On Sunday, Seahawks WR Golden Tate delivered a knockout blow to Cowboys LB Sean Lee on a blindside block that made all the highlight reels, and has now left Tate $21,000 poorer after being fined by the NFL.
The hit also gave us one of the more brutal photos of the football season so far:
The look on Lee’s face – with Tate’s helmet planted squarely in his jaw – is downright scary, and it’s fortunate that Lee wasn’t seriously injured on the play (although, the long-term effects on his brain probably won’t be known for a while).
WATCH THE PLAY HERE (GIFs below). In real time, it most certainly is a blindside block, but it’s looks as though Tate put his helmet in Lee’s chest and wasn’t aiming for his head (despite the result). Seattle head coach Pete Carroll has said that “I don’t think he could have done it any cleaner”.
We all know that Pete Carroll likes to keep things loose around his team throughout training camp, and even has a history of playing practical jokes on his players during team meetings. So when the Seahawks signed Terrell Owens earlier this week, coach Carroll couldn’t resist the opportunity to have a little fun with his new lightning rod.
Watch below as Carroll calls Owens to the front of the team meeting room to share a personal story, only to be told to sit down by the coach and rest of the players as he’s getting started. At first it looks as though Owens is being punked, but T.O. then flips the script, telling the team that he really, really wants his old #81 (now belonging to Golden Tate), and was told it would be available before his signing.
What follows is an tremendously awkward moment for everyone in the room … and fortunately for us, Caroll decided to record it all and post the video to YouTube (stick with it):
[H/T Around The League]
Well that right there is why they play the games.
Everybody’s least favorite playoff team, the 7-9 Seahawks, upset the defending champion New Orleans Saints today in Seattle, hanging on for a shocking 41-36 win. The game was a shootout from the very beginning, with both defenses seemingly taking much of the afternoon off. Seattle was led by QB Matt Hasselbeck, who threw for 272 yards and four TDs in leading his team to a 24-17 halftime lead. And the offensive fireworks didn’t stop there, as both teams racked up almost 900 combined yards of total offense in the game.
Just when it looked like Drew Brees and the Saints were going to overpower the lowly NFC West champs down the stretch, RB Marshawn Lynch broke away for an incredible 67-yard 4th quarter touchdown run that put the game out of reach. The Saints seemed to have Lynch bottled up near the line of scrimmage, but the man who Carroll traded for mid-season broke loose around midfield. At least six members of the NO defense had a legitimate chance to bring him down on the play, but Lynch simply wouldn’t be denied the end zone:
Crazy. It’s already being called one of the greatest runs ever, and considering the breadth of skills Lynch used to elude defenders on the play (power/speed/shiftiness/field vision and one nasty stiff-arm), along with the fact that it sealed one of the bigger playoff upsets in recent league history, it certainly deserves to at least be in the conversation.
In the end, the Seahawks – who were roundly derided as the worst team to ever make the playoffs – once again proved that on any given Sunday, any team in the NFL can beat another … and that we don’t know a damn thing about how this post-season is going to play out.
BONUS GIF OF LYNCH TOSSING TRACY PORTER AFTER THE JUMP
During the pre-game build up to today’s Saints-Seahawks Wild Card game, NFL Network aired this excellent profile on Seattle WR Mike Williams, who has returned from the brink of obscurity to become the comeback player of the year for Pete Carroll‘s team in 2010. And while Michael Vick is likely a lock for the league-wide award, Williams’ story doesn’t involve electrocuting dogs, and is as refreshingly positive as we’ve heard in a while.
A dominating receiver at USC, Williams had been considered one of the biggest draft busts in recent memory after coming out after his Sophomore year and being chosen 10th overall by the Detroit Lions in 2005. Williams pocketed a huge signing bonus, got fat and subsequently cut, and bounced around to a few teams before falling out of the league. He spent those two years away from the game (from 2008-2009) starting a family, getting his head right and getting back into shape in case another opportunity came calling.
