Patriots’ defensive end, Rob Ninkovich, joins Mut and Merloni on a Patriots Monday after the team’s victory in Houston. Rob addresses the postgame comments of Texans’ defensive lineman Antonio Smith and the defense struggling against the run.
When the NFL comes out with a decision regarding Mike Tomlin’s disciple for his antics in the Steelers’ 22-20 loss to the Ravens on Thanksgiving night, it’s expected that his pockets will be significantly lighter.
During Thursday’s game with Pittsburgh trailing 13-7, Baltimore kickoff returner Jacoby Jones raced up the sideline, seemingly destined for the end zone. Replays showed Tomlin, who stood perilously close to the field to begin with, step with his right foot onto the field before immediately jumping back off. Jones was tackled, and the question of whether Tomlin intended to disrupt Jones came into play. The officials did not issue Tomlin a flag.
The NFL is expected to reach a decision this week, but Schefter reported that a suspension for Tomlin is unlikely.
The last case of a coach interfering with a player occurred in 2010 when Jets strength and conditioning coach Sal Alosi was caught on video tripping a gunner on the Dolphins punt return team. The NFL fined the Jets $100,000 while the team fined Alosi $25,000 and suspended him for the remainder of the season.
With less than two minutes remaining in the game, and Washington down seven with the ball on its own 41-yard line facing a second-and-5, Robert Griffin III completed a pass to Pierre Garcon close to the first-down marker. The Redskins, without any timeouts, went into a no-huddle offense as it appeared the officials had given Washington a fresh set of downs, with the chains moving. But after an incompletion, the refs revealed that instead of second-and-10, it would be fourth-and-1. The Redskins completed a pass but fumbled, and New York went on to win.
“I said I wanted a measurement,” Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said after the game. “And [the official] said, ‘You don’t have to, it’s a first down.’ ”
After the game, referee Jeff Triplette said that his crew signaled for third down but the chains were incorrectly moved.
The loss dropped Washington to 3-9 and eliminated the team from postseason contention.
• Geno Smith’s rookie season went from bad to horrendous Sunday.
The Jets starting quarterback tossed his 19th interception of the season and was benched in New York’s 23-3 loss to the Dolphins. Smith finished 4-of-10 passing for a career-low 29 passing yards with zero touchdowns and one interception.
With the Jets trailing 6-0 after the first half, New York replaced Smith with backup quarterback Matt Simms.
Since Week 5, when the Jets beat the Falcons and moved to 3-2, Smith has thrown one touchdown and 11 interceptions. New York has posted a 2-5 record during that time, and Smith has not completed more than nine passes in a game since Oct. 27 against the Bengals.
Smith, drafted in the second round in April, has started every game this season.
• Niners wide receiver Michael Crabtree made his return from a torn Achilles tendon on Sunday in his team’s 23-13 win over St. Louis.
Crabtree’s return could not come at a better time, as the division and wild card races are heating up. San Francisco currently is slotted into the second wild card spot in the NFC and trails Seattle by 2½ games in the NFC West.
The fifth-year wide receiver made an immediate offensive impact on Sunday. He caught two passes for 68 yards, including a 60-yard reception. Crabtree injured his right Achilles in May during an organized team activity and underwent surgery shortly after.
When Colin Kaepernick took over the role as starting quarterback in 2012, Crabtree broke out. He set career highs in receptions (85), receiving yards (1,105) and touchdowns (nine) last season. The return of Crabtree should provide a jolt to the 49ers offense. In Kaepernick’s last two game’s he’s averaged 255 passing yards and thrown a total of four touchdowns with zero interceptions. In eight of his previous nine games, Kaepernick failed to eclipse the 200-yard passing mark.
The top stories of the day as recounted by Kirk Minihane. Today the guys talked about the deadly car crash involving actor Paul Walker.
[0:00:20] ... -- and it's a lot of questions from me and unfortunately. Sadly PaulWalker the start that costar franchise and this is daddy died this weekend. At age forty and I'll be fair ball this I ... [0:02:07] ... winningest and jump and offered commerce companies or any -- you know PaulWalker -- BC's fast but here's -- of these neither I have a little bit of all that -- to see him on the and his people opened -- viewers and the like he's my father's. PaulWalker city varsity blues varsity blues who can do and flags or fathers -- remember. He just the guy -- Japanese guys is ... [0:02:52] ... that is a story that's the world we live right now so PaulWalker. Gone at age forty this story Pete and I just hope that you you see the movie Hannibal. Read the -- Campbell ... [0:08:32] ... wouldn't like I yard. Of a where you war that's on the golfcourse the -- says turn right -- 10858. Are right now in years there. -- the problem is just that he is -- ...
