Sour Rankings: Watkins' unfortunate celebration, Maclin's massive wipeout
The updated Power Rankings arrive on Wednesday. But first, the Sour Rankings take a spin through the worst of the past week in the NFL …
10. Denver's scoreboard operator: The Broncos were putting the finishing touches on a Thursday night win over San Diego when they were called for a false start, which sent Peyton Manning into a frenzy. Manning turned to the crowd, waved his arms for them to be quiet and appeared to yell something R-rated.
Later, he let everyone know the actual target of his frustration.
"I have no problem with our fans, our fans are great. I got a problem with our scoreboard operator," Manning said. "I'm going to have to have a little talk with him. I'm not sure what he's doing. He was playing music and showing people dancing and getting the crowd fired up and we have the ball. I don't think we should be doing that. ...
"I don't think we should be showing their quarterback on the sideline," Manning said. "I thought that was kind of disrespectful. Our fans are great, our fans are loud. The scoreboard operator, it wasn't his best night."
You know what they say about scoreboard operators ... Nothing. No one ever says anything about scoreboard operators. So this is a particularly bad look for Denver's guy.
9. Vontaze Burfict throws the flag: Burfict was fined $25,000 earlier this month for twisting the ankles of Carolina's Cam Newton and Greg Olsen, so officials might be keeping a closer eye on him these days. He might not be all that fond of the added scrutiny, as evidenced by his decision to mockingly throw a flag on himself Sunday.
8. Jon Gruden, impartial announcer?: Gruden, now the color commentator on Monday Night Football, began his NFL head coaching career with the Raiders in 1998, so he's allowed to have a little bit of a soft spot for that organization.
What he probably should not be doing, however, is attempting to influence Raiders personnel moves.
If those reports are true, was Gruden trying to lay the groundwork for his future return to coaching? Or was he simply offering advice to acquaintances in the Raiders' front office?
Either way, this could create some ethical questions for Gruden. Namely, should an announcer who is supposed to remain as impartial as possible be involved in a team's roster decisions, in even the slightest way? Seems like a pretty easy no from this seat.
6. Lamarr Houston gets Tulloch'd: For the second time this season, an important NFC North defender could be done for the season after suffering an injury while celebrating a sack. It was Lions' linebacker Stephen Tulloch who went down earlier in the year -- he blew out his knee trying to mimic Aaron Rodgers' title-belt move.
And now Sunday, the Bears watched Lamarr Houston crumple to the turf in an almost identical replay of Tulloch's injury. If that's not bad enough, the humiliating and unfortunate moment for Houston came with the Bears down by 25 points in the fourth quarter.
"I probably shouldn't have celebrated while they were blowing us out, but it happens," Houston said, via ESPN.com. "Landed wrong, tried to hop up, didn't feel right, so we'll see what happens tomorrow."
5. Big Ben ... punts?: Shaun Suisham has not made a field goal longer than 50 yards since 2012, so the Steelers were in a bit of no man's land on 4th-and-4 from the Indianapolis 34, just before halftime Sunday. Given that Ben Roethlisberger wound up throwing for a team-record 522 yards, going for it would have made sense. Punting the ball would have also made sense, if the Steelers wanted to play conservative.
Punting with Roethlisberger, though ...
4. Not great, Matt Schaub: The Raiders signed Schaub to a two-year, $13.5 million contract this past offseason, fully guaranteeing the $8 million Schaub is earning in 2014. Because Derek Carr has grabbed hold of the starting job, Schaub has turned into one of the league's highest-priced backups.
He finally threw his first pass of the season Sunday, on a fake field goal. It did not go well.
3. Zach Mettenberger vs. J.J. Watt: Mettenberger, the Titans' rookie quarterback, posted several selfies on his social media accounts ahead of his first career start Sunday against Houston, including this one mere hours prior to kickoff:
The Texans' J.J. Watt was, let's say, less than impressed.
"This is the National Football League, not high school. Welcome to the show," said Watt, who mocked Mettenberger by mimicking snapping a selfie after sacking him Sunday. "I take my job very seriously. If I was a rookie quarterback being named the starter for the first time in the league, I feel like I would be a little more focused than that. Maybe he will learn from it, maybe not."
Watt pretty much can do whatever he wants these days -- he's en route to a runaway Defensive MVP win. That said, perturbed Titans fans might point back to Watt and his teammates sporting letterman jackets before a key 2012 game at New England as pot-calling-the-kettle-black evidence.
2. Jeremy Maclin wipes out: This was one of the Must-See GIFs in our Week 8 Superlatives. Normally, I try to avoid doubling up on any highlights included there ... but when a player more or less takes a Double Dare physical challenge in the middle of a game, the rules change a bit.
(GIF via Deadspin)
1. Sammy Watkins' mistake: Watkins certainly is not the first -- and he won't be the last -- NFL player to prematurely celebrate a touchdown. Remember DeSean Jackson fumbling by dropping the ball shy of the goal line mid-celebration?
Those other instances (or his 157-yard day) won't make the Bills' Rookie of the Year candidate feel any less foolish for his boneheaded error. Watkins was five yards from the goal line when he was caught from behind by wide receiver-turned-emergency cornerback Saalim Hakim: