This Week in NFL Incompetence: Week 12 – Andy Reid and the Chiefs Are Spiraling

After Tyrod Taylor was his predictably solid self during Buffalo’s 16-10 defeat of Kansas City on Sunday, I was tempted to give this week’s Incompetence Trophy to Bills coach Sean McDermott for the second consecutive week because, again, what the hell was he doing starting Nathan Peterman in an NFL game? But McDermott at least didn’t make the same mistake twice and kept the overmatched Peterman on the bench in Week 12. Things were not so simple on the opposite sideline.

After absolutely shredding the Patriots in the season’s Thursday night opener, the Chiefs rattled off four more wins, looking like a league superpower as they cruised to a 5-0 record. Since then they’ve only managed to win one game and that came against a Broncos team that’s currently quarterbacked by a revolving crew of what appear to be three sentient mannequins. (This throw sums up what if feels like to have Trevor Siemian, Brock Osweiler and Paxton Lynch as your team’s quarterbacks.)

Lookin’ good, Brock.

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This Week In NFL Incompetence: Week 11 – What is Sean McDermott Doing?

Despite an off-season filled with moves that seemed to indicate that Buffalo’s new front office was punting on the present in the hopes of building a better future, the Bills started this year with a surprising 5-2 record. Even after a puzzling loss to the Jets and an absolute thrashing at the hands of the resurgent Saints, the Bills were 5-4 and sitting in the AFC’s last playoff spot. Considering what was expected of the team heading into this season and that – as I am contractually obligated to tell you – the Bills haven’t made the postseason since 1999, it was hard to consider Buffalo’s 5-4 start as anything but a success.

Unless, apparently, you’re Sean McDermott, Buffalo’s first year head coach. After his team was pummeled 47-10 by the Saints, McDermott decided that the steady if unspectacular play of quarterback Tyrod Taylor simply wasn’t cutting it and instead inserted rookie Nathan Peterman (a.k.a. a guy that no one had ever heard of) into the starting lineup. It, um, didn’t go very well.

The Bills may not be a dominant team like the Philadelphia Eagles or New England Patriots, but they have a few pieces (an explosive running back, playmakers on defense and – here’s the troubling one – a steady quarterback) that give them a chance to win on any given Sunday. They’re not “start a developmental fifth-round pick at quarterback for no reason” bad. The AFC is a mess and the Bills have – or at least had – a legitimate shot at a playoff spot and, considering that their last playoff birth is almost two decades in the rearview, it’s safe to say the Bills’ “rebuild” has gone on long enough. At the risk of invoking Herm Edwards and enraging Process Truthers everywhere, let me be clear: the Bills should be playing to win the game.

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This Week In NFL Incompetence: Week 10 – This Is the Browns

Thanksgiving isn’t until next week but it already feels like Christmas because this Browns season is the gift that keeps on giving. (Keep in mind that I write about NFL incompetence on a weekly basis. For Cleveland fans this season has been a lump of coal dropped in a pile of shit.) After a deadline-day failure to acquire quarterback A.J. McCarron from the Bengals, I assumed that the Browns had reached peak incompetence. And that may well be true as it relates to off-the-field decisions. On the field, though? They still have so very, very much to give.

That was a quarterback sneak on second down, from the 2-yard line with 15 seconds to go in the half and no timeouts left. It was an unbelievably, incomprehensibly, stunningly stupid playcall, which is to say that it was just about the Brownsiest thing that the Browns have ever Browned.

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This Week In NFL Incompetence: Week 9 – Photo Bomb

Everyone in the NFL lost their damn minds this week. The game-time action was beyond bizarre and included a lot of weird shit. I mean, look at this nonsense:

  • An offensive lineman recovered a fumble and then, as he pretended he was a running back, juked his way into another (helicopter) fumble.
  • Blair Walsh damn near kicked his way off of the Seattle roster with three straight missed field goals in a game his team lost by three.
  • The Giants and Cowboys allowed insanely long touchdowns when literally the only thing they had to defend against was an insanely long play.
  • Julio Jones – one of the best receivers of his era – dropped a wide open touchdown in a one-score loss.
  • T.Y. Hilton played dead to score an 80-yard touchdown. Seriously.
  • Adrian Peterson, left for dead three weeks ago, somehow carried the ball a career high 37 times.
  • After eight weeks of magic with Deshaun Watson, we were reminded that “quarterback whisperer” Bill O’Brien actually started Tom Savage – Tom fucking Savage – ahead of Watson to start the season.

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This Week In NFL Incompetence: Week 8 – Peak Chargers

Philip Rivers is a national treasure. He put bolo ties on the map, he’s got a whole freakin’ troupe of children and he makes the best damn faces in all of football, Mannings be damned. Because he’s never won, well, anything really and because he plays for a vagabond franchise, he doesn’t get the credit he’s due as one of the best quarterbacks of his generation. It’s a shame that the Chargers’ incompetent ownership has squandered such a bright talent, wasting the prime years of Rivers’ career chasing profit margin instead of wins.

Then again, as the losses have piled up over the years, it’s not like Rivers himself has been totally without blame. He’s got a tendency to aggressively force the ball into tight windows, resulting in a fairly prodigious number of interceptions. Even in games where his teammates are clearly to blame for a loss, Rivers manages to inject some of his own flair into the proceedings.

Behold his majesty.

