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#pounditSunday, October 2, 2022

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Look: Patriots got away with delay of game on key TD against Packers

Patriots get away with delay of game

New England Patriots quarterback Bailey Zappe threw the first touchdown pass of his career in Sunday’s game against the Green Bay Packers, and the rookie got a huge assist from the officiating crew on the play.

Zappe found a wide-open DeVante Parker for a 25-yard touchdown pass late in the third quarter to give the Patriots a 17-14 lead. The play should not have counted, however. As you can see from the video below, the play clock had expired when the ball was snapped. It looked like New England was given about three extra seconds.

CBS analyst Tony Romo noted that the Patriots just had a delay of game the play before, so the back judge may not have been expecting them to burn up the entire play clock again. It is rare that a team takes back-to-back delay of game penalties, for obvious reasons.

Zappe, a fourth-round pick out of Western Kentucky, was in the game after veteran Brian Hoyer suffered a concussion in the first half. Hoyer started in place of Mac Jones, who has been dealing with an ankle injury.

This is the second week in a row that the handling of the play clock created major issues in an NFL game. We saw another situation that raised questions in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ loss to the Packers last Sunday.

Chase Elliott gets great push from Erik Jones to win at Talladega

Erik Jones pushes Chase Elliott

Chase Elliott won Sunday’s Yellawood 500 at Talladega Superspeedway in Ala. after getting some big help from a fellow Chevrolet driver.

Elliott was fifth on the final restart with two laps to go. Ryan Blaney and Erik Jones were both on the front row. Elliott managed to slip ahead and got a critical push from his manufacturer teammate Jones to come out in front. He held off Blaney by 0.046 seconds for the checkered flag, propelling him into the Round of 8 in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs.

Take a look at the push Elliott from the No. 43 Chevrolet to propel him ahead of Blaney.

“He gave me some great shoves. Obviously, the team Chevy partner there,” Elliott said in a post-race interview.

Jones finished the race sixth. He is not in the playoff, which is why he was able to help the No. 9 Chevy with the push.

Elliott is the first playoff driver to win one of the playoff races. He is also the first driver to qualify for the Round of 8.

Entering next week’s race at Charlotte Motor Speedway’s Roval, Austin Cindric, William Byron, Christopher Bell and Alex Bowman would be the four drivers eliminated from the playoff field.

Blaney finished second at Talladega and is second behind Elliott in the playoff standings.

Report: Colts fear star player could have significant injury

Jonathan Taylor without a helmet

Nov 21, 2021; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor (28) walks off the field following the game against the Buffalo Bills at Highmark Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor suffered an ankle injury during Sunday’s loss to the Tennessee Titans, and there is some concern that he could be forced to miss time.

The Colts fear that Taylor may have suffered a high ankle sprain, Zac Keefer of The Athletic reports. With Indianapolis having just three days off before they face the Denver Broncos on Thursday night, Taylor did not sound overly confident that he will be able to play.

Taylor is arguably the best running back in the NFL and the focal point of the Colts’ offense. The Titans did a good job of bottling him up on Sunday, holding him to just 42 yards on 20 rushes.

If Taylor does have a high ankle sprain, he could miss some time. Those injuries often lead to multi-week absences for players, especially running backs.

Minkah Fitzpatrick has disrespectful comment about Jets after loss

Minkah Fitzpatrick during warmups

Dec 19, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick (39) walks around the field during warmups before playing the Tennessee Titans at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh Steelers defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick was not in the mood to give the New York Jets much credit after Sunday’s game.

The Jets put together a comeback victory to beat the Steelers in Pittsburgh 24-20 on Sunday. Fitzpatrick was clearly unhappy after the game, and he essentially told the media that the Steelers had lost to inferior talent.

On one hand, this is totally disrespectful toward the Jets. On the other, most would agree that the Steelers have more talent on paper. However, Pittsburgh is without star defender TJ Watt, and their play on offense has been very underwhelming so far this season. The Steelers did make a quarterback change during Sunday’s game, but it ultimately may have come too late to alter the outcome.

Expect the Jets to shrug off Fitzpatrick’s comments. After all, they were very much in a taunting mood after their upset victory.

Klay Thompson reveals 1 big obstacle he is still facing after injuries

Klay Thompson with a headband

Jun 5, 2022; San Francisco, California, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson (11) warms up before game two of the 2022 NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics at Chase Center. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Klay Thompson managed to win another NBA title after returning from his injuries, but he is still not quite all the way back from them.

The Golden State Warriors star Thompson spoke with reporters this week and revealed one major obstacle that he is still facing — a mental block that kept him from playing pickup basketball all offseason.

“It was really hard for me to get out there,” said Thompson, per Anthony Slater of The Athletic. “Just mentally, it was hard. It’s hard to explain. It’s like a mental block in a way.

“I’m gonna face it one day, but this [past] season was just so taxing,” added Thompson. “Just coming back, it was hard to win a championship, then a month later, [look to] play. It was a lot. But I’ll be [back]. I look forward to playing summer basketball again [eventually].”

The context here matters. After he suffered a torn ACL during the 2019 NBA Finals against Toronto, Thompson looked poised to return for the 2020-21 campaign. However, he then tore his Achilles tendon while playing in a pickup game in Nov. 2020 and missed another whole season of action.

