Indeed, wtf, man? - the same question a lot of Seahawks fans must have been asking too.
Not only did CB have the Seahawks winning it all, it also picked RB Marshawn Lynch to be the MVP of the Super Bowl. And it seemed Lynch was poised to claim the honor after running for a 4-yard gain to the New England 1-yard line with just over a minute remaining in the game. Everybody knew what was coming next: another handoff to Lynch, a plunge into the end zone for the probable game-winning TD, and a possible MVP award for Marshawn, as it would have been his 2nd TD of the game to go along with his game high 134 total yards. But that wasn't what happened, was it?
A day or two after the game the NFL Network showed a home video of about a dozen Seahawks fans watching on TV from somebody's home all chanting, "Beast Mode!, Beast Mode!, Beast Mode!", after Lynch's 4-yard carry, anticipating that Lynch surely would get the ball again on the next play and score - only to have their shouts turn to silence and then cries of disbelief and anger (including at least one expletive that had to be beeped out) when the Seahawks threw an interception on 2nd down instead of giving the ball to Lynch. I wonder how many other homes in the Seattle area had that same reaction.
And I wonder how many New England fans had the exact opposite reaction. As you may recall, the play began with them yelling angrily at their television sets because Coach Belichick didn't call a timeout after Lynch's run to the 1-yard line. Thanks to that blunder, after the Seahawks would score their TD, there would only be 20 seconds remaining for the Patriots on their final drive instead of 1 minute, a huge difference. But their anger quickly turned to joyous disbelief, as if a gift had come down from heaven, when CB Malcolm Butler got the INT on the 2nd down pass.
Just like that, no Seattle victory, no MVP for Lynch, and Richard Sherman had that look on his face that you've probably seen a hundred times (photo above) that looks like he just tasted a stale piece of that beef jerky he endorses. But while mourning CB's defeat, you have to give the Patriots all the credit. In the 3rd quarter it looked like the Seahawks were fixin' to turn the game into a blowout, the same as they had done in Super Bowl 48. But just as Seahawks fans were getting their champagne bottles ready, the Patriots drove on the great Seattle defense not once but twice for touchdowns in the 4th quarter and then hung on thanks to that brain cramp by the Seahawks' coaching staff.
So, that makes it 2 years in a row the team CB picked before the season to win the Super Bowl lost the Super Bowl - not the thing that you want to be known for. As for CB's regular season predictions, they actually were a bit better than usual, earning CB's 2nd best overall grade in 7 years' worth of forecasts. Here now is a review of CB's 2014 predictions (which were made in the post titled "You really wanna go there?")
1. NE 10-6 1. NE 12-4
2. NYJ 9-7 2. BUF 9-7
3. MIA 6-10 3. MIA 8-8
4. BUF 4-12 4. NYJ 4-12
Hmm. It looks like CB somehow got the Jets and Bills confused ..... GRADE: D ... (L6Y - grade for last 6 years, starting in 2013 and going back to 2008: D, C-, C, C-, B-, D )