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This Week In NFL Incompetence: Week 7 – No One Wants to Cover O.J. Howard

In a week when a player known for doing dumb/dangerous things did a dumb/dangerous thing, when poor grounds management almost blew out some ACLs, and when it took a bizarre weather phenomenon for the NFL to learn where they should put their broadcast cameras, it seems anticlimactic to point to a single play and say, “There! That’s some incompetence, right there.” But, my God, wait until you see this play.

To fully understand what we’re about to watch, you have to understand that being open in the NFL isn’t a binary thing; it’s more of a gradient. There’s “everyday receiver” open, there’s “I’m Julio Jones and I refuse to be covered” open and then there’s “no one is within 10 yards” open. Every once in a generation, there’s one more level and I like to call it “inexplicable, abhorrent, oh my God, how the fuck does an NFL defense even allow that to happen” open. Like this O.J. Howard touchdown catch:

Howard isn’t just open, he’s practically got his own field.

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This Week In NFL Incompetence: Week 6 – Broken Logic

Stop me if you’ve heard this before: an NFL team is on its way to a huge win when a goofy rule/blown call/dumb penalty costs said team the game. Always in the most infuriating way imaginable. Sounds familiar, right? Well, if it feels like we’re talking about asinine calls having an outside impact on who wins and loses every other week in the NFL, let me assure you, we are. This week’s disaster du jour befell the beyond terrible actually somewhat competitive Jets who, if we’re being honest, don’t need the league’s help in making their fans miserable.

In the play above Jets TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins appears to score a touchdown that would bring the underdog Jets in range for a shocking upset against their archnemesis Patriots. Naturally that’s not what happened. The touchdown was reviewed, as all touchdowns are, and not only was the score taken off the board but the ball was also awarded to the Patriots.

Seriously, what? We’re going to need to watch that video again.

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This Week In NFL Incompetence: Week 5 – Vice Presidential Hypocrisy

Yesterday, Vice President Mike Pence attended an NFL national anthem performance in Indianapolis. Typically, this would imply that he watched the football game that followed but in this ridiculous stupid maddening curious instance it does not. Because, as soon as the anthem – for which several visiting 49ers players kneeled – was over, Pence exited stage left and he did so with a purpose.

How the hell does something like this even happen? Well, the official story is that Pence, the former governor of Indiana, simply happens to be a devoted Colts fan attending a game that featured a ceremony to honor Colts icon Peyton Manning; upon seeing football players kneeling during the anthem, the Vice President’s delicate sensibilities were so offended that he had to abruptly leave the game in protest. Of course, it would be hard not to notice that Pence chose to attend a game featuring a 49ers team that has consistently embraced the kneeling protest that their former quarterback Colin Kaepernick started, and also that Pence was able to release a pretty polished statement almost immediately after leaving the game. Along with some other info, this seems to indicate that this was a premeditated PR stunt. None of which addresses the fact that Vice President is willfully misinterpreting the players protest: they’re not protesting the flag or the military, they’re protesting police brutality against African Americans, a fact not lost on the significant number of veterans who have openly identified Kaepernick’s behavior as being exactly the kind of thing they serve to protect. Continue reading “This Week In NFL Incompetence: Week 5 – Vice Presidential Hypocrisy”

This Week In NFL Incompetence: Week 4 – All Hail the King

A week after benefitting from the institutional incompetence of the Detroit Lions[note]And/or the NFL itself, depending on your zeal for conspiracy theories.[/note] the Atlanta Falcons found themselves on the other side of a victory-swinging cock-up against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday. When Bills defensive lineman Jerry Hughes tackled Matt Ryan from behind in the third quarter, the ball was jarred loose and returned by Bills corner Tre’Davious White for a touchdown. The Bills would ultimately prevail over the Falcons by six points so this touchdown was absolutely the difference in this game. The problem, of course, is that replays clearly show that Matty Ice has incredible finger strength: the ball may have shifted in his hand but he never lost control until his arm was moving forward. That means that this was an incomplete pass and that the Falcons absolutely got screwed. But this – the most recent example of the never-ending fumble vs. incomplete pass shitshow – is boring NFL incompetence. We can do better.

Well, Marquette King can do better.

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This Week In NFL Incompetence: Week 3 – Screw the Lions

In a week where the most important NFL action was taking place on the sidelines and where seemingly every game exploded into a cacophony of madness at one point or another, the Detroit Lions elected to spend Sunday afternoon honoring their proud heritage of failure and losing in the most heartbreaking way possible.

That the Lions, long one of the NFL’s greatest laughing stocks, would lose to an Atlanta Falcons team that – if only temporarily – held a huge lead in the Super Bowl just last season, is not surprising. It’s the manner of Detroit’s defeat that made this loss so particularly painful. After trailing all afternoon, the Lions marched down the field and appeared to take their first lead of the game with only eight seconds left on the clock as Matthew Stafford found Golden Tate on a quick in-route at the goal line.

The play, ruled a touchdown on the field, was sureview, as are all touchdowns. Replays of the play made it clear that there was certainly room for debate as to whether or not Tate was down by contact just short of the goal line. That no single camera angle showed conclusive proof that Tate is both down and touched by an opposing player before crossing the goal line – the latter portion being an important aspect of “down by contact” – did not stop the officials from overturning the on-field ruling and taking Detroit’s touchdown off the board.

While Lions fans were certainly aggrieved at this first portion of the revised ruling, it was no fresh experience; after all they’ve witnessed, “long-suffering” is the default epithet for all Lions fans. Luckily for Detroit, the Tate non-touchdown was a third down play, meaning they at least had one more shot for a victory on fourth down.

Enjoy this while it lasts, Lions fans.

Or so you might have thought.

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