Top Five Meltdowns Of NFL Week 15
Top Five Meltdowns Of NFL Week 15
"HULK SMASH" - Joe Vitt
The NFL schedule looked like it was going to give us countless memorable showdowns. Never before had so many teams with winning records squared off this late in the season. It was a Sunday that promised epic showdowns, but gave as just as many colossal duds instead.
There was Mark Sanchez doing what Mark Sanchez does on Monday Night Football and turning the ball over five times as he willed the New York Jets to a 14-10 loss in Tennessee, bringing the official end to Gang Green’s playoff hopes.
Or there was Joe Flacco proving just how far from elite he is as he laid an egg for the Baltimore Ravens. Flacco’s flat play led to the Ravens’ third-straight loss as Baltimore appears intent on playing their way out of the AFC North division title.
There was the see-saw suckiness of the Sunday Night Football showdown between the New England Patriots and San Francisco 49ers in Foxboro. The Pats couldn’t help but give the ball away, as gracious hosts do, en route to falling behind 31-3 only to have the Niners return the favor by giving up 28 unanswered points in the second half to lead to a 31-31 tie before San Fran finally put the game away 41-34.
And none of those instances even made the list. The biggest blunders, screw-ups and meltdowns are still yet to be revealed as Week 15 gave us a plethora of instances to choose from. So without further ado, we present the top five meltdowns from Week 15. On to the sadness!
5. Buffalo Bills Passive-Aggressively Tell NFL They Don't Like Playing In Canada
“Sure, they’ve scored 50 points, CANADIAN, but what does that convert to? Still 50? Dang…” –Chan Gailey
The Buffalo Bills continued their annual tradition of playing a regular season game across the border in Toronto as they welcomed the Seattle Seahawks to the Great White North. Chan Gailey and company appeared to have had their will to play confiscated at the border as they came out flat and played an ugly game in front of a tepid Canadian crowd.
The Bills defense did their part to bolster Russell Wilson’s Rookie of the Year campaign, allowing the Seahawks QB to score four times in the first half, including a franchise QB record three times on the ground. Coming into the game, Wilson had zero rushing touchdowns on the season, so Buffalo is about a billion percent worse than every other defense Seattle has faced this season, statistically speaking.
Stevie Johnson did his best to keep Buffalo in the game, making some spectacular catches in an eight-catch, 115-yard performance with a touchdown on 12 targets, but he wasn’t on defense and he couldn’t keep Ryan Fitzpatrick from making some terrible choices that led to a pair of interceptions, so his effort was wasted. Just like season ticket holders’ priority for Bills’ playoff tickets.
4. San Diego Chargers Reinforce Fans' Decision Not To Come To Games
“I’m just going to lay here a while, work some stuff out.” – Philip Rivers
The San Diego Chargers have been a disaster in 2012, even more so than usual. This season, however, looked to be the final straw in Norv Turner’s disappointing tenure as head coach of the Bolts. With a dominant win last week over the Pittsburgh Steelers, though, and a chance to still get to 8-8 (again), there was a glimmer of hope for Turner’s job prospects for 2013. Then the Carolina Panthers came to town and promptly put an end to that.
The Chargers laid an egg of epic proportions Sunday, gaining just 164 total yards on offense as the Panthers cruised to a 31-0 lead after three quarters and coasted to a 31-7 win. Philip Rivers was sacked six times with four fumbles (only two lost) and all in all had a pretty miserable time, throwing for his lowest yardage total this season. The always demonstrative Rivers was caught moping on the sidelines while Turner just kept his “yeah, whatever, I’m out of here anyways” face that he’s been sporting since the Denver Broncos comeback in Week 6.
Just by losing the game, the Chargers shut the door on their slim playoff hopes and assured themselves a losing season. The manner in which they lost surely will be the final nail in the coffin of Norv Tuner’s time as head coach in San Diego. But on the bright side, at least he made former running back Mike Tolbert (two touchdowns) and former assistant coach Ron Rivera look reeeeeally good. That’s always nice to look out for old friends.