1. CIN 12-4 1. PIT 11-5
2. PIT 10-6 2. CIN 10-5-1
3. BAL 8-8 3. BAL 10-6
4. CLEV 4-12 4. CLEV 7-9
CB almost had something here, but Bengals didn't defeat Steelers in Week 17 as it predicted ..... GRADE: C ... (L6Y: C, C+, B-, C-, C, F)
1. IND 12-4 1. IND 11-5
2. JAC 7-9 2. HOU 9-7
3. HOU 6-10 3. JAC 3-13
4. TEN 3-13 4. TEN 2-14
Long-awaited Jaguars' resurgence is going to happen one of these years, but it wasn't last year. Still this was the 'best' performance CB has ever had picking this division ..... GRADE: C ... (L6Y: D+, D-, D, D-, D-, C-)
1. SD 11-5 1. DEN 12-4
2. DEN 10-6 2. KC 9-7
3. KC 6-10 3. SD 9-7
4. OAK 4-12 4. OAK 3-13
Chiefs won tiebreaker for 2nd place due to head-to-head sweep of Chargers (Weeks 7 and 17)
Chargers looking good for 1st place until collapsing (1-3) in December ..... GRADE: C ... (L6Y: C, D, B, A-, B, B)
1. PHIL 11-5 1. DAL 12-4
2. DAL 8-8 2. PHIL 10-6
3. NYG 5-11 3. NYG 6-10
4. WASH 4-12 4. WASH 4-12
CB was kinda close here except for Cowboys, who finally broke out of their 8-8 rut ..... GRADE: C+ ... (L6Y: D, D+, B-, D, C, C-)
1. CHI 11-5 1. GB 12-4
2. GB 11-5 2. DET 11-5
3. MIN 8-8 3. MIN 7-9
4. DET 7-9 4. CHI 5-11
CB earns poor mark here thanks to ugly Lions' pick and even uglier Bears' pick ..... GRADE: D+ ... (L6Y: C-, C-, B-, C, B, C-)
1. NO 12-4 1. CAR 7-8-1
2. CAR 7-9 2. NO 7-9
3. ATL 6-10 3. ATL 6-10
4. TB 6-10 4. TB 2-14
It wasn't too surprising that Buccaneers were even worse than CB expected, but what on Earth happened to the Saints? ..... GRADE: C ... (L6Y: D, C-, D, B+, A, D)
1. SEA 13-3 1. SEA 12-4
2. ARIZ 10-6 2. ARIZ 11-5
3. SF 8-8 3. SF 8-8
4. STL 7-9 4. STL 6-10
CB's best performance of the 8 divisions. Almost nailed it perfectly ..... GRADE: B+ ... (L6Y: C, B+, D, D-, D, D-)
3 of 8 predicted correctly ..... GRADE: C- ... (L6Y: C-, C, C-, D, C-, F)
predicted actual1. IND 1. NE
2. CIN 2. DEN
3. SD 3. PIT
4. NE 4. IND
5. PIT 5. CIN
6. DEN 6. BAL
1. SEA 1. SEA
2. NO 2. GB
3. PHIL 3. DAL
4. CHI 4. CAR
5. GB 5. ARIZ
6. ARIZ 6. DET
8 of 12 teams picked correctly ..... GRADE: B- ... (L6Y: C, C, B, C-, B-, C-)
Predicted: SEA over CIN .... Actual: NE over SEA ..... I'll give CB a 'D' instead of an 'F' since Seattle at least made it to the Super Bowl (it would have been an 'A-' if they had let Marshawn Lynch have one more carry) ..... GRADE: D ... (L6Y: D, A, F, F, A-, F)
OVERALL GRADE: C ..... (L6Y: D+, C, C-, D+, B-, D)
I'll give CB one more chance to do better before breaking out a new crystal ball.
2014 HOUSE CALLS
Cordarrelle Patterson slumped from 9 TD to 2; Larry Fitzgerald dropped from 10 TD to 2. Marlon Brown went from 7 TD to none and Denarius Moore from 5 to none. BenJarvus Green-Ellis (7 TD in 2013), Maurice Jones-Drew (5 TD), and Sidney Rice (3 TD) all retired. So it's not a surprise that in 2014 the NFL's players with dreads could not duplicate the record-setting total of 193 TD they scored during the 2013 season. But 2014 still was a very good year, as the 179 TD scored (10.5 per week) was the second most ever. Here are the players who scored them.