And when Carroll – who was Williams’ coach during his best years at USC – got the Seattle gig, he looked up his old go-to guy and invited Williams to camp. Since then, Mike Williams has done all the right things and started to erase that “bust” tag, leading the Seahawks with over 750 yards receiving this season and shattering his previous career totals along the way. But Williams truly seems to have a good head on his shoulders these days, and understands that he still has a long way to go:
VIDEO AFTER THE JUMP
Winners in Bold
Carolina @ Atlanta:
Carolina ends its mess of a season against the Falcons who are having a fine year. They say that John Fox might be tapped to replace Eric Mangini if he is let go in Cleveland. Something about that is wildly depressing and stinks of resigned mediocrity of the new normal: withering job prospects, no assets, low paycheck, massive debt from an education that gets you nowhere, and a marginal chance of your NFL team winning eight games.
Pittsburgh @ Cleveland:
Speaking of Eric Mangini, his under-talented Browns take on the Steelers at home in front of the faithful. Many of us at ReadAndReact headquarters are firmly behind Coach Mangini and feel he deserves one more year to right the ship. The Browns have had a tedious revolving door of coaches and quarterbacks since they re-entered the league. Their fans at this point are listless and battered, wondering why they are being tested by God, and if he will ever show them mercy. I hope for all those toiling by the lake that the Browns absolutely destroy the Steelers this Sunday, that Holmgren looks deep into his extra large soul and decides to give Mangini one more year. Curses can’t last forever, even the biblical variety, and Mangini might be able to lead this team to the promised land yet.
Minnesota @ Detroit:
Here’s to Brett Favre for playing football one year too many. Here’s a toast for him being completely himself, whether that is leaping around the field like a 12-year old on a playground or giving a maddening self indulgent, self-serving press conference. It is rare these days for an athlete to show any of his true self, as he will be pillaged for any misstep, wrong turn of phrase, or even smiling on the sidelines by the press, blogs, and fans alike. Favre, unlike the other professionally programmed robots, happily unleashes his id upon us all and, though many times not likeable, it is real and honest. Here’s to one of the best moments of the season, of Favre making a surprise appearance, outdoors in a snowy stadium in Minnesota, leading a touchdown drive like old times, fans delirious, scripted like a movie. Then, as quick as it started, it sadly ends with his head bouncing off the frozen turf. Favre exits the league leaving fans with a lot of wonderful memories and conflicting opinions as he heads back to his ranch in Mississippi. Perhaps like Cincinnatus he waits for another team to call or maybe he just swims in bathtubs full of money or puts on his Wranglers and heads to the local high school and with joy on his face tosses pass after pass to high school kids running fade patterns, his shadow growing larger and larger as the sun sets red in the evening Mississippi sky.
Oakland @ Kansas City:
The league would be a better place if the Raiders were a better team. A win on Sunday would bring them to eight wins and forward on the road to respectability. Kansas City on the other hand is having a dream season, the fans enjoying every moment because they aren’t sure if it’s a dream or if it’s real.
Miami @ New England:
I like to think of Danny Woodhead as a loveable hobbit somehow pressed into service by the mad wizard Belichik. I imagine every time he gets the ball he screams in fear and is actually just running for his life, giants and monsters around every turn as he higgledy piggledy does his best to dash to safety. I like to imagine that after each game he goes to Tom and Gisele’s apartment and hops on the bed with his pals Wes Welker and Julian Edelman, happy to be alive as Gisele and Tom try on Uggs boots and read long letters from their old friend and leftist poet Randy Moss.
Buffalo @ New York Jets:
The Bills have been meanderingly interesting this year and the emergence of the Fitzmagic and his beard have galvanized a rust belt fan base and has inspired lonely men (and some women) in hunting cabins and ice fishing houses of upper New York to grow out their own beards in solidarity, and quite frankly for something to do. It has also inspired ReadAndReact to attempt to cajole the Amish Rifle to save his truly magnificent beard; please sign our petitionthat implores him that the world needs men with beards and he is a beacon of hope to us all. We also might create a petition to make the Jets go away. They are a wildly irritating clown show that needs to be taken down and shipped out of town.
Cincinnati @ Baltimore:
Speaking of clown shows, whether it was the poor coaching, play, or just a cavalcade of bad decisions in critical moments, this season has been an utter disaster for the Bengals. They face a typically well prepared and winning Baltimore team that could probably beat the Bengals with four guys from the practice squad and seven bottles of Gatorade.
Heading into the 2010 season, nobody had particularly high expectations for the NFC West. In fact, it was widely identified as the worst division in football. But I don’t think any of us expected that it would suck quite this badly … did we?
