The NFL’s regular season is over, and we now know how the playoffs will look. We also know who went out with a bang and who went out with a whimper in what was the last chance for many to make an impression until next September.
For the final time of the regular season, let’s take a look at 15 big disappointments from the week that was in the NFL.
Things were set up nicely for the Ravens — beat the Cincinnati Bengals at home and a playoff appearance would be theirs. Cincinnati knocked the Detroit Lions out of playoff contention a week ago, and that should have served as a warning to the Ravens. Baltimore came out flat, fell behind, fought back to take the lead, and then got burned by a late Andy Dalton touchdown pass on 4th and long. The defense will be replaying that moment in their heads for the entire offseason. The offense, particularly Joe Flacco, will be reliving an 89-yard pick six and two failed drives at the end of the game.
Corey Coleman, WR, Browns
Fairly or not, Coleman will live long in NFL folklore for all the wrong reasons. His fourth down drop on a pass delivered right to his hands ended Cleveland’s last hope of getting a win in 2017. It was typical Browns, really — a play that looked like it was falling apart was salvaged just enough to allow Coleman to make his dreadful error. There were plenty of reasons the Browns lost on Sunday and all season long, but Coleman’s drop will be remembered as the tipping point.
Week 9 of the NFL season got started on Thursday with a surprisingly easy win for the Jets over the Bills. On Sunday, there were far fewer upsets, as Seattle losing at home to Washington was probably the only surprise. But there were a ton of blowouts rather than close games, which means many players and teams disappointed.
Here are the 15 biggest disappointments of Week 9 of the NFL season.
A.J. Green, WR, Bengals
We have no real way of knowing what, exactly, caused Green to so quickly lose his cool with Jacksonville cornerback Jalen Ramsey. The young defensive back has certainly shown an ability to get under the skin of opponents, but the normally mild-mannered Green’s outburst was quite unexpected. Green put a choke hold on Ramsey and threw several punches during a fight with the cornerback, leading to the ejection of both players. Green’s disappointing day finished with one catch for six yards on two targets. The only consolation for him was that he at least managed to get Ramsey ejected too. Still, one of the league’s finest receivers must keep his composure better than that.
Blair Walsh, K, Seahawks
Walsh became the first kicker in three years to miss three first half field goal attempts, offering no relief for the sputtering Seahawks offense. They weren’t particularly difficult field goals, either, as they came from 39, 44, and 49. It was so bad that the kicker elected to stay out on the field during halftime to try to get a feel for things.
Walsh had previously missed only one of his 13 field goal tries, so he had a bit of rope, but this really wasn’t an acceptable performance from a guy who’s had serious issues before — ironically enough, against Seattle. Poor weather conditions or not, Walsh needs to perform better. Those points are extremely meaningful especially in a game determined by three points (Washington won 17-14).
Seattle Seahawks kicker Blair Walsh accused his former Minnesota Vikings teammates of taunting him from the sideline during last Friday’s preseason game, but that accusation is news to the Vikings.
The Vikings universally denied that anything had been done to Walsh beyond what usually happens on an NFL sideline during a kicking situation.
“There were guys just yelling his name,” Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph said, via Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press. “You could be down there on any preseason game, and when the kicker is on our hash, guys are going to be hollering out to him.”
Wide receiver Jarius Wright was taken aback as well.
“It was funny,” Wright said. “We looked at each other (on the sideline) like, ‘Did Blair just do that?’
“Blair has never been that type of guy to try to show somebody up or anything like that, so I was definitely surprised. But that doesn’t take away from the guy Blair is. I still think he’s a great guy.”
Wright believes that Walsh may have been trying to send a message to one or both of his former coaches, head coach Mike Zimmer and special teams coach Chuck Priefer.
“I think it was more at — I’m not a betting man — but either at Zim or Priefer,” he said.
Walsh blamed his former teammates for inciting his taunts. Said teammates are either denying everything or simply have no idea what he’s talking about.
Seattle Seahawks kicker Blair Walsh had an interesting explanation when asked why he taunted his former Minnesota Vikings teammates: they started it.
Walsh, who spent the first five seasons of his career with the Vikings, raised some eyebrows during Friday night’s preseason game when he was spotted gesturing toward the sideline at some of his former Vikings teammates after converting a 52-yard field goal, but according to him, this was all instigated by the other side.
“I simply was just responding to getting taunted,” Walsh said, via Sheil Kapadia of ESPN. “I didn’t say anything. When you’ve got guys who were your teammates for five years yelling at you when you’re trying to kick, it’s just odd. And I hope they were in jest. And I hope they didn’t mean it because I didn’t mean anything with mine, but it was definitely not out of nowhere.
“I felt like it was nothing that was serious or meant to be hurtful, but I wanted to let them know that it just wasn’t going to roll off. I didn’t say anything though. Just looked at them.”
Walsh declined to say the nature of the taunting, implying that the words directed at him are not suitable for publication in a family-friendly outlet.
“Nothing I can repeat here. That’s for sure,” Walsh said when asked what had been said to him.
Walsh, of course, will be remembered in Minnesota for one of the worst missed field goals in recent NFL history, one that his confidence never recovered from and eventually led to his release. It’s easy to wonder if that’s the direction the taunting went in.
Are the Minnesota Vikings any closer to getting rid of kicker Blair Walsh? It’s hard to say.
The Vikings worked out multiple kickers last week after Walsh missed a field goal and extra point against the Lions in Week 9. They decided to keep Walsh, who continued his struggles.
Walsh missed an extra point in Week 10 against Washington. His problems this season have led Minnesota to consider signing other kickers. That topic has reappeared this week, but it’s too early to say whether Minnesota is ready to finally cut ties with Walsh.
Source just said the #Vikings haven't made any decision yet on their kicker. Mike Zimmer wouldn't give Blair Walsh vote of confidence today
The Minnesota Vikings did not expect Blair Walsh to take it well when they told him they were going to audition some other kickers. According to the team’s special teams coach, that’s a good thing.
Vikings special teams coordinator Mike Priefer admitted that telling Walsh about the kicker auditions hadn’t gone over well, but that was perfectly fine with him.
“I knew how he would react because I’ve known him now for five-plus years,” Priefer said of Walsh Thursday, via Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press. “It kind of lit a fire under him. [Walsh] got ticked off in a good way, I think, because he’s a competitive young man. If he didn’t react that way, I would be really worried and then we probably would be looking for another guy. If he’s going to feel sorry for himself, then he’s not the guy we want.”
The team isn’t going to replace Walsh at this point. His struggles seem largely mental, and the hope is probably that something like this will focus him and perhaps even help him.
Walsh is 12 of 16 on field goals, which places him 24th in the league in percentage. He also has missed three extra points.
Not only is Walsh having a poor season for Minnesota, but fans still have a negative feeling towards him over the 27-yard kick he missed last season in the playoffs that would have eliminated Seattle. Between last season and this, Minnesota would likely prefer to move on from Walsh … if they could find a better replacement for him.