- 17 - Marshawn Lynch (SEA)
- 14 - Jamaal Charles (KC)
- 13 - Eddie Lacy (GB)
- 9 - Kelvin Benjamin (CAR)
- 8 - Joique Bell (DET), Martavis Bryant (PIT), Isaiah Crowell (CLEV)
- 7 - T.Y. Hilton (IND), Chris Ivory (NYJ), Roddy White (ATL)
- 6 - DeAndre Hopkins (HOU), Steven Jackson (ATL), Sammy Watkins (BUF)
- 5 - LeGarrette Blount (2 w/PIT, 3 w/NE), Andre Ellington (ARIZ), Tre Mason (STL)
- 4 - Denard Robinson (JAC)
- 3 - Travis Benjamin (CLEV), Trent Richardson (IND), Khiry Robinson (NO)
- 2 - Anthony Dixon (BUF), Larry Fitzgerald (ARIZ), Devonta Freeman (ATL), Janoris Jenkins (STL), Chris Johnson (NYJ), Preston Parker (NYG), Cordarrelle Patterson (MIN), Andre Roberts (WASH), Jacquizz Rodgers (ATL), Markus Wheaton (PIT), Jarius Wright (MIN)
- 1 - Brandon Bolden (NE), Tre Boston (CAR), Travaris Cadet (NO), Louis Delmas (DET), Kemal Ishmael (ATL), Nic Jacobs (JAC), Dre Kirkpatrick (CIN), Kendrick Lewis (HOU), Brandon Lloyd (SF), Rashean Mathis (DET), Dexter McCluster (TEN), J.T. Thomas (JAC), Greg Toler (IND)
Now here are the 179 TD listed by team.
AFC EAST (22) NFC EAST (4)
BUF 8 DAL 0
MIA 1 NYG 2
NE 4 PHIL 0
NYJ 9 WASH 2
AFC NORTH (24) NFC NORTH (26)
BAL 0 CHI 0
CIN 1 DET 9
CLEV 11 GB 13
PIT 12 MIN 4
AFC SOUTH (25) NFC SOUTH (32)
HOU 7 ATL 18
IND 11 CAR 10
JAC 6 NO 4
TEN 1 TB 0
AFC WEST (14) NFC WEST (32)
DEN 0 ARIZ 7
KC 14 STL 7
OAK 0 SF 1
SD 0 SEA 17
PLAYOFF TD: 8 - Martavis Bryant 1, Kelvin Benjamin 2, LeGarrette Blount 3, Marshawn Lynch 2
It looked like Giants CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was going to get an INT on this play in Week 9; but when he bobbled the ball trying for the leaping catch, Colts WR T.Y. Hilton wrestled it away from him for a 31-yard TD reception, upping Colts lead to 23-3 early in 3rd quarter. Colts went on to win 40-24. It was the 3rd of Hilton's 7 TD catches on the season. T.Y., whose dreads slowly but surely are getting longer, now has scored 20 TD in his first three NFL seasons.
Trailing Falcons 16-3 with just over 9 minutes remaining in Week 11, Panthers need a play, and Kelvin Benjamin makes one. Benjamin leaps above CB Desmond Trufant but can't make the catch cleanly, and Trufant grabs his arm trying to keep him from catching the deflection .....
..... "You tried, Des. Guess you better try harder next time, huh?", KB tells Trufant after the play: http://www.panthers.com/media-vault/videos/Kelvin-Benjamin-22-yard-TD-catch/01dc8763-1ace-4bfd-baa6-b4d2e0f1c3fa
Benjamin finished with 9 catches for 109 yards; but after Panthers scored another TD 3 minutes later to take the lead, Falcons kicked a FG with 2:08 to play to win it 19-17, as Panthers missed long FG attempts on their final two possessions. But they would meet again.
Game analyst Jon Gruden on MNF correctly calls the play inexcusable. With 25 seconds to go in the half, the only job Jenkins has on the play is to not get beat deep. But Janoris must have been asleep or something because he failed terribly. The TD cut the Rams' lead to 14-10 and was a momentum changer, as 49ers roared back in 2nd half to win 31-17.
It seemed like Lloyd's career was over after nobody signed him for the 2013 season. But he was back with the 49ers (where he started his career in 2003) in 2014 and added one more to his total of career TD. This was Brandon's 36th, most of which came before he started growing dreads in 2011. Again it appears Lloyd may be through, as he remains unsigned at the start of the 2015 season.
Colts RB Trent Richardson fails to make the tackle inside the 5-yard line and can't prevent Texans S Kendrick Lewis from finishing off a 27-yard interception return with a dive into the end zone, giving Texans a 7-0 lead in 1st quarter at Indianapolis in Week 15. It was Lewis' 2nd INT of the season and 2nd career pick 6 (he had one with the Chiefs in 2011). It was the only TD of the day for the Texans and they went on to lose (as they always do at Indianapolis) 17-10. After one season with Houston, Kendrick has moved on to the Ravens for the 2015 season.
