NFL morning after: A call that could change two teams’ seasons

AP

As time expired Sunday in New Orleans, with the score tied 24-24, Saints quarterback Drew Brees heaved the ball 50 yards in the air, where tight end Jimmy Graham grabbed it for an apparent game-winning Hail Mary touchdown. The fans in New Orleans celebrated for just a moment before they saw the flag on the field. As it turned out, Graham had been flagged for offensive pass interference for shoving 49ers cornerback Perrish Cox.

That was the call of the year.

The officials working the 49ers-Saints game deserve an enormous amount of credit for having the guts to make that call. It was absolutely correct, but it was a call some officials would have been reluctant to make. In fact, I couldn’t remember ever seeing offensive pass interference wipe out a successful Hail Mary, even though there’s jostling for position on almost all Hail Mary attempts. When the NFL admitted the replacement refs had screwed up the infamous “Fail Mary” during the lockout of officials in 2012, the league said the real mistake the officials had made was failing to call offensive pass interference, but the reality is officials never call that penalty. And this time they did. And it was the right call.

Graham didn’t think so afterward, saying Cox sold the call by flopping to the ground — exactly the kind of thing Graham said he hated when he was a college basketball player. Graham thought it was a bogus call.

It was definitely not a push-off,” Graham said, via the New Orleans Times-Picayune. “I’m running down the field telling myself, ‘Whatever you do, don’t push off.’ It’s interesting how guys grab me everywhere on the field and I put literally two fingers on somebody and they make that kind of call.”

Graham may be right that Cox sold it, but that doesn’t change the fact that Graham committed a penalty. The officials were right to flag him.

If the Saints had won the game in overtime, of course, we wouldn’t be talking much about that call today. But because the 49ers won, this will go down as a call that could change two teams’ seasons. For the Saints, the loss prevents them from taking a huge step forward in the NFC South. At 4-5 the Saints are still in first place in their pathetic division, but with the 3-5-1 Panthers playing on Monday night, Carolina could actually take the lead in the division with a win. If the Saints end up losing the division race by half a game to the Panthers, they’ll surely look back at that Brees-to-Graham Hail Mary and wonder what might have been.

And the 49ers absolutely needed that win to keep pace in the NFC West. The Cardinals won on Sunday to improve to 8-1, and the Seahawks won to improve to 6-3. The 49ers, at 5-4, still have an uphill battle to get to the playoffs. But they’d have almost no shot if they had lost to the Saints.

That penalty flag on Graham was Sunday’s biggest play. Here are my other thoughts:

An appreciation of Michael Vick. In helping the Jets upset the Steelers on Sunday, Vick gained 39 yards rushing. That puts him at 6,006 rushing yards in his career, making him the first quarterback in NFL history to top 6,000 rushing yards. Vick has been at best a good — never great — quarterback, but as a runner he’s a unique figure in NFL history. There’s simply never been a quarterback who could run like Vick can, and he paved the way for a generation of running quarterbacks who came after him.

The list of players with fewer career rushing yards than Vick includes some pretty good running backs, like Chuck Foreman, Joe Morris, Ronnie Brown, Reggie Bush, Natrone Means, Billy Sims and Mike Alstott. It even includes Hall of Fame running backs like Steve Van Buren, Hugh McElhenny, Lenny Moore, Ollie Matson, Gale Sayers, Marion Motley, Paul Hornung and Frank Gifford. Granted, those guys played in the old days, when offensive numbers were nothing close to what they are now, and most of them played both offense and defense. But Vick’s production running the ball really is special in NFL history. He’s the NFL’s all-time record holder in yards per attempt, with 7.05 yards per carry for his career.

Vick is past his prime now, and he’s playing out the end of his career on a lousy Jets team. But he still shows glimpses of the dynamic quarterback he once was. It was fun seeing him go to work on Sunday.