Look at it this way: At 3-8, the Arizona Cardinals – who have lost six games in a row – are only TWO GAMES out of first place in their division. The Rams and Seahawks are currently the best of the bunch at 5-6, but with five games left, it’s anyone’s division for the taking. And one of these teams is going to the playoffs … likely with a 7-9 final record, while a 10-6 (or even 11-5) potential NFC wild card team misses out.
So what happened? We kind of knew the Seahawks were going through a transition period with Pete Carroll taking over, and the two-time defending division champion Cardinals lost a lot of their best players in the off-season. But people had high hopes for the 49ers, who seem to have regressed in Mike Singletary‘s second year at the helm. Troy Smith may have brought some spark to the club, but with the loss of Frank Gore for the remainder of the season, I just don’t see this team scaring anyone down the stretch.
With the NFL Draft mere hours away, I’m mock drafting a wild first round. For my money, a mock draft is more fun when it includes trade activity–a big trade in the first round rocks the boat, and renders “non-trade” mocks impotent. I’m throwing it down right here, boys–tonight’s gonna’ be a wild one.
The key to this evening’s first round, in my opinion, is Kansas City and Seattle. If these guys go offensive tackle at #5 and #6, the first round could unfold methodically–minus the drama. But, if either one selects Texas safety Eric Berry, it leaves the Cleveland Browns alone on the dance floor. As a Browns fan, I’m planning for Berry to be gone (I don’t believe Scott Pioli will take a safety at #5, but I think Pete Carroll is game). I *do* believe the Browns are very high on Berry, and (unless they go Clausen, which would surprise me) G.M. Tom Heckert will push to trade down if their guy’s been picked. If this happens, I believe two teams will to go after Jimmy-Boy Clausen at #7–mainly because they fear him going to Buffalo at #9 (and maybe even Oakland at #8).
With this in mind, one trend I believe you’ll see tonight is a run on the (potentially over-hyped) quarterbacks. If Clausen goes early, a handful of teams will panic and consider moving up to take Colt McCoy. Bottom line: Selecting the right QB on draft day can change your franchise for 15 years, and it’s too tempting for QB-less teams to ignore–even though it rarely works out, and can cripple a team. This is the Holy Grail. With Bradford, Clausen, and McCoy gone midway through Round One, the spotlight will shift (or, burn that much brighter) on Timmy Tebow. Will a team take a chance on Tim? Find out below. I also think we’ll see a number of teams (like Philly and Dallas) aggressively go after their guy. Dallas, in particular, is not going to let the Randy Moss debacle happen twice–they will go after the draft’s only game-changing, mercurial WR with a vengeance.
I’m no expert at this (who is?). Feel free to rip me to shreds. These fan draft boards are vastly different than those held by NFL teams. We may capture the top 10 players, but I’m not sure we can predict a thing past that–so, why not have fun with it? (Note: Trade activity is marked in red.)
MOCK DRAFT LOCKED on 4/22/10 at 1:17 PST
R O U N D O N E
1. St. Louis (1-15) - Sam Bradford, QB/Oklahoma
2. Detroit (2-14) - Ndamukong Suh, DT/Nebraska
3. Tampa Bay (3-13) – Gerald McCoy, DT/Oklahoma
4. Washington (4-12) – Trent Williams, OT/Oklahoma
5. Kansas City (4-12) – Russell Okung, OT/Oklahoma State
6. Seattle (5-11) – Eric Berry, S/Tennessee
7. Cleveland (5-11) – TRADES THE PICK – With Eric Berry taken, the Browns trade the pick to San Francisco, for the Niners 1/13 and 2/49, and a late-round pick (I don’t buy into the value chart this time around).
7. San Francisco (from Cleveland) – Jimmy Clausen, QB/Notre Dame
8. Oakland (5-11) – Bryan Bulaga, OT/Iowa
9. Buffalo (6-10) – TRADES THE PICK – Buffalo trades the pick to Miami for Miami’s 1/12, a later-round pick, and the rights to Chad Pennington.
9. Miami (from Buffalo) – Jason Pierre-Paul, DE/South Florida
10. Jacksonville (7-9) – TRADES THE PICK – The Jaguars trade the pick to Philadelphia, for the Eagles 1/24, 2/37, and later round picks.
