Every week of the 2022 NFL season, we’ll celebrate electric plays, check misses, and spell out inexplicable moments in the NFL. latest list. Welcome to Winners and Losers – Thanksgiving Edition. which one are you
Winner: The Double Back Cover
I’m thankful that New York legalized sports gambling this year, so I was able to publicly state that I’m betting on sports at the Thanksgiving table without my parents reacting like I was dealing black heroin on the dark web. And this year’s Cowboys Thanksgiving game—traditionally the most watched game of the NFL regular season—ended with a stunning example of the brilliance and stupidity of gambling: a completely unnecessary double tailback.
The Cowboys smashed the Giants in the second half, scoring on consecutive runs to turn a 13-7 deficit into a 28-13 lead. The Giants were cooked like turkey, and the Cowboys were on their way to their first Thanksgiving win since 2018…but the game isn’t over for everyone. With eight seconds left, Giants QB Daniel Jones threw this seemingly meaningless touchdown pass to Richie James:
Not only did the Giants cover a 10-point deficit, but they also ensured that the game topped the 45-point total. As far as I can tell, it’s the first play that turns the difference And the Total in the last 15 seconds of a game since Aaron Rodgers threw a Hail Mary to beat the Lions in 2015…but, for one, the Packers also won the game. Giants TD means nothing unless you have money in the game.
Loser: near relegation
At Thursday’s Cowboys-Giants game, CeeDee Lamb achieved something we should be talking about–a one-handed, magical feat that required uncanny coordination with his eyes, hands, and feet, all acting independently of each other for a seemingly impossible disposal. Instead, the NFL said it does not count:
There is a moment here where Lamb sure seems to have scored a touchdown all along. After holding the ball with one hand and tapping down with his right foot, he drops the toe of his left foot while his right foot hovers over the out-of-bounds line. It’s a moment you can capture in a seemingly revealing screenshot:
Unfortunately, due to NFL connotations, this is not a touchdown. The Lamb has gone two feet inward – but after touching his left toe inward, his left heel is going out of bounds. If Lamb raised his foot from the ground after the toe went inward and and then Touching his heel out of bounds would be the score, but since the heel and toe were part of the same move, it’s not that difficult. You get it – it would be really difficult for a reviewer to parse the exact moments when certain parts of the feet descend inwards. Referee Scott Novak gave a lengthy and convoluted announcement that spelled out all the ways that it was Approximately Landing before you say “toe and then heel, out of bounds.” What a tease, ref! You didn’t need to say anything other than the “off limits” part!
The lamb hunt would have been a legendary moment, but whatever. The Cowboys scored another touchdown on the next play, winning comfortably. But the final game for the Thanksgiving roster would be decided on another apparent touchdown. The officials decided that using a slow-motion replay wasn’t difficult. On first down, the Patriots officials awarded TE Hunter Henry a touchdown on this play, giving New England a seven-point lead over the Vikings. But it was eventually overturned, forcing the Patriots to settle for a field goal in a tied game that ended up losing seven points.
The ruling, made by senior New York league officials, was that because Henry was “down to the ground,” Henry had to control the ball through any contact with the ground. On the replay, the officials determined that (a) the ball hit the ground and (b) Henry lost control of the ball. But, like… did any of these things happen? How sure are we that the ball touched the grass between the fingers of Henry, who was cradling the ball? Will Henry lose control of the ball after it hits the ground? He appears to control it through contact with the ground, then loses the ball momentarily as he rolls onto his back, then regains it.
It seems especially Bad when you put it alongside similar games the league ruled as relegation:
Settling for a field goal there rather than getting a Henry touchdown changed the calculus for the rest of the game. If the Patriots had four more points there, they could have kicked a field goal to tie the game with two minutes left. Instead, they needed to score a touchdown, attempted a fourth conversion and a doomed 16, ultimately losing by seven.
There is nothing more astounding in football than watching an amazing shot like the one Justin Jefferson made two weeks ago, or the one Lamb almost made on Thursday night. And there is nothing less More interesting about football than analyzing the league’s catch rules, trying to figure out why they exist, or how they apply to intense slow motion replays. A world in which both of these catches are more fun than a world in which both are incomplete.
Winner: James Houston IV
James Houston IV is built by Prime Time in prime time: He’s the first Jackson State player to make the NFL since Deion Sanders took over as the school’s head coach in 2020. On Thursday, he made his NFL debut with the Lions and started Immediately present the plays. Nicknamed “The Problem” (as in, “Houston, we have a problem”), he recovered a penalty kick on his first NFL snap:
On his first defensive snap, he scuffled and wrestled Bills QB Josh Allen to the ground for a sack:
Later, tight end Houston passed And the Left tackle to chase Allen from behind:
Houston is the first player to record two sacks in his NFL debut since 2017, when Miles Jarrett did so. Before Garrett, the last person to do so was TJ Watt. Before Watt, the last to do so was Joey Bossa. That’s three first-round picks turned All-Pros…and James Houston, HBCU’s third-day pick. And he did it in no time in a game: Houston only played four defensive snaps. Now, the Lions have only been playing Houston in pretty obvious passing situations — 3rd-and-10, 3rd-7, 3rd-10, 3rd-10, stick your ears in the back and — QB-hunting type scenarios — but regardless, Two bags in four shots! When searching TruMedia’s database for snap count data, no one had ever had a four-sack, two-sack game. The closest is Frank Zumbo, who had two sacks in six snaps in 2015; No one this year has had multiple sacks in fewer than 13 snaps.
