We’re in the final quarter of the NFL season, and Sunday’s games did not disappoint. The highlight was an unexpected shootout in New Orleans, but there was a lot to watch across the league, and a lot of standout performances.
There were also some underwhelming performances. Here is a list of those who fell short in Week 14 — some unexpectedly, some at a very bad time.
Referees in the Patriots-Chiefs game
The performance of the referees in Sunday’s game in Foxboro was nothing short of baffling. The clearest issue was an officiating crew costing the Patriots two touchdowns with missed calls. One came on a blown whistle to stop what would have been a defensive score, which has been a repeat problem this season. It’s disappointing seeing this continue to happen this late into the season, and the errors are consequential, too, though some would say it’s karma for the Pats.
Russell Wilson, QB, Seahawks
Wilson has been putting together an MVP-caliber season for the Seahawks this year, but he fell short of that standard on Sunday night. For the first time this season, Wilson failed to throw a touchdown in a game. He was 22/36 for 245 yards and an interception in the 28-12 loss to the Rams. Wilson was sacked five times in the game. Seattle failed to keep pace with the 49ers in the NFC West and is now a wild card team.
The Seattle Seahawks exchanged blows with the San Francisco 49ers before winning 27-24 in overtime Monday night, and then two of the respective teams’ stars exchanged jerseys afterwards.
The contest went back-and-forth multiple times and included a tying field goal by San Francisco to send the game to overtime, and a missed one in the extra period. In the end, Seattle prevailed, which must have been difficult for Richard Sherman.
Sherman spent the first seven seasons of his career with the Seahawks before leaving to sign with the 49ers in what felt like a very personal move aimed at revenge. Before the 2017 season — Sherman’s final with the Seahawks — a report said there was a rift between the Pro Bowl cornerback and Russell Wilson. Sherman reportedly took the team’s Super Bowl loss to the Patriots harder than most and reportedly blamed Pete Carroll and Wilson for the team not having won more championships. Sherman supposedly held resentment towards Wilson.
Despite whatever issues Sherman may have had with Wilson, they appear to share mutual respect for each other. After Monday night’s game, they swapped jerseys with each other, which is a tradition in which many top players partake after games. The exchange is often prearranged by players.
Russell Wilson Richard Sherman
The ultimate respect. pic.twitter.com/6LpGpe7YB6
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) November 12, 2019
The two must be on a good basis to have traded jerseys.
Wilson spoke positively about Sherman in a postgame interview.
“He’s been a great teammate … he’s a Hall of Fame player. Just to be able to play against him today was an honor obviously. He’s tremendous. We’ve had a lot of battles together,” Wilson told ESPN’s Lisa Salters.
If Sherman did have beef with Wilson or lingering hard feelings, he’s either moved past them, or brushed them aside. Seeing them trade was very cool for sports fans.
Russell Wilson added to his MVP case with another brilliant performance in a 40-34 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday, but after the game, he gave some credit for the victory to an unlikely teammate.
The Seattle Seahawks quarterback, who threw for 378 yards and a season-high five touchdowns, including a walkoff winner in overtime, shouted out backup Geno Smith, who was on the field for the coin toss to kick off the extra period.
“Geno was the man of the night for winning the coin toss,” said Wilson, per Brady Henderson of ESPN. “We felt great about it and felt like we could find a way to win the game, and guys just made some clutch plays.”
Winning the coin toss allowed Seattle to get the ball first in OT and end the game with a touchdown, here a ten-yard strike from Wilson to Jacob Hollister.
Smith, meanwhile, has not appeared in a single game for the Seahawks since signing with them in May, but this still has to be his finest moment in years.
Russell Wilson is completing passes to Tyler Lockett everywhere you look.
Street artist Rudy Willingham shared a great video clip on his Instagram and Twitter pages this week. The video shows Wilson completing a pass to Lockett by using artistic cutouts around an elevator door.
— Rudy Willingham (@RudyWillingham) October 22, 2019
Take a look at Willingham’s Instagram page and you’ll see how great he is at using small cutouts like this to create awesome photos. That Wilson-to-Lockett elevator pass is only the start of what he does so well.
Russell Wilson was emotional in his postgame interview with FOX reporter Kristina Pink after the Seattle Seahawks escaped with a 30-29 win over the Los Angeles Rams on Thursday night.
The Rams had just missed a 44-yard field goal that would have won the game. It was an improbable finish and a bit of luck for Seattle to win. Wilson was tearful as he was interviewed. Wilson was moved because the team had a tribute to late team owner Paul Allen.
Russell Wilson gets emotional after winning close game vs Rams on Paul Allen night pic.twitter.com/W4RgAcZzYB
— gifdsports (@gifdsports) October 4, 2019
Allen, a co-founder of Microsoft, bought the Seahawks in 1996. He died last year at 65 due to non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Wilson also posted a video on social media after the game where he gave tribute to Allen and said this win was for the late owner.
— Russell Wilson (@DangeRussWilson) October 4, 2019
Wilson has been known to get emotional in postgame interviews before. He did the same thing after the NFC Championship Game four years ago.
- Russell Wilson
After losing three fumbles in as many games, Chris Carson’s status as the Seattle Seahawks’ lead back is in question. Quarterback Russell Wilson, however, is trying to help Carson past it.
Wilson admitted that he’d sought out Carson to provide him some encouragement and historical context, reminding the running back that even the legendary Walter Payton once had fumbling issues.
“I just kind of went up to him and said, ‘You know, some of the greatest running backs (like) Walter Payton fumbled, too,'” Wilson said, via Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times. “He just kind of laughed and I said ‘It’s going to happen. Just realize you’re a great football player. Go for it.'”
Wilson is correct. Payton had 30 fumbles in his first three NFL seasons, including 11 in 14 games in 1977. He shaped up and fumbled just 56 times in his last ten seasons. That’s an encouraging reminder that this need not define Carson, but his current fumbles are an issue, and he does need to shape up quickly or risk losing carries to Rashaad Penny.
Bud Dupree said he offered an apology to Russell Wilson over his hit to the Seattle Seahawks quarterback during Week 2.
During Sunday’s game between the Seahawks and Pittsburgh Steelers, Dupree delivered what appeared to be a helmet-to-helmet hit on Wilson. Even though the play did not draw a penalty flag, there were more than a few people who thought Dupree might hear from the NFL in the form of a fine.
On Wednesday, Dupree said he had not yet heard from the league, though fines are typically given out on Fridays. Dupree also said he apologized to Wilson after the play, indicating he did not have malicious intent.
Steelers LB Bud Dupree said today he has not heard from the NFL about a fine for this hit on Russell Wilson. "Today's Wednesday, right? Yeah, I'm good."
Dupree said he apologized to Wilson personally after the play. "I really didn't try to do an illegal or dirty hit on him." https://t.co/GnJs47N0aM
— Brian Batko (@BrianBatko) September 18, 2019
Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said he was informed by the NFL that the hit was indeed illegal.
Pete Carroll on Bud Dupree hit on Russell Wilson says NFL told him that it was indeed illegal, should have been called. #Seahawks
— Gregg Bell (@gbellseattle) September 18, 2019
It’s surprising Dupree’s hit wasn’t flagged at the time. Dupree and Pittsburgh surely are glad it wasn’t.