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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

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Giants lose to Steelers despite help from referees on questionable calls

The NFL replacement referees have not been around for over a month, but you wouldn’t have been able to tell that watching Sunday’s Pittsburgh Steelers-New York Giants game.

The Steelers overcame at least two bad calls from the officials to beat the Giants 24-20.

In the second quarter, the Giants were down 7-0 and had a third-and-goal from the two. Eli Manning scrambled after not being able to find anything in the end zone, and then he fired for Victor Cruz. The ball was nearly intercepted by Steelers CB Ike Taylor, who stepped in front of Cruz. Safety Ryan Clark came across and crushed Cruz, laying him out with a shoulder-first hit. Clark was penalized for a personal foul after the officials say he hit Cruz in the head. Replays showed that he led with his shoulder.

FOX NFL rules analyst Mike Pereira disagreed with the call. “That is not a blow to the head and not a foul. Pass had not even hit the ground yet,” he wrote on Twitter.

Instead of having a fourth-and-goal from the two, the Giants were first-and-goal from the one and scored on the next play. That was a four-point difference.

The Giants benefited from another questionable call a few plays later.

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DeAngelo Williams, Cam Newton ticked Redskins made Panthers ‘homecoming’ game

Teams generally schedule an opponent they think they’re going to beat for their homecoming game, that way they can look good in front of fans they want to impress. That point was not lost on Carolina Panthers players DeAngelo Williams and Cam Newton.

Williams said after the Panthers beat the Redskins 21-13 that he was pretty upset when he woke up Sunday morning and saw that Washington dubbed the matchup with Carolina a “homecoming” game.

“I get over and I pick over the game day [program], and I’m looking at the [program], it’s customary,” Williams said, per D.C. Sports Bog. “And I look on there and it says homecoming. And I’m thinking to myself, like, this is the National Football League. Are you serious? Homecoming? Homecoming.

“And it’s not like you tried to hide it. You blatantly put it on the front of the game day. And you’re talking about somebody fired up today? I was pissed.”

Williams says he mentioned the slight during the team’s pregame meeting and that the entire squad was fired up by it.

“It was the whole team,” said Williams. “It was the whole team. That was definitely motivating. I mean, you don’t say you’re gonna have a homecoming in the National Football League. I mean, you do it in college. It’s [against] one of those teams that’s just terrible. You don’t book a good team for homecoming….I don’t know if they had a dance or anything; I just know you don’t give a team extra motivation by putting that on your program, just blatantly coming out and saying you’re our homecoming game.”

After the game, Cam Newton seemed to indicate he felt the same way.

According to FOX’s A.J. Perez, Newton said it was “embarrassing” to be the Redskins’ homecoming opponent.

Maybe that was the type of motivation Carolina needed. They won the game 21-13 and beat the Redskins well enough to make Mike Shanahan practically give up on the season.

The Redskins had more than 150 former players back for the game, and they honored the franchise’s top 80 players. The best way to cap a day like that? With a big fat L. Williams and Newton probably couldn’t have been happier to hang it on them.

Mike Shanahan giving up on the season?

You can call him a realist or you can call him a pessimist, but no matter how you look at Mike Shanahan’s comments, Redskins fans have to be left disappointed.

The Redskins lost at home to the Panthers on Sunday 21-13 to drop to 3-6 on the season. Leading up to the game, coach Mike Shanahan labeled the contest as a “must-win” game. He all but threw in the towel on the 2012 NFL season with his postgame comments.

“Now you’re playing to see who obviously is going to be on your football team for years to come. Now we get a chance to evaluate players and see where we’re at. Obviously, we’re not out of it statistically, but now we find out what type of character we’ve got and how guys keep on fighting through the rest of the season,” Shanahan said after the game, via The Washington Post.

Now you’re playing to see who will be on team in years to come? Jeeze Mike. I’m not an expert, but aren’t you guys just 3-6 and not 0-9? Is a 6-1 finish that far out of the question? And even if you think it is, is that something you should be saying publicly?

