Did the New England Patriots receive some major help from an official on the final play of their win over the New York Jets on Thursday night? It certainly looks like a referee helped the Pats avoid a penalty just before they blocked Nick Folk’s 58-yard-field goal attempt to seal a 27-25 victory.
When New England lined up in its kick block formation, linebacker Dont’a Hightower approached the line of scrimmage and was standing over Jets long snapper Tanner Purdum. Standing over the long snapper on a field goal attempt is illegal and results in a 5-yard illegal formation penalty. So why wasn’t it called?
An official stepped in and grabbed Hightower by the arm, clearly telling him to move over. As Dom Cosentino of NJ.com noted, this wasn’t a case of a player asking an official if he was on the line of scrimmage. The ref stepped in and physically moved Hightower so he wouldn’t be flagged.
Just like last season, we have a controversy involving a game-ending field goal attempt between the Jets and Patriots. If you remember, the Patriots were flagged for breaking a new rule last year when then-rookie Chris Jones — the same player who blocked Folk’s 58-yard attempt on Thursday — was called for unsportsmanlike conduct for stacking behind a teammate and pushing him into a Jets lineman. It was later revealed that the Jets did the exact same thing on a field goal attempt earlier in the game and the NFL admitted it should have been called.
Even if the official didn’t help Hightower and New England was assessed a 5-yard penalty, there’s no guarantee Folk would have made the 53-yard kick. But it would have given New York a second chance, and it’s certainly something Jets fans aren’t going to be happy about.
UPDATE: Moving players off the long snapper is apparently common practice in the NFL. Here are some examples of other officials doing the same thing.
Video via Ben Volin
The St. Louis Cardinals saw their season end Thursday night with their top two relievers still in the bullpen while a guy who hadn’t pitched in a month gave up a walk, single and walk-off 3-run home run.
It wasn’t exactly Mike Matheny’s finest hour as a manager.
But what will infuriate most enlightened baseball fans is Matheny’s reasoning for not using his closer — which is by definition the best reliever in a given team’s bullpen — during the game. Here was his logic:
“We can’t bring [closer Trevor Rosenthal] in, in a tie-game situation. We’re on the road,” Matheny said of not using Rosenthal, via the St. Louis Post Dispatch’s Bernie Miklasz.
Here’s our response to that line of thinking:
— A Boy Named Sue (@greggorox) October 17, 2014
Nope, I’m not going to put in my best reliever to try keeping the opposing team off the board to give my offense another chance to win it because I’m too concerned with making sure our best guy is around in the case we get the lead.
This is an issue of ABCs, Matheny. You have to pass through A and B before jumping to C, bro. Why don’t you worry about who gives you the best chance of shutting down the Giants’ 4-5-6 hitters first?
Maybe he didn’t realize it was an elimination game.
Not only did Matheny not use Rosenthal because it was a tie game, but he also opted for Michael Wacha, who hadn’t pitched since Sept. 26 and has been hampered by a shoulder injury. Unsurprisingly, Wacha struggled. Matheny still had Seth Maness, who only had given up 5 hits and no runs in 5.2 innings this postseason, and Carlos Martinez. I understand not bringing in a lefty like Marco Gonzales or Randy Choate to face Pablo Sandoval, Brandon Belt and Ishikawa, since both of those pitchers had struggled. But who wants to see their season end with better options still left in the bullpen? That’s just poor managing.
Madison Bumgarner was up to his familiar tricks after helping pitch the Giants to the NL pennant and winning NLCS MVP in the process.
After the Giants won Game 5 6-3 on a 3-run walk-off home run by Travis Ishikawa, Bumgarner celebrated by guzzling six beers at the same time. He has now upped his count by one each series after starting the wild-card round with four.
Like we said before, we can’t wait to see how he does seven. Apparently he’s not sure how he will either:
MadBum on beers: "I did six, I don't know if I can hold any more than that. I had to keep it going though, because we seem to keep winning."
— Mike Oz (@mikeoz) October 17, 2014
Check that, I don’t want the Giants winning another World Series; I’ll settle with this and just imagine how glorious seven would look.
