It certainly doesn't seem as though teams, players, coaches or officials become any less stupid as the home stretch rolls on. The difference is that their stupid moments feel even stupider because there's often more on the line. And yes, we know stupider isn't a word. Let's talk stupid, Week 15.
The stupidest offensive strategy
The Dallas Cowboys led the Green Bay Packers 26-3 at halftime, mainly because red-hot Dallas running back DeMarco Murray had averaged nine yards per carry during the first half. But then they gave Murray the ball a total of six times in the second half and ran it only once on their final 14 plays from scrimmage. That kind of ignorance is inexcusable, and it's the primary reason why the Cowboys collapsed on Sunday.
Let's just conclude that this was stupid. Maybe some of it is on play-caller Bill Callahan. Some might be on head coach Jason Garrett. And some might also be on quarterback Tony Romo, who checked out of at least one run play, leading to an interception. Regardless of who deserves most of the blame, Dallas' failure to once again maintain balance in a crucial moment was incredibly stupid.
The stupidest kick return
I understand that when you're a four-win team down nine points in the fourth quarter, you've got little to lose. But that still doesn't explain why Tampa Bay Buccaneers return man Eric Page decided A) to return this kick from nine yards deep in his own end zone…
…and B) to hand the ball off to Russell Sheppard near the end of the return…
Naturally, that would result in a San Francisco touchdown, which was the icing on the cake.
The stupidest fourth-down gamble
I'm usually all for fourth-down gambles, because we have too many conservative head coaches in this league, and those coaches far too frequently ignore the odds. But I still can't defend Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly's decision to go for it on a 4th-and-1 from his own 24-yard line down 15 points in the third quarter Sunday in Minnesota.
The New York Times has a "fourth-down robot" that analyzes a bunch of data from recent years in order to assess decisions such as these, and it actually supports Kelly's call here. But I still can't wrap my head around this one. I know they needed only half a yard, but it was only a two-score game in the third quarter and they still had more than 70 yards to go on the drive. The risk wasn't worth the reward.
Philly came up short on the attempted conversion and the Vikings capitalized with a field goal.
The stupidest interception
That's triple coverage, Drew…
The stupidest penalty
On a pass to the goal line in the third quarter of Sunday's game against the Tennessee Titans, Arizona Cardinals defensive back Rashad Johnson crushed Kenny Britt with a well-timed, shoulder-to-chest hit to break up a potential touchdown.
Unfortunately for Johnson and the Cardinals, that somehow drew a flag for unnecessary roughness.
These officiating crews are just so damn afraid of missing dirty hits and getting downgraded that they're overdoing it. This one might have given the Titans four points they didn't deserve when they scored from one yard out on the next play.
The stupidest last-second decision
The Tennessee Titans drive 141 yards for nine points, with help from a recovered onside kick, all in a three-minute span late in the fourth quarter. Their offense is red hot and the Arizona Cardinals have no idea what hit them. With all the momentum, Tennessee even gets to attempt the extra point from the 1-yard line following an Arizona penalty. You're playing a team that is much better than you are and you've got nothing to lose. Everything in the world of logic, math and sensibility says to go for two points and the win with 10 seconds left.
Mike Munchak has his team kick for the tie. They lose by a field goal in overtime.
The stupidest block
This completely unnecessary (and illegal) block from Nick Foles on Erin Henderson cost the Eagles a touchdown and a ton of first-half momentum.
DeSean had him beat, Nick.