Was that the Seahawks or Tom Osborne’s Nebraska Cornhuskers? The Seahawks’ dominant win over the Giants featured the kind of ground attack you just don’t see in the pass-happy NFL anymore. Seattle ran for 350 yards and five touchdowns, the kind of numbers that we used to see in the days of the triple option dominating college football. No NFL team had managed 350 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns in the NFL since 1978. And Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson ran for 100 yards again, continuing an amazing year he’s having of making plays with his feet. Wilson now has three games this season of 100 or more yards rushing and 100 or more yards passing. How extraordinary is that? Consider this: In the entire decade of the 1980s, only one NFL player topped 100 yards rushing and 100 yards passing in the same game (Randall Cunningham in 1986). Wilson may be the closest thing to what the Falcons hoped Vick would be when they took him with the first overall pick in the 2001 NFL draft: A great quarterback who can beat you with his arm or his legs.

Odd stat of the day: Detroit’s Sam Martin became just the third player this century to have two complete passes and two punts in the same game. The Lions called two fake punts, and Martin completed passes on both of them, although only one of them picked up a first down. The only other punters in the last 15 years to do that are Johnny Hekker of the Rams, who pulled off two fakes in a tie game against the 49ers two years ago, and Chris Mohr of the Falcons, who did it to the Lions in 2004.

Your weekly reminder that Peyton Manning is incredible. Manning passed for 340 yards and five touchdowns Sunday at Oakland — and he didn’t even play in the fourth quarter. Manning now has nine five-touchdown games in his career, the most of any quarterback in NFL history. It’s going to be tough to find any record Manning doesn’t own by the time he’s done.

A big game for Dion Jordan. Jordan has looked like a disappointment since the Dolphins traded up to take him with the third overall pick in last year’s NFL draft. He managed just two sacks as a rookie, and this year his season started with a suspension for a failed drug test. But on Sunday he played very well against the Lions. Jordan picked up a blocked field goal and raced 58 yards to set up Miami’s only touchdown, and he also looked very good in pass coverage, at one point knocking a ball out of Calvin Johnson’s hands in the end zone. Jordan has undeniable talent, and on Sunday he looked like he was starting to put that talent together.

Dez Bryant is amazing. Bryant looked like a man among boys when running through the Jaguars’ secondary on Sunday in London, catching six passes for 158 yards and two touchdowns. With Calvin Johnson having missed half this season with a sprained ankle, Bryant has emerged as the most imposing threat in the NFL at the wide receiver position.

Lovie Smith is this year’s most disappointing coach. I didn’t think the Buccaneers were going to be good this season, but I did think the arrival of Smith would at least make them resemble a competent football team. Instead, Smith has done something I didn’t think was possible: He took over for Greg Schiano and did even worse. This Tampa Bay team, which lost 27-17 to Atlanta on Sunday, is absolutely awful.

Speaking of Schiano . . . I thought when Schiano was fired last year we were done seeing defensive players trying to blow up the victory formation. Apparently not.

Odell Beckham Jr. is a stud. Beckham, the Giants’ first-round draft pick, got his rookie season off to a slow start because of hamstring injuries. But now that he’s healthy, he’s an outstanding player. He burned Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman for a 44-yard catch on Sunday, and he finished the game with seven catches for 108 yards. He may be the best rookie in the NFL.

Will we ever be able to figure the NFL out? So many things don’t make any sense. The Browns are all alone in first place in the AFC North. Next week’s Lions-Cardinals game will be for the best record in the NFC. Nothing in the NFL is predictable, especially on a day when an offensive pass interference call wipes out a Hail Mary.

84 responses to “NFL morning after: A call that could change two teams’ seasons

  1. Bucs will be lucky to win another game with the schedule remaining. They are a very long way away from being legitimate contenders. Lovie was not a good hire but after Schiano they wanted safe and easy to sell to the fans, so they went with the nostalgia hire.

    What’s funniest is the Bucs were lauded for getting Lovie and the Lions mocked for getting Jim Caldwell. Whoops.

  2. “It’s going to be tough to find any record Manning doesn’t own by the time he’s done.” Including most one and dones, and the most overall playoff losses by a qb in NFL history.

  3. Lovie Smith…Disappointing?!? Seriously?!?

    As good as Lovie is at slowing down opponent’s offense, he can absolutely shut down his own offense…

    And it’s the big funky elephant in the room that no one in media is willing to address why he was propped up the way he was…

    This league is about retreads, and the Glazers stepped on the big banana and they should walk Lovie to the door when the exit music starts and let Licht hire/fire the coaches…

    Well, Greg Schiano, at least your stock is now recovering somewhat…

  4. What no paragraph on the chiefs and bills game that came down to the wire and may have playoff implications. Just encase u missed it chiefs won bills defense still looks amazing and I’m going to be really scared if they ever do figure out the qb situation.

