This weekend in NFL stupid

We’ve been doing this thing all season, with 12-16 games to work with each week. And yet we may have more stupid to report coming out of a four-game wild-card weekend than we did all year. Hard to believe considering these teams and officials are supposed to be the best of the best, but this was a real dumb weekend. Let’s get to it.

The stupidest sequence

Protecting a narrow lead, Carolina got the ball at the Arizona 34-yard line midway through the second quarter. And despite the fact they had averaged 6.4 yards per rushing attempt to that point, the Panthers passed on three consecutive players, culminating in this:


Had me wondering if Carolina even wanted to win this game.

The stupidest non-call


I don’t think it necessarily cost Detroit this game, but you could make the argument that Dallas got away with three penalties on one third-down play in the fourth quarter when a hold on Anthony Hitchens was missed, a pass interference flag was somewhat inexplicably picked up and Dez Bryant wasn’t flagged for running onto the field to complain sans helmet. I don’t buy into the fix stuff, but the Lions did get screwed by a terrible officiating moment there.

The stupidest fourth-down decision

But the Lions blew it from that point forward, starting with their decision to punt on 4th-and-1 on the play that directly followed that botched pass interference call. Too conservative with a chance to put the game away on the road against a clutch offense.

The second-stupidest fourth-down decision

Down 13 points on a 4th-and-2 in the fourth quarter, the Cardinals punted the football. That doesn’t compute, no matter where you are on the field. You’re basically throwing in the towel, Bruce.

The third-stupidest fourth-down decision

Up a point on their first drive of the fourth quarter, the Panthers were rolling down the field against the Arizona defense. And then, on a 4th-and-4 from the Cardinals’ 37-yard line, they punted it away. Was setting them back 29 yards really worth sacrificing the chance of converting? It’s not as though that Arizona offense was going anywhere….

The stupidest example of inconsistent officiating

To clarify, the example is good. The whole thing is stupid. How silly that this clear tug on the arm wasn’t called against Josh Norman:


And yet this was called on Tony Jefferson a few minutes later:


The stupidest non-call, Saturday edition

In what world is this not intentional grounding?


Most under-called penalty in sports….

The stupidest kick return decision

Adam Jones took one back from nine yards deep into his own end zone in the second quarter against Indy. But at least Jones made it back to the 17. But Jeremy Ross’ decision to take one back from deep in his own end zone backfired in a larger way, because the kick was high and the coverage had caught up. Ross only made it back to his own 5-yard line:


The stupidest penalty

The Ravens had 12 men on the field for a Pittsburgh field goal attempt in the second quarter, giving the Steelers a fresh set of downs. They’d end up with a shorter kick later in the drive. What’s really stupid, though, is that came just minutes after the Ravens were lucky to avoid a flag for the exact same infraction.

The second-stupidest penalty

This silly hit on the Detroit punter from Dekoda Watson killed the Cowboys’ moment, gave Detroit new life and could have ultimately cost Dallas the game:


The stupidest pass-protection gaffe

Um, the Steelers forgot about Ravens sack superhero Elvis Dumervil on a 3rd-and-long…


The stupidest TV mistake

Someone tell ESPN that Jonathan Cooper and Darnell Dockett are two different people:

About Brad Gagnon

Brad Gagnon has been passionate about both sports and mass media since he was in diapers -- a passion that won't die until he's in them again. Based in Toronto, he's worked as a national NFL blog editor at (covering Super Bowls XLIV, XLV and XLVI), a producer and writer at theScore Television Network and a host, reporter and play-by-play voice at Rogers TV. His work has also appeared at Deadspin,, The Guardian, The Hockey News and elsewhere at Bloguin, but his day gig has him covering all things NFC East for Bleacher Report.