That rotten luck would be enough to make anybody hesitant to return to playing pickup, especially a top NBA star with tens (if not hundreds) of millions at stake. We already saw another notable player suffer a season-ending injury during a pickup game this summer. Meanwhile, Thompson, who is looking to play in his first full season since 2018-19, is still trying to overcome the mental hurdles from his own pickup mishap two years ago.

NFL referee Tom Stephan carted off with injury

Tom Stephan on a cart

NFL fans are used to seeing carts come out for injured players during games. But on Sunday in Las Vegas, we saw a cart come out for one of the referees.

Down judge Tom Stephan injured his left hamstring and was carted off during the second quarter of the Raiders-Broncos game.

According to CBS rules analyst Gene Steratore, the officiating crew needed to make some adjustments for the rest of the game. Steratore said one official would cover line of scrimmage constantly. Then the other deep official would judge things depending on the play and either play short or move downfield.

Stephan’s injury appeared to be real, unlike DK Metcalf, who was carted off the field for an entirely different reason.

John Harbaugh had big miscommunication with Ravens on key play

John Harbaugh looking on

Dec 8, 2019; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh jogs on the field prior to the game against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The Baltimore Ravens lost on a field goal as time expired in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game against the Buffalo Bills. The Ravens could have had the ball back, but an apparent miscommunication cost them the opportunity.

With 1:50 left in the fourth and the game tied at 20, the Bills handed off to Devin Singletary from the Baltimore 11. Had the Ravens let Singletary score, they would have fallen behind by a touchdown, but would have had nearly two minutes to try to put together a drive to tie the game.

Instead, Odafe Oweh brought Singletary down at the 3-yard line, which helped set the Bills up to run down the clock for a field goal to ensure that the Ravens never got the ball back. According to coach John Harbaugh, the defense was supposed to let Singletary score. Oweh, however, said he was under the impression that he was allowed to try for a strip if the opportunity presented itself.

We don’t know what the actual instruction was, but something clearly got lost in communication. Harbaugh certainly sounds like he’s making the more sensible instruction, as going for a strip in that spot is incredibly risky and unlikely to work out well.

Of course, Singletary himself might have gone down if left unimpeded. That is no guarantee, as one division rival demonstrated recently, but it adds an interesting wrinkle to the end of this game.

Jets savagely trolled Steelers after Week 4 win

Robert Saleh looks on

Feb 2, 2020; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh during Super Bowl LIV against the Kansas City Chiefs at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Jets were ready with the shade after Sunday’s win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Jets went viral for their savage post following their 24-20 victory over the Steelers in Week 4. They tweeted a graphic of the final score complete with a pair of black Nike Air Force 1s and the message, “Got ‘Em.”

The savage tweet is a dig at Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin. Prior to Week 1 of the season, Tomlin bought his entire team that exact pair of sneakers.

In sneaker culture, black Air Force 1s are associated with shady, menacing characters. Tomlin’s gift to his team appears to have been his lighthearted way of letting them know that he wants guys who, for lack of a better term, “have that dawg in ’em.”

That backfired on Tomlin and the Steelers in Week 4 however, as the Jets had them shook in more ways than just one.

Mike Tomlin shares why he made QB switch

Mike Tomlin with a headset on

Aug 30, 2018; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin watches the third quarter against the Carolina Panthers at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin on Sunday benched Mitch Trubisky in favor of rookie Kenny Pickett, and his reason for doing so was very straightforward.

After the Steelers’ 24-20 loss to the New York Jets, Tomlin told reporters that he put Pickett in to start the second half because he was trying to give his team a “spark.”

“I thought we needed a spark, man,” Tomlin said, via Michael Baca of NFL.com. “We didn’t do much in the first half, not enough offensively, and I thought he could provide a spark for us.”

Tomlin added that his decision to bench Trubisky on Sunday does not necessarily mean the veteran has lost his starting job going forward.

“We’ll deal with next week next week,” Tomlin said.

Trubisky went 7/13 for 84 yards, no touchdowns and an interception in the first half on Sunday. He has just two touchdowns compared to two interceptions on the season.

Pickett was no better against the Jets. He threw three interceptions in the second half, though perhaps Tomlin will give him the benefit of the doubt since he came on halfway through the game.

The Steelers are now 1-3 on the season. Trubisky has looked quite similar to the player he was with the Chicago Bears, which is not a good sign for his current team. If nothing else, Pickett probably gives the team more upside.

Ravens screwed by terrible roughing the passer call in loss to Bills

Brandon Stephens puts a hit on Josh Allen

The Baltimore Ravens blew a big lead against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, and the officials made life more difficult for them on the final drive of the game.

With the scored tied 20-20 and the Bills facing 1st-and-15 near midfield, Ravens cornerback Brandon Stephens came on a blitz and hit Josh Allen a split second after the quarterback released the ball. The pass fell incomplete. Stephens did not hit Allen in the head and neck area or stuff him into the ground. He also did not lead with the crown of his helmet, but he was flagged for roughing the passer. You can see the play below:

Even CBS rules analyst and former NFL official Gene Steratore did not believe the hit warranted a flag.

The penalty gave Buffalo a first down at the Ravens’ 26. Allen and company took care of the rest and drove the ball all the way to the 1 before kicking a game-winning field goal. Had the call not been made, the Bills would have been faced with 2nd-and-15 at the 41, which is a much more difficult situation.

There is no way to know if the Bills would have won anyway, but the NFL will almost certainly be hearing from the Ravens about that roughing the passer call. We have seen plenty of bad ones over the years, and that was among the worst.