn’t show any trouble walking off the field.

  53. Time to stop fixating on the refs. First, you forget how questionable many of the calls of the “real” refs were. Second, the extra time shouldn’t matter, because anyone with a brain Tivo’s this stuff to avoid the 90 minutes of commercials (the real time waster). Finally, I’m guessing that there are 8,000 or so total calls by the officials during a season, so it all sorts out statistically–it’s call the Law of Large numbers and it works whether your gambling long-term or guaging ref calls.

  54. Grandted Jason Hanson is a great kicker, but that said, there at least two guys ahead of him to become a HoF’er..

    #1 Morten Andersen, no doubt the best

    #2 Gary Anderson was a great kicker as well

    # 3 Sebastian Janikowski, pt, he shares this spot with Jason Hanson.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.