NFL Roundtable: Week 3 recap | Football | CBC Sports

NFLNFL Roundtable: Week 3 recap

Posted: Tuesday, September 25, 2012 | 11:05 AM

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Replacement officials assess a last-second play in the end zone during the Green Bay-Seattle Monday nighter. The ensuing call - a TD for the Seahawks - would ignite a firestorm of controversy. (Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images) Replacement officials assess a last-second play in the end zone during the Green Bay-Seattle Monday nighter. The ensuing call - a TD for the Seahawks - would ignite a firestorm of controversy. (Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

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In's Week 3 chatter, our guys discuss a horrible week for the NFL and its replacement officials, Jim Schwartz's risky OT call, the surprising (for different reasons) Cardinals and Saints, and the thrilling Patriots-Ravens Sunday nighter.
In's Week 3 chatter, our guys discuss a horrible week for the NFL and its replacement officials, Jim Schwartz's risky OT call, the surprising (for different reasons) Cardinals and Saints, and the thrilling Patriots-Ravens Sunday nighter.

Follow our panelists on Twitter: @tcare66 @JesseCampigotto @JasonD79.

Considering what took place on the final play of the Monday night matchup between the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks, the frustration felt by players, coaches and fans regarding replacement officials has reached a boiling point. How much longer can the NFL keep going without its regular officials?

Jesse Campigotto: Technically, forever. But it's just a crappy way to watch football. After every big play, you're holding your breath, wondering if a random/inexplicable flag is going to come flying into the camera frame. Kind of reminds me of the NHL's foot-in-the-crease era, when you hesitated to cheer any goal because you knew there was a good chance a video review was coming. The NFL seems to be negotiating with the locked-out refs under the premise that their absence isn't (and won't) affect ratings and attendance. And they're probably right. But how long can you keep dumping on the fans like this? It's just a dick move. And for what? To save a few million bucks a year? C'mon, guys. How many yachts can you water ski behind?
Tony Care: Who knows? It was only a matter of time before these officials would cost a team a victory. Unfortunately for the Packers, they were done in by the worst call I've ever seen. There were two areas where the refs blew it on the Hail Mary pass from Seattle QB Russell Wilson to wide receiver Golden Tate. First, Tate shoved Packers CB Sam Shields in the back and should've been penalized for pass interference. The second, and most egregious, was calling a simultaneous possession with Tate and safety M.D. Jennings. The Packer defender clearly had possession of the ball. Remarkably, replay upheld the call on the field. It was a brutal night for the NFL, one that was beyond embarrassing.

Jason Davidson: Well, it's official. The replacement officials have directly affected the outcome of a game. Never thought someone could throw a game-winning interception. That's a little more than concerning. So many times over the past few weeks, we've been saying "at least they got it right" following questionable decisions, but not on Monday night. The Packers got jobbed and the Seahawks were the benefactors, although their defensive line deserves a tremendous amount of credit for how they kept Aaron Rodgers in check. Roger Goodell needs to rectify this situation immediately and bring back the real officials. Maybe a debacle like this is what puts the wheels in motion for that to occur. It's magnified now. The NFL has had better moments.

You knew it was coming sooner or later. During the overtime period between Detroit and Tennessee, Lions coach Jim Schwartz made the first controversial decision of the season. Trailing 44-41 after the Titans kicked a field goal in OT, Schwartz opted not to do the same with the Lions stationed at the Tennessee 7-yard line. Instead, Schwartz elected to go for it on 4th-and-inches and failed, giving the Titans the victory. Did he make the wrong call?
Jesse Campigotto: No. Look at the final score: 44-41 (25-21 in the fourth quarter alone!). Nobody could stop anybody in that game. If you settle for the field goal, the Titans get the ball back with a chance to beat you with a mere field goal in a sudden-death situation. Better to try and pick up the 4th-and-short. If you do, you get four more cracks at picking up the seven yards that will end the game right then and there. Just because the Lions got stuffed, doesn't mean the strategy was flawed. Judge the decision, not the outcome.

Tony Care: I liked the decision. Schwartz said after the game that he was trying to draw the Titans off-side and wanted to call a timeout. Regardless, it was a good decision despite backup QB Shaun Hill getting stuffed on the quarterback sneak. Look, the Lions couldn't stop the Titans for most of the day. What made Schwartz think his defence could prevent another scoring drive? If the Lions had scored a touchdown and won the game, Schwartz would've been hailed as a genius.