Panthers rookie S Tre Boston does Kendrick Lewis one better on his pick 6 against the Falcons in Week 17, high-stepping the final 10 yards and then punctuating it with a somersault in the end zone. The 84-yard return of Boston's 1st career INT upped the Panthers' lead to 34-3 late in 3rd quarter and ended any hopes the Falcons had for a miracle comeback. In a winner take all game for the NFC South title, Panthers whipped the Falcons in Atlanta 34-3.
Bengals CB Dre Kirkpatrick taunts Broncos WR Demaryius Thomas while returning an INT 30 yards to the house on 3rd and 1 during 4th quarter at Cincinnati in Week 16. It was the 2nd INT of the season for Kirkpatrick and it was big one as it upped the Bengals' lead to 37-28 with 2:41 remaining. The Bengals intercepted Peyton Manning 4 times in the game, all by players with dreads. Kirkpatrick also ended the next Broncos' drive with his 2nd INT of the game, after Adam Jones and Reggie Nelson had picked off passes earlier in the game. Bengals gave their fans a nice Christmas gift, defeating Broncos 37-28 to clinch an AFC playoff spot.
NFL players with dreads combined for a total of 74 interceptions during the 2014 regular season, a very small improvement from the 73 they had in 2013. 38 different players accounted for the 74 INT, with none of them able to get more than 4. Here is the list of the players who got those picks.
- 4 - Kemal Ishmael (ATL), Reggie Nelson (CIN), Richard Sherman (SEA), Buster Skrine (CLEV)
- 3 - Stephon Gilmore (BUF), Adam Jones (CIN), Dre Kirkpatrick (CIN), Desmond Trufant (ATL), J.J. Wilcox (DAL), Tramon Williams (GB)
- 2 - Michael Griffin (TEN), Janoris Jenkins (STL), Emmanuel Lamur (CIN), Kendrick Lewis (HOU), Dwight Lowery (ATL), Patrick Robinson (NO), Bradley Roby (DEN), Da'Norris Searcy (BUF), D.J. Swearinger (HOU), J.T. Thomas (JAC), Greg Toler (IND), Pierre Warren (NO)
- 1 - Walt Aikens (MIA), Tre Boston (CAR), Josh Bynes (DET), Louis Delmas (MIA), Brandon Dixon (TB), Davon House (GB), Jamari Lattimore (GB), Rashean Mathis (DET), Rey Maualuga (CIN), Ron Parker (KC), Dezmen Southward (ATL), Daimion Stafford (TEN), Justin Tuggle (HOU), Jason Verrett (SD), Lardarius Webb (BAL), Marcus Williams (NYJ)
Here are the 74 INT listed by team.
AFC EAST (8) NFC EAST (3)
BUF 5 DAL 3
MIA 2 NYG 0
NE 0 PHIL 0
NYJ 1 WASH 0
AFC NORTH (18) NFC NORTH (7)
BAL 1 CHI 0
CIN 13 DET 2
CLEV 4 GB 5
PIT 0 MIN 0
AFC SOUTH (12) NFC SOUTH (16)
HOU 5 ATL 10
IND 2 CAR 1
JAC 2 NO 4
TEN 3 TB 1
AFC WEST (4) NFC WEST (6)
DEN 2 ARIZ 0
KC 1 STL 2
OAK 0 SF 0
SD 1 SEA 4
PLAYOFF INT: 4 - Tre Boston 1, Bradley Roby 1, Richard Sherman 2
Bengals LB Emmanuel Lamur picks off a pass intended for WR Torrey Smith and returns it 5 yards to the Bengals' 49-yard line early in 3rd quarter to help the Bengals defeat the Ravens 27-24 at Cincinnati in Week 8. Lamur's only other INT also came against the Ravens in Week 1 in a game also won by the Bengals. The Bengals were the team with the most interceptions by players with dreads in 2014, as five different players combined for 13 INT.