If the coach is saying they’re just going to be evaluating the rest of the season, you know, like the way they evaluate players during the preseason, then why should fans show up to the games?

Maybe Shanny is admitting the truth about his team this year — and with Robert Griffin III at quarterback, the team’s future seems bright — but why say that to the fans and media? What good does that serve?

Phil Dawson trended on Twitter because the Browns can’t score a touchdown

Having a reliable kicker is a high priority for NFL teams. In fact, kickers can be the difference between teams winning and losing many games each season. But if your kicker is your team’s star player, you’re in trouble.

The Cleveland Browns found that out on Sunday.

Browns kicker Phil Dawson became a trending topic on Twitter during the team’s 25-15 loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday while going 5-for-5 on field goal attempts. Though it’s great that Dawson, who has made all 12 of his attempts this season, is doing what he can to help the team, Cleveland’s inability to get the ball in the end zone is a major problem.

Cleveland put together 290 yards of offense against the Ravens. They had 174 passing yards and 116 rushing yards in the game, and they slightly out-gained the Ravens. But their drives stalled at the 11 twice, the 14, the 15, and the 23. They entered the game 25th in the NFL in scoring.

It’s a good sign that the offense, led by rookie Brandon Weeden, was able to score on three straight drives, but they need to finish them with touchdowns, not field goals. Baltimore is without linebacker Ray Lewis and cornerback Lardardius Webb. They still have some good playmakers on defense, but if Cleveland wants to ascend in the division, they have to take that next step.

Phil Dawson is a good kicker, but he’s not a name Browns fans want to keep seeing in the box score.

Referee’s mic left on in Dolphins-Colts game produces G-damnit moment

Referee Tony Corrente’s microphone was left on during the Miami Dolphins-Indianapolis Colts game on Sunday, leading to an embarrassing moment while he and his crew members were discussing a call.

With 5:22 left in the game, the Colts were flagged for having 12 men on the field. The referees were discussing where to spot the ball, and one official yelled, “What the f— are you guys doing?” while Corrente’s mic was live. The crowd heard it, but those on TV did not.

On TV, a big “god damnit” was let out over the airwaves. Thankfully we had Kevin Harlan to apologize for us hearing the ref swear. Forbid our virgin ears from listening to something like that!

Video via @cjzero

Jeremiah Trotter tells Jason Babin to stop worrying about ‘vile’ Eagles fans

Jeremiah Trotter took aim at Jason Babin for complaining about the lack of support from Eagles fans.

Babin, who is in his third season with Philadelphia, ripped Eagles fans for being disloyal and chanting “vile things” during the team’s home loss to the Falcons last weekend.

Trotter played eight seasons with the Eagles over three different stints. He thrived as a member of the organization, reaching the Pro Bowl four times during his career — all when he was with Philly. As a player who was successful with the team, he felt the need to set Babin straight.

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Patrick Willis: It’s 49ers’ destiny to reach Super Bowl

The 49ers were a win short of reaching the Super Bowl last season, and Patrick Willis believes they will make it there this season.

The five-time Pro Bowl linebacker told our friend Stiletto Jill that it’s San Francisco’s destiny to play in the Super Bowl this season.

“The only thing stopping us is ourselves,” Willis told Stiletto Jill during the week. “We have the talent, It’s our destiny to be there. We have the coach. It’s just us in that locker room.”

The 49ers won the NFC West with a 13-3 record last season. After getting a first-round bye in the playoffs, they beat the Saints at home before losing to the eventual Super Bowl champion Giants.

The Niners are 6-2 this season and have lost at Minnesota and at home to the Giants. Though their defense is the top-ranked unit in the league, the 26-3 loss to the Giants proves that they still have a long ways to go in order to reach the big game in February. The Bears and Falcons probably will have a big say about whether San Francisco reaches their destiny.