  5. As far as the right call with regards to Graham, that’s a ridiculous statement…

    That play happens 99% of the time with no call…

    And the only reason why the refs had the courage to make that call is because it was the Saints and the refs didn’t have to worry about retaliation that they’d have faced in other NFL towns…

    Saints took it and rolled into the OT and let the 20mil Wonderboy who’s agent left nothing left to sign, improve the Offensive Line, promptly turn the ball over, again…

    Saints had their chances and lost it on more than one play, Kaepernick certainly didn’t want to win the game…

    But hand the 49er an Oscar, that was one of the best flops of the year…

  6. I hate the Saints, but to say they made the right call is ridiculous. That was a complete flop. The pass was perfect and the catch was perfect. This is what you WANT to see in the NFL. People making great plays. A penalty should not have wiped that out. The defensive player should not be rewarded for giving up on a play while the receiver MAKES the play. Absolutely ridiculous.

  7. The Seahawks’ dominant win over the Giants
    If not for the tipped int. I’m not sure the Hawks win the game.
    That int. was a momentum changer for the game, until that play the very depleted Giants was holding their own against a very overrated Seahawks team.

  8. How is that different than the call in Ravens-Bengals game? Had they not called that, Ravens would be in first place at 7-3. Much different than 6-4. Bengals would be 4-4-1 and in last place (where they probably belong).

  9. I can’t think of one record that Peyton Manning won’t on when he retires, most Superbowl wins by a quarterback.

  10. The rest of the football world thanks you !!!

    Because now, just maybe, there is a slight, glimmer of a chance…

    that the insufferable 49ers will stop whining and crying about every call in every minute of every game !!!!!

    Thank you for giving us that opportunity !!!

  11. I consider myself a defensive purist and even I felt that call was lousy. Graham was looking up at the ball the entire time and was just standard hand fighting. If that’s an OPI, so is every catch of Anquan Boldin’s career, because he’s always been too slow to get separation without pushing off or stiff arming a DB before the ball arrives, and he gets lauded for “being physical”.

  12. Um, this exact thing thing happened to the Ravens three weeks ago on a bomb from Flacco to Steve Smith to win the game against the Bengals. Except they called OPI. If I’m being objective, it was the correct call. But it’s not consistent, which drives fans mad. If you’re not going to call it the whole game, don’t call it at the end.

  13. It’s hard to feel sorry for the Saints getting a bad call when the main reason they even got to the Superbowl was because of terrible calls.

  14. Lovie’s a moron and doesn’t understand that the offense is not just what happens when your defense isn’t on the field…it’s literally the only reason you’re playing the game. Fire this moron before he embarrasses this franchise any further…

  15. Two refs threw flags at the same time on Graham. It was blatant.

    Dez Bryant displayed a determination to get in the end zone I haven’t seen in a long time. I wonder if he will keep it up, it was impressive.

  16. I challenge the fact that Graham should’ve been called. When someone flops to exaggerate the push off then it is nothing but a good acting job. It doesn’t automatically make it the right call by the officials and it clearly wasn’t the right call.

  17. Well, even if my Hawks don’t get home field throughout the NFC there is a pretty nice consolation. Playing the NFC title game at either the Cards or Lions– neither built for the playoffs and both scare noone.

  18. Hopefully the weather goes sour on Manning this year and he goes out in the first round of the playoffs. I can’t take all the stat bs. He’s great… but he just pounded the worst team in the nfl. Who cares?

  19. People do realize that these QB records will be dropping like flies again in a few years when the current crop of coddled QBs get the time in get the #s.

    Frankly, single season records will always amtter more than cumulative records of guys who play forever.

  20. Horrible call on graham and that just amplifies my feelings on NFL refs this season.Way too many wrong calls.
    They got 2 wrong in the Jets Steelers game as well,and with replay to help them.
    FIRE EM ALL AND START OVER.

