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.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Tomlin could, at the least, be issued a hefty fine by the league. Schefter wrote that in addition to a possible six-figure fine, the Steelers also could lose a draft pick.
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.
• A battle between NFC East cellar-dwellers featured a controversial ending on the final drive of the Giants’ 24-17 win over the Redskins Sunday.
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.