Sorry to break it to you, Willis, but I think one of a few teams are going to keep you from reaching the Super Bowl.

Wizards beer ad briefly features 19-year-old Bradley Beal (Picture)

Those of you in the D.C. area who enjoy having a few beers before watching your favorite team play were treated to a great special from the Washington Wizards on Saturday night. As you can see from the advertisement above, the Wizards were running a promotion where $25 got you a ticket and access to $2 Budweisers for several hours before Washington’s game against the Boston Celtics.

Sarah Kogod of D.C. Sports Bog pointed out that there was one small issue with the original advertisement. The player who was used to promote the “Bar Tour” was 19-year-old Bradley Beal. If he’s not old enough to drink himself, he probably shouldn’t be used to help the team sell $2 beers. The Wizards quickly realized this and had him removed from the ad, which they said was created by partner company TiqIQ.

Fortunately for the Wizards, $2 beers at a sporting event sell themselves. I highly doubt the 19-year-old persuaded anyone.

Monty Williams rips NBA concussion policy for keeping Anthony Davis out

Anthony Davis has been unable to travel with the New Orleans Hornets this weekend after he was inadvertently elbowed in the head by teammate Austin Rivers during Friday’s win over the Utah Jazz. This has annoyed Hornets coach Monty Williams, because Davis supposedly feels fine but has to undergo a series of tests before he is cleared to return to the team, per NBA policy.

Before Saturday’s game against the Chicago Bulls, Williams ripped the league for its concussion policy.

“Now, they treat everybody like they have white gloves and pink drawers and it’s getting old,” Williams said according to the Miami Herald. “It’s just the way the league is now. It’s a man’s game. They’re treating these guys like they’re 5 years old. He desperately wanted to come (to Chicago), but he couldn’t make it.”

Like the NFL, the NBA is also working to counter the long-term effects of concussions by taking precautions such as administering tests. But according to Williams, the NBA is not the NFL.

“I’m not saying I don’t like (the policy),” he explained. “We’ve got to protect the players, but I think the players should have more say-so in how they feel. I’m sure I had four or five concussions when I played, and it didn’t bother me. The NBA is doing what’s necessary to protect the players, but this is not the NFL. You don’t get hit in the head that much. I understand it. But as a coach, I’m a baby about it. I want my guys ready to play.”

While Williams is right that Davis and other NBA players are grown men who can take care of themselves (for the most part), professional athletes have been known to admit that they play through concussions. NFL players even joke about fudging the sideline tests during games, so the NBA is trying to avoid that type of problem.

The more precautions the league takes with concussions, the less players wind up with poor quality of life when they retire. Oh yeah, and less lawsuits.

Photo credit: Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE

Bobby Hebert reportedly ejected from press box for loudly cheering for LSU

Saturday night’s game between Alabama and LSU was everything it was hyped up to be and more, as Nick Saban’s team further proved that they are the best team in the nation by pulling off a fourth quarter comeback on the road. The game had fans on the edge of their seats, but none more than radio host and notorious LSU supporter Bobby Hebert.

According to Jeff Duncan of The Times-Picayune, Hebert was ejected from the press box for cheering LSU too enthusiastically.

“An LSU spokesman said Hebert was warned repeatedly that his cheering was creating a disturbance,” Duncan wrote on Twitter Saturday night. “He was removed by security in the (fourth quarter).”

Those of us who are familiar with Hebert’s history are not even a tiny bit surprised by this news. The former Saints and Falcons quarterback is a huge LSU fan. His son, center T. Bob Hebert, played for the Tigers last season. He has a history of acting unprofessionally and not being able to remain objective, as evidenced by this epic rant he went on during Les Miles’ press conference after the BCS National Championship Game last season.

Those who sit in the press box are supposed to make an effort to remain neutral. Some cheering, moaning and groaning is to be expected, but I’m sure Hebert took it to the next level.

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