And for those wondering if that’s really six, here’s the view:
The San Francisco Giants hit three home runs during game 5 of the NLCS. The final one, off the bat of Travis Ishikawa, sent them to the World Series to face the Kansas City Royals.
The Giants tied the game in the bottom of the eighth inning thanks to a home run by pinch hitter Michael Morse. They then escaped a bases loaded, two-out jam in the top of the ninth when Oscar Taveras grounded out to pitcher Jeremy Affeldt for the third out, setting the stage for the bottom of the inning.
Pablo Sandoval led off the San Francisco half of the ninth with a single. Hunter Pence followed with a fly out. Brandon Belt drew a walk, bringing Travis Ishikawa to the plate, who hit the series-winning three-run home run on the third pitch he saw from Michael Wacha.
It’s perhaps fitting Ishikawa ended up being the hero because he misplayed a ball hit by Jon Jay in the third inning that led to the opening run of the game.
With the Giants and Royals advancing to the World Series, we have a matchup between the winners of both wild card games. For the Giants, it will be their third World Series appearance in the past five years. The Royals will be making their first trip since 1985.
Buster Posey’s adorable baby son stole the show during the postgame interviews after the San Francisco Giants beat the St. Louis Cardinals 6-3 Thursday with a walk-off 3-run home run by Travis Ishikawa that sent the team to the World Series.
Posey was invited to the podium to conduct an interview with FOX Sports’ Erin Andrews and was holding his baby son in his arms. Though Posey’s son, Lee, was initially shy, the little kid interrupted one of Buster’s answers. When baby Lee was done speaking his gibberish, Andrews decided to conclude the interview. It was probably a wise idea.
Someone found baby Lee’s interruption to be hilarious:
Posey’s wife Kristen gave birth to twins — Lee and daughter Addison — on Aug. 15, 2011. We’re guessing Addison left the talking to her brother.
Tom Brady was accused of a flop against the Jets on Thursday night, but was he flopping on the play, or did his foot get stepped on, causing him to fall down?
This video went viral and it shows what looks like Brady taking a dive in a delayed reaction after some contact from a Jets player. Brady certainly isn’t above trying to act/complain to a ref for a flag, but it looked to me like he fell because a teammate stepped on his foot:
Now if you’re going to tell me that Brady flopped because he thought a Jets player had stepped on him, then I can believe that, but I don’t think he was flopping because of his contact a second earlier with Leger Douzable.
The subject of college players being paid for signing autographs over the past year. Last year, Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel was suspended for half a game after a lengthy “scandal” over accusations he was paid thousands of dollars to sign autographs. Last week Georgia star running back Todd Gurley was suspended indefinitely for allegedly accepting $400 to sign some memorabilia. Now Jameis Winston is being scrutinized for seemingly selling his autographs like Gurley.
Garcia joined “The Mac Attack” show on WFNZ in Charlotte and said the practice is commonplace.
“I saw it all day, every day,” Garcia said on The Mac Attack show on WFNZ in Charlotte on Thursday. “I wish it would have came to me, but they thought of me as some rich white kid so I didn’t really get a whole lot of benefits from that.”
Garcia’s “all day, every day” comment was an exaggeration, but his point was well received. He later tweeted to clarify that portion.
For the record, because clearly it was a damn exaggeration, it wasn't all day every day. My God people. And I didn't mention anyone,anywhere
— Stephen Garcia (@StephenGarcia) October 16, 2014
However, Garcia was not shy about sharing the truth of the matter.
“I mean, I’m just being honest with you, and that’s what it is. I saw it firsthand with a lot of players. I am friends with a lot of guys around the SEC and some of the stories they tell me, it makes the Todd Gurley thing seem insignificant by a long shot.”
Garcia said he never personally accepted money because it was never offered to him, but he would have if presented with the opportunity.
“I don’t know any person who would not take free money,” he said. “I think it’s absolutely ridiculous that these kids can’t profit from their names, their likeness, and sign their name on their own jersey. I don’t understand that and I really hope that rule is changed. It’s mind-boggling to me, to be honest with you.”