Looks like all this guy needed was a bullet. Houston played three seasons in Florida without recording a start before heading to Jackson State to play Sanders as a senior transfer in 2021. Simply put, he dominated there: He had 24.5 TFLs, 16.5 sacks, and led the FCS with seven forced fumbles. As the Tigers went 11-0 against FCS competition in the regular season. But it wasn’t enough to earn him much draft scouting attention, or even an invitation to the NFL Scouting Association. The Lions took a Flyer with the 217th pick, but pulled him out of training camp and put him on the practice squad. He didn’t get a chance to play until this week, when edge rushers Josh Paschal and Charles Harris were ruled out with injury in the week short, and he could only play situationally.
Now the world has seen what James Huston IV can do. Now the Lions need to let him try to do this more often.
Loser: Celebration Turkey
It has become a tradition for Thanksgiving post-game interviews to show off a set of turkey legs for the winning players. Players generally go along with the gag, because it’s always nice to have a trophy, even if it’s edible.
But let’s be honest: How unattractive is a turkey leg? Usually, you’ll try to get a little bit of mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, or cranberry sauce into each bite, to try to moisten it up a bit and add a bit of flavor. But this is not an option for these players. They just get a leg up. And as revealed by Stefon Diggs and Dawson Knox last yearThe legs are served cold. These guys have just played 60 minutes of soccer, and they get room temperature grilled meat with no sauces or sides. Adam Thielen took a big bite, but had to spit it out because it was so dry:
Justin Jefferson politely declined the turkey, citing the fact that he was wearing a grill and didn’t want to have turkey everywhere. Kirk Cousins didn’t complain at all, but it has been known to taste questionable in ceremonial meats. Next year, NBC needs to let players hit the boat or dunk their face in mashed potatoes as an alternative.
Winner: Announcer Jinx
The dumbest thing we as sports fans really think is that something the announcer says during a game has any effect on the game itself. I think that’s hypothetically possible in basketball, because the announcers are literally sitting next to the court, and the players can be heard in a quiet arena. (See Steve Curry pointing to the announcers shortly after missing a rare free throw.) But in soccer, the announcers are in a small, enclosed booth hundreds of yards from the field. Unless the players are listening to the radio broadcast with their helmets on—which is against NFL rules—they have no idea what is being said on the broadcast.
But how can we explain what happened during the Lions-Bills game on Thursday? Not only did CBS announcer Jim Nantz discuss Lionel kicker Michael Badgley’s perfect season record, he went to great lengths to rule out the possibility of an announcer jinx. The comedic timing is amazing.
As Nantz noted, Badgley hasn’t missed any kicks this season: He’s been 10-for-10 on field goals and 12-for-12 on extra points. But more than that, Badgley was 26-for-26 on kicks under 30 yards over the course of his five-year NFL career. If we consider all the field goals and extra points, Badgley was 180-for-189 on kicks under 40 yards, with a success rate of 95.2 percent. So even if we did include some significantly longer kicks, he was amazingly accurate. What are the odds of him missing a direct kick when Nantes were talking about how rarely he misses a kick?
There is only one explanation. Jim Nantz is incredibly powerful, a god-like figure, and has the power to shape existence through his words. He does not use this power for good. He does not use this power for evil. He only uses them to achieve improbable results in non-exciting sports.
In this case, the Lions ended up losing by three points. Why Nantz?? Why, in your almighty power, would you allow bad things to happen to bad football teams?
Loser: Detroit halftime performer
Getting booked as a half-time performer at the Lions at Thanksgiving is a great deal for a recording artist. I mean, it’s not quite as good a deal as the Super Bowl halftime show performance. Well, the Cowboys Thanksgiving halftime show tends to book more popular artists than The Lions. But still: Last year’s Lions-Bears Thanksgiving Day game was the fourth most-watched game of the regular season, and the Lions were 0-9-1. If you book a Lions halftime party, you’ll be entering the homes of millions of Americans.
There’s just one problem: Lions fans are pretty much guaranteed to boo anyone who steps out. From Nickelback to Mike Posner, (Big Sean broke the streak last year, but the crowd was still visibly bored with his act.) So yes, millions of Americans will see your performance, but they will also see the main reaction to your performance as “extreme disappointment.” .
So the Lions developed a workaround this year. Bebe Rexha performed a set featuring … that song which has the same beat as “Blue Da Ba Di Da Ba Di” but has different lyrics. But for some reason, the Lions made for a completely unwatchable performance for the fans on the field. Instead of performing a set in midfield, Rexha performed under a somewhat covered tent in the corner of the court.
Rexha was only visible to the fans in the corner of the court, and even those fans didn’t seem particularly interested or excited. Perhaps the idea was to avoid having to build a group on the field during the 15-minute first half, but teams seem to do it all the time without problems. Of course, at the end of the set, fans booed — probably because they were angry that Rexha’s performance was unseen. It’s a real lose lose scenario: either the Lions fans are going to boo you because they’re mad they had to see you perform or they’re going to boo you because they were mad they couldn’t see you perform.