After a busy Sunday of NFL action, it’s easy to focus on the best performers of the week. Peyton Manning throws the 500th touchdown of his career. Tom Brady passes the 50,000-yard mark. The Patriots cheerleaders wear jerseys of an opposing player to support his young daughter’s battle with cancer. Bills defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz gets carried off the field after his unit only allowed 14 points in a win over Schwartz’s former employer. The list could go on and on.
However, don’t forget about the flip side of the coin. For every positive standout, there’s a negative one. For every superstar performance, someone (somewhere) is laying a dud. Here, then, are five of the worst performers from the week that was in the National Football League ranked in no particular order, simply because they’re all really bad.
1. The Lions’ kicker
Detroit Lions kicker Alex Henery had a day to forget Sunday, missing field goals from 44, 44, and 50 yards in an oh-so-close 17-14 defeat. Well, we should say former Detroit Lions kicker Alex Henery, since the team promptly cut him from the roster on Monday. Sadly for Henery, a 20% success rate for a professional placekicker just isn’t going to cut it. The Lions will now be looking for their third kicker of the season before Week 6: As Pro Football Talk points out, the team is a miserable 1-9 on field goals outside 30 yards this year. Where is Jason Hanson when you need him?
Wait, what? pic.twitter.com/dTs2TeX6T1
— Eric Kay (@ekaycbs) October 5, 2014
2. The Jaguars’ mascot
For at least one week, the Jaguars’ 0-5 football record wasn’t the most embarrassing thing about the franchise. No, that would be mascot Jaxson de Ville, who held up an ill-advised handwritten sign reading: “Towels carry Ebola” to mock the visiting Pittsburgh Steelers’ ‘Terrible Towel’ tradition. Jacksonville has apologized for its employee’s “inappropriate” and “extremely poor” decision, and says it will handle the matter internally. The last thing a winless NFL club needs is to make negative headlines off the field, and with thousands around the world having died from Ebola, this attempt at humor has drawn national attention for all the wrong reasons.
3. The second-half Titans
One of the best performers of the day was the first-half Tennessee Titans, who led Cleveland 28-3 after 29 minutes or so. However, the second-half version of the Titans deserve a spot on this list for allowing 26 unanswered points in a heartbreaking 29-28 home defeat. To put the shocking result in perspective: no home team had blown a bigger lead in NFL history. Losing quarterback Jake Locker to a thumb injury in the second quarter had a lot to do with it, but still. Blowing a 25-point lead? At home? Not scoring for the rest of the game? Extending a losing streak to four games? Ouch, ouch, ouch, and ouch. (That’s one ‘ouch’ for each possession of the four-possession lead the Titans squandered, in case you were wondering.)
4. The Cowboys’ fans
Sunday wasn’t the first time this season that the Dallas Cowboys have had their beautiful billion dollar stadium taken over by opposing fans, but it’s the first time they came out and admitted it. Dallas quarterback Tony Romo said that, “Today we played on the road,” acknowledging that his team had to use a silent count due to the number of Texans fans that made the trip to AT&T Stadium. Honestly, we’re not sure why the Dallas fans aren’t showing up — this is still America’s team, isn’t it? The ‘Boys are playing .800 football, tied for first place in the division, and riding a four-game winning streak (the franchise’s longest since 2011.) What exactly are the fans waiting for? In most places, people use the excuse they want to stay home and watch on their big TV screen because they can see the game better that way. In Dallas — with the 600-ton video board hanging overhead — that rationale isn’t going to fly.
5. The Jets’ offense
If the New York Jets doubled their point total from Sunday’s embarrassing loss to San Diego, they’d still have exactly zero. Geno Smith doesn’t look like the answer. Michael Vick doesn’t look like the answer. The two quarterbacks combined for 74 passing yards in a 31-0 defeat that really wasn’t that close. Neither player completed a pass for more than 12 yards, and the two signal-callers together were an abysmal 12 of 31 throwing the football. The Jets amassed just 151 yards of total offense, which — on the bright side — was slightly more than the 94 penalty yards Rex Ryan’s team finished with. After the game, Ryan apologized to the team’s fans, or, as he put it, “those we have left.”