A police spokesman said the man was found inside another person’s vehicle, and a physical confrontation followed. The man was found lying unconscious on the pavement and was treated by paramedics before being taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
“Talking to several witnesses that were out here in the parking lots, there was an individual who came back to his vehicle, saw someone inside the vehicle that did not belong,” police spokesman Darin Snapp said. “A struggle ensued between the two. That’s when the individual [who had been inside the vehicle] collapsed. … We don’t know if the person had a health condition, had a heart attack. We don’t know. We’re going to investigate this as a homicide until we hear differently. Right now it’s a suspicious death, but we are going to investigate it as a homicide.”
Snapp said three people were taken to police headquarters for questioning as persons of interest.
The incident happened exactly one year after Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher shot and killed his girlfriend and then committed suicide in the parking lot of the team’s practice facility.
• Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith seems to get in a beef with an opposing cornerback every week — including Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib two weeks ago. Most recently, he picked a fight with a defender who doesn’t even play anymore.
“A guy that I think, and I take pride in, I destroyed his career, is Fred Smoot,” Smith said last week of the former Washington defensive back. “Coming out of Mississippi, he was considered a really good cornerback, and thought he was. And then after coming in Bank of America Stadium, things just went downhill from there.”
Smoot responded Sunday, saying: “Me and him hate each other. If I run into Steve Smith in a Giant [supermarket] right now, I’ll fight Steve Smith in a Giant right now. I don’t give a — I don’t care.”
Added Smoot: “I think he’s a bully. Actually, I think he’s a weak bully at that. And I’ll be honest with that. I don’t care about saying that. He’s Steve Incognito to me. I call him Steve ‘Pinocchio’ Smith, ’cause he’s a liar. He went on national TV and lied. He’s a liar. And I like to keep it real and I like to be honest. This guy wants to sit here and say he ruined my career, and I played you two to three times after that, and you did nothing. I played you actually 10 times before that, as a Redskin, and you’re going to talk about the one time that you actually got me.”
• The Knicks lost their ninth straight game Sunday, dropping a 103-99 decision to the Pelicans at Madison Square Garden, and Carmelo Anthony is running out of answers.
“We just can’t seem to get it together,” the Knicks star said. “We can’t seem to figure it out.”
New York has lost seven straight at home, a franchise record.
“I think we’re playing to lose rather than playing to win right now,” Anthony said. “When you lose games the way we’ve been losing them at home, on the road, you start thinking a lot. You start playing a little tense, you start playing on your heels.”
Added coach Mike Woodson: “I thought coming down the stretch, we played on our heels. The [eight-game losing streak] we were looking at here was staring at us in the face, [and] instead of relaxing and just playing, we just didn’t make one play.”
The team has had two closed-door meetings in the past three weeks, but Anthony said the Knicks still are “searching who we are as a team. and who we’re going to be as a team.”
Said Anthony: “Anytime you’re fighting an uphill battle, you feel like you’re in a dark place. But we can’t go to that place. I’ve never been to that place. I don’t plan on getting to that place.”
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Dec. 2, 1961, goaltender Gerry Cheevers played his first NHL game, but it wasn’t for the Bruins. With which team did Cheevers start his Hall of Fame career?
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “We’re not coaching well enough. We’re not playing well enough. We’re not doing a good enough job, in any area. From opening kickoff, from the defense, to the offense, you know, just, none of it’s good enough. Got to do a better job of coaching, got to do a better job of preparing, got to do a better job of executing.” – Patriots coach Bill Belichick, after Sunday’s 34-31 victory over a slumping Texans team
STAT OF THE DAY: 0 – Penalties called on the Patriots in Sunday’s game
‘NET RESULTS (mobile users, check the website to see the videos): Just in case you haven’t seen it — or if you haven’t seen it enough — here’s the incredible finish to Saturday’s Auburn-Alabama game, as called by Auburn radio.
From Saturday night, Rockets coach Kevin McHale does his best to create a distraction for Spurs forward Tim Duncan on an inbounds pass in front of the Houston bench, and that does not sit well with San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich.
TRIVIA ANSWER: The Maple Leafs
SOOTHING SOUNDS: Britney Spears was born on this day in 1981.