Over in the NFC, four different players for the Falcons combined for an NFC-leading 10 INT by players with dreads. CB Desmond Trufant had 3 of those 10, on the second of which he made this leaping catch of a pass intended for Browns WR Josh Gordon in the back of the end zone on 1st and goal, keeping the Browns' lead at 23-21 with 4:51 remaining in the Week 12 game at Atlanta. Falcons would later take the lead, but Browns kicked a FG on the final play of the game to win it 26-24. Trufant has started all 16 games in both of his NFL seasons and is a superstar in the making.
Watkins would get the last say, though. After the Lions missed a 50-yard FG with 21 seconds remaining in the game, he beat Mathis for a 20-yard gain to the Detroit 40-yard line, and two plays later the Bills kicked a 58-yard FG with :04 on the clock to win 17-14.
Sammy Watkins also had a pass intended for him picked off by a veteran CB with dreads in Week 15, as Tramon Williams gets his 3rd (and final) INT of the season on a deep pass intended for Watkins at the Green Bay 34-yard line late in 2nd quarter. It turned out not to be a good day for Williams, though. With the Packers trailing by 6 with about 3 minutes remaining in the game, he had a golden opportunity to recover a fumble by RB Anthony Dixon near the Buffalo 40-yard line but couldn't get a handle on it. The Bills kept possession and the Packers ended up losing 21-13, a costly defeat that allowed the Seahawks to get the #1 seed for the NFC playoffs.
Playing in the 4th game of his career after being signed off the Vikings' practice squad just before Thanksgiving, Saints rookie S Pierre Warren gets the first 2 interceptions of his career at Chicago in Week 15, picking off deep passes intended for WR Marquess Wilson on the final play of 1st half (right photo) and WR Alshon Jeffery (left photo) late in 3rd quarter. Saints kicked a FG following the 2nd INT to increase their lead to 24-0 and went on to win 31-15. Hopefully these won't be the only two picks of Warren's career, but right now he's a free agent looking for a job after not making the Saints' roster during training camp.
CB Stephon Gilmore gets the 2nd of the 3 interceptions he had on the season, picking off a deep pass intended for Jets WR Percy Harvin during 1st quarter in Week 8 - the first of three INT tossed by QB Geno Smith in less than 4 minutes during the 1st quarter of a game won by the Bills 43-23. Stephon has gone from 1 INT as a rookie in 2012 to 2 in 2013 to 3 in 2014. That's a trend he'd love to continue throughout the rest of his career.
Packers QB Aaron Rodgers wouldn't dare challenge Seahawks CB Richard Sherman unless he had a free play. But when the officials didn't throw a flag after Rodgers thought he had drawn the Seahawks offside on 3rd and 10 from the 29-yard line, it wasn't a free play, this pick by Sherman of a pass in the end zone intended for WR Davante Adams counted, and the Packers came away empty on their first possession in the NFC Championship game on Jan. 18 at Seattle. Packers drove into FG range on their first 6 possessions of the game but scored only 1 TD and led only 16-0 at the half, which came back to haunt them before the day was over. This was the 6th (and last) INT of the season for Sherman (4 during the regular season plus 2 in the playoffs), who was named 1st team All-Pro for the 3rd straight season.
CB Jason Verrett, the Chargers' 1st round draft choice, had 1 INT in his rookie season and it was a big one. After the Raiders had driven from their 20-yard line to the Chargers' 45, Verrett intercepts a deep pass on 2nd and 1 intended for WR Brice Butler at the 5-yard line, ending the Raiders' final drive with 1:13 remaining in the game and preserving San Diego's 31-28 road victory in Week 6. Jason unfortunately injured his left shoulder (a torn labrum) during the game, aggravated it in Week 8, and ended up having to have surgery on it and missed the rest of the season. Despite only the 1 INT, Verrett had a good rookie season, and hopefully we'll be seeing those long dreads of his in the Chargers secondary for many years to come.
One of the reasons it has been so long since my last post was that I had a change of plans. I decided to include a mini dread gallery as part of this post, and I had to go back and find more pictures than the ones I had already saved. So here now are photos of some of the interesting things that happened during the 2014 season along with several shots of some of my favorite players.