  21. Just like the line that ‘you can call holding on any play’ ex-football players say that you can call ‘interference on any hail-Mary pass play.’ So, yes, it was surprising even if it was clearly the correct call. Best flop since the World Cup, too.

    “Your weekly reminder that Peyton Manning is incredible. Manning passed for 340 yards and five touchdowns Sunday at Oakland….”

    Sure, as long as he isn’t playing in bad weather, nor a playoff game against a formidable opponent.

  22. I keep waiting for the rug to get pulled out from under me but the Lions keep doing enough to win every week. Cardinals in Phoenix will be very tough even without Carson Palmer. Mad respect for the Cardinal’s team toughness.
    It’s still early, but Jim Caldwell and Bruce Arians could be playing for Coach of the Year honors on Sunday.

  23. It’s easy to “sell” a shove to the back that you’re not prepared to get. I’m not sure why people are implying a push from behind when you’re concentrating on the ball in the air is not enough to make a DB go down. Especially when the push is coming from such a big strong guy like Jimmy Graham.

    Graham can say what he wants. The tape doesn’t lie. He pushed off…and it sure looked like a sharp enough jab to knock someone down from behind… and the flag was legit.

  24. Concerning Vick: Did anyone else catch Heath Evans’ comment about Vick during the NFL Network’s highlight show? One commentator admiring Vick’s athletic ability, said that Vick might have to change his shoes after such a difficult run. Evans responded with “yeah, and change his ankle bracelet, too.” I’m so tired of Evans.

  25. Your weekly reminder that Peyton Manning is incredible. Manning passed for 340 yards and five touchdowns Sunday at Oakland — and he didn’t even play in the fourth quarter.

    ——————————————

    Rodgers had 6 TDs in 1 half against a team that has won 3 games, not against the last place team in the league.

    Rodgers did more in less time against a tougher team, but we need reminded that Manning had a good game against the worst team in the league.

  26. You should really mention how everyone thought parading Romo out there in London was a bad idea cause he has a broken back but went out and threw for 246 yards and 3 touchdowns with no pics… He even had the 68 yard bomb to Dez Bryant that traveled for about 40 yards through the air…

    Whether you like him or not you have to admit Romo is a freaking tough dude.

  27. So another couple of games with QBs throwing for 5-6 touchdowns per game this week, turning a rarity into commonplace.

    The NFL’s new emphasis on making it easier for offenses to pass only serves to allow good teams to beat up harder on the bad and the average.

    If I’m Peyton Manning or Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady, I’d be fighting those rules that will put an asterisk whatever records they set for TD passes from this year on. The QBs and the fans all know those numbers have been officially watered down to not mean quite so much anymore.

  28. How is that different than the call in Ravens-Bengals game? Had they not called that, Ravens would be in first place at 7-3. Much different than 6-4. Bengals would be 4-4-1 and in last place (where they probably belong).

    Bengals fan here, why probably? They are awful.

  29. It was the correct call.Not even close..Cox was getting ready to jump and thats why it looked like a flop..Graham’s fill of crap..great call and correct call by the official.

  30. Bad call in niners game. Can you remember the last time you saw a ref call a DEFENSIVE pass interference on a hail mary? Doesnt happen…we would have many more memories of a final play of first and goal from the 1. If youre going to let them play and swallow the whistles in honor of the hail mary…then let BOTH side of the ball play.

  31. keep continuing to dismiss the browns. then it will be that much greater when we take care of business and start winning divisions and playoff games…afc north look out.

  32. the PI call on Graham was obvious to me. hes right he didnt push off. he just shoved the guy to the ground.

  33. ufanforreal says: Nov 10, 2014 7:24 AM

    The Seahawks’ dominant win over the Giants
    If not for the tipped int. I’m not sure the Hawks win the game.
    That int. was a momentum changer for the game, until that play the very depleted Giants was holding their own against a very overrated Seahawks team.

    ===========

    Good point.

    Hawks win only because of that 17 pt int. Or was it the 500 yards of int offense? Or the 350 yards and five TDs of int rushing yards?

    Yes. A nail biter.

  34. Shocker, Graham lied about being a WR (or, if you think he should have been classified as such, he spent years lying about being a TE), and now he’s lying about pushing off.

