Curious calls by coaches highlight Week 13

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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) A week after officials were roundly panned for horrible decisions, the curious calls in Week 13 belonged mostly to the coaches: Jim Caldwell (why wasn't Megatron in the end zone); Bill Belichick (this ain't rugby!); and Tom Coughlin (hello, hot seat).

The men in stripes didn't get off unscathed, either.

Chris Harris Jr.'s pick-six for Denver was negated by a questionable holding call when his man ran right into him, then there was no flag thrown when linebacker Melvin Ingram's helmet-to-helmet hit sent tight end Vernon Davis out of the game with a concussion in San Diego. There also wasn't a whistle on 49ers safety Jaquiski Tartt for body-slamming Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, whose head bounced off the ground.

The wacky week began with the Motown Miracle.

Aaron Rodgers capitalized on Caldwell's decision to keep Calvin Johnson with him on the sideline and defend the hook and ladder instead of the Hail Mary when Green Bay had an untimed down from its 39 trailing 23-21 Thursday night. Facing only a three-man rush, with two defenders hugging the sidelines at midfield, Rodgers had enough time to run around and allow his receivers to reach the end zone. Then he heaved a 70-yard rainbow with a 5.4-second hang time to uncovered tight end Richard Rodgers for the incredible win.

The Packers hadn't led for a single second of the game, yet walked away 27-23 winners.

''Until that clock ticks zero,'' Caldwell said, ''there's no such thing as certain victory.''

Actually, the clock had hit zero on the previous play, but the game wasn't over because Detroit's Devin Taylor was called for a facemask penalty on the quarterback. Detroit fans can argue the whistle all they want; there's no disputing that the Lions lost it by mismanaging the final play.

They still have this, though:

The only longer winning TD pass as time expired in the fourth quarter in NFL history came on Dec. 4, 1960, when Earl Morrall hit tight end Jim Gibbons in the Lions' 20-15 win over the Baltimore Colts.

By Sunday, the wild week would feature eight missed extra points and several blown opportunities, including the Patriots' chance to bounce back from their first loss, and the Giants' chance to take control of the middling NFC East.

IMPERFECT PATRIOTS: The Patriots were up 14-0 on Philadelphia in the second quarter - just like they were ahead in Denver a week earlier before losing in overtime. Belichick tried to get cute and it backfired in a big way.

Placekicker Stephen Gostkowski tossed the ball to safety Nate Ebner, a former rugby star, who drop kicked it 24 yards downfield in the hopes New England's charging hands team could come up with it. Instead, Seyi Ajirotutu fielded it at his 41 for Philly.

The Eagles capitalized on the good field position for the first of five consecutive touchdowns - two on special teams, one on defense and two on offense - to build a shocking 35-14 lead.

''I just tried to put it into space and make it an element of surprise, but they were prepared for what we threw at them, and credit to the Eagles for reacting so quickly to that one,'' Ebner said.

Another failed onside kick by Ebner helped the Eagles hold off Tom Brady's furious fourth-quarter rally.

Gostkowski's onside kick was a success with 5:27 left, but after the Patriots pulled to 35-28, Ebner went back out and attempted a traditional onside kick. This one went out of bounds.

Asked why he had Ebner attempt two onside kicks and Gostkowski one, Belichick said simply, ''Because we thought that was the best thing to do.''

They thought wrong.

GIANT MISTAKE: Coughlin wanted to bury the Jets when he decided to go for it on fourth-and-2 from the Jets 4 and the Giants ahead 20-10 with under nine minutes to play. Rontez Miles intercepted Eli Manning's pass, sparking a comeback that sent the Giants to a 23-20 overtime loss that damaged their playoff chances.

''Well, obviously I've made a decision to be very aggressive at the end of games,'' said Coughlin, whose Giants (5-7) could be headed for a fourth straight season out of the playoffs. ''I've done it all year long. Don't have a lot to show for it ... but we've tried to take some of the pressure off everybody, and had we scored that touchdown, fourth-and-2, I think we would have taken a lot of pressure off.''

Now the pressure's on Coughlin. Again.

ROOKIE MISTAKE: Coach John Harbaugh swears it was the official, not the receiver, who made the rookie error. A disputed penalty against the Ravens cost them a touchdown in the first quarter of their 15-13 loss to Miami.

Matt Schaub's 52-yard TD toss to Daniel Brown was negated by an offensive pass interference penalty on Brown.

''I thought I had scored my first touchdown,'' Brown said. ''... You're on cloud nine; then they bring you down.''

Harbaugh contended the defender was guilty of interference and said a first-year official made the wrong call, saying: ''I think he got it backward. He's a rookie, and he messed it up.''


AP Pro Football Writer Dave Campbell and AP Sports Writers Noah Trister, Jimmy Golen, Tom Canavan and Steven Wine contributed.


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