1. Kelvin Benjamin wasted no time letting it be known he was going to be a force to be reckoned with in the NFL, scoring his 1st TD on a 26-yard reception despite being interfered with by CB Mike Jenkins on the first play of 4th quarter in the season opener at Tampa. The TD upped the Panthers' lead to 17-0, and they went on to win 20-14. Benjamin nearly made the dread stars list in his first NFL game, finishing with 6 catches for 92 yards. Jenkins, who had signed with the Buccaneers as a free agent during the offseason, suffered a torn pectoral muscle later in the game and missed the rest of the season.
2. After dropping the three previous passes thrown to him in a row, Kelvin Benjamin makes a spectacular one-handed catch on 2nd and 10 as Lions CB Rashean Mathis defends early in 4th quarter of the Panthers' home opener in Week 2. The drive, which later stayed alive when Mathis was called for a holding penalty on 3rd and goal, ended with a TD (and 2-point conversion) to up Carolina's lead to 21-7. Mathis finished with 5 tackles (4-1) and 2 PBU. Benjamin had 2 catches for 46 yards. The Panthers won 24-7.
4. On 3rd and 11 midway through 4th quarter Richard Sherman has his sights on an INT, but Kelvin Benjamin says, "Oh no, you do not!", and catches the deep pass for a 51-yard gain, his biggest gain of the season: http://www.panthers.com/media-vault/videos/Kelvin-Benjamin-51-yard-catch/58ae90d4-ae18-4cb9-b80c-0d62dd3d0b31 ...... Other than that play, the longest gain by either team in the game was 25 yards. Panthers kicked a FG 6 plays later to take a 9-6 lead, but Seahawks drove 80 yards for a TD on the ensuing drive, the only TD of the game in their 13-9 road win.
Benjamin had 4 catches for 94 yards in the game and finished his strong rookie season with 73 catches for 1,008 yards and 9 TD. He then added 11 more catches for 108 yards in the playoffs, including 2 TD catches in the Panthers' season-ending 31-17 loss at Seattle in the 2nd round. Sadly Kelvin won't be catching any passes or scoring any TD in 2015 after suffering a knee injury (torn ACL) during a practice in training camp. But if he recovers fully, he has a good chance to score a whole lot of touchdowns during his career.
6. Show me the money!!
You may remember seeing this, but only if you hung around until the end of that crucial game between the Titans and Jaguars (both teams 2-12) on Thursday night in Week 16 - crucial for draft position, that is, not playoff position. With the Jaguars leading by 8 and the Titans with the ball at the Jaguars' 35-yard line with :17 on the clock, DT Sen'Derrick Marks sacks QB Charlie Whitehurst for a 9-yard loss, and time expires before the Titans can run another play, clinching the Jaguars' 21-13 win. The sack upped Marks' total for the season to 8.5 sacks; and since his contract included a bonus if he reached 8 sacks, this play made him $600,000 richer. Congratulations, Sen'Derrick, although I can't say I approve of what you did to your dreads.
Even with that play nullified, Hopkins still had 6 catches for 116 yards in the game, but Texans lost 30-17. DeAndre followed a strong rookie season in 2013 with an even better 2nd season, finishing with 76 catches for 1,210 yards and 6 TD. Unfortunately though, late in the season he began playing with his dreads reduced, and it looks like he's planning to keep them reduced for good.
At this point of the season Richardson had rushed for 358 yards and 2 TD and had picked up 173 yards receiving. But from there he quickly fell out of favor, rushing for only 161 more yards in the Colts' final 9 games of the regular season and not carrying the ball at all in their 3 playoff games. And now, unbelievably, after he failed to make the Raiders roster in training camp this year, his career might be over already. I hope not, but after 3 seasons his career average is 3.3 yards per carry, and that just don't cut it.
