This year on This weekend in NFL stupid, we’re focusing on one extremely stupid winner with an honorable mention or two on a weekly basis. To close out Week 10 of the 2015 regular season, we look back on one of the most boneheaded moments of the year.
The winner: Baltimore Ravens linebacker Elvis Dumervil
It’s a team game, which means it’s extremely hard to pin an entire loss on one player, especially if that player isn’t a quarterback. But in the case of Jaguars-Ravens on Sunday, we can conclude without much of a shadow of a doubt that Dumervil single-handedly cost his team the game.
Down a point, Jacksonville was rushing to get off one final play on a fourth down from mid-field. The Jags got the snap off with one second remaining, but for all intents and purposes the game was over. Quarterback Blake Bortles fell after taking the shotgun snap and at least two of his eligible receivers didn’t even run down field. Dumervil wasn’t wrong to spring past Jaguars right tackle Jermey Parnell, who didn’t even appear to be blocking, and take down Bortles. But at that moment, with the game all but over, the only thing he couldn’t afford to do was take a meaningless penalty.
And he did exactly that.
That gave Jacksonville an untimed down from the Baltimore 35-yard line, setting up a game-winning 53-yard field goal from Jason Myers, which was the difference.
“It’s heartbreaking, man. I let the guys down on that play,” Dumervil said after the wacky loss, per the team’s official website, adding that he takes “full responsibility.”
Good. At least he knows he was an idiot and that his idiotic play cost Baltimore a win.
The runner-up: New York Giants
The Giants should have broken up a double-digit New England Patriots winning streak for the third time in nine years. It would have been epic. All they had to do was not overthink things and use a sensible approach to the final two minutes Sunday against New England.
They had the ball at the New England 5-yard line with 2:06 to play in a game they trailed by a point, with the Patriots possessing just one timeout. That meant that with the clock stopping just twice more, the Giants could call three consecutive running plays and — worst-case scenario — kick a field goal before giving the Patriots the ball back with no timeouts and about 1:05 remaining.
Instead, they inexplicably called three consecutive passing plays, the first of which left 2:01 on the clock, making the second-down play irrelevant from a clock perspective. On the third, Manning at least had the presence of mind to slide down in bounds when he couldn’t find an open receiver, forcing the Pats to use their final timeout. But after the ensuing field goal and kickoff, the Patriots had 1:47 on the clock.
New England, of course, drove down the field before kicking the game-winning field goal with just one second remaining. But the Patriots wouldn’t likely have been able to do that had the Giants just run the ball on their final set of downs, giving New England 40-odd fewer seconds to work with.
They got cute, and it was stupid. Also probably cost them an important, historic victory.