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Run The "Josh Freeman Is Good" Bus Out Of Gas
“I has a sad :-(” – Greg Schiano
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have made a competitive push in the NFC South earlier this season with a four-game winning streak that put them at 6-4 and in the thick of the wild-card hunt. Josh Freeman led the team with huge game after huge game and started up the talk about whether or not he was “elite” or not. Welp, so much for that!
The Bucs traveled to face the New Orleans Saints riding a three-game losing streak. The first matchup between these clubs was a back-and-forth shootout with the Saints coming out on top. The rematch in the Superdome figured to be more of the same, and it was…for Drew Brees at least. Freeman, on the other hand, threw four interceptions and lost a fumble as the Bucs got skunked in the second biggest shutout in Saints’ history.
With the loss, the Bucs are mathematically eliminated from the playoffs as there is no tiebreaker scenario that Tampa Bay would come out ahead in. But if you think Greg Schiano will back off his knee diving philosophy at the end of games just because the season is essentially over, then you just haven’t been paying attention to how big a troll Schiano is.
2. New York Giants Didn't Want The Silly Division Title Anyways
“THIS IS NO LONGER FUN” – Eli Manning
The New York Giants have made a habit out of suffering a mid-season swoon only to surge at the end of the season and get hot right as the playoffs get under way. It’s a formula that has won two Super Bowls in the last five years, including last season, and everyone figured they were ready to turn it on against an Atlanta Falcons club that they manhandled 24-2 in the playoffs last season. Except not quite.
The Giants went to the Georgia Dome and got an education in just how the Falcons felt after their loss last year by getting dismantled and shipped back to New Jersey in tiny parts. Eli Manning threw a pair of interceptions as the Giants’ offense was completely shut down. Meanwhile, New York’s vaunted defense failed to stop anybody as the Falcons did pretty much whatever they wanted as they wiped their feet on Giants’ defenders on their way into the endzone in a 34-0 blowout.
The loss puts the Giants on the outside of the playoff picture as they lose out on the tiebreakers in a three-way tie atop the NFC East. But the joke is on the rest of the NFL, as the Giants play their best when everyone has counted them out. So, if this is Tom Coughlin pulling a psychological coups on the rest of the league, then kudos. If, as it appeared, it was just an overconfident Giants team getting run off the field by the likely number one seed in the NFC, then yeesh.
1. Detroit Lions Prove Nobody Loses Like A Lion
“I really admire your work.” – Matthew Stafford
The Arizona Cardinals have been on a nine-game losing streak after winning the first four games of the season. The Detroit Lions, who remain the only franchise in history to go 0-16 in a season, think that’s child’s play and went to Arizona to show the Cards what real losing looks like.
Matthew Stafford, apparently in the mood to make Ryan Lindley feel good about his quarterbacking ability, was awful. He threw three interceptions, two of which were returned for touchdowns, including a 102 yard pick six for Greg Toler. Larry Fitzgerald continues to waste away with nobody to throw to him, but Beanie Wells, yes THAT Beanie Wells, looked like a monster scoring three touchdowns on the day to lead the rout 38-10.
For a Lions team that came into the season with playoff aspirations, this loss hits an all-new low. They were playing against a quarterback that has been described as the worst quarterback to ever start an NFL game (and in a league that has seen Ryan Leaf, that’s saying something), with no discernible offensive line and a club that had any and all hope beat out of them by Seattle the week before.
Plus, Scott Linehan just told the world leading up to this game how Stafford was going to go down as one of the best quarterbacks ever. EVER. And he follows up that vote of confidence with this stinker? Against the Cardinals? Coming into this game, Arizona looked like a team that couldn’t win a race to hit water if they were the first ones pushed out of a boat. For the feat of losing to this team by 28 points, the Detroit Lions are this week’s biggest meltdown. Congratulations?