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#pounditMonday, January 24, 2022

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JJ Watt has harsh comments for Cardinals after playoff loss

JJ Watt on the field

JJ Watt maintains high expectations for himself, his teams, and his teammates. That’s why he did not hold back after his Arizona Cardinals got blitzed 34-11 by the Los Angeles Rams in their NFC Wild Card playoff game on Monday night.

Watt returned from a serious shoulder injury to play in his Cardinals’ playoff game. The contest marked Watt’s first game since Week 7.

The veteran defensive lineman had three tackles as his team was crushed. Watt said after the game that the Cardinals’ finish to the season was a “massive failure” considering what they showed in the first half.

It’s hard not to agree.

Arizona began the season 7-0 and was in good shape at 10-2. Then they lost four of five to end the season, and five of six if you count the playoffs. Based on what they showed in the first half, seeing them get smashed in a 1-and-done playoff performance was a surprise. That’s definitely not what Watt had in mind when he carefully selected over the offseason to play for the Cardinals rather than any other team.

Photo: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Peyton Manning drops S-bomb while caught on hot mic

Peyton and Eli Manning on the ManningCast

Peyton Manning encountered one of the perils of live television on Monday night’s “ManningCast” broadcast of the NFC Wild Card game between the Los Angeles Rams and Arizona Cardinals.

Manning dropped a curse word on live TV while he was experiencing some technical difficulties during the first quarter of the game.

Eli Manning tossed to Peyton for analysis on a Rams touchdown, but Peyton apparently couldn’t hear his brother.

Peyton had a very colorful way of saying so:

“Can’t hear s–t,” he said.

Eli’s quick pivot was pretty hilarious, and kudos to him for being quick on his feet.

No, ESPN will not be thrilled with Peyton dropping the S-bomb during a live playoff game. That said, this one was pretty harmless, and there are worse things to be caught saying into a live microphone.

This is hardly the first time the ManningCast has run afoul of the censors. Nothing really came of that incident, and it’s unlikely that anything will happen as a result of this one either.

Funny video of Ryan Fitzpatrick at Bills game goes viral

Ryan Fitzpatrick

You can take Ryan Fitzpatrick out of Buffalo, but you can’t take the Buffalo out of Ryan Fitzpatrick.

A funny video of the veteran quarterback went viral this week. Fitzpatrick attended the Bills’ Wild Card game on Saturday against the New England Patriots. In a video posted on Twitter by a user named Kyle Margeson, a shirtless Fitzpatrick was going nuts in the stands after a Bills touchdown.

Keep in mind that the game, which Buffalo won 47-17, was played in near-zero degree weather. That is definitely a man with some nerves of steel.

Fitzpatrick, who signed a one-year deal with Washington last offseason but barely played this season due to injury, used to be Buffalo’s quarterback. He played for the Bills for four seasons from 2009 to 2012 but never made it to the playoffs with the team.

Now 39 years old, Fitzpatrick had some hilarious viral moments during his Buffalo career. Now it appears that he is still very much a member of Bills Mafia, even all these years later.

Photo: Norm Duve-American Century Championship

Shaq makes hilarious bet on Suns not beating Warriors in playoffs

Shaq sitting courtside

The Phoenix Suns have taken over the top seed in the Western Conference thanks to an outstanding stretch of play and the Golden State Warriors cooling off a bit. You could make a case for the Suns having a solid chance to win the conference a second straight year, but Shaquille O’Neal is absolutely certain that is not going to happen.

During a recent episode of “The Big Podcast with Shaq,” O’Neal said the Suns have no chance of knocking off the Warriors in the postseason. If it does happen, Shaq promises he will walk around in public with “Suns” written on his backside and broadcast it live on social media.

“If the Suns beat Golden State, I will walk two blocks with ‘Suns’ written on my a–,” Shaq said. “I will post it live on Instagram and I will walk two blocks.”

Shaq has been high on the Warriors all season. He called them “unstoppable” during the same podcast and said the rest of the NBA is trying to emulate what Golden State does but lacks the talent to do it better. He said he guarantees the Warriors will win another title this season.

If you remember, Shaq took a ruthless shot at the Los Angeles Lakers last month while praising the Warriors. He’s not going to change his mind even if Golden State fails to secure the No. 1 seed in the West. His latest promise proves that.

Photo: Mar 10, 2017; Atlanta, GA, USA; NBA former player Shaquille O’Neal watches a game between the Atlanta Hawks and Toronto Raptors in the third quarter at Philips Arena. The Hawks won 105-99. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Ex-NFL QB explains what made Cowboys’ final play call so bad

Cowboys 49ers ending

The Dallas Cowboys have been heavily scrutinized for their final play call in Sunday’s loss to the San Francisco 49ers. There’s no question they could have done a better job of executing, but the play never should have been attempted in the first place.

The Cowboys got the ball trailing 23-17 with 32 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. They needed to go 80 yards for the winning touchdown, and they reached the San Francisco 41-yard line with three straight completions. They then called a quarterback draw for Dak Prescott despite having no timeouts left. Prescott rushed for 17 yards, but the officials were unable to spot the ball in time for a spike (video here). Time expired before the Cowboys could run another play.

According to former NFL quarterback Chris Simms, the play never had a chance to work. He explained that all the coaches he worked with said 17 or 18 seconds was the cutoff for being able to run a play over the middle with time remaining for a spike. The Cowboys snapped the ball with about 14 seconds left.

Prescott could have gotten down sooner, but it probably wouldn’t have mattered much. There was also an issue with the referee spotting the ball. Those types of things happen in a hectic situation, and that was part of the risk the Cowboys chose to take. Obviously, they shouldn’t have.