Jason Davidson:
Ah, Jim Schwartz. Burned by his own bravado. Then again, this is a tricky one as the intention of going to the line of scrimmage was merely to draw the Titans offside and get a fresh set of downs to win the game outright. Instead, they snap the ball early and fail on a QB sneak. They should have kicked for a sure three points, although this wasn't as bad a call as Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith going for it on fourth and inches in an overtime game last year against the New Orleans Saints, when they were deep in their own territory. That decision ended up costing the Falcons the game. There is no guarantee that the Lions would have won even if Jason Hanson made a chip shot to tie things up at 44-44, so I will cut Schwartz some slack. But he is the head coach and has to take the heat, regardless of any "miscommunication."
We've only seen three weeks of the NFL season play out and the standings have already been turned upside down. What's more surprising, the Cardinals at 3-0 or the Saints staring at an 0-3 hole?
Jesse Campigotto: The Cards. With all the turmoil in New Orleans, I could've entertained the idea of an 0-3 Saints start. But nobody envisioned Arizona winning at New England last week. Question is, can the Cards keep it going? This week they host the Dolphins. Ryan Tannehill? On the road? In a dome? No. Make it a 4-0 start for Zona. But I see a potential trap in Week 5. That's a short-week Thursday nighter at the Rams, who aren't horrible.

Tony Care:
Both are stunners but I'd have to go with the Cardinals. I understand Arizona is 10-2 in its last 12 games, but who could've predicted this kind of dominance on defence? The Cards currently have the most feared defensive front in the NFL. They sacked Eagles quarterback Michael Vick five times in Week 3, including a crushing hit that resulted in a TD on the last play of the first half. Are the Cards for real? Let's wait to see how they do against the 49ers before anointed them the best team in the NFC West.

Jason Davidson: Tough call but I think the Saints are the bigger surprise, considering that yours truly didn't think Sean Payton's absence on the sidelines would have such a drastic effect. Well, clearly it has. They look lost out there. How do you allow the Kansas City Chiefs to come back from a 24-6 third-quarter deficit? Especially on your own turf. The Saints simply aren't making the plays they need to to be successful, and good coaching is needed to rectify that. As for the Cardinals, kudos to them. Kevin Kolb will be smiling all week after putting the hurt on his former team, the Philadelphia Eagles, not to mention strengthening his hold on the starting pivot job in the desert. Four passing TDs and another one rushed in himself. He deserves it.
The Ravens defeated the Patriots in the most exciting game of the early season, a contest with possible playoff ramifications. So which team needed this victory more?

Jesse Campigotto:
Hard to call it a "must-win" for either team because they're both still clear division favourites. New England is the class of a soft AFC East that also features the Jets (their best player, Darrelle Revis, is out for the season), Buffalo (hasn't won a road game outside of Cleveland in over a year) and Miami (I mentioned Tannehill, right?). The Ravens look like the best team in a weakening AFC North that also features Pittsburgh (aging like Clint Eastwood), Cincy (lost to the Ravens by 31 in Week 1) and Cleveland (Cleveland).

Tony Care: The Ravens are dominant at home and needed this win to keep pace with Houston for the best record in the AFC. Home field matters - just ask the Ravens, who have lost road playoff games in each of the last four years. Even with this loss, I still believe the Patriots have the easier road to the playoffs. Their two main rivals in the AFC East - Buffalo and the Jets - have lost big-time players to injuries. The Patriots will win the division and host at least one post-season game.

Jason Davidson:
Baltimore needed this win more, especially for Torrey Smith. I can't even imagine the emotions that were running through his head, dealing with the loss of his younger brother, which occurred less than 24 hours before Sunday night's kickoff. His performance was simply inspiring: a team-high six catches for 127 yards, not to mention a pair of TD receptions. Clearly, his teammates fed off Smith's ability to triumph over tragedy and were able to get it done in the end. Joe Flacco was solid, picking up some much needed confidence with a stellar performance under centre. And of course, Baltimore exacted some revenge on New England's win in last winter's AFC Championship game, not to mention staying strong within the AFC North. As for the Pats, yes, they are 1-2, but they still shouldn't have too much trouble winning the AFC East.

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