    Dude…the film doesn’t lie.

  35. For those Payton Manning haters out there, he has played in more Super Bowls than Bret Farve or Dan Marino.

  36. adrianpeterson28 says:
    Nov 10, 2014 7:38 AM
    The NFL will continue to be king in the US because of the unpredictability and parity across the league. Before the season starts everyone is hopeful that it’s their year.
    —-

    The NFL will continue to be the sports team in the US because its cramming football down American’s throats (Thurs, Sunday and Monday), rule changes that emphasize the same games seen in Arena football that recruits fans who don’t know crap about the game, and the propping up of large market teams & sponsorship gathering players. for higher TV ratings.

    Every week the product on the field is a combination of mediocrity and poor officiating, or a prima donna with a clean jersey throwing 400 yards and 5 TD’s.

    Let’s not even go into the off-field color.

    Here’s to the “King”.

  37. For those Payton Manning haters out there, he has played in more Super Bowls than Bret Farve or Dan Marino.

    ***************************************

    But not Tom Brady.

  38. Randall Cunningham paved the way for Michael Vick in the 80’s. So hard for me to believe what bloggers publish these days. Completely ignorant of the history of the subject they write about. And they do it shamelessly.

  39. Wilson now has three games this season of 100 or more yards rushing and 100 or more yards passing. How extraordinary is that?
    —————————————————
    Considering it’s a well known fact that it’s easier to pass now more than ever, that stat isn’t impressive at all. The rushing numbers are impressive for a QB, but that’s not setting the bar very high for passing numbers. Not to mention, the great ones have long careers. Is Wilson going to be able to have 100 yard games when he’s 35? That’s why I’d rather have a QB with a stat line of 24-30 300 yards, 0 rushing yards.

  40. A Few Random Thoughts:
    1. Oh, no, please not the Saints! As soon as I saw that flag on Graham, I began cheering as hard as I could for the Saints to win…because I knew we would have to endure another woe-is-me, “why is the NFL against us” conspiracy theory whining from them Saints.

    2. I concur with uncletuna’s comments re: Lovie

    3. While Odell Beckham is undeniably awesome, slow down on the ROY thoughts. Jarvis Landry is overall is having a much, much better season. BOTH returning kicks AND now receiving.

    4. Congratulations to Michael Vick. However, I can’t help thinking “what might have been” if not for the marijuana and dogs and et. al.

  41. Graham claiming that defensive backs are able to get away with unlimited contact while the offensive player can’t lay “two fingers” on the defender is quite possibly the most hilarious statement of the year.

  42. Richard Sherman is overrated. The only team that didn’t throw to him this year was the Packers and that was in Week 1. He’s not a press DB. His game is zone with a safety over the top.

    I wouldn’t say Vick inspired the current crop of running QBs. I would go with Steve Young.

    Too bad Odell is playing on a bad Giants team. He is a stud.

    I don’t see how Lynch and the Seattle part ways. Who else do they have to run or catch the ball?

  43. Last year a Drew Bree’s fumble that was called a hit to the head when Bree’s ducked, cost the Niners home field advantage in the playoffs…REDEMPTION

  44. ufanforreal says: Nov 10, 2014 7:24 AM

    The Seahawks’ dominant win over the Giants
    If not for the tipped int. I’m not sure the Hawks win the game.
    That int. was a momentum changer for the game, until that play the very depleted Giants was holding their own against a very overrated Seahawks team.

    ———————————————————-

    The interception was definitely a momentum and game changer. And yes, up until that point, the Giants were in the game. Unfortunately, these are exactly the kind of breaks teams look for to change the course of the game to their favor. This Giants team is not built to overcome any mistake and injuries on both sides of the ball is not helping the cause. It’s hard to watch them flounder (again!) and waste another season.

  45. NFL fans need a site that documents blown calls. It is our nature to be fine when things go in our favor but outraged when its against us. We need a site that documents all of these HUGE blown calls. It makes me think these games are being fixed. I can name about 10 calls that have occurred in Ram games alone that make me very skeptical about the officiating.