10. Philadelphia (from Jacksonville) – Earl Thomas, S/Texas
11. Denver (from Chicago 7-9) – TRADES THE PICK – The Broncos trade the pick to Dallas, for the Cowboys 1/27, 2/59, etc. (I’m not sure they could pull a 2nd from Dallas, but let’s go with it.)
11. Dallas (from Denver) – Dez Bryant, WR/Oklahoma State
12. Buffalo (from Miami 7-9) – Colt McCoy, QB/Texas – Buffalo reaches for McCoy, but doesn’t want to lose him.
13. Cleveland (from San Francisco 8-8) – C.J. Spiller, RB/Clemson
14. Seattle (from Denver 8-8) – Ryan Mathews, RB/Fresno State
15. New York Giants (8-8) – Rolando McClain, LB/Alabama
16. Tennessee (8-8) – Dan Williams, NT/Tennessee
17. San Francisco (from Carolina 8-8) – Derrick Morgan, DE/Georgia Tech
18. Pittsburgh (9-7) – Mike Iupati, OG/Idaho
19. Atlanta (9-7) – Jared Odrick, DT/Penn State
20. Houston (9-7) – Joe Haden, CB/Florida
21. Cincinnati (10-6) – Jermaine Gresham, TE/Oklahoma
22. New England (10-6) – Taylor Mays, S/USC
23. Green Bay (11-5) – Anthony Davis, OT/Rutgers
24. Jacksonville (from Philadelphia 11-5) – Sergio Kindle, LB/Texas
25. Baltimore (9-7) – Charles Brown, OT/USC
26. Arizona (10-6) – DeMaryius Thomas, WR/Georgia Tech
27. Denver (from Dallas 11-5) – Brandon Graham, DE/Michigan
28. San Diego (13-3) – Kyle Wilson, CB
29. New York Jets (9-7) – Kareem Jackson, CB/Alabama
30. Minnesota (12-4) – Maurkice Pouncey, C/Florida
31. Indianapolis (14-2) – Jerry Hughes, DE/TCU
32. New Orleans (13-3) – Everson Griffen, DE/USC
R O U N D T W O
33. St. Louis – Jahvid Best, RB/California
34. Detroit – Bruce Campbell, OT/Maryland
35. Tampa Bay – Patrick Robinson, CB/Florida St.
36. Kansas City – TRADES THE PICK – The Chiefs trade the pick to the Browns for Cleveland’s 2/38 and a later pick.
36. Cleveland (from Jacksonville) – Tim Tebow, QB/Florida
37. Jacksonville (from Philadelphia, via Washington) – Nate Allen, S/South Florida
38. Kansas City (from Cleveland) – Chad Jones, S/LSU
39. Oakland – Terrence Cody, NT/Alabama
40. San Diego (from Seattle) – Jonathan Dwyer, RB/Georgia Tech
41. Buffalo – Rodger Saffold, OT/Indiana
42. Tampa Bay (from Chicago) – Sean Weatherspoon, LB/Missouri
43. Denver (from Miami) – Golden Tate, WR/Notre Dame
44. New England (from Jacksonville) – Carlos Dunlap, DE/Florida
45. Denver – Navorro Bowman, LB/Penn St.
46. NY Giants – Matt Tennant, C/Boston College
47. New England (from Tennessee) – Sean Lee, LB/Penn St.
48. Carolina – Damian Williams, WR/USC
49. Cleveland (from San Francisco) – Devin McCourty, CB/Rutgers
50. Kansas City (from Atlanta) – Brian Price, DT/UCLA
51. Houston – Cam Thomas, DT/North Carolina
52. Pittsburgh – Brandon LaFell, WR/LSU
53. New England – Toby Gerhart, RB, Stanford
54. Cincinnati – Daryl Washington, LB/TCU
55. Philadelphia – Arrelious Benn, WR/Illinois
56. Green Bay – Morgan Burnett, S/Georgia Tech
57. Baltimore – Corey Wootton, DE/Northwestern
58. Arizona – Koa Misi, LB/Utah
59. Denver (from Dallas) – Chris Cook, CB/Virginia
60. Seattle (from San Diego) – Vladimir Ducasse, OT/Massachusetts
61. NY Jets – Dexter McCluster, RB/Mississippi
62. Minnesota – Aaron Hernandez, TE/Florida
63. Indianapolis – Alex Carrington, DE/Arkansas St.
64. New Orleans – Brandon Ghee, CB/Wake Forest