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Snarking Around the NFL: Week 5

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While we mourn the Steelers’ loss to the Jaguars, let us find solace in the fact that football, as a whole, pretty much sucked in Week 5.

Jacksonville Jaguars v Pittsburgh Steelers
Aaaand that sums up how the Steelers played in week five.
Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

I’d love to candy-coat things and say the Steelers getting pile-driven by the Jaguars wasn’t the worst thing about Week 5 but—well—it really was. Worse than the Cardinals getting spanked by the Eagles. Worse than that...thing...that happened in Cleveland. Worse than the Giants continuing to fail at football in spectacular fashion.

While I’ll touch on the Steelers/Jaguars “game” — and I use the term loosely, since it implies there was actually fun had all around — I’m not lingering there. This is my one weekly respite in those weeks when the Steelers stink up the joint.

Besides, the other 13 games provided plenty of snark fodder on their own.

List of the Week: Three things I need to say to NFL coaches

3) To former Miami Dolphins offensive line coach Chris Foerster:

Cocaine is not, and has never been, a worthwhile pursuit. But, okay, you chose that path for whatever reasons. Still, why on Earth would you video yourself doing it, and then send it someone who a) you got high with; and b) knew what you did for a living?! People who are even only vaguely considered “public figures” get blackmailed with videos and photos all the time, and you are a coach for an NFL team, for crying out loud. You have a giant target on your back as it is. You had to have had at least an inkling that it wasn’t a good idea before you did it...right?

In all seriousness, I hope you are sincere about getting the help you need to change. I’ve been down the road of addiction with people who are close to me, and I know how difficult that change is to make. I wish you the best.

2) To Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett:

That whole left-too-much-time-when-we-took-the-lead thing kinda sucks when you’re on the receiving end of the loss, doesn’t it?

1) To Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin:

If your fears include your struggling quarterback having to face off against the league’s number-one pass defense, that’s a fear in which it is okay to live. Don’t face that fear — run from it, far, fast and literally. You have Le’Veon Bell, James Conner and the Nightmare that is Terrell Watson. We’re not talking rocket surgery here.

Meme Tweets of the Week

Injuries aren’t funny. But...

There truly is nothing funny about injuries, and Odell Beckham Jr.’s ankle injury Sunday was the very definition of grotesque. But, looking at the Giants’ receiving corps as a whole, it really has become an infirmary ward. Beckham and Brandon Marshall were both announced as done for the season on the same day, and both with ankle injuries.

The receiver situation for the Giants is so bad, in fact, that both Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco (or Chad Johnson, or whatever he’s calling himself these days) reached out to the Giants via Twitter during the game to try to get back into the league. Saddest of all, I don’t think either of them was actually kidding. I also don’t think either of them would do anything to get rid of the stink that seems to be clinging to Eli Manning this year.

Oh, Dear Lord.

Keep in mind, this game was televised on CBS somewhere. The NFL should be fined by the FCC for indecent exposure on public television.

Ouch. Ouch. Ouch.

The Buccaneers aren’t all that far off from being a top-tier team. They nearly beat the Patriots Thursday night, for crying out loud. But, for unknown reasons, bright yellow goal posts are Kryptonite to any player who kicks for that team. Seriously, this isn’t anything new. Since 2000, Tampa Bay kickers have made just 77.9 percent of all their field goal attempts. If all those kicks were from a single individual, he would be 58th on the all-time kickers list. Keep in mind, there are 32 teams in the NFL, and 24 kickers playing right now are more accurate than the Buccaneers have collectively been over the last 17 years.

Undefeated Teams Watch

The Kansas City Chiefs remain the league’s lone undefeated team after week five, following a 42-34 victory over the Houston Texans. Next week, their grip on that title is going to be tenuous at best, however, as the Pittsburgh Steelers come to town, bringing a weapon-laden, high-powered off—oh, who am I kidding? This running item is probably going to continue being a running item for at least one more week.

Random Thoughts

  • This is probably the ballsiest call you’ll ever see for a two-point conversion attempt:
  • What a terrible week for football. Sure, 10 games ended up having a margin of victory of less than seven points. But the combined records of the participants in those 10 games is currently 43-55. In the cases of six of those games (Patriots/Buccaneers, Bills/Bengals, Jets/Browns, 49ers/Colts, Titans/Dolphins and Chargers/Giants), there were a total of 17 turnovers -- 10 interceptions and seven fumbles. Not one of them was watchable for any reason other than watching the trains inexorably approach each other and derail in slow motion.
  • However, week five did give us this gem from Philadelphia’s Nelson Agholor:

And, Finally...

Four — four! — more NFL players suffered season-ending injuries in week five: Beckham, Chiefs wide receiver Chris Conley, and Houston defenders J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus. Conley, Watt and Mercilus were all injured on the same field, in fact.

Mercilus suffered a torn pectoral. But the other three all suffered leg injuries, and there is a strong chance that artificial turf was the primary factor in all three cases. Artificial turf simply does not “give” the way natural turf does. When you have the strength and explosion of today’s NFL players, who are pushing their bodies to their physical limits on almost every play, that “give” is important.

The NFL has gone to great lengths to protect players (or, at least, to give the optics of protecting players) from head trauma, but the number of non-contact injuries continues to grow each season. If the league truly cares about players, they will need to mandate that all outdoor fields be switched to natural turf within a year, and that all domed stadiums be retrofitted in some way to sustain natural turf. Otherwise, this epidemic will continue to expand.