WTF moments from the NFL Divisional Round games

This was not a pretty weekend of playoff football by any means and the Steelers had probably one of the worst defensive outings I think I can ever recall.

Aside from the Steelers, there were plenty of WTF moments to go around all weekend.

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Starting with the Atlanta Falcons losing to the first-ever one-seed underdog, the Philadelphia Eagles should not be a WTF headline. The reason the Eagles were an underdog is that they lost their starting quarterback, Carson Wentz, and were forced to make a go of the rest of the season, and playoffs, with backup Nick Foles. Going up against 2017 MVP Matt Ryan is what made Philly’s 15-10 victory an “upset”.

The game was close from start to finish, but overall, it was boring to watch. Both teams struggled offensively, and it didn’t start so hot for Foles, who had some really bad throws in the beginning of the game. Eagles RB Jay Ajayi fumbled on his first carry as well, leading some to think the Eagles truly were an underdog.

But not so fast. Their defense came through, and a little lucky bounced Philadelphia’s way with a Foles intended pass deflecting off of Falcons S Keanu Neal to Torrey Smith. The Eagles marched down the field for the go-ahead score, but it wasn’t over until the fat lady sung. The Falcons were withing Julio Jones‘ fingertips of coming down with the game-winning touchdown in the final seconds. Some think the pass was high, other think Jones wasn’t in a good position. They didn’t connect and Atlanta lost.

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The WTF for Steelers fans reading this is all of those times critics try and make comparisons of Julio Jones to Antonio Brown, claiming that Julio is the best receiver in the game. If Julio was, he would’ve come down with the ball.

As it stands, he’s not even in Santonio Holmes‘ league.

The second game on Saturday pitted the Tennessee Titans against the New England Patriots. Before I comment on this game, yes, I do believe there is favoritism for the Patriots.

There I said it. You don’t have to agree with me, but the calls, the overturned calls, the lack of calls called against New England, all of this makes me believe this. It’s definitely a perception and this game proved my point even further.

Tennessee scored the first touchdown of the game, which was a WTF in itself. But when Dion Lewis was down by contact, clearly, his butt touching the ground, then he gets up and runs in for a touchdown, by rule, it has to be reviewed… how do you miss this on the field of play?

New England Patriots RB Dion Lewis down by contact

I came off my couch so fast to kick the TV, I knew this was never going end. WTF?!

The New York replay center is a joke. Referees sometimes get it right on the field, and sometimes they do not. Replay is supposed to be a foolproof way of fixing situations where human error is involved. That’s why fans have a perception that the Patriots are shown favoritism because too many times these calls go in their favor. There’s no way the odds can go that way so many times.

Luckily this did get overturned, but geesh… once again, how do you not know? Are you just going to let everyone get up and score to allow replay to save your butts? Or are you going to call the game?

That wasn’t all, however. Here are a few other stupid calls these playoff referees made that even had Jim Nantz and Tony Romo commenting “This is not right.”

  • Overturned a false-start on the Patriots to call it an encroachment against the Titans. (Who overturns penalties?)
  • Pass Interference call on third down against Titans WR Eric Decker saying he pushed off changing a first down conversion to a fourth down and forcing the Titans to punt. (If you saw this play, you know what we mean.)
  • A Rob Gronkowski Offensive PI call not called when he clearly pushed off (but Decker’s no-call was “a call”)
    And this gem, our favorite of the game, which had players from around the league taking to Twitter… The game clock at Gillette Stadium hung on one second for what felt like ten seconds. The final second on the clock before the half was more like “3-2-1-1-1-1-1-1”

WTF is that?

I’ll tell you what I call it: cheating.

I had to turn off the game in the third quarter. The bias the officials had for this game, the way they took the Titans out of it from the start to even have a chance to keep it competitive was lost in the first ten minutes and just became embarrassing to watch.

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Now, let’s talk about the game we were all watching: the Steelers and Jaguars. We all know about the week-long trash talking that was going on from both sides of the field, but when I heard that S Mike Mitchell yelled outside the Jags locker room, prior to the game, a taunting call, it made me think, this is not going to end well.

WTF Mike? Grow up!

The game itself saw a combined 87 points scored. Did anyone play any defense?

The Jaguars were the beneficiaries of two turnovers and a lot of WTF decisions by the Steelers coaching staff. I’m wondering if they had “must win” on their minds? A combination of WTF moments includes poor play calls (4th and 1… twice) to a poorly executed if not ill-advised onside kick at a point in the game where it was not necessary yet, piled on with an interception from Ben and a 50-yard strip-sack turned into a fumble return for a TD.

There were several times in the game that the Steelers were on the brink of closing in on the Jags by one score, only to fall back behind. One of those was when the previously bad-throwing Blake Bortles unleashes a 45-yard pass to Keelan Cole, (who?), setting up a three-yard touchdown by Leonard Fournette. Their lead went back up by 14 and that is where on 4th-and-1 the Steelers opted to pass.


You could’ve run up the middle with the best back in the league (Le’Veon Bell) or attempt a quarterback sneak with Ben Roethlisberger (who is 6’5 and 245 lbs.) Did they forget he is 18/19 when he goes for that?

Not to mention that last 4th down conversion attempt saw JuJu Smith-Schuster get his jersey yanked from behind, in plain sight of a referee (that again) with no call, reaction, or anything. The explanation which was given to Big Ben? “There wasn’t enough there.” So, the referees saw it, but chose not to call it? Where does it say in the NFL rulebook that the jersey must be pulled five inches instead of four? WTF?

The game itself was a defensive disaster on both sides of the field. If you can’t win with your quarterback passing for five touchdowns, many of them on miracle heaves downfield, then you do not deserve to win.

On a side note, a scary WTF moment for Pittsburgh natives was prior to the game, when a San Antonio man was arrested for allegedly threatening a mass shooting during the game at Heinz Field. Seriously…

The final WTF of the Divisional Round weekend was a feel-good moment with the “Miracle in Minnesota”. (Well, it felt good if you were rooting for the Vikings, that is.)

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The Vikings have been to the Super Bowl four times and have lost all four. It’s hard to want to watch football after the Steelers were eliminated (and seeing what happened in the Patriots game) but being an NFL fan in general, the playoff games still piqued my interest. The Vikings have an opportunity to be the first team to ever play a Super Bowl in their home stadium, as Minnesota is playing host to the big game.

However, the Vikings almost didn’t make it. With three lead changes in the final minutes, Vikings QB Case Keenum connected with Stefon Diggs… who probably expected to step out of bounds to allow his team to attempt a game-winning field goal.

Instead, Diggs eluded a bizarre non-tackle by rookie New Orleans safety Marcus Williams and ran his way into the end zone as the clock expired for the win.

Everyone watching, including those players on the field (and on both sides), were like, WTF just happened?

Keenum was shown to say, “Oh my God did he catch it?”.

Yes, he did… and that WTF, thankfully, overshadowed a long week of hearing how the Steelers blew it!

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