McCarthy tried to defend the play call after the game, but there’s no debating the head coach made a mistake. The only question now is if it will contribute to him potentially losing his job.

Look: Arrowhead Stadium ran out of fireworks because Chiefs kept scoring

Patrick Mahomes Chiefs

The Kansas City Chiefs encountered a very good problem to have on Sunday.

The Chiefs trounced the Pittsburgh Steelers 42-21 during their Wild Card playoff game this weekend. They hung six touchdowns on the Steelers D, including a stretch of 35 unanswered points. Patrick Mahomes threw five of those touchdowns to five different receivers (including 315-pound offensive lineman Nick Allegretti). Tight end Travis Kelce even got in on the fun with a two-yard touchdown pass to Byron Pringle in the fourth quarter.

Kansas City found the end zone with such ferocity and such frequency that a hilarious message aired on the video boards of GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium: an announcement that the venue had run out of fireworks to set off for touchdowns. The video message apologized to the Chiefs fans and asked them to direct their complaints to the nearest help booth.

Fortunately, Arrowhead Stadium had a separate stash of fireworks saved specifically for the end of the game. Those fireworks were set off without issue as the game went final and the Chiefs won.

The Chiefs were huge 12-point favorites heading into the game, and they definitely took care of business. But the pyrotechnics crew at Arrowhead Stadium did not expect the team to be quite this dominant, even if this is actually something that has already happened to the Chiefs before.

Photo: Nov 22, 2020; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) throws against the Las Vegas Raiders during the second half at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Referee Ramon George had trouble spotting ball on final play for Cowboys

Referee Ramon George collides

The Dallas Cowboys have nobody but themselves to blame for their 23-17 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Wild Card game on Sunday. But some of their crazed fans may have it out for referee Ramon George over the way the game ended.

The Cowboys inexplicably decided to run a quarterback draw up the middle with 14 seconds left in their game against the Niners despite not having any timeouts left (video here). The playcall was always going to be risky because so many things have to go right in order to get a spike off after the play ends.

There are players from both teams that have to get lined up, and then the official has to set the ball before the offense can spike it. In Sunday’s case, George didn’t help.

George tried making his way down the field but then ran into Dak Prescott and the Cowboys’ offensive line while trying to set the ball for the spike.

Every second mattered, so George’s inability to get to the ball kept the Cowboys from being able to spike. But that is 100 percent Dallas’ fault.

There is always traffic around the ball when trying to hurry up for a spike. Between getting your players set, and the opposing players set, and the officials in place, you’re taking a huge gamble, and the offense does not receive the benefit of the doubt when time is ticking.

Another big issue is that Prescott didn’t help Dallas’ situation. He tried handing the ball to his center to set it up, but he really should have been trying to hand it to the official; the ball cannot be snapped without the official setting it first.

Ultimately, if you’re going to try and risk a run with no timeouts left before killing the clock with a spike, you need to give yourself at least 20 seconds to be safe. Dallas did not, and that’s why their season ended on that play. Between this play and their 14 penalties, the Cowboys’ mistakes were very much self-inflicted.

Look: Unimpressed Cowboys fan goes viral

Cowboys fan looks disappointed

The Dallas Cowboys were not looking so hot in their NFC Wild Card playoff game against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday. The look on the face of one Cowboys fan said it all.

This disappointed Cowboys fan was shown on TV after Dallas fell behind 23-7 and punted the ball away late in the third quarter.

Her reaction completely reflected the feelings of all Cowboys fans at the time.

The fan must have been alerted by some friends that she had been shown on TV.

A few minutes later, CBS showed the same fan, only this time she was looking at her phone and smiled.

She should be proud; she became a meme!

Report: Raiders leaving coaches in limbo over Rich Bisaccia’s status

Rich Bisaccia on the sidelines

Rich Bisaccia made a strong case for keeping the Las Vegas Raiders’ head coaching job after leading the team to the postseason, but it is unclear if he will get a fair shot. Apparently there are many with the organization who know about as much as the general public about the situation.

Michael Silver of reports that Bisaccia and his assistants had been told nothing about their futures as of Sunday, which was the day after the Raiders’ playoff loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. The sense is that Derek Carr and other players want Bisaccia to stay, but owner Mark Davis could pursue a flashier option.

Silver added that the decision the Raiders make could impact Carr’s future with the team. The quarterback has two years remaining on his current deal. General manager Mike Mayock’s future is also in question, though a recent report made it seem like he is as good as gone.

Bisaccia took over the Raiders in October after Jon Gruden’s leaked email scandal and abrupt resignation. He led Las Vegas to a 7-5 record and a playoff amid difficult and unusual circumstances.

Despite that, the Raiders appear to be leaning toward not hiring Bisaccia for the permanent head coach job. They could wind up targeting a much bigger name.

Photo: Dec 5, 2021; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Las Vegas Raiders interim coach Rich Bisaccia reacts against the Washington Football Team in the first half at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Bengals had cool gesture with game balls after first playoff win in 31 years

Zac Taylor gives a locker room speech

The Bengals on Saturday won their first playoff game in over three decades. Head coach Zac Taylor said afterword that the game ball would go to the city of Cincinnati, and he wasn’t kidding.

Taylor told his team after their 26-19 win over the Las Vegas Raiders that he was going to pass out game balls at bars around Cincinnati.

He got right to it. In the video below, you can see Taylor and Bengals punter Kevin Huber presenting some excited bar patrons with a game ball.

Bengals fans have been through a lot of misery in recent years. Their team’s playoff win drought was the longest in the NFL. You can understand why Taylor was happy to help snap the torturous streak. The Bengals may have benefitted from a highly controversial call, but that is already a distant memory.