  46. notrelated says:
    Nov 10, 2014 7:17 AM
    I hate the Saints, but to say they made the right call is ridiculous. That was a complete flop. The pass was perfect and the catch was perfect. This is what you WANT to see in the NFL. People making great plays. A penalty should not have wiped that out. The defensive player should not be rewarded for giving up on a play while the receiver MAKES the play. Absolutely ridiculous.
    ——————————-

    No, it’s not. Did you actually watch the video? He clearly and unequivocally pushed off. Is that called all the time? No. But it was clear as day, especially on replay. You’re just whining because your team lost. If you won, you’d be talking about how it was a tough but fair call.

  47. Another reason why I will always continue to favor rugby over football. In rugby, the rules are applied with common sense. If you commit something that would otherwise be an infraction, the referee is not compelled to call it unless it effects the outcome of the play. For example, if a player is offsides (which in rugby can occur while play is ongoing) the ref, even if he sees it, won’t call a penalty until or unless the player becomes involved in the play. In fact, many times I have had a ref TELL me I was offsides and warn me not to play the ball.

    Yes, technically Graham pushed off. It is NOT the reason he caught the ball, and Cox would NOT have been in a position to make the play even if Graham hadn’t touched him.

    If common sense was actually a thing in the NFL, the ref would have kept the flag in his pocket.

  48. The Raiders picked Peyton off repeatedly and I’m pretty sure most of them didn’t learn to play football until sometime on Saturday.

  49. No push off. See SB40 push off call against DJack..BS. As a Hawks fan I see the refs as a joke in the NFL. From the Fail Mary ( I agree we shouldn’t have won) to this call the refs give the players no rules to count on. The refs just do whatever whenever. Let the guys play the game. it seems like every time there is a play in this league we find ourselves looking the flag before we can even enjoy or for Gods sake cheer our team. That tells me the refs need to be full time employees not part time like they have always been.

  50. If the media felt Lovie was going to be so bad, why didn’t they say so when he was hired?

    Tampa fans got their hopes up and again they were dashed to the ground.

    Maybe they really were better off with Schiano. The certainly didn’t have the discipline problems. Anyone see their idiot rookie show off after he scored a touchdown, only to have the Falcons go right down the filed for a touchdown when Hester ran with the kickoff from other than from behind the goal line.

    Who’s minding the store down there? Would guess it’s not Lovie.

  51. @uncletuna says: Nov 10, 2014 7:12 AM

    As far as the right call with regards to Graham, that’s a ridiculous statement…

    That play happens 99% of the time with no call…

    —————————————————

    It was the correct call and if the refs don’t make that call 99% of the time then they shouldn’t be officials. When are fans and media morons going to stop making stupid statements like let them play the game, well the game has rules and if a rule is violated then the refs should make the call if it is correct regardless of the outcome.

  52. The flop heard around the world means very little now. Regardless the Saints will still have a playoff game at home and the whiners will be on the couch looking for a head coach.

  53. Why is this even an article?!?!

    Jimmy Graham extended BOTH arms and pushed him. Enough said.

    If what JG did was legal than QBs would throw for 800 yards and 6 TDs a game every week. Lol, heck, why even run the ball?

    Poetic justice for us 49er fans how we lost to the Saints last year. Poetic justice.

  54. It was a correct call against the Saints. All of sudden people want the refs to swallow the whistle? How about not having refs at all. Refs are there to make calls. Just because they did not make a call earlier in the game does not give them the right to stop making the correct call. How in God’s green earth do you think a Ref, in real time, can determine if a player flopped if another player pushes of or extends his hand? That would be like me turning around and seeing a player at the end of a swinging motion and the other player ducking and falling backwards to the ground. I would assume the other was hit even though i did not see the actual hit. Hand fight amongst receivers and DB’s are common place, but the DB was still running and Graham is clearing touching the DB and extending his arms in a push off position. If the DB is running fast speed forward, how did he end up on his back? Furthermore, if Graham is that good, why even extend his arms..to get a better position to catch the ball? Look, I don’t care what team it is, Refs have to make the correct call and they did on this one, and I dont care what they called or did not call earlier in the game.