Ball's sick dreads were seen in the NFL for the first time in 2014 after he had played 2 seasons in the CFL. He finished with 16 tackles (12-4) and 2 TFL in 12 games and is currently a free agent after not being re-signed by the Saints and then not making the Panthers' roster in training camp this year.
but don't expect to see Carter's awesome dreads anymore. After a very promising rookie season in 2011, Q missed most of 2012 and all of 2013 with a knee injury. He lasted for 11 games in 2014 (21 tackles, 1 FF, 1 PBU) before finishing the season on IR again. Now a free agent after not making the team in training camp this year, Carter is still young enough (27) to have a career, but unfortunately it looks like his knee issues aren't going to allow him to be as good a player as he once once, and that's a shame.
13. ..... but instead he gets undercut by Delmas and takes quite a spill. Marlon got the job done though, picking up 14 yards to the 13-yard line. The Ravens scored a TD on the next play to take a 14-10 lead and went on to win 28-13.
With the Ravens signing veteran WR Steve Smith during the offseason, Brown saw his playing time drop significantly in 2014 from his fine rookie season in 2013 - from 49 receptions and 7 TD in 2013 to only 24 catches for 255 yards and 0 TD in 2014. Hopefully he'll do better this year. 2014 was Delmas' 6th season in the league, his 1st with the Dolphins, and sadly his last with dreads. Even though Louis had reduced his dreads to only a few locks, they had grown so long that they actually looked OK. But no more.
15. No dreads here (unless you want to count Dri Archer (#13) looking on from behind the play), but remember this play from Week 1? Steelers WR Antonio Brown appeared to be taking a punt return to the house midway through 2nd quarter at Heinz Field; but instead of cutting to the left and away from P Spencer Lanning, Brown heads right at Lanning, leaps and kicks the terrified punter in the face near the Browns' 35-yard line. Wow. Brown not only didn't get the TD, he picked up an unnecessary roughness penalty for his trouble. Steelers blew a 24-3 lead but kicked a FG on the last play of the game to win their season opener 30-27.
17. They call it the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat, and it's expressed here by Browns LB Jabaal Sheard (right photo) and Titans LB Quentin Groves following their Week 6 game at Nashville - a game the Titans led 28-3 late in 2nd quarter, only to have the Browns score 26 points in a row to come back and win 29-28. Sheard got his 2nd sack of the season in the game, and shockingly it was his last sack of the season. And after he declined from 8.5 sacks as a rookie in 2011 to 7 to 5.5 to 2 in 2014, the Browns decided not to re-sign him. He is now with the Patriots. Groves continued his tour around the league in 2014, playing with a different team for the 4th year in a row (and a total of 5 teams in his 7 seasons). He's hoping to make it 5 different teams in a row this year but is currently a free agent after being released by the Bills at the end of training camp.
After the Jaguars let him go, the Colts signed him to their practice squad, and he remained there for the rest of the season.
LB Sio Moore celebrates with the fans after the Raiders get their 1st win of the season - on Nov. 20, which happened to be Week 12. Moore tied his season high with 12 tackles (7-5), including 1 sack, in the 24-20 win (another game that came back to bite the Chiefs in the ass) that ended the Raiders' 16-game losing streak. Evidently the Raiders couldn't handle the prosperity; they lost in their next game to the Rams 52-0. Moore joined Winston Guy on the ex-dread list during the offseason and joined the ex-Raider list too after being traded to the Colts just before the start of the 2015 season.
22. ..... Sammy, almost always the fastest player on the field, should score easily; but for some reason he doesn't wait until he gets to the end zone before starting his celebration, putting his arm out and slowing down when he crosses the 20-yard line. And that gives Hakim, who can fly too, a chance to get close enough to make a desperation dive, and he trips up Watkins, knocking him down at the 5-yard line. Said Watkins after the game, "I was shocked. I looked at the Jumbotron and thought I had 3 or 4 yards on him." You thought? Mercy, Sammy, don't think! Don't assume. That's breaking one of the most important rules in sports: Take nothing for granted.
If you watched that video, at the end you notice Watkins slamming the ball into the turf after he went down, because he knew he messed up. His teammates got him off the hook though, scoring the TD two plays later, and the Bills went on to win 43-23. And so Sammy finished his rookie season with 6 TD instead of 7. He caught 65 passes for 982 yards in what hopefully will be the beginning of a great career.