The most Garcia heard of someone getting is $160,000 for a season of autographs and stuff. Garcia also said he believes players are already getting paid a significant amount of money to sign with a school, so the argument that allowing players to sign autographs for money could lead to corrupt recruiting is moot in his eyes.
Garcia, who underachieved during his time in South Carolina and was often in trouble with Steve Spurrier, received so much attention for his comments that he had to address them via Twitter.
Man, that was blown way the hell out of proportion. Everyone calmmmmmm down
— Stephen Garcia (@StephenGarcia) October 16, 2014
I was asked a question and gave a honest answer. Sorry for not lying folks.
— Stephen Garcia (@StephenGarcia) October 16, 2014
We appreciate your honesty, Stephen. The only thing people need to realize is that the “all day, every day” part was an exaggeration. Otherwise the rest definitely is a reflection of reality.
Transcription via AL.com
- Stephen Garcia
Cutler has been viewed as a gunslinger with a rocket arm since he came into the league. He can fit a football in the tightest of windows and air it down the field with the best of them. However, Cutler has been prone to interceptions, like the 26 he tossed in 2009.
Romo lives under the brightest of microscopes. It comes with the territory of being the quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys. For all of the gaudy statistics he puts up, Romo seems almost cursed with an unenviable knack of committing a turnover at the worst possible time.
On Thursday, the two were put in the same sentence by former signal caller Donovan McNabb. While a guest on the Kap and Haugh Show on 87.7 FM, McNabb likened Jay Cutler to Romo in a less than flattering way.
“He’s the Tony Romo of the Midwest,” McNabb said via the Chicago Sun-Times. “We can talk about arm talent, we can talk about being able to throw a ball through a wall. He can put up 280, 340 yards passing, but you look across the board he’s got two interceptions in a game that cost them 14 points or so. That hurts a football team.”
McNabb went on to talk about quarterbacks being judged on their postseason success and took a shot at Cutler not being able to lead the teams he’s been on to the playoffs.
“Then the question is why? Because you’re so talented, the potential is there, but why haven’t you been able to do it? You can only say for so long that it’s been the talent. They have some talent around Cutler, that’s never been the issue. Now can you put it all together? To be honest, the answer is no.”
During his career, McNabb posted a 9-7 playoff record (including a trip to Super Bowl XXXIX) so you could say he’s qualified to speak on the subject.
Jay Cutler and Tony Romo are clearly two of the more talented quarterbacks in the NFL. However, the position is judged by what you do in the playoffs, whether that’s fair or not. Donovan McNabb certainly isn’t the first to say that and won’t be the last. Until Cutler and Romo start to pile up wins after the regular season, they will likely continue to be lumped into the group of quarterbacks who are good but good enough to consistently take their teams to the promised land.
H/T Eye On Football
Shane Vereen paid tribute to Stevan Ridley by doing his teammate’s touchdown celebration after scoring in the first quarter of Thursday night’s game between the New England Patriots and New York Jets.
Ridley suffered a season-ending knee injury last weekend, leaving Vereen and Jonas Gray as his temporary replacements. Vereen made a beautiful diving catch for a 49-yard touchdown 1:29 into the game and then celebrated by building a wall and pretending to kick it down.
Vereen also caught a touchdown pass in the second quarter to make him the team leader in rushing and receiving.
With Ridley out, the Pats went pass-heavy in the first half against the Jets, throwing 12 times and rushing just five.
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Nick Young will be sidelined for a while due to a thumb injury he suffered trying to guard Kobe Bryant during practice. So, the Lakers guard decided to pass the time recently by leading a bus full of tourists through Hollywood.
This seems like more fun than being involved in a Twitter war between Iggy Azalea and Snoop Lion.
Strangely, I actually believe Young when he said he’s always wanted to do this. Like he said, “No other than Swaggy P to set it off in Hollywood.”
As entertaining as Nick Young might be leading tours, it still doesn’t compare to him hoisting shots from any and everywhere in Staples Center with reactions like this.
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- Nick Young