  55. I watched Bechham play yesterday and he looked very good. I’d say just about as good as Sammy Watkins has looked this season. Good thing Doug Whaley gave away 2 first round picks to get Sammy (when we could have had Beckham without giving away anything).

  56. “He’s the NFL’s all-time record holder in yards per attempt, with 7.05 yards per carry for his career.”

    How can any reputable NFL “expert” even compare a RBs yards to a QBs. When a RB gets a handoff there are 11 men between him and the end-zone and at least 7 of them are looking right at him. When a QB decides to run there are only a few guys even looking his way and the rest are 10 to 30 yards downfield and running away from him.

  57. Graham pushed off – there is no doubt. I hate when fans complain that a foul THAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED gets called. The refs should call EVERY SINGLE PENALTY they see regardless of the game situation.

  58. Lovie Smith is this year’s most disappointing coach? Perhaps Tampa would be happier with Marc Trestman?

    What!? Trestman at least has 3 wins, Lovie may not make it to two…just saying…

  59. How about adding James Jones to odd stat of the day. How do you catch 8 passes for only 20 yards? That’s got to be historically bad.

  60. “No NFL team had managed 350 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns in the NFL since 1978.”

    In 2004, the Chiefs put up ~290 yds and EIGHT rushing touchdowns on the Atlanta Falcons.

    Not quite 350, but they didn’t need em.

  61. “I’m running down the field telling myself, ‘Whatever you do, don’t push off.’

    Next time you run down the field, tell yourself:
    Be HONEST and ADMIT your MISTAKES !!
    …….and DON’T BE SUCH A CRYBABY !!

  62. What goes around … comes around.
    The 49ers have been getting bad calls going against them all season long … its only fair they get one in return.
    Seriously the game went into OT and the Saints got the ball first … they got their chance to win but blew it in OT.

  63. tattooit says: Nov 10, 2014 9:17 AM

    For those Payton Manning haters out there, he has played in more Super Bowls than Bret Farve or Dan Marino.

    ***************************************

    But not Tom Brady.

    +++++++++++++

    Nor such other better QBs as Roger Staubach and Joe Montana

  64. Yes Richard Sherman got beat for several significant gains, but then made the tip for the interception in the end zone for the momentum changer. Every DB gets beat, but few tip the ball right to Earl Thomas at a crucial time. Russell Wilson’s day was pretty pedestrian really, with two int’s, but the Giants never failed to get sucked in on the read option so he could run again and again. That’s because Marshawn Lynch was pounding them inside throughout the game. Anyone watching would say this was Lynch’s victory, but as usual he gets no attention in articles like this. His “old school” style is the most entertaining in the pass happy NFL.

  65. NFL morning after: A call that could change two teams’ seasons
    ——————————————————-
    Not surprising, considering the refs extended the 49ers’ 1998 season with the Jerry Rice non-fumble call.

  66. It was a correct call, Cox really sold it, but it was offensive pass interference.

    If you had to bet on one of these teams making the playoffs this year, I would still favor the Saints, who might win the NFC South with a 7-9 record. I think 8-8 takes the South easily. If somehow Carolina gets “hot” they might finish the season at 7-8-1 and win the South with that record.

    Saints should have been playing for a tie in OT, it would have really been a whole lot better than a loss, given that Carolina already has a tie.

  67. A lot of people are claiming Cox flopped. I’m guessing most of those people never played a down of football. So think – it’s the last play of the game. You’re Cox. You have Jimmy Graham running next to you. You know refs NEVER call pass interference on the Hail Marys (thank you, Roger Staubach!). So that option is not on your mind. You know you have to do anything to keep Graham from catching that ball. You feel the gentle touch of hands on your shoulder (while flying down the field at about 15 mph). Even though you are in a pack of about 6 guys, 3 of them your teammates, and you are looking back at the football approaching, you are absolutely sure it’s Graham’s hands. Now you immediately change your strategy? Decide to give up on stopping the ball from getting to Graham? Decide to take a dive? I don’t think so. Not me. Not in that situation. Not with those odds. I’m going to go for making the play. I’m going to go for breaking up the pass.

    Instead, Graham actually pushed Cox off. Now, once Cox goes flying and is out of the play, does he maybe sell it? Probably. But after the penalty has already been committed.

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