After missing his first 2 NFL seasons while recovering from a knee injury suffered in the 2012 preseason, Spence finally was on the field in 2014, playing all 16 games and finishing with 53 tackles (34-19) and 1 sack. Robinson, who by default became the Jaguars' starting RB in Week 7, led the team with 582 yards rushing (4.3 per carry) and scored his first 4 NFL TD.
24. Cowboys WR Dwayne Harris' dreads made their usual spectacular showing in 2014. Harris, making a 56-yard reception (right photo) in the season-opening 28-17 loss to the 49ers and bracing to be tackled (left photo) during the 20-17 victory over the Texans in Week 5 - the game in which he had a season high 143 all-purpose yards - did not score any TD in 2014 (after scoring a total of 5 in the previous two seasons), as he was slowed by injury late in the season. That plus the fact that his kickoff return (24.7) and punt return (9.2) averages dropped a lot from the previous season may have convinced the Cowboys not to re-sign him for this year. Dwayne stayed in the NFC East, signing with the Giants and adding some much-needed sick dreads to their roster.
Of course, when you let your dreads hang loose the way Harris does, there are the occasional occupational hazards .....
26. ..... and does not let go, even as Harris (foolishly) struggles to stay on his feet, holding him to a 16-yard return.
Obviously this wasn't the first time Harris has had his dreads grabbed; and it won't be the last, because no matter how often it happens (and how much it hurts) he's right back on the field the next game with them still flowing freely. And I got to admire him for that.
28. Bengals S Reggie Nelson makes a big (hair) entrance as he is introduced before facing the Ravens in Week 8. I don't know for sure that Reggie has the NFL's longest dreads; but he's at least in the top 5 longest. And in the (too few) games he plays in which he doesn't have them reduced, he is a sight to see.
30. ..... Here are the photos where you can see their dreads much better. Benjamin is unable to make the catch near the Cincinnati 20-yard line as Nelson prevents the Browns from adding to their 14-3 lead on the first play after a turnover by the Bengals early in 2nd quarter.
Benjamin finished with 3 catches for 46 yards. Nelson had 8 tackles (3-5), 1 TFL, and 2 PBU. The Browns won on the road with surprising ease 24-3.
I can't say that Reggie is headed for the Hall of Fame; but he has turned into a really good player since being discarded by the Jaguars (who had drafted him in the 1st round in 2007). Playing all 16 games in his 8th NFL season (and 5th with the Bengals) at age 31, Nelson finished with 94 tackles (61-33), 10 TFL, 1.5 sacks, 4 INT, and 8 PBU.
32. The coverage by Tramon Williams ain't bad, but it's not good enough, as Seahawks WR Jermaine Kearse beats him for a 35-yard catch for the game-winning TD in overtime in the NFC championship game on Jan. 18 at Seattle, completing a 6-play, 87-yard drive on the first possession in OT and completing a huge collapse by the Packers. After holding the Seahawks to 1 TD (on a fake FG) on their first 11 possessions, including 4 interceptions, the Packers defense suddenly turned into a sieve, allowing the Seahawks to drive 69, 50, and 87 yards for TD on their last 3 possessions after they had trailed 19-7 with only 4 minutes remaining in the game. You truly had to see it to believe it; and some Seahawks' fans didn't, so disappointed with how the game was going that they left early (serves them right). In what arguably was the Packers worst defeat ever (and they've had a few doozies over the years) it was the Seahawks - not the Packers - advancing to the Super Bowl with a 28-22 victory in overtime.
Actually I had the same disgust that my crystal ball had after the Super Bowl ended, and I didn't bother to save any photos from it; so that's all for this DG.
What's that? We're almost a month into in 2015 season and I'm still doing stuff on 2014? You don't have to remind me. I already know it's sad. Unfortunately, and I hate to do this to you and apologize for it, it's going to get even sadder, because I'm going to have to take a break for a couple of weeks. Try to hang in there. Eventually I'll start doing some stuff from this season, both college and pro.